HTC Wildfire S review: S-size droid

GSMArena team, 18 May 2011.
Pages: «12345678»

Tags: HTC, Android, Touch UI

Organizer misses a document viewer app

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 serve as a reminder.

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The HTC Wildfire S organizer centerpiece – the calendar

The 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. Flipping it horizontally enables some more advanced functions like logarithms.

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The built-in calculator

The HTC Wildfire S features an alarm clock application, which can handle multiple alarms, each with its own start and repeat time. The Desk clock app turns your Wildfire S 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 lets you quickly check the time in different time zones, while the stopwatch and timer apps might come in handy if you plan to take the phone with you when doing sports.

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World clock • Stocks app • Voice recorder

The Stocks application gives you quotes from Yahoo finance. The Voice recorder might be quite useful for making audio notes and the weather app brings Yahoo’s weather forecast for your area a click away.

Facebook and Twitter

Facebook and Twitter fans will appreciate the preinstalled Facebook and Peep apps, which let you post on the world’s largest social networks.

The latest Facebook app is available, which enables things like Facebook Chat (yet another way to talk to your friends) and Facebook Places (which lets you to check into places, like Foursquare).

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The Facebook apps let you update your Facebook profile • Peep is your Twitter app

There is only one Twitter app that comes preinstalled on the Wildfire S – HTC’s Peep. No worries though, it does very good job, but in case you don’t like it, you can always download another app from the Market.

There is one more app worth mentioning - the search app Quick lookup. It lets you enter a query and view the Wikipedia article (formatter for easy reading), search Google, YouTube, use Google Translate or look it up in Google Dictionary.

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Quick lookup is a handy research too

Android Market, HTC Hub and HTC Likes

The structure of the Android Market is quite simple – featured apps on top and above them, three sections (Applications, Games and Downloads). There is also a shortcut up there for initiating a search.

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The Android Market will give you access to hundreds of thousands of applications

The Applications and Games sections are divided into subsections (e.g. Communication, Entertainment etc.), so you can filter the apps that are relevant to you. Of course, there is also an option of displaying all apps in bulk, but you’ll probably need days to browse them all that way.

There are all kinds of apps in the Android market and the most important ones are covered (file managers, navigation apps, document readers etc.).

HTC Likes is an alternative way to browse the Market, which might prove to be more convenient than the vanilla app. It has tabs for Featured and Popular apps, which are presented as 3D cards.

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HTC Likes is an alternative to the Android Market

To make finding apps even easier, you can see what apps/games your friends have commented on, which is a great way to find recommended apps. Or you can use the HTCSense.com site to look for apps from the comfort of your computer and mark them. Later, you can find them in the Market items tab.

HTC Likes pulls apps from the Android Market, but each one comes with an HTC review. You can comment on apps, like and share them via texts or email, even over Twitter and Bluetooth (which just sends a text note with a link to the app).

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You can check out what your friends have said about the apps

Not quite an app store, but the HTC Hub is a good source of widgets, wallpapers, scenes and skins and also sound customizations – ringtones, alarms and notification sounds and entire sound sets (a set is a whole package that brings together the other three categories).

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The HTC Hub is your source of customizations

HTCSense.com integration

HTCSense.com offers some premium features for free (a bit like HTC Locations). The Phone locator can be used to locate your phone if it’s stolen and you can lock it or even erase all the data from it.

And don’t worry – HTCSense.com will back up your Wildfire S contacts and messages (though contacts should already be safe and sound in the Google cloud).

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The HTCSense.com website

Some other handy features include ring phone (if you’ve lost it in your room and can’t find it), toggles for call and message forwarding. The site also lets you view and edit contacts and view messages. You can compose SMS and MMS messages too – so you can use the big computer keyboard and you don’t even have to have the Wildfire S in front of you to send a couple of messages.

You can also view your and your friends’ Footprints. Finally, HTC Hub lets you browse apps and games on the computer and mark them, which makes them easier to find on the phone later (in HTC Likes). You can’t initiate an app download from the site though.

The site is a bit heavy but if you’re using an updated browser you should be fine. However, HTCSense.com failed to load properly in Internet Explorer 9 but it worked once we enabled Compatibility Mode.

Navigate the Google way

The HTC Wildfire S has a built-in GPS receiver, which managed to get a lock in a minute and 40 seconds (with A-GPS switched off). If all you need is a rough idea of where you are (within 150 meters) you can use the Cell-ID and Wi-Fi network lock, which is very fast.

Google Maps is a standard part of the Android package and we’ve covered it many times before. It offers voice-guided navigation in certain countries and falls back to a list of instructions elsewhere. You can plan routes, search for nearby POI and go into the always cool Street View.

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Google Maps is an inherent part of the Android platform • Street view

Google Navigation is also on board and can do voice-guidance for free. Availability is still limited though, and it relies on Internet connection.

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Google Maps Navigation

Still, even without Navigation, there is some kind of guidance: your route and current location appear on the screen so you'll reach your destination eventually, but you’ll need a co-pilot to read you the instructions for that one.

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