HTC Wildfire S review

HTC's latest Android phone is nice and small, but does it offer too little?

HTC Wildfire S
Functionality from having both Android 2.3 and HTC Sense is peerless

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HTC Wildfire S review: Verdict

HTC wildfire s review

The HTC Wildfire S is a solid, charming little phone, ideal for those making their first steps into the smartphone world. Experienced Android users won't be impressed by its average web performance and lack of gaming power, but those who don't mind the odd glitch will love its staggering collection of social features.

We liked

The physical form of the phone itself is good. It feels well made, HTC's rubberised back is nice in the hand and the screen feels solid. The capacitive menu buttons are very responsive too.

The updated HTC Sense 2.1 UI is another fantastic effort from HTC. Some of its widgets are a little bland-looking, but the functionality you get from having both Android 2.3 and HTC Sense is peerless.

HTC's contacts system is immensely impressive. A variety of Home screen widgets and easy customisation make it simple to invent your own one-click messaging powerhouse.

We disliked

Being limited to 640x480 video recording is a little disappointing, especially when many other smartphones with similar 5MP cameras manage 720p video capture with no trouble.

Also, the phone struggles to actually record. The digital zoom, while nice to have on occasion, is rendered useless by the lag.

The 600MHz processor does struggle to keep things running smoothly elsewhere, especially when using the web and gaming. Angry Birds is a bit jerky, which is an enormous crime in this day and age.


The HTC Wildfire S is a solid and well-featured phone, no doubt about that, but the poor little thing struggles to render some web pages and isn't exactly future-proof in this fast-moving mobile world.

Yes, you get Android 2.3 and all the many joys of HTC Sense, but without Flash Player support and with a processor that would've been considered slow in 2010, it's hard to find a place in 2011's vibrant, multicultural smartphone scene for the HTC Wildfire S.

For only a few quid more – about an extra £3 per month on monthly tariffs – you could get the vastly more impressive HTC Desire S instead, which features much the same software running on significantly more capable hardware.

Or for much less money you could pick up a PAYG model such as the Orange San Francisco, the LG Optimus One or the Samsung Galaxy Ace.

Sadly for HTC, there are many cheaper options available to those looking for their first smartphone right now.

The only ace up the sleeve of the Wildfire S is its arrival to running Android 2.3, which simply isn't enough to warrant the extra money.