I recently purchase HTC Wildfire for my wife as I believe the Android phone platform has good features for a mobile phone. HTC Wildfire is one of the few nice price budget Android phones around. Since the early launches of Android phones were way expensive, I have stayed away from purchasing any smart phones until they were in a more acceptable price range. Frankly speaking for me, I rather not plonk US$650+ for a smart phone. To me an acceptable price range is about US$350 to US$400. After all smart phones aren’t made to last. At most about 2 to 3 years usage before the smart phone starts to go crazy on you.
So let’s see what this HTC Wildfire can do. The basic design is similar to most HTC range of Android phones except the screen is a little bit smaller but not by much. The most obvious factor with this budget Android phone is the screen display. It is slightly fuzzy and not very sharp. I guess in order for HTC to bring down the price of this HTC Wildfire Android phone they have cut down on the specification. The fuzzy display is not too much to my liking especially for my age where presbyopia is setting in. If you are not fussy on this slight fuzziness this should still be generally acceptable.
Let’s see what the specifications are in brief:
CPU: 528MHz running on ARMv6 processor
Display: 3.2 inch
Camera: 5 Megapixels
Size: 106.75 x 60.4 x 12.19mm
Weight: 118 grams
Of course once the Android OS is loaded in your ROM would be reduced to about 175 MB with a RAM of about 314 MB availability for your installation of other software applications from the Android market and data.
Giving this HTC Wildfire a spin, generally this is pretty well design despite the lower hardware spec. I suppose they have to in order to keep the lower budgeting.
The touch screen is rather sensitive while the scrolling is slightly jerky unlike my Sony Ericsson Xperia X10. I guess my Xperia X10 600MHz CPU and smaller screen helps out with the processing.
I’m not sure whether the new Android version 2.1 or the tweaking done by HTC makes the contacts usability better than my Xperia X10 which is running on the Android version 1.6. The contacts has four types of storage display: in-built HTC contact, SIM card contact, Gmail contact sync, and Facebook contact sync. That’s a lot of way to manage your contact list! The in-built HTC contact do not sync with any service, though you could download a software from HTC to synchronize with Microsoft Outlook. The Gmail contacts will synchronize with your Gmail account while the Facebook contact will just display the contacts as provided by your friends and family in your Facebook account. If you feel you have too many same contacts listing, you could merge them into a single contact by linking the contact together. You could also choose which of the storage to display when scrolling through your contact list.
After having used an Android phone, I like the Gmail account sync as that would mean you have a contact copy in your Android phone and in your Gmail account. And should you change to another Android phone or even iPhone, your contact list would still remain. The synchronization with Microsoft Outlook unfortunately is a little tricky, and despite my tinkering with it I couldn’t get the HTC software to sync properly with Microsoft Outlook.
Virtual Keyboard Input
HTC Wildfire uses a virtual keypad for dialling and virtual keyboard for typing text messages or input of data. In a portrait mode, you need to be a little accurate otherwise you end striking the wrong keys, turning it to landscape mode makes it easier for accuracy as the Qwerty keyboard becomes wider to fill in the landscape mode width. The on board intuitive dictionary with suggestions helps with the typing especially where typing errors occurs. However I still prefer a real keyboard over that of the virtual keyboard for any extended typing especially if you plan to use your Android phone to make personal blogs or writing long winded articles.
I find the battery life of HTC Wildfire to be better in comparison with my Xperia X10. The HTC Wildfire Li-ion battery has a capacity of 1300mAh running at 3.7V which was much higher capacity than my Xperia X10 which has only 970mAh running at 3.7V. The key to having a better battery life for either phone is to reduce the number of background processes. So you will need to pick and choose the necessary software that you want running that are useful for you.
Because of the tighter connection with the various social website, the HTC Wildfire can easily hook on with your social contacts particularly with your account in Gmail (of course! It is after all a Google phone!), Facebook, Flickr, Twitter and Plurk.
In addition, HTC Wildfire has Java which means you could install and run Java software in apart from the software that you can download from Android market.
HTC Digital Camera
The 5 Megapixel camera unfortunately is not very great. Megapixels is never the benchmark on the quality of photos taken with digital camera. It just means it can capture bigger size pictures. Photos taken with HTC Wildfire vs Xperia X10 where both has the same 5 Megapixel camera, HTC has poorer quality picture in comparison. I could see the pixilation and demarcation of shades. However in the small screen of the HTC Wildfire phone, the picture looked acceptable, it is only when you transfer over to your PC that when you can see the quality is not that great.
Overall, HTC Wildfire is in a nice price range with the exception of the fuzzy screen display, it is generally of acceptable quality with sufficient ROM and RAM memory and battery life for those who don’t ask too much out of an Android phone.