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HTC Wildfire, a very decent and affordable Android phone

The HTC Wildfire is HTC’s midlevel Android 2.1 smartphone that occupies the Php15k price point range which is not yet populated by other manufacturers. Sony Ericsson’s X10 Mini Pro is the only other Android phone in that price range as of this writing.

wildfire01

I’ve been playing around with this red-hot HTC Wildfire for a week and it’s quite a nice surprise using this small but capable smartphone. Read on for the rest of the review.

Looks

Most would agree that the Wildfire looks like a cross between the HTC Desire and their Nexus One. Similar to other HTC phones, the wildfire is a finely-crafted, beautiful piece of device which doesn’t look or feel cheap.

htcwildfire

The 3.2″ display panel is scratch resistant which I didn’t bother to try. But I’ve been using it without any casing and it’s always stowed in my pocket along with keys and coins and the screen didn’t get any scratches at all.

wildfirefront wildfireside

There’s only one physical button in front which is the optical trackpad (that I hardly use). There are four dedicated-touch buttons for Home, Menu, Back and the universal Search. The speaker on top gives decently loud audio and there’s also a front-facing cam for video chat. On the left side is the typical volume rocker and the micro-USB jack.

wildfiretop wildfirecamera

On top is the 3.5mm stereo audio jack and the lock/sleep button. At the back is the 5-megapixel camera with LED flash that also acts as the light source for the built-in handy Flashlight app.

Display

Perhaps the most glaring shortcoming of the HTC Wildfire is its sub-par display. With its 3.2″ capacitive touchscreen display, it only has a 320 x 240 QVGA resolution. A far cry from the typical 480 x 320 resolution found in other HTC phones with the same size.

Here it is side-by side with the HTC HD Mini and its 480 x 320 HVGA display.

wildfirescreen

I don’t know if you can actually see any difference but the HD Mini has smoother and crispier icons compared to the Wildfire. Definitely don’t use this phone to view hi-res photos.

Performance

Despite only having a 528 MHz processor, using it feels snappy and responsive although there are the occasional hiccups like when browsing photos. Still, it’s more responsive than my HTC HD Mini which has a 600MHz processor. I think the low display res coupled with the Android OS has something to do with it.

wildfirehtcsense

The HTC Sense UI is really a boon to HTC smartphone users. You can add, remove, reposition widgets and apps that would suit your needs. Definitely put the power control widget in the main screen to easily toggle settings to save battery.

friendstream

There are 7 home screen panels available by the way and there are lots of useful HTC and Android widgets to occupy them. One of them is HTC’s FriendStream which allows you to see status updates from your different social networking accounts and add new updates easily as well.

wildfirekeypad

Texting is quite a challenge on this small phone because of the limited space for the keyboard. But since I’ve been using the HD Mini for quite a while before, I didn’t have any problems with it. I miss being able to use Swype though.

Browsing the net is fast and it renders pages correctly. However, layouts particularly on images may get messed up when zooming in to read text. Drawback from a small screen but the pinch-to-zoom feature is really nice.

Battery life for the Wildfire is roughly around 2 days (or even less) which is the standard for other Android smartphones that I’ve used. Remember, the power control widget is your friend if you want more juice from the Wildfire.

Camera and Multimedia

The 5-megapixel camera on the Wildfire produces not-so decent photos. It has a built-in LED flash though that you can use for low-light situations. I don’t know if I just didn’t focus the camera correctly or not.

wildfirecameraview

Here are some sample shots that I took.

[nggallery id=2]

Not too impressive huh? Focusing is slow and taking the shot is a bit unwieldy. You use the optical track point as the shutter button although you can point and hold the focus area on the screen as well. Using both produces camera shake which will affect your shots.

wildfiremusic

Using it as a music player is very decent even without a stereo headset. The speakers are adequate already when used in a small room. As for video playback, I tried playing a TV series AVI file using Rock Player and the video was choppy but the sound was smooth. You need to convert your video to a smaller resolution to make this a viable portable media player.

The HTC Wildfire only has 384MB internal memory but it can support up to 32GB microSD for your photos and media files.

