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HTC Desire Review

HTC Desire 9

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We have already mentioned the HTC Desire runs the famous Sense interface and this is the major software difference to the Nexus One. Other than that, the operating system is the same, Android 2.1 and it does have its advantages over older editions. The most significant differences include faster speed and support for multiple accounts (plus Microsoft Exchange) and this is more than welcome for business users who store information on remote servers. Live Wallpaper (animated background for all the seven start pages) makes its first appearance within the framework of Sense, since the HTC Legend does not feature the function, probably due to its less impressive hardware specifications.

Speaking of operational speed and specifications, we just have to admit the HTC Desire is lighting fast. It's like a cheetah. This is to be expected, of course, given the snappy 1GHz processor and 576MB RAM. Still, nothing is perfect and the rules applies here as well – you can sometimes evidence software lagging when switching on an interactive Live Wallpaper, especially if you try to bring down the machine to its knees by running too many applications at the same time (say player, browser etc.). All told, we would use the animated wallpapers to impress a nice girl, but would never sacrifice the operational speed on a daily basis.

Since we have already covered all major functions of the Sense interface in our review of the HTC Hero and took a closer look at the improvements brought by the latest OS edition in our review of the HTC Legend, we are not going into details here, because the software of the HTC Desire does not offer any novelties (aside from Live Wallpapers). We will only indicate the most important aspects, so new readers may get a rough idea about the functionality of the handset. If you need further information, please, take a look at the above-mentioned reviews.

The home screen of the HTC Desire - HTC Desire Review
The home screen of the HTC Desire - HTC Desire Review
Live Wallpapers - The home screen of the HTC Desire - HTC Desire Review
The home screen of the HTC Desire - HTC Desire Review
The home screen of the HTC Desire - HTC Desire Review

Live Wallpapers


The home screen of the HTC Desire

The home screen consists of seven pages that can host various widgets, shortcuts and folders. Some of the available widgets come with compact versions that do not take up much screen space, but others like FriendStream require a whole page. By the way, this is an application that provides latest Facebook, Twitter and Flickr updates from your relevant accounts. Moreover, it allows for simultaneous Facebook and Twitter status updates. We cannot call the program innovative, since it closely resembles the Happenings widget of Motorola’s MOTOBLUR interface, plus it cannot really replace dedicated applications for access to the mentioned networks.

The home screen can host various widgets, shortcuts and folders - HTC Desire Review
The home screen can host various widgets, shortcuts and folders - HTC Desire Review
The home screen can host various widgets, shortcuts and folders - HTC Desire Review
FriendStream - The home screen can host various widgets, shortcuts and folders - HTC Desire Review


The home screen can host various widgets, shortcuts and folders

You can save your home screen page settings in the form of themes called Scenes or, alternatively, use one of the preloaded ones made by HTC. We do like the “helicopter view” that shows all seven pages at the same time. You can enter this mode by double-pressing the button that takes you to the home screen or simply “pinching” the screen. Thanks to the extra feature, you can get right to the page you need in a snap, without having to scroll pages until you get dizzy.

Scenes - HTC Desire Review
Scenes - HTC Desire Review
Scenes - HTC Desire Review
The 'helicopter view' of the pages - Scenes - HTC Desire Review

The 'helicopter view' of the pages


Phone contacts:

The application "People" is one of the seven great wonders of modern smartphone software. You might need some time to get used to it and learn how to get around, but the phone book offers access to an excruciating amount of information and shows your Facebook contacts. You can also add a great number of extra details about each person, browse their latest pictures and profile status updates.

The phone book offers access to an excruciating amount of information - HTC Desire Review
The phone book offers access to an excruciating amount of information - HTC Desire Review
The phone book offers access to an excruciating amount of information - HTC Desire Review

The phone book offers access to an excruciating amount of information


As a whole, pretty much everything here is awesome. The calendar can be synchronized with various sources of information like Google (multiple accounts), Facebook and PC Sync. Moreover, you will be able to take a look at the weather forecast for your region on opening the calendar in daily view, which is handy indeed. The alarms, world clock, stopwatch and timer functions are unified in a single and totally cool menu. Unfortunately, the HTC Desire lacks pre-installed tasks application, although Android Market is brimming with programs with similar functionality.

HTC Desire Review
HTC Desire Review
HTC Desire Review
HTC Desire Review


You are allowed to set up several email accounts, but you will have to put up with the fact you cannot browse them at the same time, meaning only one can be active at a time. Like all other contemporary handsets, the HTC Desire offers automated email set up if you are registered with a popular service provider. Still, all settings relating to specific servers, like our own, require manual entry (it seems only BlackBerry devices can automatically handle the task).

