June 11, 2010

HTC Desire – First impressions

The highly anticipated Android smartphone to roll out from the HTC stable is finally here and I have the privilege to test it out for two weeks thanks to Maxis. The first thing that went through everyone’s mind when it was first announced was how good it will be against the iPhone and I’m sorry to disappoint you but this review will not be covering how it fares against the iPhone, another topic for another time maybe 😉

HTC Desire

HTC Desire

HTC sure has interesting names for their phones. Starting off their Android 2.1 lineup with the HTC Legend, which by the way was a huge hit but not yet quite the iPhone killer and now the HTC Desire. If you’ve missed the post on the unboxing video and some shots on the awesome HTC Desire you can check it out here and for those of you who love to have things at the click of your mouse here’s the video 🙂

So let’s get started and find out what Desire is made off and if it truly lives up to its name.

Key features:

  • Android OS v2.1 with kinetic scrolling and pinch zooming
  • 3.7″ 16M-color capacitive AMOLED capacitive touchscreen of WVGA resolution (480x 800 pixel)
  • 7.2 Mbps HSDPA and 2 Mbps HSUPA
  • Quad-band GSM and dual-band 3G support
  • Slim profile and great build quality
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon QSD8250 1 GHz processor
  • 576 MB RAM and 512 MB ROM
  • 5 MP autofocus camera with LED flash and geotagging
  • WVGA (800 x 480 pixels) video recording @ 15fps
  • Wi-Fi and GPS with A-GPS
  • microSD slot, bundled with a 2GB card
  • Accelerometer and proximity sensor
  • Standard 3.5 mm audio jack
  • Stereo FM radio with RDS
  • microUSB port (charging) and stereo Bluetooth v2.1
  • Optical trackpad which doubles as a button
  • Smart dialing
  • HTC Friend Stream that seamlessly aggregates all of a customer’s social communication including Facebook®, Twitter, and Flickr into one organised flow of updates
  • Automatically lowers the ringer volume when the phone is picked up
  • Mutes the ringer when the phone is flipped face down
  • Backs up certain data and settings to the microSD card automatically, such as SMS/MMS messages, bookmarks, Wi-Fi passwords, and more

Before the HTC Desire made a debut locally there were already people running around town with the Google Nexus One, which was not made available locally and it was a definite hit. The HTC Desire not suffering the same confinement as it’s twin the Google Nexus One had everyone waiting in anticipation and backed by SiS which comes with 2 years warranty made the deal that much sweeter.

One can’t help but to wonder what are the actual differences between the Nexus One and the HTC Desire, but it’s not the difference that you should really focus on or look for. Its what both devices have in common that make them so attractive – The big capacitive AMOLED touchscreen, the Android 2.1 (Eclair) OS, the zippy 1GHz Snapdragon processor and the 5 megapixel autofocus camera it comes with. But more on that later.

In the box

HTC has pretty much got it right with the packaging. It’s amazing how they can stuff everything in the box. As expected the Desire comes with all the nuts and bolts that you need to get the unit up and running.

  • The phone obviously
  • micro-USB cable
  • AC adapter
  • 3.5mm stereo headset which is also the hands free kit
  • 1400 mAh battery
  • 2GB microSD card
  • Manuals and warranty information

It would have been good if HTC would have included some kind of pouch or casing to keep the lovely HTC Desire in. Guess thats where 3rd party manufacturers come in.

Hardware Features

Theres no doubt that the most outstanding feature of Desire is its impressive sleek and sexy AMOLED display. The screen produces such vivid colours with ultra sharpness which enhances your viewing pleasure. Photos practically come to life with such crispness and clearness.

Another bonus with the screen is that it can get so bright that if you’re stuck somewhere dark late at night you can use it as a torch light. The brightness can of course be easily adjusted and reduced to suit the comfort of your vision when used at night. The screen measuring at 3.7 inch and with a resolution of 480×800 makes browsing the Internet a breeze. I did some searching online and based on calculations the HTC Desire has 252 pixels per inch !!



To ensure that everything is displayed at lightning speed on screen, the 1GHZ Snapdragon processor is used coupled with 512 MB of memory. This ensures that applications are smooth, fast and load times are minimal giving users a stable and fast multi tasking environment.

