By June 29, 2010

HTC Wildfire review

HTC Wildfire review Having been announced less than a month ago I was initially surprised to see the HTC Wildfire arrive in the office here so soon. Granted, we’ve already seen the Wildfire go on pre-order sale (SIM-free) at some retailers and some UK carriers announce that they too will stock it but we still thought it was some way off.

The HTC Wildfire appears to be HTC’s attempt to break in to lower end of the market. HTC’s recent wave of handsets have been at the upper-end at around the £400 mark for the HTC Desire and a little less for the HTC Legend. The Wildfire then is much less expensive than the HTC Desire which is widely regarded as the Wildfire’s bigger brother. This is a smartphone with a ‘feature phone’ price tag.

If you saw my HTC Wildfire unboxing video a few days ago you may have noticed that I said we’ll be doing something a little different with this review. Whilst the top section of the review will follow our normal format and will keep everything factual with just a little of my opinion in there the lower portion of the review will introduce comments from James, Tracy and possibly a few other members of the team, we’re going to try making it a broad view.

(a word of caution, there are a LOT of images but you can click on any one for a full-sized view.)

The 10 Second review:

  • Device: HTC Wildfire
  • Price: around £230
  • Summary: The best entry-level Android handset with great features
  • Best of: HTC Sense UI, 5 MP camera, Android 2.1, price
  • Worst of: No AMOLED screen and low-res display
  • Buy it now from: Devicewire

 

What’s in the box?

  • HTC Wildfire handset
  • USB style mains charger
  • USB to MicroUSB sync/charge cable
  • 1300 mAh battery
  • Wired headset

If you are looking at my HTC Wildfire unboxing video then please remember that the box is NOT final retail and therefore the contents may change slightly. The hardware and ROM build we have is final though.

 

HTC Wildfire specification:

  • Platform: Android 2.1 (Éclair) with HTC Sense
  • Dimensions: 106.75 x 12.9 x 60.4mm
  • Weight: 118 grams (4.16 ounces) with battery
  • Processor: 528 MHz
  • RAM: 384 MB
  • ROM: 512 MB
  • Screen: 3.2 inches Capacitive touch screen with pinch-to-zoom capability
  • Resolution: 240 x 320 QVGA
  • HSDPA/WCDMA: 900/2100 MHz. GSM: 850/900/1800/1900 MHz
  • Wi-Fi: IEEE 802.11 b/g
  • Bluetooth: Bluetooth® 2.1 with Enhanced Data Rate
  • Camera: 5 megapixel color camera with Auto focus and flash.
  • Battery: 1300 mAh Rechargeable Lithium-ion battery
  • Battery Standby: Up to 480 hours
  • Battery Talk Time: Up to 490 mins
  • Additional Audio: 3.5 mm stereo audio jack
  • USB Interface: Standard micro-USB
  • Network Protocols: 3G: Up to 7.2 Mbps download speed. Up to 384 kbps upload speed. GPRS: Up to 114 kbps downloading. EDGE: Up to 560 kbps downloading.
  • G-Sensor
  • Digital compass
  • Proximity sensor
  • Ambient light sensor
  • Internal GPS antenna
  • Warranty: 2 Years

 

General

Let’s start then as we always do by having a closed look at the hardware of the HTC Wildfire.

As I mentioned already, the HTC Wildfire is widely regarded as being the HTC Desire’s baby brother. In terms of styling they are quite similar both sharing the some overall look from front to back. The Wildfire has the optical trackpad that we liked so much about about the Desire and Legend but does away with the physical buttons under the screen and instead as a touch sensitive Home, Menu, Back and Search button. These sit just below the 3.2″ QVGA display which, sadly, is not an AMOLED display. The touchscreen technology is capacitive though so that’s a plus.

Right above the screen and to the left of the HTC logo is a small LED that, unless illuminated, is virtually invisible. It does however light up orange when the handset is on charge and turns green when fully charged.

