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Monday, June 28, 2010

HTC Desire review

It all began with the SE t39 - then through the last 9 years I owned Sony Ericsson cell phones only, product design and ease of use were always superb. Everyone I introduced to the brand was surprised by its usability and photo quality. Finally time has come to try something new.
With the release of Android 2.1 I decided go for an Android Phone.

Update: Android 2.2 / Froyo update? is available since July 31st. Adding Video 720p recording and all 2.2 features! cool thing. and yes! also Thai font support ;-)

I chose the HTC Desire: the specs are impressive and very important to me, it comes with a FM radio receiver whereas the great looking SE Xperia X10 doesn't. The phone is slim, looks good and has a fantastic screen and a headphone jack - I won't write anything else about the hardware, because hey: it's just good and it's all there.


So? I'm totally amazed how very complete this device is! Never did my Android mates tell me about the extreme freedom of use ... simply because they were not really exploring it's capabilities. I also love the concept that (thanks to linux' good memory handling) most Android Apps stay open and available much longer than on other phone OSes - jumping back into a previous task is very practical! Feels like true multitasking.

There are many lengthy HTC Desire reviews (one more) posted everywhere, but they are about facts and technical issues. I prefer to give you a glimpse at why I think I'm currently using one of the best cell phone there is. More pictures, less text.


First of all the home screens > true eye catchers
7 screens, center one see above
totally customizable - fully animated wallpaper available

Drag around the widgets, add whatever you like...
download animated wallpapers, everything for free

Get apps and widgets in the Android Market and elsewhere (google),
still not so much around, this will change with time.

What are apps? Who needs such a crap?
In the screenshots you see, how the app FREEdi YouTube Download Helper
saves a music video as mp3, after that you trim it with the default music player,
then set it as a ringtone - all done with just a few 'clicks'
(now go on searching for your iphone custom ringtone tutorial)

Besides games, there are all sort of apps out there, mainly they
process information to suit the small display and become finger friendly.
some examples:
Astro File Manager or AndroZip File Manager (adding zip support)
toppreise.ch - quick settings - soccer app - zebra paint


Writing email, texting and mms, copy & paste goes very very easily,
keep the key pressed to access the special characters.
Word suggestion works almost flawlessly!
MS Exchange Users attention! No full exchange profiles support in Android 2.1!
(certificate handling is special > read why > then how to import)
update: click here to see how ActiveSync works on Desire with Android 2.2

No surprises when it comes to calling functions and using address book.
There's an annoying bug when syncing with google contacts though,
all your contact pictures get shrunk to something like 60x60 pixels.
We hope this gets fixed soon.

Now! browsing and playing back media works much better than I dared to imagine:
(I use mp3tag to add cover art)

Look at the phenomenal video resolution - one will hardly believe when seen live
on the HTC Desire's screen: 800 x 480 - zero judder.
(convert all movies flv, divx, xvid, mp4, mkv with handbrake)

Internet browsing works great too, the high display resolution
turns out to add positively to the reading experience , fonts are very smooth.
The flash and html5 discussions are useless, in 2012 all devices out there
will render html5, but in 2010? Many sites still use flash
and the Desire renders it quite acceptable!
That's because HTC installed a beta version of flash 10.1 (flash lite plugin).

The integrated youtube app now offers HQ mode, compare the screenshots.
While there are better youtube apps available out there,
this still proves to be practical enough.

Last but least - two things I like very much about this phone:
there's a minimal fm tuner available, works as desired (RDS only with 2.2),
plus the notifications in the top left corner are very practical in everyday use.
Dragging down the notification window is very smooth, allows direct jump to app.


Conclusion:
  • Openness! the Android experience is nothing short of fantastic
  • the phone is very cheap
    (toppreise.ch CHF 550.- / €420  / iphone4 no sim-lock CHF 900.- / €645)
  • superb connectivity and media experience
  • looks and usability of home screens can be tweaked to please every taste
  • great display with multitouch (but amoled displays become rare!)
  • GPS, motion sensors and so on - all common 2010 functions included
  • fair: 5mp camera has fast autofocus and LED flash
  • Android 2.2 aka Froyo will come to the phone soon and add:
    better MS Exchange security profiles support, WiFi access point functionality,
    mobile flash 10.1 support


So what's the downside to all this greatness?
  • no xenon flash
  • no thai fonts solved
  • no 720p video recording solved
  • no hdmi out
  • battery life is limited
    max 3 days very low use, 1 day when everything is used to the max
  • no Skype support yet Skype is available since 5 October 2010
  • the speaker is medicore
  • no voice dialing solved
  • because of its success > always sold out! (Better since SLCDs were introduced)

I very believe that over time much less iphones will be sold. while the hardware and the connection to itunes apply to most? I think apples money leaching and anti flash practices will bring themselves to a halt soon.
Android? While connection to pc software will never be as tight, the whole package is more flexible. The hardware already surpassed the iphone for half the price. Also check out the specs of this impressive Motorola announcement. Intel is also readying an Android core for x86 hardware, which will add to the spreading...

good vid from phonearena:




4 comments:

  1. The HTC Desire is a really good phone and a realistic iPhone contender

    ReplyDelete
  2. Great Review
    One question though
    Is desire able to handle .swf or .flv flash files without converting
    if yes then how ?

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi Asad - until you asked me this question I thought it's not possible. So I tried all kind of apps and none would work. Then I found the app "FLV Player" (alpha version) and it basically works. But with my 480p flv testvideo there was quite a strong stutter. Try this url: http://www.androidpit.com/en/android/market/apps/app/jp.adlibjapan.flvplayer/FLV-Player-alpha-version.

    ReplyDelete