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HTC Wildfire review

Barry de la Rosa
29 Jul 2010
Expert Reviews Recommended Logo
HTC Wildfire
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
224
inc VAT

The Wildfire is basically a Desire Lite, with all the utility of HTC's Sense software and the open nature of Android, but with a smaller screen.

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Specifications

Android 2.1, 3.2in 240x320 display

IMPORTANT: HTC is replacing this handset; read our HTC Wildfire S review now!

The HTC Wildfire is a budget Android smartphone with more than a passing resemblance to its larger cousin, the HTC Desire. Its rounded edges and rubberised, brown-grey finish are identical, and underneath the screen you'll find the Desire's optical trackpad. Here it’s paired with touch-sensitive buttons, though, while we prefer the feedback of real ones.

The key cost-cutting element is the screen. Its 3.2in display is a reasonable size, but it has a much lower 320x240 resolution, and is noticeably more pixelated as a result. That resolution is just half the pixels of an HTC Hero or Legend (320x480), and only a fraction of the Desire’s hi-res display (480x800). This means you have to zoom in further to make text legible on web pages, and photos lack crisp detail.

It still employs a capacitive touchscreen interface, which is smooth and supports multi-touch gestures. Despite the smaller screen the Wildfire lasted for 19 hours in our light usage test, around the same as the Legend and the Desire. Still, depending on how much you use 3G, WiFi and GPS, you should get a full day’s use out of a single charge.

HTC Wildfire

It may be budget, but at least it’s up-to-date, using the popular 2.1 release of Android. It also has HTC's own Sense software installed, which includes user interface enhancements, a set of apps and widgets, and tweaks to Android that improve the management of Google, Microsoft Exchange and social networking accounts. Most notably, Sense can import your contacts from these accounts into its People app, and it will automatically look for duplicates and suggest contacts to merge.

The Wildfire is a little more compact than most Android smartphones, even those that also have 3.2in displays, which makes it more comfortable to carry in your pocket. Its size is another plus point when it comes to unlocking the screen, which, like on the Desire, can only be done by pressing the power button on the top edge of the phone. On the Desire, it's easiest to use your free hand to do this, while on the Wildfire you just have to shift your grip.

The 5MP camera is typical of mobile snappers, taking noisy shots that are fine for Facebook, but not half as good as those taken by a decent compact digital camera. Colour reproduction was good however, and it's good to see an LED flash on a budget smartphone, which helps to improve low-light shots.

Android 2.1 means the Wildfire has all the functionality of a more expensive handset, although its lower-resolution screen means that using it isn’t quite so much fun. If you primarily need a mobile phone, but want occasional internet, mapping, email and gaming, then this is an ideal choice. However, it’s worth spending a little extra, on HTC’s Legend or Desire, if you think you’ll be using its smartphone features more heavily. However, at only £15 a month on a generous (300 minutes and 300 texts) contract, it’s a very worthy winner of our Budget Buy award.

Details

Price£224
Rating****
AwardBudget Buy

Hardware

Main display size3.2in
Native resolution240x320
Second DisplayNo
CCD effective megapixels5-megapixel
Video recording format3GP
ConnectivityBluetooth, USB, WiFi
GPSyes
Internal memory384MB
Memory card supportmicroSDHC
Memory card included0MB
Operating frequenciesGSM 850/900/1800/1900, 3G 900/2100
Wireless dataEDGE, WCDMA, HSDPA
Size107x60x12mm
Weight118g

Features

Operating systemAndroid 2.1
Microsoft Office compatibilityWord/Excel/PowerPoint/PDF viewers
Email clientPOP3/IMAP/Exchange
Audio format supportMP3, AAC, AMR, WMA, MIDI, WAV, OGG, M4A
Video playback formats3GP, 3G2, MP4, WMV
FM Radioyes
Web BrowserWebkit
Accessoriesheadset, data cable, charger
Talk time7.3 hours
Standby time20 days
Tested battery life (MP3 playback)19h 0m

Buying Information

SIM-free price£224
Price on contract£25-per-month, 18-month contract
SIM-free supplierwww.handtec.co.uk
Contract/prepay supplierwww.vodafone.co.uk
Detailswww.htc.com

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