Review: HTC Desire

Update: I’m having some difficulty with my phone - see here for details.

Despite my avowed geekdom, I’ve never owned a smartphone. I’ve admired other peoples’ iPhones for years now, but the combination of high price and the draconian app ecosystem proved major obstacles to me buying one. Android’s developer-friendly reputation and cheaper cost of ownership made it a really appealing option, so three weeks ago I got an HTC Desire.

Htc Desire

The first thing that struck me about Android is how easy it was to set up. I gave it my Google account details, and in seconds I was synced with my Google Calendar and GMail. I’m a big Google fan, so I was very pleased that the apps I rely on were running straight away.

Much like with the iPhone there are thousands of Android apps available, many free. I haven’t downloaded many, but I’d particularly recommend gStrings - I used it to tune my guitar while I was restringing it, and it did as good a job as my Korg GA-30.

The above points are general to the Android software, so what about the Desire’s hardware itself? I’m pleased to say that the phone is an excellent size - neither too big in my pocket nor too small for comfortable on-screen typing (crucial considering the lack of a physical keyboard). The camera is good quality, especially compared to the other (cheaper) phones I’ve owned.

I have a few complaints. It’s impossible to copy text from the included GMail app, which is a big nuisance. The inbuilt Facebook app is not very good compared to the iPhone’s - links from the newsfeed open in the browser rather than the app, and photo albums aren’t as nice to navigate. Copy and pasting, as well as organizing music, are not as easy as on iPhone. Hardware complaints: the optical sensor pad is insensitive to the point of being frustrating, and I have to charge the battery every night, though I hear this is generally the case with smartphones.

All in all, I’m very happy with the HTC Desire, and I’d recommend one without hesitation. Out of the box it’s a very functional phone and does everything I want very well. It’s powerful and will be easily be able to support future Android OSes. The few gripes are with the software, but these ought to improve as development continues. If you’re in the market for an Android, you can’t do much better than the Desire.