HTC Explorer review: The start of a journey

GSMArena team, 14 December 2011.
Pages: 123456789»

Tags: HTC, Android, Touch UI

Introduction

Ever since the Aria, HTC have had a petite Android on offer and the HTC Explorer is the latest in the line. With an affordable price tag, the plucky little smartphone will appeal to people looking for a compact set or users who are just about getting started in smartphones.

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HTC Explorer official photos

The Explorer's outer shell is made of patterned plastic that has a rubbery feel to it - creating an impression of ruggedness to match its name. The plate of brushed metal at the center of the rear backs that up too. The phone is not actually shock proof but we still appreciate the tough feel.

The HTC Explorer earns extra points for handling too thanks to its compact size. The diminutive body and rounded corners make it feel like a pebble in the hand.

Small as it is, the Explorer has Android 2.3.5 Gingerbread with Sense UI 3.5 on top, just like its elders. Here are the rest of the specs along with the downsides.

Key features

  • Light and compact
  • Quad-band GSM and dual-band 3G support
  • 14.4 Mbps HSDPA, 5.76 Mbps HSUPA support
  • 3.2" 256K-color TFT capacitive touchscreen of HVGA resolution (320 x 480)
  • 600MHz Snapdragon S1 MSM7225A chipset, Cortex A5 CPU, 512MB RAM, Adreno 200 GPU
  • Android 2.3.5 (Gingerbread) with HTC Sense 3.5 UI
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n with hotspot functionality
  • GPS with A-GPS connectivity
  • 3 MP fixed-focus camera, geotagging, face detection
  • VGA video @ 24fps
  • microUSB port (charging) and stereo Bluetooth v3.0
  • microSD slot (up to 32GB)
  • Standard 3.5 mm audio jack
  • Accelerometer, proximity sensor
  • Stereo FM radio with RDS
  • Turn-to-mute, lift-to-tone-down, pocket mode, flip for speakerphone
  • Smart dialing
  • DivX/XviD video support
  • HTCSense.com integration
  • Adobe Flash support
  • Ultra-fast boot times (if you don’t remove battery)

Main disadvantages

  • Slow CPU
  • Modest retail package
  • Fixed-focus camera
  • No Document viewer
  • No secondary video call camera

The Explorer leaves behind the old ARMv6 processor and moves to the Snapdragon S1 platform that comes with ARMv7. What's the difference between v6 and v7 you ask? Some apps need v7 to work, the Flash player for example.

The processor is clocked quite low, but we still might see some performance boost compared to the HTC Aria and even the Wildfire S. The 3MP fixed-focus camera doesn’t sound very exciting either, but the HTC Explorer is an entry-level device and higher specs would've run the budget dry.

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HTC Explorer live shots

Get ready for the first round of orienteering - we'll be navigating the HTC Explorer's box and the phone's hardware. Don't worry about getting lost, the Explorer is a small and easy course.

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