HTC Wildfire review-front

HTC Wildfire front view

 

If we look then to the left side of the handset you’ll see the volume control rocker, pretty standard, and then the MicroUSB connector which is obviously used for sync and charge. It’s an unusual place for HTC to the the USB connector, most of their other handsets have the connector on the bottom of the device, which has benefits when it comes to docking cradles and car kits. I con only assume that it’s on the side for space-saving reasons.

HTC Wildfire review-left

 

On the right hand side of the Wildfire there are no additional controls or connectors. It would perhaps have been nice to see a camera button here but there isn’t one included.

HTC Wildfire review-right

 

The top of the handset is home to the 3.5mm headphone/headset connector. This allows you to use the wired headset that comes in the box or your own headphones. This is also where you will find the power button. Notice the slot in the middle there? That’s to allow you to easily remove the battery cover.

HTC Wildfire review-top

 

Finally to the back of the Wildfire. From this angle it’s hard to tell the difference between this and the Desire or Nexus one. There’s a 5 megapixel auto focus camera with LED flash and also a grille over the loudspeaker.

As with the HTC Desire the camera on the Wildfire sticks out but about 1mm. I’m sure this is done for space-saving but does leave the camera a little prone to scratches.

Wildfire-back

 

 

 

Highlights

  • HTC Sense UI
  • Value for money

 

Lowlights

  • Relatively low-res screen
  • No hardware buttons
  • Battery life (Tracy)
  • Camera, images look over compressed

 

 

Review

HTC have certainly had a busy year and seem to have been keeping to the release rate of one new handset per month. I hope they are able to keep this up as we certainly like reviewing new devices!

James and I were discussing where the HTC Wildfire fits in to the current offering. It certainly has a lot of features, that we’ll get to in a while, but it’s coming in at a price point that puts it on par with many ‘feature phones’ rather than Smartphones. Personally I think the Wildfire could be a good device for those wanting to get in to Android for the first time but not wanting to fork-out almost £400 on the likes of the Desire or Galaxy S for example.

So the beginning seems like a good place to start.

 

Taking the device from the box for the first time you are going to have to install the battery and a SIM card before you can use it. Removing the back cover on the Wildfire is a little tricky as the whole of the back comes off and a portion of the bottom comes along with it. Whilst the actual removal isn’t a problem it’s just a case of knowing where to hold the device as you do it.

As with countless other handsets, the SIM-card socket on the Wildfire sits just under the battery so has to be installed first. The 1300mAh battery pops in on top and then the back cover has to go back on.

The first time you power up the Wildfire will take a few minutes to boot. This is nothing unusual, most handsets will require a little longer the first time as they sort themselves out configuring the ROM etc.

After the brief wait you’ll be initially presented by the lock screen. Get used to this screen as you’ll be seeing it a lot as when the device ‘sleeps’ you need to unlock the screen each time. To unlock you simply have to drag the bar that shows the time, down.

lockscreen

Having unlocked the next job will be to set the Wildfire up. Fortunately you’ll be presented with a setup wizard that will take you through the main steps.

If you are a seasoned android user you might choose to skip these steps and set things up more manually later but if you are not so familiar with this OS you might want to run through the steps. You don’t have to do all of them either so you might just want to set up the things you know for the first time. Fortunately you can always rerun the wizard later if you want to.

wizard1 wizard2 wizard3 wizard4 wizard6 wizard8

So as you can see in the screens above, you set up the language, it’ll advise you to install a SIM if you haven’t already. You’ll be shown how the keyboard works, wet up WiFi, sign in to Facebook, Flickr and Twitter and finally be told where you can find more info.

Having completed the setup there will be another pause of a few seconds while the homesreens are configured after which you will be presented with the main homescreen (in the middle below) which will probably look quite familiar to most of you especially if you have seen the Desire or Legend.

A total of 7 screens or pages make up the homescreen. The middle one is considered the main ‘home’ and you can always get back here by pressing the home button on the device. This screen will give you the current time, weather and temperature as well as having space for up to eight shortcut icons, although only four are in place by default.

On either side of the middle homescreen are three additional screens:

weatherhome messageshome mailhome homescreen favouriteshome newshome blankhome

The standard setup then from left to right: The Weather Widget, Messages Widget, Email Account Widget, Homescreen (with Clock & Weather and shortcuts for messages, mail, internet and camera), Favourites Widget, News (RSS Reader) Widget and finally one blank page.

