HTC Desire - Unleashed Android Power

Launch SRP: S$648

Performance

Yearning for More

For those who've been following up with the Nexus One, the Desire doesn't hold much surprises for them. The hardware components are almost identical, which includes the Qualcomm Snapdragon 1GHz processor. The Desire does get a slight bump in its RAM capacity to 576MB, up from the standard 512MB RAM and ROM on the Nexus One. The additional capacity is a definite aid to the Desire's overall experience, which sort of explains the smooth interface transition we saw on the device. Reaction time across the various pages and apps is pleasingly short. With no discernible slow down in the device's reaction time and general performance with multiple apps running, the Desire definitely managed multitasking well.

Text messaging is a smooth affair thanks to the predictive and auto-correct nature of the HTC keyboard. While you can throw caution to the wind and type without looking at the keyboard, you'll do better to keep a close watch on the suggested text and moderate your typing speed to get the best accuracy. Call quality is great on the Desire, though excessive street noise is still an issue.

So, how well does the 3.7-inch AMOLED WVGA screen perform? One word - splendid. We ran a video encoded to the Desire's native resolution of 800 x 480 pixels, and the results were impressive. With both its sizable screen and 1GHz processor, we were greeted with a video performance that was smooth with no lags or visible frame loss, and rich colors thanks to the display's AMOLED nature. But like most phones, under direct and strong sunlight, screen legibility could hinder the experience, which is unavoidable for the most part. Its accompanying audio is average, and thankfully, wasn't too flat on its highs, mids and lows on our test audio tracks.

Imaging is once more under scrutiny, and even more so due to previous HTC devices being unable to perform in this area. The Desire is armed with a 5-megapixel camera and an LED flash, both of which have become a common feature on high-end smartphones. We put the Desire to our usual resolution and color chart test, with one final test image to determine its actual performance. Results for the resolution chart did show up to values of 800 on both the horizontal and vertical LPH (in general, higher values are better). Colors turned out well, with no excessive hues in specific regions. Overall performance is still average given the lack of sharpness and finer details for our controlled test image shot.

The final test falls back on the Desire's ability to sustain itself on a single charge. This involves our standard battery test with a test video encoded at 240 x 320 resolution being looped under the following conditions - 100% screen brightness and volume, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth active with push email or data being pulled at regular intervals. For the Desire, we compared it against similar Android devices such as the Google Nexus One, Motorola Milestone and Sony Ericsson Xperia X10.

Specifications/Device HTC Desire Google Nexus One Motorola Milestone Sony Ericsson Xperia X10
Connectivity
  • Wi-Fi 802.11b/g
  • Bluetooth 2.1 + A2DP
  • HSDPA
  • GPS with A-GPS
  • Wi-Fi 802.11b/g
  • Bluetooth 2.1 + A2DP
  • HSDPA
  • GPS with A-GPS
  • Wi-Fi 802.11b/g
  • Bluetooth 2.1 + A2DP
  • HSDPA
  • GPS with A-GPS
  • Wi-Fi 802.11b/g
  • Bluetooth 2.1 + A2DP
  • HSDPA
  • GPS with A-GPS
Dimensions
  • 119 X 60 X 11.9mm
  • 119 x 59.8 x 11.5 mm
  • 115.8 x 60 x 13.7 mm
  • 119 x 63 x 13 mm
Weight
  • 135g
  • 130g
  • 165g
  • 135g
Screen size
  • 3.7-inch, 800 x 480 pixels
  • 3.7-inch, 800 x 480 pixels
  • 3.7-inch, 854 x 480 pixels
  • 4.0-inch, 854 x 480 pixels
Battery
  • 1400 mAh
  • 1400 mAh
  • 1400 mAh
  • 1500 mAh

The two aspects we look out for in the battery life performance results are obviously the battery life (in minutes) and the device's portability index, which is calculated as a ratio of its battery life to the device's weight multiplied by its volume (i.e. battery life / (weight x volume). In both cases), with the outcome being a higher value preferred. In this situation, the Desire doesn't have the upper hand as compared to some of its other Android counterparts. Yet, we aren't discounting the fact that the unit managed to hold its ground for nearly 5.5 hours, which is an impressive figure for mobile devices for multimedia performance. Thanks to this battery mileage and its accompanying slim and lightweight form factor, the Desire managed to score quite well on the portability index too, second only to the Google Nexus One. Other than the intensive battery test, we also put the Desire to a more casual routine of calls, messages, multimedia playback and data activities, which saw the Desires lasting slightly less than a day - somewhat lower than our expectation of at least one full day.

9.0
Design
9
Features
9.5
User-Friendliness
9
Performance
8.5
Value
9.5
The Good
Enhanced and fast user experience with updated HTC Sense.
Great multimedia experience on its 3.7-inch AMOLED screen.
Availability of internet tethering and FM radio features on Android.
The Bad
Less than a day of heavy usage.
Average audio playback quality.
More work required on imaging quality.