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

Why you can trust TechRadar We spend hours testing every product or service we review, so you can be sure you’re buying the best. Find out more about how we test.

Using Google's Android OS to good effect, the HTC Explorer features a strong selection of messaging options with the standard SMS, MMS and email features all proving simple to set up, use and attune to your desired wants and needs.

With the SMS/MMS functions lining up in a separate inbox to the email communications, you can flit at will between the standard text-based and advanced multimedia messaging options, with a simple click of the paperclip-adorned icon offering the option to attach images, video, audio files, contacts and even diary entrants and reminders.

HTC Explorer review

With a similar ease of use found within the HTC Explorer's email application, mail clients are easy to set up, with a simple walkthrough guide helping you through the painless set of tasks required to get your messages swinging across to the portable device and displayed in the classic, and still most useful, chronological order.

No matter how simple the HTC Explorer's messaging abilities are to set up, however, any and all good points are soon forgotten when it's time to input a message and use the device's touchscreen QWERTY keyboard, an option that proves too cramped to use to any degree of comfort.

HTC Explorer review

Hold the phone in the classic portrait stance and the compact keyboard is nearly impossible to use for anyone with even relatively slender fingers. With the full key selection cramped in to the 3.2-inch display, accidental presses and wrongfully struck keys are unavoidable, and the auto predictive options quickly become confused and far from the desired mark.

While tilting the HTC Explorer into a landscape orientation offers a slight respite from the fiddly keyboard, the best way to type out a full message with the least amount of hassle is by enabling the Trace input options. With you able to scan your fingers across the keyboard with more accuracy, the HTC equivalent of Samsung's much-loved Swype service is a hit that, once activated, will surely remain on for the remainder of the handset's days.

Saving a bit of time and a number of button presses, the HTC Explorer's messaging options have also been integrated into a home screen widget, enabling you to absorb incoming content without the need to delve within a dedicated software option.

HTC Explorer review

Also lining up on the home screen and fulfilling the social requirements of the handset's likely younger audience, the HTC Explorer once again pairs Android innards with the Sense 3.5 UI to offer up high levels of social networking integration. You're able to send your social streams direct to a dedicated home page widget that enables quick access and replying through the likes of Facebook.