HTC Wildfire review

The low-cost version of the HTC Desire arrives

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HTC doesn't go in for masses of custom software for connecting your handset to a PC or Mac.

Considering some of the abominations other manufacturers have come out with (looking at you, Samsung and Sony Ericsson), it's probably just as well the HTC Wildfire is simply treated like an external storage device when plugged into a computer via USB.

Copying songs, video files and documents across is as easy as copying them between folders on your desktop.

Network coverage on O2 was standard, pretty good most of the time with only the occasional blackspot.

We did suffer a couple of call cut-outs for no apparent reception-related reason, and at least one text message delivery was delayed by several hours. It's not clear if this was a network or handset issue.

GPS on the HTC Wildfire was far better than handsets in a similar price-bracket, for example the Sony Ericsson Vivaz which struggled to locate us after twenty-minutes of trying.

The HTC Wildfire managed to find us almost every time we opened the map app. Unfortunately, the location service for the weather widget on the home screen was another story – it was so flaky that at one point it thought we were in New York City when we were, in fact, in Somerset.

Getting set up on Wi-Fi is covered by the handy set-up guide the first time you turn the HTC Wildfire on.

There's always a notification when an open Wi-Fi network is in range, and the handset will remember Wi-Fi networks you've connected to recently so you don't need to repeatedly mess about with WEP keys and passwords for familiar networks.

Comparison

HTC has given the budget Android phone a go before – it didn't go so well. The HTC Tattoo was a horribly toy-esque resistive touchscreen handset.

The HTC Wildfire, however, makes good on all the promise of that cramped little handset. With fewer buttons clogging up the front panel, a capacitive screen and a more mature design, it blows the HTC Tattoo out of the water.

We'd be remiss if we didn't mention the likenesses between the HTC Wildfire its older brother, the HTC Desire. A powerhouse of a handset, the Desire is one of the few ever to score five stars in a TechRadar review.

Aside from lower processing power, screen quality and size, the two handsets are very much alike; and we can't say we felt the loss as much as we were expecting to.

Although we did find the screen a little cramped on the HTC Wildfire and watching video content was nowhere near as satisfying as on the Desire's lovely AMOLED screen – but that processor held up well and we could easily get by.

Although the Wildfire's screen is small, we were happy to have the QWERTY keypad layout and great zoom facilities for web browsing.

If you fancy something even smaller, we'd point you in the direction of the Sony Ericsson X10 Mini, another Android smartphone-lite with similar capabilities to the Wildfire but a completely different Android experience.

The HTC Wildfire even manages to give older models of the iPhone a run for their money; with Android's flexibility and customisation, in many ways it's a nicer handset to use than the iPhone 3G.

Sadly, the iPhone App Store continues its vast superiority to the up-and-coming Android App Market; but its day will come – eventually…

If considered a mid-range handset, in a bracket with the likes of the Sony Ericsson Vivaz and LG GW620 InTouch Pro, the HTC Wildfire easily takes the crown. It's a combination of sleek, mature styling, ease of use and speedy web browsing that makes it the best in group.

Tech Specs

Product TypeSmartphone
Network BandQuad Band
Input MethodTouchscreen
BluetoothYes
Wireless LANYes
USBYes
Contract TypeSIM-free
Maximum Memory Card Size Supported32 GB
Built-in Memory512 MB
Built-in FlashYes
Memory Card SlotYes
Cellular Data Connectivity TechnologyGPRS, EDGE, HSDPA, HSUPA
SAR Value0.75 W/kg
GPS ReceiverYes
Cellular Generation3.5G
Cellular Network SupportedGSM 850, GSM 900, GSM 1800, GSM 1900, WCDMA 900, WCDMA 2100
Rear Camera Resolution5 Megapixel
Memory Card SupportedmicroSD
Phone StyleBar
ColourSilver
Operating SystemAndroid
Brand NameHTC
Product ModelWildfire
Screen Size8.1 cm (3.2")
Screen Resolution240 x 320
Weight (Approximate)118 g
Maximum Video Resolution320 x 240
Processor ManufacturerQualcomm
Bluetooth StandardBluetooth 2.1
Operating System VersionAndroid 2.1 Eclair
Messaging TypeEmail, Instant Messaging, SMS (Short Message Service), MMS (Multi-media Messaging Service)
USB StandardUSB 2.0
Height106.7 mm
Width60.4 mm
Depth12.9 mm
Radio TunerYes
ManufacturerHigh Tech Computer Corp
Product NameWildfire Smartphone
Processor Speed528 MHz
Screen TypeLCD
Sensor TypeAccelerometer, Proximity Sensor, Ambient Light Sensor, Digital Compass, G-sensor
Manufacturer Part Number99HLC130-00
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.europe.htc.com
Marketing Information

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Limited Warranty1 Year