HTC brings passion back with Desire

Although it was introduced at Mobile World Congress in February, the HTC Desire smartphone has just arrived in the Middle East. Finally, after we’ve been told since April that it would launch here, it’s available at a list price of AED 2,299.

By Magnus Nystedt

Published: Sat 11 Sep 2010, 10:42 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 3:53 AM

Much has happened in the nine months since the introduction but it’s still one of the best Android smartphones available right now.

Google’s Nexus One, introduced in January, was manufactured by HTC and Desire is basically their version of that same smartphone. It has a 3.7-inch 480 x 800 pixel display, which is very bright and clear. With a 1GHz processor it’s fast and I’ve yet to experience any slowdown even when running multiple applications. The 512MB RAM could be a bit larger but for most users it will be enough and with micro-SD card slot (up to 32GB) you can expand storage.

The Desire feels high-quality without any of the typical plastic noises when you press and bend it slightly. I would say the only exception is the back, which you have to take off with a small measure of violence, making me very nervous every time. Behind the cover you find SIM card, MicroSD card and battery.

One obvious drawback is the lack of Android Market on Desires sold in the UAE. If you spend over AED2,000 on a device you really expect more. But practice your Google skills and find out how to hack it to get Market enabled and you’ll be fine. It’s sad you have to do that though and the parties should really come together and sort this situation out.

Desire comes with Android 2.1 and HTC in Dubai wouldn’t say when 2.2 can be expected. My review unit updated Over The Air (OTA) to 2.2 “Froyo” without issues and it makes a big difference.

There’s simply no doubt that you want Android 2.2 on your Desire as it brings a line of updates and new functionality. For example, with 2.2 you get 720p HD video recording, portable Wi-Fi access point, iTunes sync, and Adobe Flash support.

Desire’s 5-megapixel camera produces very good photos and video. For a lot of users and with good available light, the camera is good enough to replace a low-end compact digital camera.

The WebKit-based web browser is very fast, probably due to the processor, and loading pages, zoom in/out, scroll around, etc. all happens instantly. This obviously also depends on your connection speed.

HTC Sense, their proprietary software, is by and large nice but I wish it could be disabled as I would prefer just the standard Android look. The functionality of the built-in apps like the Twitter app Peep is also substandard. However, for many of you, Sense will bring different functionality together in one place under one interface.

Overall, the Desire is an excellent smartphone. The choice between it and Samsung Galaxy S is tough one. Although it is late arriving to our market, for now, I prefer the Desire.

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