It’s a bit corny to suggest that HTC’s new Desire smartphone is desirable. But it’s just that. This is one super-sexy device that gives the iPhone, which it’s clearly aimed at, a serious run for its money.
In some key respects, in fact, the Desire, which is very similar to Google’s Nexus One smartphone (not for sale in SA), beats Apple’s handset.
Running Android 2.1, and compatible with the upcoming 2.2, the Desire has a bright, 3,7-inch, 480×800 multi-touch display, 5-megapixel camera and, perhaps most importantly, a super-fast, 1GHz Snapdragon processor from Qualcomm. It ships with a 4GB microSD card in the box, though cards of up to 32GB are supported.
There’s also integrated GPS, support for 7,2Mbit/s over 3G, and built-in Wi-Fi. Tethering and charging are both done via an industry-standard micro USB port.
But it’s the software where the Desire really shines. HTC has tweaked Android with its Sense interface, creating smooth software that is both easy to use and gorgeous to look at.
And integration with Google and social media networks is seamless. I preferred the official Twitter for Android app, available in the Android Marketplace, to the Peep application that is installed by default.
Despite the Desire’s large screen, the battery life is not too bad. Even with moderately heavy use, I was able to get through a day without having to search for a charger. That’s better than the iPhone’s notoriously bad battery life, but not much.
On the downside, Flash support on the Desire isn’t great — the frame rate on Flash animations is poor. And the loudspeaker quality is terrible — so tinny it’s hard to make out what the caller on the other end of the line is saying.
These niggles aside, the Desire is superb. With a bigger screen than the popular HTC Hero, and without the irritating protruding “lip” at the bottom of the device, the Desire is without question the very best smartphone that the Taiwanese handset manufacturer has produced to date and is one of the best touch-screen smartphones available today.
Apple should be worried. — Duncan McLeod, TechCentral