HTC Desire S review: Droid cravings

GSMArena team, 18 April 2011.

Tags: HTC, Android, Touch UI

Hassle-free emails

The HTC Desire S comes with two email apps – the traditional Gmail app and the generic HTC Mail app, which merges all your email accounts into a single inbox.

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Batch operations lets you manage multiple conversations

The Gmail app features the trademark conversation style view and can manage multiple (Gmail) accounts. Batch operations are supported too, in case you need to handle email messages in bulk.

The standard HTC Mail app features several tabs that let you filter the inbox: you can opt to display conversations, emails with attachments only, unread mail only or invitations. You can mark emails too – they will show up in the marked mail tab.

The conversation view tries to mimic the original Gmail client threaded view, which is otherwise missing in the generic inbox.

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The standard HTC email app

The HTC email app can handle several accounts and not just from Gmail. When you add multiple accounts, you can view each inbox individually or go into the All accounts section.

Each account is color coded, so you can quickly associate each message with its relevant account.

Email sorting is possible (in either ascending or descending order) by date, subject, sender and size. The currently applied filter is displayed in the top right corner of the display.

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The standard mail with new looks and features • Sorting email and viewing email folders

There's hardly anything the HTC Desire S lacks in terms of email capabilities. The settings for popular email services are automatically configured. POP/IMAP accounts and Active Sync accounts are supported.

The image gallery we like

The gallery has the usual 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 – which is an effective file management solution.

Each sub-album has a thumbnail of the latest image. 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 app works with Facebook, Flickr and DLNA too

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

And finally, the Connected media button lets you pull multimedia content from a DLNA-enabled server (your PC with Windows Media Player will do just fine).

Sharing a photo on the HTC Desire S is very easy – tap the share button and pick your preferred sharing method. There’s everything from sharing via Bluetooth or email, to posting on Facebook, Twitter or photo sharing sites like Picasa and Flickr. You can also upload videos straight to YouTube.

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Browsing the image gallery

In the HTC Desire S image folders you can choose between grid and filmstrip layout (flip the phone horizontally and the accelerometer will take care of the rest). You are also able to mass delete images, but still no mass copy-and-paste options.

You can’t copy/paste images from folder to folder either – you’d need a proper file manager for that.

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Sharing images is easy • Basic image editing tools

HTC Desire S supports multi-touch and you can take full advantage of it while browsing your images. You can zoom to 100% with a simple double tap on the screen. The implementation here is extra smooth too.

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Smooth finger-sweep browsing of images and pinch zoom

Video player does DivX/XviD and even MKV, but has some limitations

Video files can be accessed in the All videos subfolder in the Gallery or from the Videos shortcut in the menu, they launch the same thing.

The video files can be viewed as a grid or filmstrip and can be shared over MMS, email, or YouTube, Facebook and Flickr.

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The Videos app is part of the Gallery

The video player interface on the HTC Desire S offers a full screen toggle (stretch / crop video to fit the screen) and you can scrub through the video too. SRS sound enhancement is also available but there’s no subtitle support.

The video player does OK in general - 720p MP4 videos were no problem. The player handled all of the D1 DivX videos and also most of the 720p XviD clips. It managed to play some MKVs up to 720p too, but half of them ran without sound.

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Playing video

DLNA connectivity comes useful too – the Desire S can stream the videos wirelessly to your TV.

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