Email - HTC Desire Review
Email - HTC Desire Review


Typing away is a dream come true when using the screen keyboards of the HTC Desire. The 3.7-inch display and its high native resolution provide ample space for keys. It’s available in several modes, including alphanumeric, compact QWERTY, full landscape and portrait QWERTY keyboards. Important symbols are brought onto all full QWERTY layouts and they can be typed in by holding the corresponding key pressed for a while. The feature may come in pretty handy, especially in case you need to enter passwords containing several special symbols. All told, the HTC Desire is really comfortable when it comes to message composing.

The screen keyboards of the HTC Desire - HTC Desire Review
The screen keyboards of the HTC Desire - HTC Desire Review
The screen keyboards of the HTC Desire - HTC Desire Review
The screen keyboards of the HTC Desire - HTC Desire Review

The screen keyboards of the HTC Desire

Connectivity and Internet:

Just like the HTC Legend, the Desire supports Flash (its Lite version, if we have to be punctual). This makes web pages more lively, because animated elements get loaded properly, plus you can watch videos (not everywhere) and listen to online music. Whatever it is that Apple claims, Flash is still in power today and we don't think this will change soon.

The Flash capabilities of the Desire are similar to those of its sibling, the Legend, although some online videos play more smoothly. We didn’t encounter any issues with YouTube, because the website is opened in the browser’s Flash Player (not to be confused with the dedicated YouTube player that has to be started manually). Some of the videos available at other pages like Viddler are watchable (without using the player), but they tend to stutter, while websites like the non-mobile version of Vimeo won’t load at all. The same applies to listening to audio tracks in Flash-based players – some of them work fine, other simply won’t and that’s that. Still, let’s keep in mind that many modern handsets do not support Flash at all, so we have to admit the Desire is pretty capable on that point. If you, however, feel like watching YouTube videos with proper quality, we would recommend that you stick to the dedicated YouTube application rather than resorting to the HTC Flash Player (set up as the default program).

The HTC Desire supports Flash Lite  - HTC Desire Review
The HTC Desire supports Flash Lite  - HTC Desire Review
The HTC Desire supports Flash Lite  - HTC Desire Review

The HTC Desire supports Flash Lite

The HTC Desire is an awesome device for surfing the Internet. You can zoom in and out on things via multitouch and the function works smoothly. Scrolling pages is as easy as ABC and page text gets resized so as to allow for easier reading. The 3.7-inch screen is convenient for reading and shows the larger part of most pages. Certainly, it will never replace your iPad... we are joking, of course.

Surfing the Internet - HTC Desire Review
Surfing the Internet - HTC Desire Review
Surfing the Internet - HTC Desire Review

Surfing the Internet

The HTC Desire features both HSDPA 7.2Mbps and Wi-Fi functionality. We do like the option that allows for local sharing of audio tracks and pictures over Bluetooth, a feature that is conspicuous in its absence with the HTC Hero (and all other Android-based handsets for that matter). If you need to be able to send over documents, you will have to get third-party software from the Android Market.

HTC Desire Review
HTC Desire Review

  • Options

posted on 20 Oct 2010, 01:55

1. breathlesstao (unregistered)

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.

posted on 16 Apr 2010, 09:36

2. PhoneArena Team (Posts: 258; 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!

posted on 16 Apr 2010, 10:02

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.

posted on 16 Apr 2010, 10:18

4. nak1017 (Posts: 328; Member since: 08 Jan 2010)

No active noise-cancelling? I didn't see the mic hole on the back...

posted on 16 Apr 2010, 23:06

5. ace1122 (Posts: 237; Member since: 23 Mar 2009)

This phone looks looks like the Nexus One and the Eris had a baby.

posted on 17 Apr 2010, 13:45

6. s0nic69 (unregistered)

i really enjoyed the video review

posted on 18 Apr 2010, 00:46

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?

posted on 18 Apr 2010, 12:26

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???

posted on 19 Apr 2010, 08:08

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?

posted on 04 May 2010, 20:46

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

posted on 16 Jun 2010, 05:50

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

posted on 13 Oct 2010, 13:47

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 cywhiteltd@yahoo.com cywhiteltd@hotmail.com ICQ: 601314430 Skype: lykins

posted on 08 Nov 2010, 04:24

17. Wryta (unregistered)

to vioon...

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!

posted on 14 Nov 2010, 04:21

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 :)

posted on 19 Nov 2010, 05:52 1

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.

posted on 07 Jan 2011, 04:52

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

posted on 09 Jul 2011, 10:38

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 ??

posted on 08 Oct 2011, 01:23

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.

posted on 03 Jul 2012, 04:24

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!

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HTC Desire

HTC Desire

OS: Android 2.2 2.1
view full specs
Display3.7 inches, 480 x 800 pixels (252 ppi) AMOLED
Camera5 megapixels
Qualcomm Snapdragon S1, Single core, 1000 MHz, Scorpion processor
0.6 GB RAM
Size4.69 x 2.36 x 0.47 inches
(119 x 60 x 11.9 mm)
4.76 oz  (135 g)
Battery1400 mAh, 6.66 hours talk time

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