HTC Desire Review
Motorola DROID back in 2009, but things got quickly out of hand with all the fuss and excitement surrounding the operating system that escalated when Google announced the Nexus One (a device manufactured by HTC) at the beginning of 2010. This added fuel to the fire for HTC fans, who began to dream about a similar device, equipped with the famous HTC Sense interface instead (preferred by many). Said device was not to be introduced until MWC 2010, where we finally found out it would be called the HTC Desire. So, this is how eager high-tech buffs started counting the days...
But enough history. The important thing is the HTC Desire, the most powerful Android cell phone of the manufacturer to date has finally arrived and we got our hands on it. There is no way we fail to compare its specifications to the Nexus One and not notice the differences are... minor. The major distinction between them is the HTC Desire features extra 64MB of RAM, i.e. 576MB instead of 512MB. Take a look at the detailed comparison of the two cell phones available via this link.
There is nothing really groundbreaking or innovative into the box of the HTC Desire – just a wall charger, USB cable, headphones and 4GB microSD card. The latter is welcome indeed, since it provides ample space for your multimedia files. Unlike the Nexus One, the Desire doesn't come with a pouch, so you will have to find your own way of protecting the precious from dirt and scratches.
Now we're talking! We have recently had the pleasure to review the HTC Legend and this is how we chose to summarize everything about its design:
„All told, the HTC Legend is certainly among the best Android handsets today in terms of design. We can even go so far as to say that the Legend is one of the top three smartphones ever.”
The HTC Desire also belongs to the same category of "the best-made Android handsets to date", although it's not as spectacular as the Legend. Its body is not made from a single chunk of aluminum and therefore, it just doesn't provide the same feeling of a sturdy, reliable item. The only metal part of its body is the metal framing around the screen – the back is entirely plastic, unlike the Google Nexus One. The battery cover is coated with a soft, rubberized material that provides perfunctory cohesion between your hand and the phone body. By the way, the panel is relatively hard to remove, because it bends easily and gives off rather disturbing sounds in the process. Moreover, you will have to take out the battery in order to reach the SIM and microSD card slots underneath, which is somewhat inconvenient.
The only metal part of its body
The HTC Desire belongs to the category of the best-made Android handsets to date
"It's huge!", "No, it's not!"... one of the arguments that split our otherwise solidly united office when the Desire arrived. We felt we had to resort and, therefore, invent an innovative visual comparison system (take a look at the results below). It turned out the cell phone has totally acceptable overall dimensions for its class... and screen. The iPhone is more compact, even if marginally, but its display is smaller. Actually, the major reason that provoked the unrest was the particular way the HTC Desire feels in your hand. Because of its overall weight or perhaps, the lack of proper balance (the upper part is slightly heftier, just like in the case of the Nexus One), the Desire feels enormous in to hold in your hand. Its thin profile, however, guarantees the device will certainly not make your pocket overly bulging.
You can compare the HTC Desire with many other phones using our Size Visualization Tool.
The reason behind the bulky size is, of course, the 3.7-inch display that utilizes AMOLED technology. Images are unbelievably vivid indoors and their colors are very saturated and pleasing. Unfortunately, it gets rather hard to use in direct sunlight, even with the brightness set to its maximum value. We suspect that, similarly to the Nexus One, the Desire integrates the PenTile RGBG technology or, in other words, does not really offer true WVGA resolution - rather, 392x653 pixels stretched to 480x800. Alongside of the Motorola MILESTONE/DROID, you will certainly notice that texts (say in the browser) are not as crisp and detailed. It's a good thing you need to peer into the screen really hard to spot such particularities. All told, the display of the HTC Desire is quite good indeed, features proper touch-sensitivity and supports multitouch. It would have been great if it came with oleophobic coating, because it can get dirty quite easily.
The standard set of buttons typical of Android handsets is located below the screen and you have home screen, menu, step back and search keys. The HTC has opted for an optical pad instead of trackball, but either way, this is not an overused hardware feature really. As a whole, we didn't encounter any issues pressing the buttons and they all have proper travel. The bad thing is that, when you hold the handset in such a way so as to use the entire display with one hand, the keys are too far away from your thumb (at the bottom) and you will have to keep adjusting your grip or, alternatively, use your other hand. This affects the usability of all massive displays and there is nothing you can do about it.
