HTC Desire S review

Can HTC's first Android 2.3 smartphone live up to its blockbusting heritage?

TODO alt text

HTC Desire S: Apps and maps

The HTC Desire S is packed – packed we say! – with apps. It really is bordering on excessive. There's an Amazon MP3 app for buying music and various Google apps, including Latitude, Google Search and Places, to begin with.

HTC desire s

There's the Reader ebook app, which is as good as ebooks tend to get on phone screens. It enables you to annotate and bookmark sections of books, as well as easily resize the text by pinching to zoom. There's a store integrated for buying new books.

HTC desire s

QuickOffice is included, and there's a News app for RSS, as well as a separate News and Weather app, which shows you top news stories. And the weather.

The Facebook app is fairly standard, offering access to your News Feed, Profile, Friends, Messages and more, including a Chat option.

HTC desire s

The Twitter app opens on your timeline, with the usual options for mentions, direct messages and options to see your favourite tweets, retweets, suggested users and more. Unusually, there's no text box at the top so you can get immediately tweeting, but there's a button in the top corner to compose something, so it's not far away.

HTC desire s

There's also HTC Peep Twitter client, which does offer a quick text box at the top, and fits better with the UI of other apps, including the People app. It offers essentially the same options, so which you use will likely come down to personal preference.

HTC desire s

HTC has thrown its HTC Hub into the phone, which is partly a way of offering yet more content. There are all sorts of new widgets on offer, as well as new Scenes, skins, wallpapers, ringtones and more.

HTC desire s

Perhaps of most interest are two addition social networking plugins for the Sense UI: LinkedIn and Picasa. These are lesser-known than Twitter, YouTube and Flickr, so it makes sense not to include them as standard, but it's nice to see them as an additional option.

The Calendar syncs easily with Google and Exchange calendars (as you'd expect), but we're not sure about the layout. Unless you're keeping track of only a few things, the month and week views don't offer much info at a glance. The day view offers more detail, but it doesn't have the useful ability to see how long an appointment is quickly.

HTC desire s

The calculator is simple, but effective. Hold the phone portrait and you get a standard set of numbers and signs; turn it to landscape and you'll get all the scientific options.

HTC desire s

Of course, we can't neglect the Android Market when it comes to apps. It's growing and growing, offering lots of great (and some not so great) apps, which are mostly free. There's a little bit of lag when using it on the Desire S, but it's still easy to navigate around and grab new apps.


The HTC Desire S features three separate mapping apps. Google Maps and Navigation (which are to be expected), and HTC's own Locations app.

The idea of including Locations is that you download the maps to your phone, and then don't have to worry about whether you've got mobile signal to actually be able to see what's around you.

HTC desire s

The maps can be quite large (the UK's is 532MB), but they come with all sorts of information about points of interest and places to go.

Of course, we've also got the new Android 2.3 version of Google Maps, which is better than ever. It also allows for some offline caching, but not to the same degree as Locations.

The fancy 3D buildings and rotating, turning scenery is all complete. Performance was a bit up and down – it was fine the first time we used, crashed out the second and was just very slow to respond the third.

HTC desire s

The GPS unit proved to be extremely fast and accurate when outside, pinpointing us to a fair degree of accuracy within just a few seconds.