Conclusion

The HTC Wildfire is really a great, affordable smartphone if you want to dabble with the Android OS but don’t want to spend a lot of money. Despite the nuances with the small screen, which may not run some apps properly by the way, it is still capable of giving you the Android experience that you want.

wildfireconclusion

I really don’t have much to complain about the Wildfire. I’m fine with the display resolution (despite using the Samsung Galaxy S beforehand) and it serves my basic purpose for a smartphone (integrating my Google accounts) really well. Although I prefer a better photo output with its camera.

In terms of usability and ease of use, the HTC Wildfire is a very capable phone. You want to buy this because you want to keep in touch with your social network, easily check e-mails, news or play music all in one convenient and compact package.

HTC Wildfire Specs:

  • Qualcomm MSM 7225 528MHz processor
  • Androidâ„¢ 2.1 (Éclair) with HTC Senseâ„¢
  • 3.2″ QVGA Capacitive touch screen (240 x 320) with pinch-to-zoom capability
  • 384MB RAM, 512MB ROM with up to 32GB microSD support
  • WiFi 802.11 b/g
  • Bluetooth 2.1 w/ A2DP
  • 3G/HSDPA 7.2 Mbps
  • 5MP autofocus camera w/ LED flash
  • FM Radio with RDS
  • GPS w/ aGPS support
  • 1300mAh Li-Ion battery
  • SRP: Php15,500
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  • Tom

    Nice detailed review there. I really like the HTC Wildfire, it’s a really nice looking phone. Looking forward to seeing what they next come up with

  • Pels_17

    Can this be upgraded to android os 2.2?

    • yup according to what i’ve read in forums. no word yet on the exact date though.

  • we sell this model
    its on stock today august 25, 2010
    color red or black
    price 15,500
    openline one year Htc warranty

  • Ailenette

    mas ok ba to sa Sony ericsson xperia mini pro? thanks:D

    • for me it’s much better than the mini pro. Android 2.1 is way better than Android 1.6 and i never did like physical QWERTY keyboards. But if you’re after the small form factor of the X10 Mini Pro then that should be your choice.

      • i haven’t tried the camera on the x10 mini pro but i think it’s better than the wildfire. let’s just say that the wildfire is not made for taking decent-quality photos even for a 5mp.

  • Ailenette

    mas ok po ba to sa SE xperia mini pro? or what other android phones do you suggest? thanks po..:D

    • Hmm HTC Legend, Samsung Galaxy S or the Samsung Spica. Samsung Galaxy 5 is cheap but I haven’t tried it out yet. Actually HTC has the most number of Android phones available here. Make sure it’s on Android 2.1.

  • badfish

    Hi…does this have a video calling feature? I can’t seem to find any front camera, or does it even have one?

    • hi badfish. nope, no front cam on the wildfire.

  • erstie

    hi! just wondering if you’re experiencing any trouble with sending files via bluetooth? cause i’ve read blogs that said so.. i’m kinda torn up between nokia c6 and htc wildfire, w/c one should i get?

    • nope. didn’t experience trouble with bluetooth although i didn’t play with it that much.

      as for c6 and wildfire, i’m really not a fan of resistive touchscreen so i have to choose wildfire. now if you can wait for the c6-01 has a capacitive touchscreen. so now you have to choose between symbian and android. i would still go for android. 😛

      • erstie

        thnks calvin! i already need a new celphone and i think wildfire fits me.. and i kinda don’t like the previous versions of symbian but i think symbian3 would be as good as android… i kinda like the sense ui that htc has encorporated with android and it rocks, can’t wait! thnks…

        • erstie

          hi calvin, uhm i’ve read in some user reviews (GSM ARENA) that the phone hangs whenever there is an incoming call/sms.. did u experience this? i’m kinda hesitating to buy since txting nd calling is essential in a cp..

          • nope. i didn’t experience it. may time na bumagal but only happened to me once. i dont think htc will release a phone na may problem sa texting and calling. 🙂

          • erstie

            thank you very much calvin!!

  • jks

    this or galaxy spica?

    • im biased with htc. hehehe. but spica has better screen. if that’s a big deal for you, go with the spica.

  • Amao

    Wildfire or X8.. assuming the X8 got the eclair update??

