Considering jumping to Android but don’t want to break your budget? Check out a first-time Android user’s review of the sexy HTC Wildfire S.
Released last June, the HTC Wildfire S was introduced to the market as the much-needed upgrade over the first Wildfire. Being new to Android phones, I was excited and hesitant at the same time to do a review for the HTC Wildfire S.
Firstly, I am more oriented with Blackberries and iPhones and have minimal knowledge with Android features. Second, I have nothing to compare it with since I haven’t really tried using an HTC phone before. Lastly, this is the first time I will have to review a phone, and note, a pretty-in-pink HTC phone! So why the hell not?! I would have otherwise wrote about another digital camera or what have you but with the privilege granted upon, let me share with you my thoughts on the phone.
At first sight, I was completely sold with HTC Wildfire S’ sleek and stylish design. Comes in pink, black and white, this playful yet premium looking phone is well-suited for a personality that’s quietly brilliant so to speak.
The HTC Wildfire S is a featherweight mid-range phone, weighing 105g, that’s perfect for an on-the-go persona. It’s definitely lighter than your tall Starbucks coffee. Stylish as any woman would prefer, the HTC Wildfire S has soft, contoured edges, a two-tone finish and a slight chin at the bottom.
Maximizing the front panel with its 3.2 inch display, the only physical keys are the Power button on the top alongside the 3.5 mm audio jack and volume control found along with the microUSB port on the left side of the phone. You will find the Android touch panels at the bottom part of the screen, giving it a very minimalist look (no front-facing camera here). The metallic satin finish of the body on the front panel justifies its sophistication.
The back panel constructs a unibody plastic with matte finish for that playful experience. But beyond the fashion attributes, I think the back panel is designed as such to lessen the chances of getting scratches over time. The downside is that it easily absorbs dirt as compared to other phones with aluminum or glossy plastic back panel. Not to worry, because you can slightly dampen a cotton swab with water and soap to clean the cover and it will be good as new.
I did have some problems when I tried opening the back panel though. Unlike other phones that have a latch of some sort to remove the cover, this one has a tiny space located opposite the Power button and you need to pull the cover out directly. Given 10 times I tried opening the back cover, I had activated Power button 7 times. It could have been better if the slot was located somewhere else.
As with any small featherweight phone, durability is always a major drawback. Materials used for such phones are most of the time compromised. For just a couple weeks of testing out this HTC Wildfire S, I noticed that the ever so thin painted plastic separating the back and front panels, which I initially thought was made of rubber, started flaking off. Getting a case or a pouch for this phone is highly recommended.
Display and UI
I was particularly engaged upon unlocking the phone for the first time because of its UI. HTC is known for its customized UI called the HTC Sense, allowing you to modify the standard widgets and personalize them to suit your needs. I loved how it displays the current weather in a specific location.
Similar to the HTC Wildfire, there are seven panels where some of the most interesting HTC widgets like the FriendStream are found. In adherence to its brand image, it levels up your caller id by showing the caller’s social status updates.
HTC has also upgraded the resolution of the HTC Wildfire S to 320 x 480, but bumped down the colors to 256K so we’re still seeing some pixelation here.
Performance and battery life
HTC also upgraded the processor to 600MHz Snapdragon and it now comes with an Android 2.3 OS (Gingerbread). It’s pretty responsive when browsing the web, texting and switching through panels but I noticed the screen doesn’t auto rotate as fast as expected.
Here’s the modestly impressive Quadrant score (766) of the HTC Wildfire S:
The HTC Wildfire S supports multi-window browsing, although I am not type who loves surfing, I do find the need once in a while. I appreciate how this phone allows me to Google and YouTube and read blogs at the same time. Browsing the net was fast and the pinch-to-zoom feature made my browsing experience more convenient.
Another major drawback of a small phone has something to do with texting. The spacing is too tight and I always tend to press multiple keys. It will take a while for you to get used to them, especially the special characters. The touch panels are very sensitive and because the screen size is maximized, I tend to press one of them, especially while texting and browsing. It takes some familiarization if you’re not used to typing on small screens.
For standard use of the phone (that is – regular texting and calling, browsing Facebook and Twitter, and taking photos once in a while), battery life lasts about two days. Although, I am surprised that the battery lasts longer than some phones I’ve used.
The HTC Wildfire S has a 5-megapixel camera found at the back panel. It has an auto-focus lens and a LED flash for low-light conditions. There’s no dedicated camera button and taking photos with the onscreen shutter button feels awkward.
Pictures are not that good though but I appreciate the additional features such as applying effects to an image instantly, without having the need to use a separate app. Here are some sample shots:
The phone also features “˜Snap, Tag and Share’ where you can directly tag and share a photo you’ve taken to your social networking sites.
If you’re a music enthusiast, this phone will not disappoint you. You’ll find its speakers pretty decent. It can support music files in different formats. It also has an FM radio but like most phones, you need the earphones connected in order to use it.
As for videos, I haven’t really tried watching high-res ones but watching Youtube videos are okay. No point in watching HD videos here due to its small screen but it would come in handy if you want to catch up on those downloaded TV series.
Gaming performance is as expected from a 600MHz phone. It’s not made for gaming but casual games are certainly playable although you would experience a bit of stuttering from time to time. You might want to move your install to your SD card for improved gaming experience.
I’ll have to give this HTC Wildfire S a 7 out of 10. Its major strength is that is really DOES make it easier for me to connect with everyone else. It is very handy and can easily fit in my pocket or evening purse. My only concern would mostly be related to its physical features especially the paint chipping off. With everything else, I could safely say it’s a great smartphone that’s not so heavy on the wallet at Php13,990.
Oh, and I think it’s really designed for women especially this pink one!
|HTC Wildfire S Specs:|
|600MHz Snapdragon MSM7227 CPU, Adreno 200 GPU|
|Android 2.3.3 (Gingerbread) with HTC Sense 2.1 UI|
|3.2″ 256K-color TFT capacitive touchscreen (320 x 480 pixels) HVGA resolution|
|Gorilla Glass display|
|7.2 Mbps HSDPA, 384 Kbps HSUPA support|
|Quad-band GSM and dual-band 3G support|
|5 MP autofocus camera, LED flash, geotagging and face-detection|
|VGA video @ 24fps|
|418MB of user-available RAM, microSD slot (up to 32GB, 2GB in box)|
|Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n with hotspot functionality|
|GPS with A-GPS connectivity; digital compass|
|Stereo FM radio with RDS|
|XviD video support|
|Li-Ion battery 1230mAh|