HTC Desire Review (Part 1)

Review (Part 1)HTC Desire

Ok I know my review has been long overdue but as they say better late than never :P I have been really caught up with work, school  and a cold to top it off.

Lets get down to business

I got my HTC Desire on a Telstra (Australian Network) plan over 24 months. After having many issues with the provider – i hope i have finally sorted it out. The person that processed my contract charged the full price of the handset to my first bill (imagine my shock when i got a $990 bill) instead of doing a ‘mobile monthly repayment’ option. I had to spend half an hour on the phone talking to the operator and about 40 minutes in store trying to sort this issue out. I left after the 40 minutes as i was losing my patience.

Apart from the Telstra side problems my HTC Desire has been great so far. I have been using the handset for about a month now and i love all aspects of it. There are some features that could have been designed better but as with all flagship phones there is always something missing. Nothing is ever perfect. I will get into more detail into this as i write my review.

The Handset

The size and the shape of the handset are just perfect. The phone sits very nicely in the hand and is easy to use with one hand. When typing messages it is better/faster to use two hands. Being a touch screen phone, the phone itself doesn’t have many physical buttons. Apart from the standard buttons found on Android devices like – Home, Menu, Back & Search – the phone has a volume rocker switch (i think that’s the correct term lol) and an optical navigation button which can be clicked in to select OK.

The handset sports a 5mp camera with auto-focus & LED flash. There is a loudspeaker on the back next to the camera, a front facing earpiece, a microphone and a micro USB connection for charging and syncing the device to your PC.


Android is a young operating system compared to some of the other mobile operating systems like Windows Mobile, iOS and Symbian. Having used all of these operating systems on previous phones/devices i find Android to be the best operating system so far. It is very easy to use, everything is styled nicely, and HTC Sense adds a lot of eye candy.

Ofcourse just like any OS out there be it a computer operating system or a mobile phone operating system Android does lack some features/functions – but as mentioned above it is a young operating system and it can only grow and become the best. Hopefully the Android OS developers can learn from their competitors mistakes and make Android the top mobile OS. I have no doubt that Android will be in the top 3 mobile OS’s with most mobile phone manufacturers already adopting Android for use on their mobile devices. If companies like LG, Motorola, Sony Ericsson are using Android then that is a good sign.

Almost every feature that Android lacks in its operating system form can usually be replaced by a 3rd party application. A good example is a Task Manager – there are plenty applications that you can get on the Android Market that will add more functionality and allow you to kill applications easily.

Android Market

The Android Market at this stage cannot compete with the Apple App Store but only time will tell. The Android market is growing every day and you can pretty much get most of the applications that you would need. The Android Market still has a long way to go to compete with Apple App Store or Nokia Ovi Store for that matter. First of all the Android Market needs a better more browse-able website. The current website [ link ] is pretty mediocre and you can’t really do much on there apart from browse the lists. You can’t search for apps, you can’t check prices, you cant download apps to you PC or set up an account. Hopefully things will change, and hopefully the Android Developer team will make a Sync application for Mac OS X so that people like me can Sync their Android devices with their Mac’s.

Battery Life

The Desire has a 1400 mAh battery which is not a lot of capacity but for its screen size and functions its not bad. It would have been great if they had a bigger capacity battery but i guess the size/thickness of the phone doesn’t allow for a bigger capacity battery. I mainly use my phone for texting, facebooking and online use. I don’t listen to much music on my phone or make calls 24/7 like some people do. The claimed battery life by HTC is:

Stand-by Up to 340 h (2G) / Up to 360 h (3G)
Talk time Up to 6 h 40 min (2G) / Up to 6 h 30 min (3G)
Information above provided by

The phone generally lasts me 2 days before needing a recharge which is fine, but it would have been nice to be able to get at least 3 days out it.

Configuring APN’s (For Vodafone AU)

This was probably the most frustrating part of the handset. Trying to configure the APN’s so the handset would work on the Vodafone network was a pretty draining job. I called up Vodafone so they can send me the settings like they usually do in a sms message, but they were unable to do so as the handset wasn’t supported. I then found some manual settings on the Vodafone website and after a few attempts of trying to set it up, got it working. I think the main reason for it not working the first time was – you have to restart the phone after editing the APN’s.

Later i discovered that the guys at AusDroid have a full list of settings for Android Devices on the Australian mobile operators [ Link ]

Telstra Network

I haven’t really tested the phone much on the Telstra network as my primary network is Vodafone (even though they have bad coverage). However coverage and internet speed wise – Telstra can kick Vodafone’s ass any time any day.  Only time will tell how Vodafone’s merger with 3 (Hutch) network will benefit its customers. I for one hope to see improved coverage and faster internet speeds.

Facebook on HTC Desire

I have to admit Facebook on the HTC Desire is not the best. It simply cant compare to the iPhone OS verion of facebook in terms of features, but Android is a young operating system so we can only hope that this will improve and get better over time. I believe Android has a very bright future as many mobile phone manufacturers are starting to use this as their mobile operating system.

The Android version of Facebook has less functions than the one available on iPhone OS. The Android version doesn’t have “Requests”, “Chat”, “Notes” and “Events”. The other thing that pretty much sucks on the Android version of Facebook is the fact that when you go into “Notifications” and you tap on the notification to view it – it takes you to a browser which opens the mobile version of facebook. So all of the functions are not integrated into the application, some of them you still have to use a browser with the mobile version of Facebook.

The notifications are a little bit delayed sometimes and you only get alerted for new messages, pokes, and invitations. You don’t get an alert for things such as likes or comments. The messages do refresh automatically when you click on the inbox icon, but the notifications you have to refresh manually.

Reading messages in your inbox is very good, and replying is quick and easy. However if you’re like me and send a lot of messages you end up with very long message threads, and i discovered that the phone stopped updating the message thread after a certain number of messages. Facebook alerted me of a new inbox message but the application was unable to display it. It only showed up to my last sent message.

The Desire’s phonebook integrates very well with Facebook, automatically suggesting to link your phonebook contact with a Facebook contact if you have your phonebook contacts with the correct first and last name. Once linked it adds more fields to your phonebook such as birthday, email and other details not already contained in your phonebook. It also gives you the option to use their Facebook image as a contact image for your phonebook, but the problem is that the image never updates automatically. This is most likely due to a bug in the Facebook application for Android.

Hopefully the Android Facebook application will be updated very soon and they will add new features and fix the current bugs. I  believe that Android can be a iOS killer but it has still got a lot of work to do.

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