The HTC Desire is charged via standard microUSB port and there is a 3.5mm headphone jack located on the top side. The power on/off button is one of the most pleasing we have ever touched.
We can hardly think of a new handset manufactured by HTC with a disappointing design. The Taiwanese company does offer one of the best-made and most spectacular smartphones today and the HTC Desire is an illustrative example. By the way, the handset is expected to hit the shelves not just in brown, but silver color solution as well.
1. breathlesstao (Posts: 60; Member since: 16 Apr 2010)
Two things - in another review I've read that there's an update for the Desire, after which it's capable of HD video recording. Any chance you can confirm that? And the other, I've also read that the FM Radio is without RDS. Which one should I believe now? Thanks in advance.
2. PhoneArena Team (Posts: 237; Member since: 27 Jun 2006)
Hello and thank you for the questions! We updated our HTC Desire to the latest software, but there was still no option for HD video recording. We do hope though that HTC will add both HD video recording and DivX support at some point. The FM radio does have RDS, it just takes a little longer for some stations to be identified. We hope this helps!
3. adixxx (Posts: 18; Member since: 26 Jan 2010)
Hey, I have a question as well. I have also read in another review that the HTC Desire only allows 120 MB for app storage. Since you cannot install download apps from Android market directly to removable memory card, and play it from there. Can you also confirm this? Because for me, I have been waiting for this device to be available in our country. But this certain feature might give me a reason to turn down HTC Desire and wait for a different phone.
4. nak1017 (Posts: 322; Member since: 08 Jan 2010)
No active noise-cancelling? I didn't see the mic hole on the back...
5. ace1122 (Posts: 237; Member since: 23 Mar 2009)
This phone looks looks like the Nexus One and the Eris had a baby.
6. s0nic69 (unregistered)
i really enjoyed the video review
7. 4nak1n (Posts: 4; Member since: 18 Apr 2010)
There re some pics floating around showed another version of desire which have a dock connectors at the bottom, just like the nexus one. Could anyone please double-check it? And by the way, when i take a look at the desire and legend price on ebay, i noticed that their price are not so distinctive. Roughly about $100 gap, the legend is around $599 and the desire is $699. Judge from each device's hardware, i reckon the desire was a better deal for us the the legend. Does anyone agree?
8. behold--me (Posts: 650; Member since: 22 Jun 2009)
This is like the nexus one, except a million times better. 1- amoled 2- sense ui 3- it's actually gonna have carrier availability. In the us???
9. 4nak1n (Posts: 4; Member since: 18 Apr 2010)
Are there any options which allow to use speech-to-text for the desire, just like on the droid incredible?
10. bbqribs9993 (Posts: 1; Member since: 04 May 2010)
Will this phone work on t-mo if it is an unlocked version? thanks in advance
11. vioon (Posts: 1; Member since: 16 Jun 2010)
First of all, the most irritating is that you need to push the button on the top to activate the phone. When making a lot of calls this drives you crazy. Secondly, when calling, the screen goes to black. You can not turn this off. It is to avoid touching the touchscreen with your ears but it makes no sense when using a headset. Also, you need to click buttons again to reactivate the screen just to end the conversation. When using a headset the button on the mic activates the media player(?), you can not change that. If you press on an icon on the screen and hold it just a bit to long the phone assumes you want to drag the icon to another location. This happened to me about 10 times in a few days. So i got stuck with a half dragged icon on the screen. The only way to resume to what i wanted was to drag the icon back or press the back button. very irritating. I send all my contacts to the phone via bluetooth and when i put in the sim card it showed all my contacts double. There is no way to disable the sim contacts list. The screen only rotates when rotating to the left, when rotating to the right nothing happens. My conclusion, It is really a nice phone but it's not usable if you make a lot of calls. It has 6 buttons+volume buttons, why ? It's confusing and not necessary
14. hassan (unregistered)
We deal with all kinds of electronics such as mobile phones, laptops, plasma TV, etc in stock. Product Includes Apple iPhone 4 32GB Black Unlocked (Never Lock) Import Apple Earphones with Remote and Mic Dock Connector to USB Cable USB Power Adapter Documentation Key Product Features 5 Megapixel Camera Assisted GPS 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR Digital compass email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org ICQ: 601314430 Skype: lykins
17. Wryta (unregistered)
Sorry, but either you or your handset have faults! I've been using the Desire for six months now - and nothing you have raised is an issue.