Now, the Optical trackball. Its a love hate relationship. At times the trackball is really handy and helps move the cursor to a specific position on the screen, on the other hand it can sometimes  interfere with your typing.  The tendency to accidentally brush against the trackball while typing away at the keyboard is quite high and often you find your cursor at places your don’t want it to be at. But I guess this just requires getting use to and a bit of practise at handling this beautiful device.



The Desire comes with a 5 megapixel camera with a single LED flash. Photos are surprisingly quite good for a camera phone. Some of my friends were rather stunned with the results. Will take more pictures within the next two weeks and post them up. The back cover also acts as a protector for the camera. So even if you scratch the plastic covering the camera, just replace it and you can continue snapping pictures on the Desire.

Desire camera

The look and feel

First thing you’ll notice about the Desire is its not easy removing the battery cover. It involved quite a bit of effort to get it opened and if you’re someone with really short finger nails, then good luck 🙂  The manual states, yes I read the manual !!! 😀

  1. With the phone turned off, hold your phone securely with the front facing down.
  2. With your thumb or finger, lift up the top of the back cover from the small opening near the POWER button.
Removing the battery cover

Removing the battery cover

For me it involved using more than just two fingers and definitely both hands, really doesn’t help that I have big thumbs and fingers either. At least this is not going to be a ritual unlike some other smartphones which recommends doing a battery pull once in a while to ensure the smartphone runs at optimum 😀

Once you’ve got the Desire in your hands you can’t help but to be amazed by its weight. Yes it’s not the most lightest smartphone around but at 135 grams, it’s feels quite comfortable in the pocket. The Desire back cover comes with some kind of rubberised material that is non-slip. Feels really good in the hand but if you have sweaty palms then things can get quite slippery.

As much as I like how sturdy and solid the Desire feels, my heart longs for the aluminium unibody that the HTC Legend comes with. I’m not sure why the Desire had a different construction as compared to the Legend but I’m sure someone out there has an answer to that question. It might just be me but imagining the Desire covered with a sleek and sexy aluminium unibody would have definitely made it more – Desirable. Geek alert 😀

After turning on the Desire and unlocking the device, you’ll be greeted by HTC Sense UI. Users of other Android devices have always envied how Sense UI brings the Android to life in terms of look and feel, though there are certain group of people who believe that the Sense UI slows down the device and finds way to disable it. For me I love the Sense UI and it’s one of the reason I’ve not gotten the Nexus One in the first place. That being said thanks to the open source nature of the Android OS many Motorola Droid and Nexus One users have managed to get the Desire rom and installed it onto their respective devices 😉

As lovely as the screen is, it does have one apparent flaw – GLARE! Yes the Desire can turn into a nice mirror under direct sunlight and for those who can’t get enough of themselves then this would be an awesome feature. Alas some of us have to actually use the Desire under the sun and one way to help reduce the glare is to install a screen protector. The other thing is to angle it so it doesn’t catch the direct sunlight. This so far seems to be the best way to reduce the glare effect. Apart from that the screen tends to attract fingerprints like a magnet and can get pretty ugly after being touched by everyone who wants to get a piece of Desire, but no worries, fix a screen protector on it and the problem is solved. Now the Desire can be touched with oily fingers and it doesn’t matter one bit 🙂

Sense UI

Sense UI

Software Features

The HTC comes with quite a number of applications by default. At least enough to get you up and running. You’ll definitely be spending some time at the Market downloading apps and games which you feel are important to you.

Some of the applications that are included in the Desire are web browser, Google Mail, PDF Viewer, Quickoffice, weather, stock, Facebook, HTC Peep (Twitter), Google Maps and Youtube. Apart from the apps you also have a choice of customised widgets from HTC to fill up the 7 homescreens with. Some of the widgets are weather, clock,  Friend Stream and Footprint.

