HTC Wildfire review: Desire Mini

GSMArena team, 20 July 2010.
Pages: «12345678910»

Tags: HTC, Android, Touch UI

Rich connectivity

The HTC Wildfire offers a wide range of connectivity options. You get quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE securing worldwide roaming and dual-band (900/2100 MHz) 3G with HSDPA. The HSDPA is quoted at 7.2Mbps.

Moving on to local connectivity – the Wildfire offers USB v2.0 connectivity via a microUSB port, Bluetooth v2.1 with A2DP support and Wi-Fi. Now that they’ve enabled Bluetooth transfers there is very little more to ask for.

Internet tethering is also available via the microUSB port and it’s easy as pie to use. Just select tethering when prompted to choose connection mode. HTC have also thought of users without a data plan and allows them to explicitly forbid access to the mobile network internet.

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Selecting a USB connection type

Finally we have to mention that the built-in microSD card slot can also be used as a data transfer tool. Card-readers are going for peanuts these days so having one around is quite likely and they give some pretty impressive speeds.

Excellent web browser, Flash and all

The great web browsing skills have been an inherent part of the Android platform since day one. Now that we are at version 2.1 things are even sweeter with the intuitive user interface even more polished and the functionality reaching new heights.

The user interface is pretty much nonexistent at first glance. With pinch-zooming enabled you don’t even need the +/- zoom buttons that we have seen on most other Android handsets.

The address bar is locked at the top of the page so you can scroll down and hide that too. However you don’t need to scroll to the top every time you want to tap a new address – just press the menu button and invoke it anywhere on the page.

The Wildfire browser also supports double tap zooming and text reflow, for comfortable reading of longer texts on the phone display. Without text reflow you will either have to zoom out until the text fits (but then it’s too small to read comfortably) or scroll sideways to read each line.

The minimalist UI is still quite powerful – hit the menu key and six keys pop up. You can open a new tab, switch tabs, refresh the page, go forward, open bookmarks. The last button reveals even more options (text copying, find on page, etc.).

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Web browsing is a pleasurable experience on the HTC Wildfire

The bookmark list shows a thumbnail view of the bookmarked pages and you get a “most visited” list in addition to the regular history.

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Bookmarks, most visited and History lists

And to sweeten the deal even more, HTC Wildfire has Flash support in its web browser. Its performance is hardly spectacular but it’s better than nothing. You should definitely pick simpler Flash games, but it’s good enough for those to run just fine.

Flash video support is also pretty dodgy with the Wildfire failing to play the Vimeo and Netcafe videos that we tried. YouTube works fine but it uses the preinstalled YouTube application so it doesn’t really count.

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The YouTube application

Mind you, the Android 2.1 browser has support for HTML5 and its video tag but since that is a few years (at best) away from becoming the norm we won’t be crediting it with extra points.

Organizer and apps

The HTC Wildfire comes with the usual set of organizing apps. It also has a preinstalled document viewer, which handles office files just fine.

The Quickoffice app can view Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, including the Office 2007 versions.

For editing, you will need to get the paid app though. There is also a PDF viewer app that handles the PDF files.

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The Quickoffice handles .doc, .xls and .ppt files seamlessly, but needs a paid upgrade for editing

The doc viewer integrates with the Gmail app, which makes viewing attachments a cinch. You can’t download them to the phone’s internal memory however. Attaching saved files (and we mean all kind of files) is possible though.

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The PDF files are handled by the dedicated PDF reader

The calendar has four different types of view - daily, weekly, monthly and agenda. Adding a new event is quick and easy, and you can also set an alarm to act as a reminder.

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The HTC Wildfire organizer centerpiece – the calendar

Agenda view shows a list of all the calendar entries from the recent past to the near future. It’s a very handy tool when you need to check your appointments for the next few days.

There is also a calculator aboard. It is nicely touch optimized with big, easy to hit buttons.

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The built-in calculator

The HTC Wildfire features an alarm clock application, which allows a lot of alarms to be set, each with its own start time and repeat pattern. The Desk clock app turns your Wildfire into a… well Desk clock – it displays the current time and date and allows you to switch off the display backlighting to save battery power or not disturb at night.

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The alarm clock and desk clock apps

The World clock app allows you to quickly check the time in different time zones, while the stopwatch and timer apps might come in handy if you plan to take the Wildfire with you when doing sports. The Stopwatch and Timer apps are also onboard.

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World clock • Stopwatch • Timer

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