HTC Desire S review: Droid cravings

GSMArena team, 18 April 2011.
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Tags: HTC, Android, Touch UI

Final words

When we first made its acquaintance, the HTC Desire S was on display at this year’s MWC in Barcelona along with the Incredible S and the Wildfire S. Each phone in this trio is no more perhaps than a transitional model, a facelift that doesn’t even warrant their own name. A bone to throw to upgraders to get them off your back while you’re busy making the next big thing.

OK, let’s get this out of the way. We know already the Sensation is HTC’s next big thing. Dual-core is the buzz word in high-end smartphones. The HTC Sensation and the EVO 3D will be leading the line against the likes of the LG Optimus 2X, the Samsung Galaxy S II and the Motorola Atrix.

LG Optimus 2XSamsung I9100 Galaxy S IIMotorola ATRIX
LG Optimus 2X • Samsung Galaxy S II • Motorola Atrix

So, the HTC Desire S will be seeing no premier league action. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The way we see it, the Incredible S is more likely to rub shoulders with the dual-cores and end up bruised. The Desire S looks like the handset with the better prospects. It’s friendlier and more compact, and still strong enough to handle competition in its own category.

By the name and looks of it, it’s supposed to succeed the Desire, but it’s a more than legitimate upgrade of the Legend too.

The Desire S is HTC’s first handset natively running Android v.2.3 Gingerbread. Traditionally it has the latest Sense UI – a winning combination by the books of every loyal HTC user. The HTC Desire S is powered by the Snapdragon chipset with a 1GHz Scorpion processor and Adreno 205 graphics. The Incredible S, Desire HD, Sony Ericsson’s latest XPERIA quartet (Play, Arc, Neo and Pro) and more are based on the same platform. And the Desire S won’t be embarrassed by comparisons to any of them.

Let’s start with the alternatives in the very HTC camp. The Incredible S and the Desire HD are both worth your thought if you need a bigger screen and a better imaging. They still run Android v2.2 Froyo, but will get a Gingerbread update later this year.

HTC Incredible SHTC Desire HD
HTC Incredible S • HTC Desire HD

Sony Ericsson has a number of Gingerbread-powered droids to choose from. While the XPERIA Arc is out of the reach of the Desire S, the XPERIA Neo will readily fight it out for the users’ favor.

Sony Ericsson XPERIA ArcSony Ericsson XPERIA Neo
Sony Ericsson XPERIA Arc • Sony Ericsson XPERIA Neo

The original Samsung Galaxy S is in line to get its official Gingerbread update and you might want to give its SuperAMOLED screen a thought.

Samsung I9000 Galaxy S
Samsung I9000 Galaxy S

Upon a casual glance, the HTC Desire S doesn’t seem to hold a lot of promise especially if you consider that the original Desire will get Gingerbread – and we guess there are enough of them already running unofficial ROMs. On the other hand though, the Desire S is a reasonable option for upgraders coming from the Legend too.

The design may be a bit played out, but this is still one of the prettiest and best build droids out there. The screen falls short of the Retinas and Super AMOLEDs of the world, but it’s among the best in its class. And 3.7” is still considered by many to be the perfect screen size. The poor imaging is the big issue in the otherwise spotless performance, but with HTC it’s almost part of the charm.

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