If navigating around the 7 screens seems like a pain to you, going from page one to seven can be, then you there’s a feature called ‘Leap’ to help you out. Sometimes referred to as the ‘helicopter view’ Leap gives you a small view of what’s going on within each of your screens and lets to pick one to work with. In order to access Leap you simply have to use two fingers to ‘pinch’ on any of the screens or press the home button from the middle homescreen. You’ll end up with the view of the screens like the example below.

leap

 

With the HTC Legend, HTC introduced the concept of Scenes to the homescreen. Scenes allow you to have a number of homescreen profiles for different purposes. The choices available are: HTC (the default), Social, Work, Play, Travel and Clean Slate. The idea here then is that you can have a profile for when, for example, you want to use the phone for work and another for when you want to be down the pub and at play. You can individually customise these Scenes and create your own ones too.

scene-selection homescreen social-scene work-scene play-scene travel-scene

Of course, you aren’t limited to the shortcuts and widgets that you are given initially. One of the best things about android in my opinion is that it is hugely customisable with a plethora of apps and widgets that can be added. So if you want a shortcut to your favourite app on your homescreen then that’s easy to do or maybe you want the twitter widget in place of the news widget, that’s equally easy to do.

With so many widgets available it’s not practical to talk about them all but I’ll mention some during the rest of the review.

The Widget selection screen

The Widget selection screen

 

There are lots of programs preinstalled on the HTC Wildfire. Some are standard Android apps but others are specific to HTC. Pressing the little ‘up-arrow’ at the bottom of the homescreen will bring up the programs that are installed. As you can see below there are quite a few to choose from and you can obviously install more if you wish. Notice also that there are almost 4 pages of apps. this is partly because of the screen size of the Wildfire only three rows per page.

apps1 apps2 apps3 apps4

 

The settings menu is another good place to have a look around as there are lots of things to tinker with in there. As with the Legend and Desire, HTC have customised the settings menu a little bit too. They’ve added in more colourful icons and have laid it out in a more friendly fashion. It makes the settings menu a little more accessible. The thing that I find myself using most is the Wireless & Networks settings, where you can set up your WiFi network, bluetooth and so on. It’s perhaps also worth having a look at the Software Information page to see what version of the software build is installed.

settings about

 

Not forgetting that the HTC Wildfire is a phone lets take a look at the phone dialer and call-making elements of the HTC Wildfire. From every page on the homescreen you’ll see a big button in the middle ‘Phone’. Pressing this brings up the phone keypad. From here you can either just dial the number or start keying the name of a contact. You can also go to a list of contacts to pick one to call or get to the list of recent calls, missed of otherwise.

When you actually place a call you’ll see another screen. If you have a photo for the contact you are calling then this will be displayed, otherwise you’ll get the green android appear instead. It’ll also tell you about your call status, once the call is connected it’ll show you the call time and you can choose to either mute the call or put it on speakerphone.

Call quality and reception are always difficult to evaluate. Having used the Wildfire with my Orange SIM I placed and received a number of calls over the week that I was reviewing the handset. The speaker is loud enough for me and it seems clear enough. Also no complaints from the other party during calls.

I did experience two calls dropping out on the Wildfire but it’s really difficult, if not impossible, to determine of this is the phone or the network. Twice in a week isn’t a lot based on the number of calls and there doesn’t seem to be any sort of trend involved.

dialer call-screen

As I’ve said in various other review over the years, I live in the middle of nowhere and get next to no mobile coverage on any network at home. For me connectivity is variable at best, occasionally I get one bar of service but for the most part ‘No Service’ is all that any phone I  have will show.

The HTC Wildfire is really on par with all other handsets in that respect too. Most of the time I get nothing but there are odd times that I’ll have a service and maybe even some EDGE service but it’s rather unreliable. So in other words the Wildfire isn’t particular deaf when it comes to mobile network reception but then again it isn’t exceptional. I don’t know why HTC and other Smartphone manufacturers cant take a leaf out of RIM’s book as the only phone I can rely upon at home is my BlackBerry 9700, that gets a signal here most of the time. How about adding UMA too HTC?

