HTC Desire review: A desire come true

GSMArena team, 16 April 2010.

Tags: HTC, Android, Touch UI

Multimedia evolution: slow but getting there

Image gallery

The gallery has the usual main menu list-with-thumbnail structure. The Albums app automatically locates images and videos, no matter where they are stored. Images and videos stored in different folders appear in different sub-galleries that automatically get the name of the folder - quite effective file management.

Unfortunately, the gallery undertakes reindexing of the content each time you open it and it does so even when you open a file for an instant and then get back to the thumbnail view. And that's a bugger as when cards are full of content, it's quite slow to complete.

Right next to the folder's name is a figure indicating the number of images stored. Each sub-album has a thumbnail of the latest image. The contextual menu of the main Album view has only one shortcut to the settings menu. There is also a camera shortcut, but it’s only available once you start browsing any of the sub-folders.

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The Albums and some of the simple menu settings

At the bottom of the main album there are three virtual buttons - one for the actual folder list, another for Facebook and finally - Flickr. The latter two display images from either account or those posted by your friends.

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The Facebook app in Albums is great

Anywhere in the gallery except the main Album view you can launch the camera or camcorder to capture new images, share them on Facebook, Flickr, Gmail, HTC Mail, Messages, Peep and Picasa, and delete the current image.

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Taking an image is possible even while browsing Facebook photos, direct uploading is even easier

In the HTC Desire image folders you can choose between grid and filmstrip view. You are also able to mass delete images, but still no mass copy and paste options.

While you cannot copy/paste images from folder to folder (you'd need a proper file manager for that), you can still share multiple images from your albums on Facebook, Flickr, Gmail, HTC Mail, Messages, Peep and Picasa.

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Grid and filmstrip type of views • gallery options

HTC Desire supports multi-touch and you can take the full advantage of this while browsing your images. Zooming in and out is done in the same fashion as on the Apple iPhone. You can zoom to 100% with simple double tap on the screen.

The one here is extra smooth - just as it is on the iPhone (and those are 5 megapixel images we're talking about here).

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Opening an image • image options • smooth finger-sweep browsing of images and pinch zoom

Video player is good, native DivX still to come

Video files can be accessed only from the Albums' subfolder as there is no separate icon for the video player in the main menu. The video files can also be viewed as a grid or filmstrip, and can be shared via Gmail, HTC mail, Messages or YouTube.

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Video library • available options

The video player on the HTC Desire has seen some minor visual changes, but is still quite basic. You may opt for full screen mode, where the original clip is stretched / cropped to fit the screen.

Quite contrary to initial rumor, the player is capable of only playing 3GP and MP4 videos, which means that you will have to convert most your videos for watching on the go HTC Desire.

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Playing video files from the Gallery

All of the MP4 files we tried on the Desire played super smooth without dropped frames or sound lags. We tested videos of up to 640x360 pixel resolution at 30fps and they ran trouble-free.

There is already a player in the Android market that supports DivX and XviD videos. The yxflash player handled well much of the files (trailers and sample videos) we threw at it although anything above VGA resolution was obviously too much for the hardware. We also tried a standard XviD TV-ripped show (624x352@24fps, 350MB) with and without subtitles, but in either cases there were annoying lags to ruin the experience. The bad news continues with that you only get the trial version for free and after it expires you need to pay 9.9 US dollars for the full app.

Just don’t give up on the native player yet. HTC promised to release a firmware update soon, bringing DivX support and 720p video encoding. We’re certainly looking forward.

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