"Haven't we met?": HTC Desire first impressions

11 Jun

Hope you enjoyed my ‘unboxing’ video. As promised, a real writeup on the HTC Desire. This will be the first of a series but today it’s just about the initial experience.

I’ve been carrying it around for a couple of days already. Having reviewed the Nexus One and owning an HTC Legend, the Android OS and Sense UI were things I’m already used to.

The Desire is pretty much a slightly souped up Nexus One with some minor tweaks here and there. Nearly identical specs but the Desire has 64MB more RAM and a few design changes as I’ll explain later.

Yes, you might have met my twin the Nexus One

For a phone dubbed the ‘Desire’, it doesn’t bring much to the table in the sexy stakes. The design award would go to the stylish unibody Legend.

You want me, you know eet

Physically what the Desire does have going for it is its light 135g. Very light, surprisingly thin (11.9mm) and the build feels solid. I like the rubberised back and burnished metal sides.

So thin, I make the Legend look fat

Have to say I really like the the 3.7 inch AMOLED 480 x WVGA screen. Lovely – the Legend’s feels cramped in comparison. Both phones’ screens are rubbish in bright sunlight, just so you know.

No release catch to slide off the back cover = pain

Getting the phone back cover off was a bitch, though. Took quite a few tries to remove and it’s annoying that you have to remove the cover and battery to swap out the microSD card. The SIM I can understand but not the SD card.

Hello custom buttons

What primarily differentiates the Desire from the Nexus One is the absence of the latter’s trackball. Instead, it sports a similar optical joystick to the HTC Legend, as well as additional buttons at the bottom.

How has the first day of use been?

My notes:

1. The battery life on the HTC Desire is disappointing. It’s not so bad if, like me, you spend most of your time at the desk or in front of a PC so you can keep the phone charged via USB. But the battery lasts 6-7 hours if you’re a power user like me. I listen to music to it on the train, check email, Tweet, Foursquare, listen to Internet radio and the like.

EDIT: On normal usage, it can last about 16 hours before needing charging. You will still need to charge it everyday.

2. The 1 GHz Snapdragon processor makes a lot of difference. The screens are zippier on the Desire compared to the Legend. The latter tends to lag when taking photos or video but the Desire can handle my running 4-5 apps at a time without crashing.

3. The responsiveness of the touchscreen is great – I’d have to rate typing with Desire’s onscreen keyboard the best I’ve experienced, even next to the iPhone 3GS or third-gen iPod Touch.

Summary: So far I’m having fun with the phone. The fast processor and massive memory ensure the absence of lag and build quality is good but not as impressive as the Legend. What is annoying, though, is the battery which could have been better. Also questionable design choices where the back cover/microSD card slot is concerned.

Next up, how the HTC Desire takes being pushed to the limit of social media usage.

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