HTC Explorer review

Budget Android smartphone that looks good - apart from the touchscreen

HTC Explorer
This starter Android smartphone is intuitive in its touchscreen interface

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Far from the clunky, sluggish user experience that plagues a number of budget, entry-level handsets, the HTC Explorer's combination of Google's Android 2.3 Gingerbread operating system and HTC's much loved and industry acclaimed Sense 3.5 user interface help provide an easy to use experience for first time smartphone users.

Despite this friendliness to smartphone newcomers, the HTC Explorer's Android and Sense UI partnership sees a selection of high-end user features filtered down to the entry-level market with a number of lock screen customisation options enabling you to unlock your compact handset directly into dedicated features, including the likes of messaging and emails as well as calling and camera options.

HTC Explorer review

This strong start to the HTC Explorer's user interface continues throughout the phone, with the handset playing host to a largely fluid and rapid experience. Although filled with strong aspects, the HTC Explorer's interface isn't without fault, featuring what quickly become tiresome periods of juddering and moments of lag and stalling.

Although flitting between the handset's seven available home screens is a fuss-free affair, scrolling through the centrally located applications menu provides a less fluid experience. There the otherwise smooth screen transitions become clunky, with an unwanted amount of juddering. Helping you avoid this less than impressive app selection option, a variety of home screen-based widgets offer instant access to a selection of details, with app icons also able to be stored upfront to bypass the multiple clicks and sluggish menu access.

HTC Explorer review

Other areas in which the HTC Explorer is less than fluid include when the handset is rotated between portrait and landscape orientations. Far from the seamless transition found on the likes of the high-end Apple iPhone 4S, the HTC Explorer struggles with what is such a seemingly simple task, featuring a not inconsiderable pause before the device catches up with itself and transforms the on-screen content to meet your desired layout.

More than a simple stumbling block, the low grade nature of a selection of the HTC handset's hardware features means the HTC Explorer has been forced to do away with a selection of Sense features that are present on a number of the device's higher end siblings, such as the HTC Sensation.

HTC Explorer review

One such example is the system's selection of live wallpapers. While not a performance-depleting omission, the reduced features list is an annoyance that is noticeable and that will maintain long into the handset's lifespan.

Despite this selection of niggling issues, the Android and Sense interface package ensures that the HTC Explorer comes out of things in a positive light. The system proves extremely intuitive and easy to pick up, with the display's multi-touch capabilities ensuring users can make use of the now standard and intuitive pinch to zoom features, among many others.