HTC Desire upgrade: what should you choose?

HTC Desire upgrade: what should you choose?
Bye bye Desire, hello to the next generation

After the huge success of the HTC Desire at MWC all the way back in 2010, we're now getting to the point when all those early buyers are coming to the end of their two-year contracts.

But given that the Desire marked HTC's real breakout handset, a lot of people will be aware that their next phone might not inspire the awe that your last mobile gave you.

So we've put together a few questions to create a handy guide to help you decide which phone you should be looking at after your HTC Desire; so you don't end up with a phone that you want to throw out of the window the minute you excitedly rip it from its box.

Do you want another HTC?

Whenever you end a mobile contract, there's that dilemma of whether you want to stick with the same brand or make the leap to another.

Chances are you've been pretty impressed with HTC Sense, which is one of our favourite Android overlays, and you'll want to stay in that realm with your next pocket partner, so take a gander at these current HTC darlings:

HTC Sensation XE

Sensation xe

The Sensation XE is HTC's current flagship phone, bringing with it Beats Audio branding and a pin sharp screen. The camera's ace, and you should be able to get it on the same tariff you're currently paying.

HTC Sensation XE review

HTC Desire S

HTC desire s

If you're thinking you don't need the latest whizzbang phone on the market, but just a little update to your current Desire, then many have made the jump to the Desire S quite easily. It's a faster and more compact version of the original, and will give you that sense of familiarity we all crave.

HTC Desire S review

HTC Wildfire S

HTC wildfire s

OK, so this is more for those that are thinking they've been paying waaaay too much for their phone each month when really they only need a bit of internet browsing to go along with the odd game of Angry Birds. If you're saving the pennies, check this out on a 12 month deal.

HTC Wildfire S review

Are you tempted by another brand?

However, there will be many of you that are slightly sick of the Desire, given it's still stuck on Android 2.2, has issues installing apps thanks to a low amount of memory, and hasn't quite managed to sort the shonky battery life.

If you're in that camp, take a look at these mobile madams trying to entice you with their shiny wares:

Samsung Galaxy S2

SAmsung galaxy s2

Come on, it's no surprise we'd recommend our second 5 star phone to follow our first five star phone in your pocket. Dual core power, a superb camera that can shoot in full HD and a screen to die for? It's definitely a highly likely next step for many HTC Desire owners.

Samsung Galaxy S2 review

iPhone 4S

iPhone 4s

We know: to some of you, such a suggestion is sacrilege, but you should definitely consider it as an option. With dual core power pushing apps faster than before, the novelty of Siri plus the gorgeous Retina display, the price should be the only thing that may put you off considering it as a viable next phone.

Unless you just hate Apple products. In which case, probably best to steer clear.

iPhone 4S review

Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc S

Sony ericsson xperia arc s

An odd phone, this – we never thought we'd recommend a phone from the soon-to-be-Sony brand, but we've been impressed with this option for a while now. It's very cheap on contract these days, but the main thing is it just works as you'd hope it to – plus a decent camera and quality screen help with the next-gen feeling you're after.

Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc S

Do you want to stick with Android?

Of course, we all know about the HTC Desire update issues taking it to Gingerbread – and we all know there's no chance it will ever be packing Ice Cream Sandwich, so you'll probably be wondering whether you can be bothered sticking with an OS that changes so often.

You could opt for the new Nexus (see our Samsung Galaxy Nexus review) if you want to avoid the whole issue of fragmentation – you'll be guaranteed the next version of the software as soon as it's ready if you do.

We've also rounded up the best Android phones on the market if you're dedicated to the platform – check that out for 10 HTC Desire alternatives.

But what about the alternatives? Well, there are a few to choose from. We've already covered the iPhone 4S as a choice for your HTC Desire upgrade, but what about the other two operating systems?

Your first stop should be to the RIM shop – sure, BlackBerrys aren't as popular as they once were, but are certainly worth a look, with the Bold 9900 a real favourite of ours.

Or you could embrace the future: Windows Phone looks set to kick into third place in the world's favourite mobile operating systems, and joining the new Microsoft bandwagon will give you that smug feeling of getting involved at the ground level.

When's the iPhone 5 release date likely to be?

One question we're asked more than any other is: 'should I get an iPhone?' – and then directly after than: 'When's the new iPhone 5 coming out?'

Our iPhone 5 release date page should help you get up to speed with the latter question – but given it could be October until we see another shiny new iPhone for Apple, you'll have to be really patient to wait for the new handset.

However, our iPhone 5 rumour round up should give you some insight into what's coming, and whether you can hang on to an ageing handset for eight more months.

Do you really need to upgrade now?

This is something phone users seem to forget on occasion: when called by their network and told there's a fancy upgrade they can have for free, the response is generally excitement, a squealed 'yes' and perhaps the need for change of trousers, especially if it's a surprise.

However, we'd firmly urge against such action. If you're coming up to contract renewal time, think about what's on offer and do some research. You could save a lot more money simply by dropping down onto a month by month contract (for as little as £5 per month on some networks) and waiting until the next exciting phone lands on the market.

There are plenty to choose from – check out our MWC 2012 coverage to see what's coming next from all the brands, and remember these will be available from around April this year – not long to wait to get your hands on something like the Sony Xperia S or HTC One X.

Or you could tough it out a little longer and wait for the Samsung Galaxy S3 to finally be announced – with quad core power and a screen that will make the Galaxy S2 look like a low-powered reading light, you could be looking at your next favourite phone.

Gareth Beavis
Formerly Global Editor in Chief

Gareth has been part of the consumer technology world in a career spanning three decades. He started life as a staff writer on the fledgling TechRadar, and has grown with the site (primarily as phones, tablets and wearables editor) until becoming Global Editor in Chief in 2018. Gareth has written over 4,000 articles for TechRadar, has contributed expert insight to a number of other publications, chaired panels on zeitgeist technologies, presented at the Gadget Show Live as well as representing the brand on TV and radio for multiple channels including Sky, BBC, ITV and Al-Jazeera. Passionate about fitness, he can bore anyone rigid about stress management, sleep tracking, heart rate variance as well as bemoaning something about the latest iPhone, Galaxy or OLED TV.