HTC Wildfire S review: S-size droid

GSMArena team, 18 May 2011.
Pages: 12345678»

Tags: HTC, Android, Touch UI

Introduction

Mini phones are hot and HTC don’t want you take Sony Ericsson’s word on that. What started as a small niche is now a segment that keeps growing – and one that no manufacturer can afford to ignore. Sony Ericsson have just announced their updated mini lineup while Samsung and LG routinely have more than one thing going on in the midrange.

HTC know they can’t afford to stop right in the middle of what they’ve been doing with the Wildfire, the Aria and the Gratia. Going all the way back to the Tattoo, which first put Android on the radar for budget shoppers.

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HTC Wildfire S official photos

There’s plenty of choice already for those who like their droid in a small package. The HTC Wildfire S seems to be aware of that and does well to make itself seen. The lively paintjobs and friendly compact size are the right features to show to potential buyers. The Wildfire S has found a way to further reduce size while keeping the same 3.2” screen.

One thing we should keep in mind though. HTC seem to be in power-saving mode currently with all their recent releases but facelifts offering minor improvements over predecessors. That holds true for the Wildfire S too, though this is not to say that it shouldn’t be on your list if you’re looking for the next hot mini. HTC seem to have worked exactly on the things that most needed improvement. Display is key here, HVGA finally bringing it to acceptable levels. CIF video-capture was upped to VGA and the phone runs the latest Android Gingerbread.

These things should give it enough value as an upgrade. The Wildfire S is well-designed and well-built – a colorful little droid to offer good bang for buck. Let’s look at what else the S stands for.

Key features

  • Quad-band GSM and dual-band 3G support
  • 7.2 Mbps HSDPA, 384 Kbps HSUPA support
  • 3.2" 256K-color TFT capacitive touchscreen of HVGA (320 x 480 pixels) resolution
  • 600MHz Snapdragon MSM7227 CPU, Adreno 200 GPU; 418MB of user-available RAM
  • Android 2.3.3 (Gingerbread) with HTC Sense 2.1 UI
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 b, g, n with hotspot functionality
  • GPS with A-GPS connectivity; digital compass
  • 5 MP autofocus camera, LED flash, geotagging and face-detection
  • VGA video @ 24fps
  • microUSB port (charging) and stereo Bluetooth v3.0
  • microSD slot (up to 32GB, 2GB in box)
  • Standard 3.5 mm audio jack
  • Accelerometer, proximity sensor
  • Gorilla Glass display
  • Stereo FM radio with RDS
  • Light and compact
  • Turn-to-mute, lift-to-tone-down, flip for speakerphone
  • Smart dialing
  • XviD video support
  • HTCSense.com integration
  • HTC Portable Hotspot
  • Ultra-fast boot times (if you don’t remove battery)

Main disadvantages

  • Poor camera performance
  • No HD 720p video recording
  • No shutter key for the camera
  • No Adobe Flash player, Flash Lite only
  • No Document viewer
  • No secondary videocall camera

The Wildfire S is the usual all-round smartphone – with the latest Android inside at that – but now in an even friendlier shape. All work and no play wouldn’t do for the Wildfire S and HTC have added some twists to the old recipe to make it 2011-ready.

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HTC Wildfire S live shots

Balance was sought above all – no groundbreaking features are to be expected. Not in this price range, not in a pint-sized package. Minis are friendly and playful. Let’s see if the HTC Wildfire S matches the description.

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