Weather app

The  Desire comes with a pretty cool weather app. It takes weather forecast to the next level. It has the ability to detect your current location via the phone cell towers. This allows the weather app to triangulate your location and give you weather reports. If its raining the weather app has little rain drops appear on the screen and a wiper will then wipe the raindrop away !! The animated weather app surely looks cool and does good job at “WOW-ing” people 🙂

Animated weather

Animated weather


The clock application allows you to do everything related to  time. You can set your alarms, see the time at different parts of the world, a stopwatch and even a timer.

Desk clock

Desk clock

World clock

World clock





Friend Stream

This nifty little widget is a hub for your social media feeds. It aggregates feeds from Facebook and Twitter into one place and updates in the background.




As the saying goes, “Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but Footprints.” Desire has got it right with this handy tool that acts like a mini photo album. It allows you to take pictures which are geotagged and attach notes together with the picture. Which in effect allows you to go on a journey and you take/leave your footprints behind. Kinda cool for those who love to do travel journals 🙂



So there you have it my initial impression of the HTC Desire and some of the apps it comes with. I’ve yet had the time to fully utilise all the features and functions so in no way is this a complete review. I guess you can call it a work in progress and you’ll definitely be seeing me posting up more details on my experience with the HTC Desire and what I love and hate about the smartphone. Do drop any comments or feedback if you have any 🙂


  1. Good write up! For me, AMOLED screen looks good indoors but sucks when viewed in bright daylight.

    Comment by bt — June 12, 2010 @ 9:56 pm | Reply

    • Yup gotta agree that it would have been awesome if the screen looks as good outdoors as it does indoors

      Comment by yoga — June 14, 2010 @ 12:02 pm | Reply

  2. I guess with any other phone, it all needs a little getting use to. Do agree that it might appeal more to buyers if it was incased in a sleek sexy aluminium unibody but I guess it would add to the cost. Am still not sure with the photo application on this one although I must say that the polaroid feature is quite cool and gives an interesting result.

    Comment by jardindesoleil — June 14, 2010 @ 2:17 pm | Reply

    • The photo application leaves much to be Desired; pun intended but then again most built in camera application never have the best results. Best to install a 3rd party app that gives more control over the camera to adjust the settings.

      Actually after using the Desire for some time the non stick rubber at the back actually does feel really nice to hold. At least it’s not cold like aluminium 🙂

      Comment by yoga — June 18, 2010 @ 9:44 am | Reply

  3. Wow! This is a writeup and a half. Nicely written.

    If I wasn’t such a hardcore Blackberry evangelist, I would consider this fella 😉

    Ps. Hmmm, nice photos too!

    Comment by Julian Si — June 18, 2010 @ 12:16 am | Reply

    • Julian,
      As great as the Blackberry is the Desire does what it names suggests; create lust and desire !! 😀 It’s an awesome phone and really showcases what Android devices can do.

      p/s Heard there will be newer models with QWERTY keyboards soon. Still learning to capture the beauty of the Desire on camera 😀

      Comment by yoga — June 18, 2010 @ 9:46 am | Reply

  4. […] PDRTJS_settings_2147417_post_726 = { "id" : "2147417", "unique_id" : "wp-post-726", "title" : "HTC+Desire+-+In+Depth+Review+Pt+1", "item_id" : "_post_726", "permalink" : "http%3A%2F%2Fjustyoga.wordpress.com%2F2010%2F06%2F21%2Fhtc-desire-in-depth-review-pt-1%2F" } After using the HTC Desire for two weeks I can finally take some time off to do a proper review. If you’ve missed my initial impressions on the HTC Desire you can check it out here. […]

    Pingback by HTC Desire – In Depth Review Pt 1 « just.yoga — June 21, 2010 @ 12:42 am | Reply

  5. Hi, may I know what screen protector you use that reduces glare and anti-fingerprint at the same time?

    If you do not remember the brand, can you describe the finish? Clear/Matte? If matte, does it blur/pixelate/darkens the screen?


    Comment by chenghong — August 17, 2010 @ 6:02 pm | Reply

    • I’ve tried a few screen protectors and the ones that works the best against fingerprints are the matte ones. It does reduce the clarity and sharpness of the display but then it’s bearable. I got mine off someone in Lowyat forum. Hope that helps 🙂

      Comment by yoga — August 25, 2010 @ 10:26 am | Reply

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