HTC Desire review: A desire come true

GSMArena team, 16 April 2010.

Tags: HTC, Android, Touch UI

Introduction

If you've seen the Google Nexus One, you've seen the HTC Desire. End of story. We liked the Nexus One so be our guest, HTC Desire. But is it all that simple?

HTC are so good they build phones for the competition. HTC are so mean they have no issues competing with their own clients. And is it us or are the clients ultimately left with a rather disturbing question: do HTC work for us or do we work for them? Go ask Sony Ericsson and Google.

It doesn't quite make sense to go as far back as the Sony Ericsson XPERIA X1 and the HTC Touch Pro. Today's story is about another couple of twins. And because the children are nearly identical, we'll try to see what it's like being mom's favorite or dad's.

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Official photos of the HTC Desire

The Desire produced a good deal of anticipation and its prompt release after this year's MWC proves HTC know good timing. But by no means can it match the hype that surrounded the Google Nexus One. What's in a name? No, really.

And while we're at it, any other - less cheesy - name would've really suited the top HTC Android better. But well, that's minor stuff compared to what's inside. Here it goes.

Key features:

  • Quad-band GSM and dual-band 3G support
  • 7.2 Mbps HSDPA and 2 Mbps HSUPA
  • 3.7" 16M-color capacitive AMOLED touchscreen of WVGA resolution (480x 800 pixel)
  • Android OS v2.1 with kinetic scrolling and pinch zooming
  • Slim profile and great build quality
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon QSD8250 1 GHz processor
  • 576 MB RAM and 512 MB ROM
  • 5 MP autofocus camera with LED flash and geotagging
  • WVGA (800 x 480 pixels) video recording @ 15fps
  • Wi-Fi and GPS with A-GPS
  • microSD slot, bundled with a 4GB card
  • Accelerometer and proximity sensor
  • Standard 3.5 mm audio jack
  • Stereo FM radio with RDS
  • microUSB port (charging) and stereo Bluetooth v2.1
  • Optical trackpad which doubles as a button
  • Smart dialing

Main disadvantages:

  • Disappointing video quality
  • Limited storage available to the user on the system partition (you are left with only 120 MB for installing apps)
  • No DivX and XviD video playback
  • No voice dialing
  • Non hot-swappable memory card

While the Google Nexus One is still confined to selected countries, its twin, the HTC Desire, is already in stores across the globe. And that may be great news for users on markets still ungraced by Google. It's the same phone - take away the Google logo, and add a few nice little things.

But it's not the differences that you'll care about. It's what both devices have in common that make them so attractive.

Of course we mean the large capacitive AMOLED touchscreen, the fresh Android OS v2.1 they run, the great performance on the 1GHz Snapdragon processor, and the 5-megapixel autofocus cameras they come with.

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HTC Desire live shots

Eventually, you'll notice that these are actually two different phones. The Nexus One's trackball is gone for an optical trackpad. The controls on the Desire are actual buttons instead of the capacitive keys on the Google phone. On the homescreen, you'll see the latest Sense UI waving Hello.

Some platforms just don't seem to change for years. The Android OS is evolving at amazing speed. The Desire is one of the first devices to come with the latest version of the Android operating system but more importantly, being so powerful, it's among the few to reveal what ?clair is actually capable of.

Those lines sound as if the Desire is free from sin. It really isn't. There is always room for improvement - and that's especially true for Android handsets. But before we get to that, join us on the next page first to see what's hiding in that tiny retail box.

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