WiFi coverage is good on the Wildfire, HTC seem to have this right on all of their recent handsets and the Widfire is pretty much a copy and paste of what I said about the HTC Legend – My wireless access point is at one end of the house and my bedroom is at the other. Things like laptops and netbooks have no problem picking up WiFi in the bedroom, they get practically full signal there but mobiles are a different story. My iPhone 3GS, for example, drops the WiFi signal before I get close to the bedroom. The Wildfire though still can get a signal at that distance and although it’s quite weak and not totally dependable it does work. Not a terribly scientific approach to determining how good WiFi is but from my experience the Wildfire is better than average!

The web browser installed on the Wildfire is much the same as any other Android powered HTC device. The webkit browser is extremely capable and generally speaking it renders webpages almost as well as their desktop counterparts and rendering times are really quite fast.

The thing about the Wildfire though is that a 240×320 pixel screen is never going to be as good as a higher res screen, it simply doesn’t have enough pixels to make the browsing experience something I would want to do regularly. For casual use, looking something up while out and about, it’s perfectly adequate but if you plan to use the web a lot then consider a handset with a larger screen and a higher res display as this just feels cramped.

Dont get me wrong, the browser itself on the Wildfire is good and you can always zoom in to a page to see more. Fortunately the Wildfire has multitouch right out of the box so this helps the experince here. The browser also makes use of the Wildfire’s built in accelerometer so will rotate the display to suit whenever you rotate the device allowing you to easily switch between portrait and landscape browsing. There is very little lag when rotating. In fact the browser is very rapid, have a look at the part in my unboxing video where I load up our website for the first time, it loads and renders the page faultlessly in seconds.

web-portrait web-landscape

 

Email is something that the HTC Wildfire does very well. The email experience is much the same as on the Desire. HTC have extended the standard email functionality of Android to deliver an experience that makes it viable for corporate use. It’s friendly and easy.

Email views are broken down in several ways:

email-inbox email-conversation email-favs email-unread email-marked email-meetings email-attachments

From left to right:

  • The first tab is the main ‘inbox’ view where all mail will be displayed.
  • Next there’s the threaded email view, ‘conversations’, a nice addition allowing you to see whole conversations in one place.
  • Then we have ‘VIP Group’, a nice idea I think. This shows only email from contacts that you have flagged as VIP. I found this quite useful as I flagged other members of the tracyandmatt team as VIP’s so that their messages appeared there only. A good idea to add your boss, wife of girlfriend to the VIP group.
  • The next concerns itself with only unread messages as a filtered view
  • Flagged or marked messages are next so anything you flag for follow up or as important are shown here.
  • Next, meeting invitations, any meetings or appointments you are invited to all showing up in the one place!
  • Finally, attachments. Only messages attachments are shown here.

 

One thing that does still frustrate me about the Email changes that HTC have made to the Legend, Desire and now the HTC Wildfire is that they have taken out the support for multiple exchange email accounts.

The standard version of Android 2.1 does have support for multiple Exchange active-sync email accounts. If you saw my review of the Nexus One you’ll have seen that I was impressed with the way that this was implemented. However, as HTC have ‘extended’ the basic email functionality they have also taken out this multiple exchange support. I realise that this may not bother many people but I think it’s a shame to lose it!

Email setup is simple, you chose the account type and then answer the questions, username, password, server address etc.

email-setup

 

The calendar is greatly enhanced over the standard Android implementation. As you can see below, the Month and Week style views look quite familiar. The little bars on the month view give a rough indication of when you have appointments on that day whereas the week view shows appointments in different colours depending on the type.

