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Sunday, May 29, 2011

Google Android Smartphone News: HTC Wildfire S review ( "Android Unlock", Auckland

Mini phones are hot and HTC don’t want you take Sony Ericsson’s word on that. What started as a small niche is now a segment that keeps growing – and one that no manufacturer can afford to ignore. Sony Ericsson have just announced their updated mini lineup while Samsung and LG routinely have more than one thing going on in the midrange.
HTC know they can’t afford to stop right in the middle of what they’ve been doing with the Wildfire, the Aria and the Gratia. Going all the way back to the Tattoo, which first put Android on the radar for budget shoppers.
HTC Wildfire S HTC Wildfire S HTC Wildfire S HTC Wildfire S 
HTC Wildfire S official photos
There’s plenty of choice already for those who like their droid in a small package. The HTC Wildfire S seems to be aware of that and does well to make itself seen. The lively paintjobs and friendly compact size are the right features to show to potential buyers. The Wildfire S has found a way to further reduce size while keeping the same 3.2” screen.
One thing we should keep in mind though. HTC seem to be in power-saving mode currently with all their recent releases but facelifts offering minor improvements over predecessors. That holds true for the Wildfire S too, though this is not to say that it shouldn’t be on your list if you’re looking for the next hot mini. HTC seem to have worked exactly on the things that most needed improvement. Display is key here, HVGA finally bringing it to acceptable levels. CIF video-capture was upped to VGA and the phone runs the latest Android Gingerbread.
These things should give it enough value as an upgrade. The Wildfire S is well-designed and well-built – a colorful little droid to offer good bang for buck. Let’s look at what else the S stands for.

Key features

  • Quad-band GSM and dual-band 3G support
  • 7.2 Mbps HSDPA, 384 Kbps HSUPA support
  • 3.2" 256K-color TFT capacitive touchscreen of HVGA (320 x 480 pixels) resolution
  • 600MHz Snapdragon MSM7227 CPU, Adreno 200 GPU; 418MB of user-available RAM
  • Android 2.3.3 (Gingerbread) with HTC Sense 2.1 UI
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 b, g, n with hotspot functionality
  • GPS with A-GPS connectivity; digital compass
  • 5 MP autofocus camera, LED flash, geotagging and face-detection
  • VGA video @ 24fps
  • microUSB port (charging) and stereo Bluetooth v3.0
  • microSD slot (up to 32GB, 2GB in box)
  • Standard 3.5 mm audio jack
  • Accelerometer and proximity sensor
  • Gorilla Glass display
  • Stereo FM radio with RDS
  • Light and compact
  • Turn-to-mute, lift-to-tone-down, flip for speakerphone
  • Smart dialing
  • XviD video support
  • integration
  • HTC Portable Hotspot
  • Ultra-fast boot times (if you don’t remove battery)

Main disadvantages

  • Poor camera performance
  • No HD 720p video recording
  • No shutter key for the camera
  • No Adobe Flash player, Flash Lite only
  • No Document viewer
  • No secondary videocall camera
  • No ambient light sensor
The Wildfire S is the usual all-round smartphone – with the latest Android inside at that – but now in an even friendlier shape. All work and no play wouldn’t do for the Wildfire S and HTC have added some twists to the old recipe to make it 2011-ready.
HTC Wildfire S Review HTC Wildfire S Review HTC Wildfire S Review HTC Wildfire S Review 
HTC Wildfire S live shots
Balance was sought above all – no groundbreaking features are to be expected. Not in this price range, not in a pint-sized package. Minis are friendly and playful. Let’s see if the HTC Wildfire S matches the description.

Economical retail package

The tiny box of the HTC Wildfire S has the essentials duly covered. You get the mandatory charger and an USB cable (to use with the charger as well as in data connections). There’s a set of nice looking headphones and a complimentary 2GB microSD card inside too. The rest is the usual papers.
HTC Wildfire S Review HTC Wildfire S Review 
HTC Wildfire S retail package
The white set of accessories is suspiciously similar to the iPhone’s, the earphones especially almost a complete replica.

HTC Wildfire S 360-degree spin

The HTC Wildfire S measures 101.3 x 59.4 x 12.4 mm and is smaller in real life than it appears on a picture. It’s made entirely of plastic, tipping the scales at the acceptable 105 grams. Maybe it’s the similar styling but we got it wrong initially. No aluminum unibody in the HTC Wildfire S.
The phone feels great in your hand and – being so small, one-hand operation is hassle-free. 3.2” is still more than enough screen real estate to work with – you don’t feel crammed for space.

