Reviewed: HTC Desire
What do we reckon about the HTC Desire? It's the closest a smartphone has come to kicking the iPhone's ass, that's for sure.
Maybe I should be slapped silly for comparing every smartphone to the current iPhone 3Gs, but then again maybe it is because it has set the bar in so many ways and has, after all, been the inspiration for the app craziness and fondness for touchscreens that now seems commonplace.
I've previously played with and reviewed two HTC Android phones - the Hero and the Legend (such butch names) and I have a particular fondness for the HTC/Android combo. In comparison to other Android phones I've tested, this is a superior and pleasurable smartphone experience.
If you haven't had a HTC Android phone yet, I'll tell you what it's like to unbox one, set it up and go off hunting for apps on Android Market. It's a bit of a 'my first computer' feeling because you know you'll be exploring lots and learning more.
From the 3.7-inch touchscreen, combination of brushed grey steel and matte black slimline yet sturdy exterior, 5-megapixel camera and optical touchpad, you can already say that it's a looker, but for the Desire it's what inside that counts. (It's not the crust, it's the filling).
The creamy Android 2.1 filling
A neat segue way to the creamy Android filling, as version 2.1 is dubbed Éclair. This version introduced live wallpapers, Google Goggles, better Google Maps and an improved virtual keyboard amongst other things, but this is not what makes the Desire so great.
The enigmatic combination of the HTC Sense overlay and Android operating system produces a rare smartphone that can do all the stuff an iPhone can and more, aside from be connected to iTunes and be podcast friendly, but it does allow for dragging and dropping from your desktop straight to the phone so no harm, no foul and all that.
With the Desire you can have all of your productivity, social, comms and web apps on the homescreen if you want, or you can add some of the great widgets in various different sizes that feed you live updates of weather, social-networking updates or things like Google Latitude or a handy search widget.
This is what entices me about well-designed Android phones: I love the iPhone but I feel as though I've been given something that has been checked for sharp corners and other things my minder feels would be inappropriate.
The Android phone, on the other hand, feels like you've been left alone to explore an empty mansion. You can pull things out of closets, drag around the furniture and discover forgotten rooms. Don't worry about running out of space because the MicroSD can hold up to 32GB.
And you won't get lost because one of the best bits is the free sat nav that works with the built-in GPS, and it's really good, so good in fact you don't need to buy a sat-nav device. Just remember the Velcro trick for 'docking' your Desire on the car dashboard.
The Business Angle
Most business people will want certain core functions on their smartphone: built-in Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, removable storage, enterprise email, a good calendar that syncs with their computer and of course the assurance of security.
The HTC Desire has all of these qualities in buckets. It takes MicroSD cards so there is up to 32GB of storage on board, Bluetooth 2.1 that supports FTP and OPP file transfer, and HTC Sync works with Windows XP, Vista and 7.
For the mobile worker that has a laptop and smartphone with them at all times they will appreciate the fact that the Desire can be turned into a wireless modem via tethering.
You can ditch your dongle and simply hook this handset up to your laptop via USB cable and get on the internet using the monthly data allowance from your mobile operator.
Of course as smartphones as essentially compact computing devices this comes packed with lots of mobile applications or apps as they're more commonly known.
Quickoffice is great to reading and editing documents and spreadsheet while the Stocks widget will keep market prices updated and loaded so you can keep an eye on the market at all times.
Although other smartphones on the market have this wide range of apps where the HTC Desire excels is with the ability to display widgets on the homescreen so you can see live, updated information from weather, email, Twitter, Facebook, your calendar and various other sources without actually having to load the apps themselves.
Wonderful looking, fun to customise, and with everything you need to be a mobile 21st-century guy or gal, the Desire is most definitely desirous.
From €19.99 to €149.99 on Meteor