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HTC Desire Android smartphone review - a Nexus One with HTC Sense

Review by Russell Jefferies on Friday April 09, 2010.

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We first saw the HTC Desire back in February at Mobile World Congress and were delighted to see HTC outfit one of its HTC Sense Android handsets with a 1GHz Snapdragon processor and a large AMOLED(INFO) display. Now we've managed to get our hands on a Desire to put it through its paces and see if it's a handset to be lusted over, or one to be loathed. Read on to find out what we thought of this exciting new handset.

Physical Aspects

The HTC Desire is much the same as the recently released Google Nexus One handset, primarily because both handsets are made by HTC and share most of the same parts. There are a few discreet differences though - mainly the lack of the Nexus One's aluminum parts on the Desire's exterior and also the Nexus One's trackball, which has been replaced with an optical d-pad on the Desire. There are also software differences, such as HTC's fantastic HTC Sense user interface, which is mentioned on the back cover of the handset.

For those that don't know what the Nexus One looks like, the Desire is a large slab-shaped handset, like most touchscreen phones these days. As with many HTC Android handsets, the Desire has a very slight chin at the bottom, though this one is much less pronounced than on other HTC handsets such as the Legend or Hero. The whole rear of the phone is coated in soft touch paint that resists scratches and fingerprints well, and offers improved grip. This paint also surrounds the buttons that are located below the screen.

Those buttons serve the usual Android functions: the Home button, Menu button, Back button, and Search button. These are set either side of the new optical d-pad that we saw previously on the HTC Legend, as well. Around the optical d-pad is a silver ring that is used as the enter/select button for the d-pad. Above the display is the Desire's earpiece, and in the top of the display's black frame is a notification LED, plus an ambient light sensor and a proximity sensor. The screen itself is a large 3.7-inch AMOLED display, with a WVGA (480 x 800 pixel) resolution. It is also a capacitive touchscreen(INFO) display, and is used to control most aspects of the handset. Thanks to this capacitive display, the Desire is very responsive to touches and also features multi-touch in the web browser, email reader, photo viewer, and Google Maps.

Atop the Desire is a 3.5mm headphone port, which allows users to connect a regular set of headphones to the Desire, and the handset's power button, also used for sleeping and waking the screen. On the bottom of the phone is the microphone pinhole and a micro-USB port for charging and data. The phone's left side is home to the volume rocker, which is used for changing the ringer, multimedia, and earpiece volumes, while the right side is totally bare. On the rear is a shiny HTC logo, above which is the lens for the 5 megapixel camera and its accompanying LED flash. Next to the flash is the grille for the Desire's loudspeaker.

The HTC Desire measures a rather significant 119mm x 60mm x 11.9mm (4.7in x 2.36in x .47in) and weighs 135g (4.76oz). Although it's a pretty large handset (to accommodate the large screen), it's still pretty thin and doesn't feel that big in a pants pocket.

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Peder @ 12:29:16PM EDT on Friday April 9, 2010


At another review, I found, that the desire should be able to record video to:

You can take video in QVGA (320 x 240), CIF (352 x 288), VGA (DVD quality, 640 x 480) or WVGA (800 x 480), and all four can be recorded to MP4 or H.263 formats, with the resulting file appearing as 3GP.

Can you confirm/disconfirm this?

Jim @ 3:19:11PM EDT on Sunday April 11, 2010

Ok I may have totally missed the info, but is it compatible with any 3G bands in the US? If so, Tmo or At&T? How is the browsing speed on that? If its compatible with the Nexus One or not. From what I read, it is a great phone, but what about carrier specific calls? Thanks!

napierk @ 2:03:32PM EDT on Monday April 12, 2010

anyone know if the Desire or Incredible will actually synch up with corporate exchange server natively?...without having to use Nitrodesk TOuchdown or a 3rd party app? I currently have the Droid and use Touchdown, but cannot reply to emails or open attachments due to issues with Exchange Server connection. Thanks in advance

Krishnan @ 12:53:16PM EDT on Sunday May 2, 2010

the video review was exceptionally good. however it seem to miss a very important part (may be you should create part 3 of the video), 'syncing experience with PC'
i currently use the HTC HD2 (previous phone was iPhone 3G), and the reason i converted was HD2 came across to me as a proper mobile phone rather than a music/video/gaming gadget with a sim card! the windows OS on the HD2 has been troubling me a bit lately. i have been thinking of buying an HTC Desire (after seeing Russell's video review on youtube), but am not convinced about the syncing part with windows PC. (i was hoping the phone when connected will show up as a folder on the PC, same like a windows mobile OS).
your help on this would be much appreciated.
thanks you.

Ramon Caballero @ 1:35:15AM EDT on Tuesday May 4, 2010

I just got the Desire and even when the phone is everything you say, there is a major flaw, not in the phone itself but in Android 2.1 and that is the lack of Proxy support while you are using WiFi.
I know, it is unbelievable, even the iPhone can do this.
Google has been known of this issue for 18 months and done nothing about it http://code.google.com/p/android/issues/detail?id=1273
As long as you don't expect to brag your phone at your work, or using it for enterprise business, then you will be ok with the beatiful HTC Desire.

saman1000 @ 5:47:50PM EDT on Monday July 19, 2010

It is not possible to read anything written in Farsi/Arabic fonts on HTC Nexus and Desite is no different. It is next to impossible to write in any non-latin based language.

About the author

Russell Jefferies
Russell Jefferies reviews mobile phones for MobileBurn from his home located in Bristol in the United Kingdom.

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