HTC Desire review

The most powerful Android phone ever - but is it the best?

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Our Verdict

A stunning phone with a number of high end features that work in the way you'd want them to - the HTC Desire could well be the phone of 2010

Product features

  • Built-in Memory : 4 GB
  • Rear Camera Resolution : 5 Megapixel
  • Battery Talk Time : 6.67 Hour
  • Screen Resolution : 480 x 800

View full specification

For

  • Gorgeous screen
  • Slim chassis
  • Fast processor
  • Good quality 5MP camera
  • Speedy internet browser
  • Flash video support

Against

  • Bluetooth playback stutters
  • Battery life suspect out the box
  • Can't delete whole inboxes in POP3 messaging

Update: read our Desire HD and HTC Desire S full reviews to see if the older version still stacks up.

After unleashing the massively impressive HTC Legend, its bigger brother, the HTC Desire, is here - faster, bigger and more powerful and still packing the Android punch.

It might be the Nexus One rebadged, but this is a behemoth of a phone in its own right; has HTC tried to do too much?

We reviewed a Desire from T-Mobile, which is first in line to offer the phone on UK release, but we also checked out our findings from another Desire review unit straight from HTC, to really find out how it compared to the competition.

While the Legend was all about style and functionality in one tidy package - the HTC Desire takes a slightly different approach.

Instead of the gorgeous aluminium chassis, we're given a slightly more low-key brown case and a huge 3.7-inch OLED capacitive touchscreen.

But while the screen certainly is massive, the phone itself doesn't seem gargantuan. The screen reaches the edge of the chassis nicely, and the four buttons on the front of the HTC Desire are almost flush and set in attractive aluminium.

HTC desire

If you're looking for comparisons between this and the Nexus One, the first is highly obvious: the trackball is gone.

HTC has given the phone the Terminator eye once more (head back to the HTC Legend review if you want to know why we're glad it doesn't glow red and threaten humanity) which is basically an optical trackpad that registers finger motion over the sensor.

The phone is very slim indeed, with dimensions of 119 x 60 x 11.9 mm, and weighs in at just 133g. If you're counting, that's 2g heavier than the iPhone 3G and the exact same weight as the iPhone 3GS - and that makes it very pocket friendly indeed.

HTC desire

It has a rubberised chassis, which is a little hard to grip at times. We're not talking so slippy you'll be dropping it all the time, but it still can be a little difficult to hold in one hand, especially if you have dinky digits.

That said it sits very nicely in the hand, with a sumptuous curved chassis feeling very nice and making it easy to press the buttons on the front with the thumb.

There's actually very little button-wise on the HTC Desire, with only six in all. The front four buttons are standard HTC Android fare (Home, Menu, Back and Search) and the Terminator optical trackpad also clicks in as an enter key.

HTC desire

The up/down button on the left-hand side of the phone is flush to the chassis, as is the power button on the top - which sits next to the 3.5mm headphone jack atop the HTC Desire.

The power button also functions as the lock key, and is very nicely placed to press whenever necessary (and trust us, we've seen some horrors; we're looking at you, Samsung Galaxy).

That's it button-wise, as there's no camera key (instead the HTC Desire uses the trackpad to take a snap or two) which is a little sad - we still love a dedicated shutter button.

The USB slot is hidden at the bottom - no cover to keep the dust out, but on the plus side it's once again microUSB, banishing the memory of the horrid miniUSB port from HTC designs of old.

HTC desire

There's also a microSD card slot for extra memory - but that's hidden below the battery, and can't be taken out without turning off the phone.

HTC desire

The screen is simply to die for - we mentioned it was an OLED capacitive effort earlier, but that brings such glorious colour reproduction and 3.7-inch is a great size for media and the internet on a phone.

It's a little tacky under the touch - the iPhone for instance feels a little smoother - but we're being very, very picky with that, as it registers the slightest touch with ease.

HTC desire

The design is sleek, and the Desire certainly looks the business - sleek and compact, while still showing off the power of the OLED screen. Yes, it lacks the style of the HTC Legend, but we think it more than makes up for that in function.

In the box

HTC is excellent at keeping packaging minimal, and the Desire once again comes in a coffin-like box with the standard kit inside.

This means a microUSB cable, which plugs into an adaptor to make a wall charger, and the standard headphones which double as a hands-free kit.

HTC desire

HTC hasn't seen fit to update these, but they're functional and work well to use for calls and media, providing you don't have the same odd-shaped ears as us.

There's not a lot more, but with the minimal space in packaging you can see why HTC has kept the components down. We would like to see some PC software on a CD or memory card, but it can be downloaded from the site with ease.

Tags

Tech Specs

Product TypeSmartphone
Network BandQuad Band
BluetoothYes
Wireless LANYes
USBYes
Maximum Memory Card Size Supported32 GB
Built-in Memory4 GB
Built-in FlashYes
Memory Card SlotYes
Cellular Data Connectivity TechnologyGPRS, EDGE, HSDPA, HSUPA
GPS ReceiverYes
Cellular Network SupportedWCDMA 2100
Rear Camera Resolution5 Megapixel
Memory Card SupportedmicroSD
Phone StyleBar
Operating SystemAndroid
Brand NameHTC
Battery Talk Time6.67 Hour
Product ModelDesire
Screen Size9.4 cm (3.7")
Screen Resolution480 x 800
Weight (Approximate)135 g
Maximum Video Resolution800 x 480
Processor ManufacturerQualcomm
Bluetooth StandardBluetooth 2.1
Messaging TypeSMS (Short Message Service), MMS (Multi-media Messaging Service), Instant Messaging, Email
USB StandardUSB 2.0
Height119.4 mm
Width59.9 mm
Depth11.9 mm
Radio TunerYes
Battery Standby Time340 Hour
ManufacturerHigh Tech Computer Corp
Product NameDesire Smartphone
Processor Speed1 GHz
Processor TypeSnapdragon
Screen TypeOLED
Sensor TypeAccelerometer, Ambient Light Sensor, Digital Compass, G-sensor
Manufacturer Part NumberDesire
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.europe.htc.com
Marketing Information

HTC 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.

Standard Memory576 MB