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HTC Desire Review

HTC Desire

Posted: , by PhoneArena Team



The HTC Desire is equipped with 5-megapixel camera with autofocus and flash. It is really snappy and focuses objects in a split second (you don't need intervene in any way), plus snapshots get saved almost instantaneously. The interface is relatively poor in terms of options, although it does feature modern functions like face detection and manually adjustable contrast, color saturation and sharpness. The maximum video capture resolution is 800x480 pixels and the frames per second vary from 26 (outdoors) to nearly 17 (indoors).

Camera interface - HTC Desire Review
Camera interface - HTC Desire Review
Camera interface - HTC Desire Review
Camera interface - HTC Desire Review

Camera interface

The snapshot quality is similar to what the Legend and Nexus One deliver – proper details, relatively realistic colors (somewhat darker than we would have liked). The situation gets worse indoors though and the most severely affected image element is the color representation. The camera flash is capable enough to guarantee images don't come out blurry, but that's pretty much all. The same applies to the videos you take and we can say a good word or two about the proper sound capture, if the object is close enough, i.e. 3 to five feet away from you.

Outdoor samples shot with the HTC Desire - HTC Desire Review
Outdoor samples shot with the HTC Desire - HTC Desire Review
Outdoor samples shot with the HTC Desire - HTC Desire Review
Outdoor samples shot with the HTC Desire - HTC Desire Review
Outdoor samples shot with the HTC Desire - HTC Desire Review
Outdoor samples shot with the HTC Desire - HTC Desire Review
Outdoor samples shot with the HTC Desire - HTC Desire Review
Outdoor samples shot with the HTC Desire - HTC Desire Review

Outdoor samples shot with the HTC Desire

Strong light - Indoor samples with flash - HTC Desire Review
Medium light - Indoor samples with flash - HTC Desire Review
Low light - Indoor samples with flash - HTC Desire Review
Darkness - Indoor samples with flash - HTC Desire Review

Strong light

Medium light

Low light


Indoor samples with flash

HTC Desire sample video at 800x480 pixels resolution

As a whole, the camera of the HTC Desire is acceptable for daily use and allows for instantaneous sharing of images over social networks. Of course, it cannot replace your digital camera, but this applies to almost all cell phones anyway. It would have been great if the handset was HD video capture capable, but it seems the feature will be exclusively available with the smartphones that are to hit the shelves this summer, like the Samsung Galaxy S, HTC EVO 4G.


We have to admit one of the first tests we made with the HTC Desire was watch several videos. Still, this is one of the best ways of killing time while waiting or travelling. We are pleasantly surprised the handset plays videos with resolution of 1280x720 pixels and high bitrate. Unfortunately, the device does not support DivX and Xvid, so you will have to make do with your MPEG-4 (H.264 and H.263) files. Generally speaking, movies are downright a marvel to behold in full HD, so we hope the rumor speaks true and the update that adds DivX support is on its way. We still do not have any information about third-party software that allows the device to play files in this format (like Core Player for Windows Mobile and Symbian).

Video playback - HTC Desire Review
Video playback - HTC Desire Review

Video playback

HTC's audio player is certainly not a sight unseen. It features various content filtering options and none that pertains to audio playback modification (lacks equalizer). In case you don't like that, you can always visit the Android Market and get one of the numerous players available there. Personally, we like "³" (also known as Cubic) best, because of its spectacular interface.

The audio player of the HTC Desire - HTC Desire Review
The audio player of the HTC Desire - HTC Desire Review
The audio player of the HTC Desire - HTC Desire Review
The audio player of the HTC Desire - HTC Desire Review

The audio player of the HTC Desire

The loudspeaker does pack some punch, but the sound is overly sharp. It will certainly wake you up in the morning, the quality is exceptionally well suited for the task, but you better forget about listening to music through it. The boxed headset pair looks good, comes with handy controls and proper microphone and can be used as a hands-free. The sound though it is not really powerful and the slight audio sharpness is easy to notice, but they are fit for use on daily basis. In case you happen to be an audiophile, you better get yourself proper earphones, because the overall audio quality benefits from them to the extent it becomes similar to what standalone music players deliver.

You will have no choice but to plug in the headset in case you feel like listening to the FM Radio. It’s actually a novelty feature for the Android line-up of HTC and comes with super simple interface. Still, what’s important here is the application is snappy and equipped with functional RDS that detects radio channel names instantaneously.

FM Radio - HTC Desire Review
FM Radio - HTC Desire Review

FM Radio

GPS and Software:

The only software pack for navigation and maps that is pre-installed on the HTC Desire is Google Maps version 4 that brings certain novelties like information layers. If you decide to help the GPS module and activate it in assisted mode, getting your exact location pinpointed will take just a few seconds. Without it, you will have to wait for 4-5 minutes to find out where you are (after hardware reset) and less than a minute if you have already been located exactly.

Google Maps - HTC Desire Review
Google Maps - HTC Desire Review
Google Maps - HTC Desire Review

Google Maps

We post news about the evolution of the Android Market in our news section on regular. The latest data shows more than 9,000 applications have been added to the application catalogue in March alone and some estimate the total number of programs is well in excess of 40,000 today. Still, keep in mind that some applications are unavailable in certain regions, for an instance, you might be unable to access paid-for programs. As a whole, the Android Market is a great source of more (or less) useful software, but is exceptionally poor when it comes to proper games (alongside of Apple's App Store). One of the titles with the best graphics we have seen is Raging Thunder II that plays relatively smoothly on the HTC Desire, although not as much as on the iPhone 3GS.

Android Market - HTC Desire Review
Android Market - HTC Desire Review
Raging Thunder II - Android Market - HTC Desire Review

Raging Thunder II

Android Market

  • 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
PhoneArena rating:
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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