The view that I find most useful is the Agenda style which lists all upcoming appointments in chronological order regardless of when they are coming up.

calendar-month calendar-week calendar-agenda

HTC have also included several calendar widgets for you to choose from for your homescreen. To begin with you can have a classic month view where each day with an appointment is marked with a small triangle in the corner. Next up is the agenda view. Once again this is a full-screen widget that lists your upcoming appointments, allows you to scroll through your agenda and colours the entries depending on whether they are work or personal events. The final calendar type is a small ‘ribbon’ which simply shows the next appointment that you have. This is possibly more useful for those people that do not have dozens of appointments. The advantage of this style is that it doesn’t take up a great deal of room, the same space as one row of shortcuts, and allows you to have other widgets or shortcuts on the same page where the other styles take up a full screen on their own.

month-widget agenda-widget ribbon-widget

 

Googlemaps on the Wildfire is a pretty standard implementation, you can overlay the satellite views or just look at road views. Multitouch is supported here so two finger zooming works a treat.

googlemaps

The Wildfire picks up GPS signals quite easily and works quite happily indoors. This means it works equally well within the ‘urban canyons’ of the big cities.

 

We first saw HTC’s Friendstream on the HTC Legend. I think it’s one of those applications (and widgets) that you either love or hate. With Friendstream you can set up Facebook, Twitter and Flickr accounts and these will be refreshed periodically (you can set the frequency) and updates from each of the three services appear in one stream in date/time order. It’s a great way to bring all of these updates in to one place and I personally like having all of this in one place for easy reference, especially having the Friendstream widget on one page on the homescreen.

friendstream-app friendstream-widget peep

Despite liking Friendstream I still prefer using Peep (right above) to post updates to Tiwtter. Just personal preference I think.

The keyboard on the Wildfire is pretty standard fare. The touchscreen QWERTY appears at the bottom of the screen when enabled and works well. The only thing about the Wildfire is that in having a smaller and lower-res display the keyboard takes up about half of the screen which can be in the way at times.

Unlike other devices out there at the moment there are no other entry options on the Wildfire so you just have QWERTY, no options for compact QWERTY or T9 although I guess you could add this with third-party apps.

keyboard-portrait keyboard-landscape

 

Media playback is much the same as the Legend and the Desire.  There’s a music app which performs all the functions a music player should, from song/artist/album views to genre and now-playing. If you saw my Desire review you may have seen my comments about the album artwork. The Desire simply refused to display the album artwork despite it having the same memory card in it that I used in the Legend. I’m pleased to report that the Wildfire happily shows album art while playing tracks and also shows you what’s playing and has media controls on the lockscreen.

There’s also a built-in FM radio. As with most devices, you have to plug in headphones in order to use the radio as the headphones act as an antenna. The radio reception is ok, nothing spectacular but it’s a good feature to have for when you run out of MP3’s to listen to.

music music-lockscreen radio

 

Another new app and widget taken from the HTC Desire is News. This is basically a neat little RSS feed reader with an app and widget. I found myself using this a lot as I tend to read news from a lot of different sources on a daily basis. This means I can have all of that content delivered in to one stream that I can look through all at once.

Firstly the desktop widget that displays the news stream. This can be set to update on a schedule of manually. If you have a lot of subscriptions you may want to set it to manual as you could find it eating up a lot of your data allowance otherwise.

On the app side of things you have a few options for how you see and manage your news feeds. There’s a subscriptions page for adding and managing subscriptions then you have a choice of how you see the feed items. You can have a fairly standard list-view which you can scroll through and also choose the order in which items are shown – either oldest or newest first.

news-app news-appview news-articlevew news-widget

 

There’s a stocks and shares app and widget too. Not something that I am particularly interested in but it’s there for those of you want want to see how much less you are worth today than yesterday! 🙂

stocks

 

The YouTube application is much the same as you would find on most Android handsets. I think Android has the best of the YouTube applications, far better than the one on Windows Mobile and iPhone in my opinion.

You can browse through videos, look at the top videos and recommendations as well as search for a specific video or channel. As you can see below, a search for leodee (my YouTube account name) brings up my channel and all the unboxing videos I have available. YouTube videos then playback pretty much flawlessly on the screen (depending of course on your internet connection) but for me they play back smoothly over WiFi.

youtube-list youtube-video

 

Android Market is the same on every Android device but it does the job. I like the way Market breaks down apps and games in to different genres which is something that I think Apple should be doing too.

androidmarket1 androidmarket2

 

HTC have clearly been working on their camera technology lately. Up until recently 2 or 3 mega pixels were the limit and few devices had a flash. However, with the new rage of devices coming out this year things have definitely improved. We’re now seeing 5 megapixel cameras on HTC devices and most have a decent LED flash too.