The button on top is for on/off, NOT for making calls. There is a permanent on-screen "call" tab at the bottom of all your homescreens.
The screen only goes to black when it is against your head - it has a proximity sensor. Pull it away from your head, the picture comes back.
You must be using a third-party headset not suited to the Desire. Buy an HTC headset. Don't complain because your workaround doesn't work.
Don't hold the icons too long (it's why they call it a "touch" screen, not a "press and hold" screen). If you drag an icon, just drag it straight back before letting go. Not that hard.
You sent contacts via bluetooth, then mounted a SIM to the phone with the same contacts? What were you thinking? Now, you need to simply backup contacts to your SD card then delete the contacts off your phone (or off your SIM).
The screen only rotates to the left? Not on my Desire. Rotation should differ with different Apps. Some (like homescreens) won't rotate at all. Others (like camera) will rotate left, right, and upside down.
And finally - it has six buttons so your hand can find the main functions without having to look for a toggle on a screen. How would you turn in-call volume up or down while you're talking on the phone if that phone doesn't have a physical button? Or rapidly click back six pages on the web? Or search when your app already fills the screen? My iPhoning friends all have the same grudging complaint with their beloved toys - not enough buttons!
18. Technoboy25 (unregistered)
totally agree with Wryta, have my desire for couple of months and non of the problems Vioon mentioned exists on my device.
About the sim card - you can set the phone so it won't show the numbers on the sim, I have it on my Android 2.2 version.
Really great phone, Vioon, learn how to use your device or buy some easy-to-use phone, not a smart one :)
20. OverRatedChild (unregistered)
Bets phone ever. Lack of HD recording is OKAY with me. I barely ever use HD recording anyways. Reasons: Takes up like 1GB of memory for a minute of video. Not exactly like Im going to be able to experience the full experience of 720p HD on this screen.
NOTE: The screen is great, and I am not saying it is not good.
This phone is really worth it. For about the same price as the Sony Ericsson X10, you get so much more features.
NOTE #2: The new update for Sony Ericsson X10 is really good. My mates X10 is as good as my Desire. Only things I would say that makes it any better are the Better visibility in the sun, Same color support and almost as good saturation and vibrancy of colors as AMOLED and 720P HD recording (that I don't need). Oh, and TRUE 480 x 854, which is higher than the fake/stretched 480 x 800 on the desire. In the review you will see what I mean.
HTC Desire is still awesome. Highly reccomended.
21. Nishit Shah (unregistered)
For Android lovers the HTC Desire series is the best.
The Desire Z is not available in India yet. But I bought its predecessor a couple of months ago from mnvcollections.com and I think this phone rocks. I am now waiting for the official launch of Desire Z to buy that one as well from this site because they offer home delivery in India
23. asn39 (Posts: 4; Member since: 19 Feb 2011)
Can anyone comment on its battrey life ? i m a average user i use wifi more for internet how long will it last ? any one throw light on some battrey life is it better than wildfire s ??
24. lovelymess558 (unregistered)
I love this phone, and I seriously hate this phone all at the same time.
I love this phone because it really is like a computer you can have at all times. It's go pretty good speed and It's nice if I want to check my grades, google something, or go on facebook/twitter but...
The battery life is horrible, the phone overheats like crazy and my charger is already close to broken. I am not hard on my charger at all, I text occasionally while it's charging but not obsessively and usually it just sits in my room untouched until it's done charging. The metal piece that connects it to your phone bends very easily and the wires are already showing through the black cord. This is a huge issue because the battery life already sucks so you have to charge it a lot which does no good to the charger seeming as it can't handle daily use.
25. knightlore (Posts: 5; Member since: 03 Jul 2012)
had my desire since may 2010, it's the best phone, I still use it, the sceen is better than my new htc sensation xe.. one day all phones will be made this way!