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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As with the large majority of Android-filled handsets, no matter which company's user interface they are overlaid with, the HTC Explorer's contacts storage system is a very simplistic affair with a well labelled, intuitively laid out entry form enabling you to input new contacts with zero fuss, faff or fiddliness.

As always, contacts are easily accessible via a dedicated app icon found in the handset's centralised app menu. Strangely, HTC has opted to label its contacts app 'People', a choice that while marginally confusing at first is quickly forgotten, with the rudimentary icon image of a contacts card helping out.

HTC Explorer review

With a simple, and classic, alphabetical layout, the contacts aspect of the HTC Explorer is similar to a number of its similarly priced rivals, with the full collection of personal details just a simple click away. While social networking features aren't integrated directly into the handset's contacts service, instant messaging handles can be stored for improved methods of communication between friends, family and colleagues.

Helping further distinguish these set contact types, you can opt to group your acquaintances in a simplistic fashion, with the HTC Explorer's customised and individually named groups offering rapid access to select contacts at will - a feature that proves useful on occasion.

Despite the hearty number of new performance enhancing and user engaging features, such as an integrated camera and the wide selection of app-based games, where performance really counts for any smartphone is its ability to make and receive calls.

HTC Explorer review

Now quite an antiquated means of communication, the calling features of the HTC Explorer do not fall beneath those of the handset's closest rivals, although this isn't to say they are the perfect combination of signal strength and in-call clarity.

As with many smartphones, calling is an area that appears to have been overlooked in terms of quality results, with calls often sounding slightly muffled with a distinct lack of defined clarity causing a certain level of annoyance.

Although we suffered no dropped calls during our time with the HTC Explorer, the service provided wasn't reassuring enough to put us at ease when using the handset, even in areas of strong signal.

What's more, with the standard dialling options lacking any additional bells and whistles, the handset's calling options are further diminished by answer and end call buttons that prove sluggish - an issue that although it didn't cause us to miss any calls proved an irritable flaw that continues to annoy and infuriate far beyond the first use.