Now some of you may be thinking ‘So what, you can get 8, 10 and 12 megapixel cameras on some phones now’. Well whilst this is true one thing that I continually remind people and that some just don’t get, is that it’s not all about the pixel count. What makes a good looking picture is largely down to the quality of the optics and the quality of the sensor and not number of pixels alone.

So while the HTC Wildfire has ‘only’ 5 megapixels it does have good optics. Now I’m not saying that you should be throwing away your DSLR or even your compact camera but for ad-hoc photos the Wildfire does a good job.

The camera app works quite well. Allows you to make adjustments to the settings easily, things like brightness and white balance. From here you can also share the photos you’ve taken directly via Bluetooth, Facebook, Flickr and email.

camera-app  camera-share

Just a few camera samples here then. Firstly the one on the left taken indoors on a sunny day to give you an idea of how well the colours come out. Secondly the one taken outside in the sun shows how greens look but also you can zoom in to the details on the grass and trees to see how that works.

Rather disappointed with the camera though. The optics and colours look really good and these scaled down images below look fine, however when you look at the full sized versions (Click to enlarge) they look like they have been over-compressed and are full of JPEG artefacts. A real shame.

IMAG0001 IMAG0002

Using the flash inst so good though but I’m not surprised. Take the example below. Not taken in total darkness but in low light the flash has fired. I’m not holding the camera particularly close to the subject but as you can see it has not focused properly and the flash has overdone it.

IMAG0003

 

The other aspect of photos is the photo album. It’s a fairly basic but intuitive app. which again allows you to view content from Facebook and Flickr as well as to share you own photos with others.

 album-menu album-view

 

I guess that’s covering most of the basic applications and features of the HTC Wildfire. There are many more installed and many, many more that you could chose to download and install from Android Market.

 

Battery life is another of those things that’s tricky to gauge. When asked how long the battery lasts in a device the stock answer is always ‘It depends on how and how much you use it.’

Had I come to this part of the review earlier in the week then I would have been rather negative about the battery performance on the Wildfire. The first day I fully charged my handset all day as instructed and took it off charge in the evening. The following day, within 15 hours it was warning me to connect the charger. This was despite making only one short call during the day and otherwise not touching the phone. At this point I was thinking that the Wildfire would be terrible.

However, after a few battery cycles it’s a very different story. (Note this is one reason why we don’t rush our reviews out the door!!) I’m now getting several days of standby out of the handset no problem. Now obviously if we turn Bluetooth and WiFi on then the run time will be reduced and using the phone with the backlight full brightness will have a dramatic effect. But based upon my usage and what I’m seeing I’d say that you’ll easily get a days worth of moderate to high use out of the phone before you need to charge it.

 

JAMES SAYS:

The HTC Wildfire is without doubt a decent little phone. I say little as with its screen being 3.2 inches it is dwarfed by some other devices we have seen lately.

Like Matt said in the review, setting the Wildfire up and getting up and running is really simple and in no time at all I found I was connected with my Facebook and Twitter friends as well as downloading apps from the Android Market.

The Wildfire, in my opinion, seems to do everything pretty well but in terms of suggesting you buy the Wildfire I must be honest and point out the following.

Most Wildfire customers will be getting the phone on contract and from £20 per month it is a real steal. However, for the same money you could get the HTC Legend which will give you the same user interface but with a better screen and a better shell. In terms of specs they are pretty much the same but I did find the Legend a much nicer device to use. With a different screen resolution the Legend screen appears crisper. There is nothing wrong with the Wildfire screen but there is a clear difference if you have the two devices side by side.

The two devices also feel very different in the hand. The Legend is taller and slimmer so if you prefer a phone that is a bit shorter and fatter then the Wildfire will be the one to choose.

I don’t mean to sound negative but here at tracyandmatt.co.uk we speak the truth and we won’t give you any bullshine.