    • I think so yes but we haven’t tried it yet. Among the two I’d still go with Wildfire despite being a bit on the expensive side. I’m a sucker for their Sense UI. But the X8 has the better screen between the two but feels cheap when holding it.

      • Amao

        Thanks for your answer… one point for the wildfire.. Sir, wildfire or x8.. who got the most games or applications?? wildfire has this screen resolution issue or the outdated OS of X8??

      • Some apps like Twitter require 2.1 so that’s a minus for the x8. however, i’m sure eventually there’ll be a 2.1 update for it.

        get the x8 if you want to install lots of apps but you have to wait for 2.1 for some of them to work.

        • Amao

          thx a lot!!

  • 8422

    May alam po ba kayong shopna masmura keysa sa ibang store? Aside sa mga online stores. Tnx

  • oliver

    hey calvin maganda ba ang wildfire sa pinas? i mean ayus lng ba ang network ng phils like globe sa fild fire? im really confused,

  • harold

    i’m torn between two phones.

    HTC Wildfire or Galaxy 5.

    Which do you think is better? Thanks!

    Note:

    Globe is offering Galaxy 5 free on plan 1799 and add 6900 on plan 500.

  • princess101

    hi, just wanna ask, pde po ba gawin alphanumeric keypad ung sa txting??

  • engr

    Yun din po ang tanong ko,pwd po bang gawing alphanumeric yung keypad?thanks.
    Salamat po ng malaki sa reviews. Sa camera lng po ako ng aalangan.

    • pwede dapat. nasa settings > keyboard > touch input.

  • paano i activate ung screen saver nya?tnx

  • coolhoney177

    torn between xperia x8 and htc wildfire. which is which?

  • inez

    Hi! What would you recommend I buy, this HTC Wildfire or the SE Xperia X10 Mini? I am really torn. Thanks!

    • i would get the wildfire over the x10 mini because.. well… it’s really mini. i find the wildfire more easy to use.

  • irish lapuz

    can i play plants vs zombies it this unit?

  • irish lapuz

    im not techy… sorry if this sound like a stupid question can i play plants vs zombies in HTC wildfire?

    i havent use any smartphone yet, i dont have any idea..

    • hehe even if there’s a pvz game in Android I don’t think it will be a good idea with its small screen so you probably won’t enjoy it.

  • tarafanatic

    hi sir calvin.. i just wanna ask if this phone can capture a macro shot??? grbe ang gnda ng features nito eh..,..

    • not really although it has a short focusing distance. even if it can medyo panget quality. one of the drawback of this phone is its camera.

      • tarafanatic

        Awww, i thought its camera is good, i want an android phone which can take macro shot, what can u recommend?

        • hmmm it’s hard to find an android phone with a decent camera let alone one that takes good macro. the one that impressed me was the samsung galaxy s. if you want good camera on a phone you have to pay for it. haven’t used a good camera android phone around the Wildfire range.

          • tarafanatic

            Oh i see,

            the nokia 5800 camera has a good macro shot, but the symbian os is one of the things i dont like the phone, maybe i should wait for the nokia android phone, hehe,

  • Good day!I just bought my htc wildfire last feb.5 2011.first it was good but after a week of using it the battery is getting weak.I always charge my phone after 4hrs of using.is the battery can be replaced with a new one with warranty?

    • you should be able to have it replaced. 4 hours is bad. must be a defective battery.

      • sassy

        I just wanna ask how long the battery last?

  • Anne

    thanks for this detailed review. i’ve been looking for a smart phone that is not very expensive but doesn’t look cheap either.

    and from the review, i think i’ll go get this one.

  • Gino Rey

    Hi,

    I bought HTC Wildfire a week ago. I would like to access the internet via mobile network when there’s no wi-fi. I am having problems with it.Does it have something to do with configuring the 3G? I can access the net only when there’s wi-fi. Hope you can help me. Thanks.

    • check your apn settings for your carrier. google apn for globe/smart/sun. usually the default apn is incorrect.

  • What would you suggest? Wildfire or Optimus One?

    • Wait for the Wildfire S. but between the two, i’d choose optimus one p500. cheaper but with decent or even better specs.

      • Eh kung Optimus One or CM Nova? Regardless of brand.

        • optimus one. looks nicer.

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