HTC Desire C review: Welcome aboard
Ample connectivity options
The HTC Desire C offers quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE and tri-band 3G, and HSDPA speeds of up to 7.2 Mbps. Local wireless connectivity features Wi-Fi b/g/n and Bluetooth 4.0.
You have a long list of options for connecting to a PC - Charge only, Disk drive (mass storage), HTC Sync, USB tethering (use the phone as a modem) and Internet pass-through (the phone uses the computer's Internet connection). The Charge only and Disk Drive have big, thumbable icons, which is great since they are most often used.
Last but not least is the HTC Portable Hotspot. It can support up to 8 devices, you can WEP, WPA or WPA2 encrypt the hotspot and you can enable "allowed users" only to connect or leave it open for all (unsecure, but the quickest setup).
The app can be set to power off automatically after 5 or 10 minutes of inactivity, saving your battery in case you forget to switch it off manually.
Great ICS browser
The HTC Desire C comes with the latest Android web browser, and because it runs on Android Ice Cream Sandwich, you can also install Chrome for Android.
Anyway, the browser's interface keeps mostly out of sight, which leaves the entire screen to the web page. You get the standard Menu dropdown on the right, but HTC have thrown in some extra buttons at the bottom of the screen (you have to pan to reveal them, which is a little annoying).
They let you save a page in your bookmarks or reading list, view bookmarks, saved pages or tabs. You might want to enable Quick controls - they let you tap on any point on the edge of the screen and move your finger to select the desired option from a jog-dial menu.
Once you select some text, you can copy it, do a Google search with that text as the query or share the text over a message or social networking.
Tabs can be closed with an X button on their top right corner. Incognito tabs are available if you want to bypass History, tracking cookies, form auto-fill stuff and so on.
The Menu options include a toggle to enable/disable Flash and another one to request the desktop version of a site, instead of the mobile one. Another ICS feature has the phone preload search results that it suspects you're going to open, speeding up the whole process.
The Desire C comes with Flash support, although the 600 MHz processor has a hard time keeping up. Clicking the 'Enable Flash support' option in the browser settings allowed for all the flash banners on our site to show up, but made the browsing experience so choppy it was pretty much unusable. YouTube videos will load and play in-line, although a lot of times it takes a while for them to show up. Flash games failed to run altogether.
Great-looking PIM tools
The usual set of organizer apps are aboard the HTC Desire C, with a mobile Office app to boot, that can both view and edit documents.
The Polaris app has support for viewing Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, including the Office 2007 versions and it can create Office 2003 Word, Excel documents and presentations. There is also a PDF viewer to handle PDF files.
You can format the text style and color, justify the text, do lists (numbered or bullet points) in the Word editor. The Excel editor does support function editing, which some mobile editors don't.
The app also integrates with Dropbox and SkyDrive, which makes syncing documents between your computer and your phone a breeze.
The calendar has four different types of view: daily, monthly, agenda and invitation. Adding a new event is quite straightforward and you can also set an alarm to serve as a reminder.
The Agenda view shows a list of all the calendar entries from the recent past to the near future. Invitation only lists events with invitation info attached to them. The day view showing the weather forecast at the top of the screen is a nice touch.
The Calendar supports multiple online calendars (including Facebook), one you sync with your computer and easily show/hide events you don't want.
There is also a calculator aboard. It is nicely touch optimized with big, easy to hit buttons. Flipping it horizontally enables some more advanced functions like logarithms.
The Desire C features an alarm clock application, which can handle multiple alarms, each with its own start and repeat time. You also get a stopwatch and a timer in the same app. There's a world clock, to display the time in multiple locations, as well.
The Voice recorder might be quite useful for making audio notes and the weather app brings Yahoo's weather forecast for your area a click away.
Google Play Store and HTC Hub
The Google Play Store features several scrollable tabs - categories, featured, top paid, top free, top grossing, top new paid, top new free and trending. Apps usually have several screenshots (some even offer a demo video) so you can get an idea of what the app looks like before installing it. You can also check out comments and ratings, as well as the number of downloads and so on, to help you decide if the app is worth it.
There are all kinds of apps in the Android market and the most important ones are covered (file managers, navigation apps, document readers etc.).
Not quite an app store, the HTC Hub is a good source of wallpapers and sound customizations - ringtones, alarms and notification sounds and entire sound sets (a set is a whole package that brings together the other three categories).
There are also a handful of apps, as well as customizations for skins and entire scenes as well.
Navigation and location with Google Maps
The HTC Desire C has a built-in GPS receiver, which managed to get a lock in under a minute (with A-GPS switched off). If all you need is a rough idea of where you are (within 150 meters) you can use the Cell-ID and Wi-Fi network lock, which is very fast.
At this point, Google Maps is a standard part of the Android package and we've covered it many times before. It offers voice-guided navigation in certain countries and falls back to a list of instructions elsewhere. You can plan routes, search for nearby POI and go into the always cool Street View.