If buying SIM-free, then for a little over two hundred pounds I feel that the Wildfire is still good value for money. You are kind of getting a low specification Desire and the price reflects this.

The Wildfire is another great creation by HTC and I honestly see this one selling extremely well.

 

TRACY SAYS:

The HTC Wildfire is the first Android based mobile I have used properly. I have seen and had a look at a lot the other Android devices we have had come through so this was an interesting review for me to do especially as both Matt and James were both reviewing the same device, I thought it would be fun for all of us to compare notes. I have an HTC Touch Pro 2 as my main device which as you probably know runs Windows Mobile and this phone is just the last in a long line of Windows based phones I have had.

Having not used Android before I found the set up process nice and easy. Set it up on our WiFi network at home no problem which is just as well as we get very little signal where we live! I also found setting up my exchange email no problem. Also in the set up it asked for Twitter and Facebook user account details. This is where I found Android a little bit strange. I could not find the Facebook app, I knew it must be there as I had entered my details during set up! Having used Windows mobile, iPhones and Blackberry’s which all have Facebook as Facebook I was very confused and I was using the phone for 2 days before I finally gave in and asked Matt! Turns out I needed to be looking for FriendStream of course! Twitter could have had the same issue except from using Windows mobile I knew to also look for Peep (on my Touch Pro 2 it has the Twitter ‘t’ symbol on the tabs that then opens to Peep). Matt was surprised that I didn’t know about FriendStream but having not been told about it or what it does I had no idea!

On to the phone itself I found the battery life to be very disappointing. The first time I used it I charged the phone fully and unplugged it before I went to bed and took it to work with me the next day and it didn’t even make through my day before it was asking to be recharged! When I checked the battery usage it had only been 17 hours and 44 minutes since last charge. All I had done on it was check my email a few times and sent one text. I had not made any phone calls at all. This was leaving WiFi switched on. After that I turned the WiFi off unless I was using it and this time it lasted 2 days, 11 hours between charges. Again I used the phone minimally (email & social networking mainly) as we tend not to get a signal at home if I use 15 minutes of call time in a month it is a lot!

Reception on the Wildfire is also quite good. As Matt’s said many times, we have terrible mobile coverage where we live but in actual fact, when using my 3 SIM card I was getting a signal here at home most of the time. This is really unusual, my Touch Pro2, for example, NEVER gets a signal at home! A definite plus for the Wildfire then.

I also found the on-screen keyboard to be a little to be a little bit inaccurate. When trying to type a text I found I ended up with a lot of typos. I do use both the slide out and on screen keyboard on the touch pro2 but the Android one was more difficult to use.

In summary I was not very keen on the device as I didn’t like having to switch the WiFi on and off to save the battery life was a pain and the typing was difficult enough that it put me off sending any emails from the device, something I normally do with out thinking. I guess I would get used to it but having had the TyTN, TyTN II and Touch Pro2 all with hardware keyboard I found using the touchscreen QWERTY was no substitute, no surprise perhaps there. I did like how lightweight and slim the device was and overall I enjoyed the Android experience.

 

 

We’ll have our hands on the HTC Wildfire for a while longer so if you want to ask any of us any questions the please do so over on the forum. We’ll do our best to answer you.

 

Conclusion

Overall the HTC Wildfire is another great effort from HTC. HTC are adding more and more models to their range so chances are you’ll be able to find something that fits your needs. If perhaps the Desire or the Nexus One are a too big or too expensive then the Wildfire might suit you better.

For me the screen on the Wildfire is a little too small having become used to the HTC Desire. The lower resolution and lack of AMOLED technology is a shame but it would significantly add to the cost of this handset so I do understand why the omission.

There are other entry-level Android devices out there but none of them are as well made or as fully featured as the HTC Wildfire, this is definitely my pick as this price range.

 

Review by: Matt (with James and Tracy)

[ Post Tags: HTC Wildfire, Android 2.1, HTC Sense, unboxing video, tracyandmatt.co.uk ]

Posted in: Phones, Reviews
Tags: , ,

About the Author:

More than 20 years in the IT industry. Blogging with a passion and thirst for new technology since 2005.
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