Tech Specs

Product TypeSmartphone
Network BandQuad Band
Input MethodTouchscreen
Wireless LANYes
Contract TypeSIM-free
Maximum Memory Card Size Supported32 GB
Built-in Memory1.10 GB
Built-in FlashYes
Memory Card SlotYes
Cellular Data Connectivity TechnologyGPRS, EDGE, HSDPA, HSUPA
GPS ReceiverYes
Multi-SIM SupportedNo
Near Field CommunicationNo
Integrated TV TunerNo
Cellular Generation3.5G
Cellular Network SupportedGSM 850, GSM 900, GSM 1800, GSM 1900, WCDMA 900, WCDMA 2100
Rear Camera Resolution5 Megapixel
Number of SIM Card Supported1
Front CameraYes
Memory Card SupportedmicroSD
Phone StyleBar
Operating SystemAndroid
Brand NameHTC
Battery Talk Time9.83 Hour
Product ModelDesire S
Screen Size9.4 cm (3.7")
Screen Resolution480 x 800
Touchscreen TypeCapacitive
Weight (Approximate)130 g
Maximum Video Resolution1280 x 720
Processor ManufacturerQualcomm
Bluetooth StandardBluetooth 2.1
Operating System VersionAndroid 2.3 Gingerbread
Messaging TypeSMS (Short Message Service), MMS (Multi-media Messaging Service), Instant Messaging, Email
USB StandardUSB 2.0
Height115 mm
Width59.8 mm
Depth11.6 mm
Radio TunerYes
Battery Standby Time430 Hour
ManufacturerHigh Tech Computer Corp
Product NameDesire S Smarphone
Processor Speed1 GHz
Processor TypeSnapdragon
Screen TypeLCD
Sensor TypeG-sensor, Digital Compass, Proximity Sensor, Ambient Light Sensor, Accelerometer
Manufacturer Part Number99HMN007-00
Manufacturer Website Address
Marketing InformationHTC Desire delivers intense brilliance, sharp contrast, and true colors on the expansive 3.7-inch AMOLED display. The 1 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor makes the phone incredibly responsive as you multitask from app to app without skipping a beat, while the instinctive HTC Sense experience lets you wield the power of the HTC Desire with the greatest of ease.

Make it Mine
With the HTC Desire, it's all about your information, your entertainment, your multimedia ... your way. A multitude of HTC Sense widgets makes it easy to transform your Home screen with rich content that personalizes your phone experience.

If you're a sports junkie or simply love to keep up to date with the latest news, the HTC Desire keeps you in the know with the News application. News makes it easier than ever to collect all your favorite articles from across the web. Choose from a selection of channels that cover top blogs, news sites or sports pages, or get news updates based on the keywords you select.

Stay Close
The HTC Desire excels at helping you stay in touch with the different circles of friends or colleagues in your life. The new People widget lets you bring any group you create on your phone right to the surface for easy access to calling, messaging, emailing or simply checking up on social networking updates.

The HTC Desire simplifies the way that you tend to all of your social networks. With Friend Stream, your interaction with friends across multiple social networks like Facebook®, Twitter™, and Flickr™ are brought into a single easy to follow stream of updates, photo posts, and shared links. Friend Stream also lets you shout out your thoughts or feelings to all your online friends with a single comment that gets broadcast to both Facebook and Twitter.

Discover the Unexpected
HTC Desire offers an expansive display, a blazing-fast processor, and a great interface. On top of that, it has a lot of little design touches that make a big impact on your overall phone experience: like quick and easy access to any panel of your Home screen with the new seven-panel 'helicopter' thumbnail view, or the polite ringer that lowers the ringer volume when you pick up the phone.

Your work email, calendar appointments, and contacts, are right there on your phone - you can even look up any company contact in the global address book. The HTC Desire also has enhanced support for Exchange security features such as password protection and remote data wipe. And, if you forget to tell your colleagues that you are taking the much needed day off, you can set the 'Out of Office' status right from your phone.

Main Features
  • Android™ 2.1 (Éclair) with HTC Sense™
  • 119 x 60 x 11.9mm
  • 135g with battery
  • Bluetooth® 2.1 with Enhanced Data Rate
  • 5 megapixel colour camera with auto focus and flashlight
  • G-Sensor
  • 3.7" AMOLED touch-sensative screen with 480 x 800 WVGA resolution
  • Wi-Fi®
  • Optical Mouse
  • microSD™ memory card
  • Facebook™ integration
  • HTC Peep for twittering
Package Contents
  • Desire S Smarphone
  • Battery (preinstalled)
  • microSD card (preinstalled)
  • USB cable
  • 3.5mm stereo headset
  • Power adapter
  • Quick start guide
  • Safety and regulatory guide
  • Call center card (hotline card)
  • Warranty card
Limited Warranty1 Year