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HTC Desire Review

HTC Desire 9

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HTC Desire Review
We tested the in-call quality of the HTC Desire in various conditions - in the still calm of the office, busy street, noisy pub etc. We didn't encounter any issues, were able to understand our callers perfectly and they didn't have any complaints either, although they said they could hear environmental noise. Voices of people are loud and realistic in close to perfect conditions and frankly, in this case the in-call quality is nearly the best we have experienced.

HTC claims the Desire provides up to 6.5 hours of continuous talk time and remains operational for up to 15 days in stand-by on 3G networks. In real life, if you use it for surfing the Internet, listening to music and moderate number of calls, you will have to charge it once a day or day and a half.


Let's get back to what we said at the beginning. We started the review with:

„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.”

We went on to say:

„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.”

...in terms of interface...

„The HTC Desire runs the famous Sense interface and this is the major software difference to the Nexus One.”

...and its operational speed...

„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 its snappy 1GHz processor and 576MB RAM.”

We said something in the style of "Steve Jobs at the presentation of the iPad" about the phone book, messaging and browser functionality (we are joking, of course):

„The application "People" is one of the seven great wonders of modern smartphone software.”

„Typing away is a dream come true when using the screen keyboards of the HTC Desire.”

„The HTC Desire is an awesome device for surfing the Internet.”

We mentioned the camera and multimedia capabilities are decent, but there is much to be desired.

„As a whole, the camera of the HTC Desire is acceptable for daily use and allows for instantaneous sharing of images over social networks.”

„Unfortunately, the device does not support DivX and Xvid, so you will have to make do with you 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 believe you already know what we are driving at – the HTC Desire is one of the best Android-based handsets today, but it's not perfect (not that there is such a device really). That's why we believe you should know more about your alternative options:

-    The Google Nexus One – Google's cell phone that features almost identical specifications, but slightly different design. Some people might consider the lack of Sense a definite advantage (we are not of them).
-    The HTC Legend – superior to the Desire when it comes to overall design and build quality, but equipped with less capable hardware. We can recommend it to people on the lookout for a compact Android handset with proper quality.
-    The Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 – Although it comes with several limitations that are downright absurd (say the lack of multitouch support), the X10 is equipped with 8-megapixel camera and display that measure 0.3 inches more. Timescape is a more innovative way of working with social networks than HTC's FrienStream.
-    The HTC Droid Incredible – features 8-megapixel camera, different design and works on Verizon's network.

We expect to see two more cell phones throw the gauntlet to the HTC Desire to win over people who have a soft spot for high-end Android-based cell phones – the HTC EVO 4G (WiMAX for Sprint) and the Samsung Galaxy S. This is, however, what all handsets are destined to – to fight fiercely against newer devices that offer more extra features and are sometimes released just a few months down the line.

Google Nexus One - HTC Desire Review
HTC Legend - HTC Desire Review
Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 - HTC Desire Review
HTC Droid Incredible - HTC Desire Review

Google Nexus One

HTC Legend

Sony Ericsson Xperia X10

HTC Droid Incredible

Is the HTC Desire worth its price? Yes, definitely. We would have to become rather petty in order to come up with a list of shortcomings. If you like handsets with compact size and feel willing to sacrifice extra features for it, you better consider the HTC Legend – talking from experience here. Eager fans of high-tech devices surely know by now that the HTC Desire is what they want.


  • Great operational speed (virtually all applications)
  • Huge screen that equates to very comfortable Internet experience
  • Partial Flash support
  • Excellent in-call and audio playback quality


  • No DivX and Xvid support
  • Screen that is barely usable in direct sunlight
PhoneArena rating:
9 Excellent
User rating:
8.4 21 Reviews

  • 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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