HTC Desire : A mini-review

I recently bought the HTC Desire as a gift for someone, but as the undisputed resident-geek of the house I got to play with it for a while.

This is a really quick review of the phone, written for the impatient. Most of the online reviews get distracted with the eye candy while ignoring the important issues. Hoping that this will be useful to someone out there:

The bad

  • You have to associate a Google account with the phone for most of the functionality and to download applications from the Android market! What's more, you can't sign out from the account or associate multiple accounts with the phone. This is ridiculous since you can't just hand over the phone to another person even for a few minutes: your email conversations / private messages will be easily accessible.
  • To sign-out or dissociate your Google account from the phone you have to, **drum rolls**, RESET the phone to its factory defaults! REE DEE COO LOUS
  • Apparently HTC has updated the Android OS to the much awaited version 2.2 (Froyo or Frodo or something like that). BUT, the update is not available to all phones yet. The update for branded phones has to come from your carrier, but what's worse is that even the unbranded phones don't get the update simultaneously; they are being rolled out selectively according to geography, and no wonder Indian phones haven't got it yet.
  • The browser is great (see below) but there is no support for file uploads. This is apparently fixed in Android 2.2. (And ofcourse, you can download many alternate free browsers from the market).

I am hoping that when my phone gets the 2.2 update, the above problems will be mitigated.

The good

  • As a phone and communication tool, it's a pretty good one. The UI is well optimised in this regard.
  • The speakers are not bad. There are many forum posts about noisy, tinny sound speakers, but I didn't find it that noticeable. To be sure, they leave much to be desired, especially the bass, but they are quite usable.
  • The interface is quite fast.
  • The touch screen is accurate and sensitive, and coupled with a fast interface, it is a pleasure to use.
  • The browser is fast and staying true to the online reviews is quite usable even on such a small screen.
  • The GPS was pretty quick to get a satellite-fix. The tilt sensor is great. There is a demo game included with the phone, in which you tilt the phone to roll a ball along mazes and I was amazed by the realistic simulation and sensitivity.
  • The camera is decent. Useful in a pinch. I don't have very high expectations from a phone-camera, so I am happy with it.
  • In the worst case, rooting HTC phones is easier compared to others (or so I have heard) and hence there is always an easy way out from the problems I mentioned.


So, was it worth the 27k INR that I shelled out? Yes, provided the above software problems are fixed. The hardware is an engineering marvel; so many features packed into just a sliver of silicon!

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