Design and construction

The HTC Wildfire S borrows some styling ideas from its bigger brother the Desire S and has inherited others from the original Wildfire. Bottom line, the Wildfire S is neat and friendly, and delightfully compact. The finish hasn’t suffered from the plastic build. The soft rubbery back contrasts nicely with the brushed finish of the front frame.
HTC Wildfire S Review HTC Wildfire S Review 
A little Desire S
The phone will be available in a variety of colors and the selection makes sense for a phone targeted at the young. Size is still the key selling point though.
HTC Wildfire S Review 
The Wildfire S next to the Galaxy S II, iPhone 4
The front of the Wildfire S is dominated by a 3.2” capacitive touchscreen of HVGA (320x480) resolution. It’s a reasonably bright LCD unit but with no automatic adjustment for the lack of an ambient light sensor. The smallish screen is quite reflective – making it uncomfortable to use outdoors. The poor viewing angles don’t help it either: colors quickly get washed out. Still it’s enough of an improvement over the poor QVGA screen of the original Wildfire.
HTC Wildfire S Review HTC Wildfire S Review 
The HVGA display of the Wildfire S
As you have every right to expect, the capacitive screen response is top-notch.
Display test50% brightness100% brightness
Black, cd/m2White, cd/m2Contrast ratioBlack, cd/m2White, cd/m2Contrast ratio
Sony Ericsson XPERIA Neo0.1929915770.315131670
LG Optimus Black P9700.2733212280.657491161
LG Optimus 2X0.232289820.353471001
HTC Wildfire S0.432566030.76314414
HTC Incredible S0.181629080.31275880
Motorola Atrix 4G0.483146520.60598991

At the bottom of the device you get the usual four capacitive keys: Home, Menu, Back and Search. The major absence compared to the original Wildfire is the optical trackpad. It won’t be badly miss we guess – except perhaps in text editing.
The capacitive keys are small but well-spaced, with precise vibration feedback for comfortable use.
HTC Wildfire S Review HTC Wildfire S Review 
Capacitive Home, Menu, Back and Search keys
On the left side of the Wildfire S you’ll find the volume rocker and the MicroUSB port for charging/data connections. The volume control is unexpectedly big and prominent, with good press.
HTC Wildfire S Review 
Volume rocker and MicroUSB slot
There’re no controls on the right, the asymmetrical contour of the battery cover a nice little accent.
HTC Wildfire S Review 
The right side features nothing
At the top of the device there is a standard 3.5mm headphone jack and the power/lock button. It’s easy to locate by touch and bounces right back up after each press.
HTC Wildfire S Review HTC Wildfire S Review 
Power/lock button and 3.5mm headphone jack
The mouthpiece and a tiny lanyard eyelet are the only things to note at the bottom.
HTC Wildfire S Review HTC Wildfire S Review 
Microphone, lanyard eyelet
The back of the device is simple but attractive. We like the soft matt finish and the light-colored patch holding the loudspeaker grill, camera lens and LED flash that stands out against the darker finish of the surrounding surface. The camera is a 5 MP auto-focus unit and the LED flash looks quite powerful.
HTC Wildfire S Review HTC Wildfire S Review 
5 MP auto-focus camera with LED flash and loudspeaker
Removing the back panel reveals the 1230 MAh Li-Ion battery. It’s quoted at 360-570 hours of stand-by and 430/350 minutes of talk time (between 2G and 3G). In reality our unit gave us about 5 days, used sparingly.
HTC Wildfire S Review 
1230MAh Li-Ion battery
The HTC Wildfire S is a solid little mini whose key feature is its diminutive size. The premium feel is gone but getting a higher-res HVGA screen we’d call it a fair trade. And just to be clear, the phone has no aluminum unibody but the build and finish are up to the usual high HTC standards.
HTC Wildfire S Review HTC Wildfire S Review 
HTC Wildfire S in hand
It’s a small phone that handles well and comes in a variety of colors to please any taste. Friendly and compact, the Wildfire S will let even less experienced users enjoy Android.

This post is sponsored by:
Dr Mobiles Limited
1 Huron Street, Takapuna, North Shore 0622
Tel: (09) 551-5344 and Mob: (021) 264-0000
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