Compact & lightweight
HTC's handsets look very similar. The resemblance between the WildFire, the Desire and the Google Nexus One is quite striking. The WildFire has the same sturdy feel, excellent finish (the Teflon rear cover makes for excellent handling), sleek design and an optical trackpad that's just as accurate as the Desire's. Our model was also finished in the same smoky brown colour that you'll either love or hate.
This being an entry-level handset, the WildFire has a 3.2-inch capacitive multitouch screen (compared with 3.7 inches for the Desire) with a resolution of 'just' 240 x 320 pixels. This effectively sets it apart from the latest models of smartphone with higher-end screens, such as the Super AMOLED on the Galaxy S, or the Retina display on the iPhone 4. That said, the screen actually does quite a good job, and is both sensitive and responsive. You'll just have to make do with seeing a little less of your favourite web pages and text-based applications, and you'll have to get used to playing around with the zoom!
Patience is a virtue
The HTC WildFire takes a long time to start up—too long, in fact! It takes over a minute to get going, whereas other smartphones average at around 30 seconds. BlackBerry handsets are a notable exception though, as these also take what feels like an age to switch on.
Users have seven customisable homescreen pages, including a few widgets supplied by HTC via its Sense interface. These widgets include Friend Stream, for a quick way to view all of your contacts' latest activity on various social networking sites, like Facebook and Twitter.
Let's start with the camera. The WildFire has a 5-Megapixel camera with flash, but with no image stabilisation. It's a shame there's no physical button for fast, direct access to the photo mode, as you'll have to use the optical trackpad to take snaps with the WildFire. Picture quality is OK, but only just. There's definitely room for improvement. Pictures aren't particularly detailed and have a red tinge, and focusing isn't particularly fast or accurate.
It's no surprise that web browsing isn't as pleasant as with an iPhone 4, Desire or Galaxy S. This is mainly due to the small screen size, which is really noticeable when surfing the Internet. In fact, you have to zoom in to see pretty much anything properly, and the zoom function can sometimes be a little slow to focus.
- Design and handling
- High-quality finish
- Google services (Gmail, Gtalk, Google Maps Navigation etc.)
- Responsiveness / Smooth operation
- Start-up time
- Touch-sensitive keys either too sensitive or not sensitive enough
- Screen a bit small for web browsing or watching videos
- Battery life
- SMS interface not the most practical
The WildFire is a good basic version of the Desire. It's less powerful than its high-end counterpart but it's also a fair bit less expensive. In other words, this handset is good value for money for shoppers with limited budgets. It's compact and lightweight, but you'll have to make do with a reduced screen size and resolution. Its main let-down is its poor battery life.