HTC Desire S Review
HTC Desire S comes in a moment when the specifications battle is fierce on the Android smartphones market. The successor of HTC Desire has to face not only the HTC Desire fans, but also the new Samsung, Motorola and LG models. Is it able to? HTC Desire S is the successor of HTC Desire from every point of view: it has just the features needed for a new model to efficiently handle the situation currently on the smartphones market. Here, at tech.sc, we got our hands on one, so we will try to evaluate the strengths that made HTC Desire famous. And are pretty much.
When you get to look closer (and not judging only by its specifications), HTC Desire S is an (almost) complete smartphone: it looks good, runs very fast in the menu and features an excellent addon over Android – HTC Sense 2.1, the platform that makes the Android easy to use for anyone. Anyway, HTC Desire S also has its weak spots, many of them not related with what a smartphone should be.
HTC Desire S Hardware
The first thing you notice when you look at HTC Desire S is the aluminium case. You’d say that Nokia uses aluminium too (see their N8 handset), but the aluminium case of HTC Desire S is made of one piece, and looks really special. Of course, you will find some plastic pieces on the case of HTC Desire S, like ones around the 5 MP camera, flash and loudspeaker. You will also find plastic around the SIM and MicroSD card slots, as well to allow you to access the 1450mAh battery. HTC also used plastic for the antenna of Desire S. But you would say that more metal means more weight, but it’s not true. Since aluminium is a lightweight material, HTC Desire S is even lighter than its forerunner, and it weighs in 130g, 5g lighter than HTC Desire. When compared to its successor, HTC Desire S is 4mm shorter (with a hight of 115mm) and even thinner and narrower. The Taiwanese manufacturer decided to put the display of HTC Desire S closer to the front class, in order to eliminate the distance that looked more like an abys on the previous Desire.
The redesigned back (which now is more curved) and bottom end have improved the ergonomics of HTC Droid S. The new device from HTC is now a lot more easy to use. Thanks to the revised shapes of HTC Desire S is now a lot easy for you to reach the edges of the 3.7-inch touchscreen and the Search capacitive button in the lower right corner. One problem is that the capacitive keys look like having a mind of their own, as they don’t light up every time they should. Summing up, HTC Droid S is pretty easy to use, because of the improved ergonomics, scoring 8 / 10 (it lost two points because of the “possessed” capacitive Android keys which are almost impossible to us in the dark)
HTC Desire S Components
HTC Desire S smartphone is powered by the second generation of Snapdragon CPU (developed by Qualcomm). The 1GHz processor that powers HTC Desire S, have proved to be just what it takes to handle the Android OS requirements. It seems that the Qualcomm MSM8255 1GHz CPU it’s moving about 15% faster than previous generation Snapdragon. The 768MB of RAM are also contributing to HTC Droid S’ fast movement, making the HTC’s Sense UI experience smoother. Oh, by the way, take a look at HTC Droid S’ competitors RAM, and you will find out that our device has 256MB more than any of them.
HTC Desire S also features a loudspeaker, but don’t expect it to be as loud as it’s name says. In exchange the HTC Desire S loudspeaker will surprise you with its clarity, and disappoint you with the absence of the bass (just like on the other smartphones). But when it comes to using the loudspeaker during phone calls you will find out that it does it’s job perfectly, and you will be able to hear the person at the other end of the line just fine.
One of the biggest problems of the previous generation of Desire was the short battery life. But now the new HTC Desire S comes with the 1GHz Snapdragon processor, which combined with the 1450mAh Li-ion battery is able to keep your device awake for a couple of days, mostly because the Snapdragon CPU is a lot more efficient, than the one powering its successor. So, when it comes to components, HTC Desire S scores 10 / 10, because it features a superfast 1GHz processor, has 256MB of RAM more than its rivals and because it comes with good battery life.
HTC Desire S Display
HTC Desire S features a Super LCD touchscreen, just like its cousin, Incredible S. The HTC Desire S’ 3.7-inches touchscreen comes with 16M colors and a resolution of 480×800. It also comes with multi-touch, accelerometer and everything a smartphone should have. We were able to see that images on th Super LCD display of HTC Desire S look nice from any angle, which is very nice for a LCD screen. The main problem of the HTC Desire S display is when you get your device under the direct sunlight, where everything will become darker and almost impossible to spot. A plus for Desire S is the Gorilla Glass protection, which is one of the best currently on market. So, the display of HTC Desire S gets a 9 / 10, getting lot of points for the Gorilla Glass and loosing others because of the sunlight issues.
HTC Desire S Camera
The main difference between HTC Desire S and HTC Incredible S is the camera. While Desire S features a 5MP unit, the Incredible S comes with an 8MP camera. Of curse, you will not be able to spot the differences between the pictures of the two when you view them directly on the device, or even when you share them on web. The difference only comes when you are viewing them at resolutions of over 1MP. Even when it comes to resolutions of over 2MP the only differences are some blurry areas and the sharping edges of the photo. So, the HTC Desire S camera is great when it comes to photos of 1MP resolutions, but disappointing when used at full 5MP capacity.
HTC Desire S also features a front camera, which, of course, will disappoint you, as it comes with VGA quality, but we are sure that the front camera is there only to follow the trends, as we find it useless. As for the HTC camera software, is quick and easy use, has lots of filters which you can apply before or after taking a photo. The video recording quality can be set up to 720p and to video files are saved in .3gp format. Summing up, HTC Desire S scores 8 / 10 when it comes to camera, because of the poor image quality at resolutions above 1MP.
HTC Desire S Software
HTC Desire S runs on Android 2.3 Gingerbread and it takes the best of the Sense UI addon. When compared with HTC Incredible S, HTC Desire S comes with the latest release from Google (remember that Incredible S features Android 2.2 Froyo), so you should be able to get advantage from the latest features and, of course, you won’t be troubled anymore by the annoying bugs.
It looks that form the release of Desire, HTC took some time to further improve the Sense UI addon. Now you will get some fixed bugs and a more ready-to-use Sense UI. One of the tweaked features of the new Sense UI on HTC Desire S is that the clock / weather widget now has more feed options, and you will receive the Facebook and Twitter updates under the clock. Another nice feature is that Quick Settings menu, now available in the drop-down menu. This feature will make the WiFi, GPS and Bluetooth options handy and easy to use. Of course, the above mentioned features are not the only new ones coming with HTC Droid 2 software.
At the new HTC Desire S, we found quite annoying the oversized widgets that occupy a lot of space. Another weak spot of HTC Desire S is the onscreen keyboard, which is not the best around. Just try the keyboard portrait mode on an iPhone, then go to a HTC Desire S and try the same. I know you will find th HTC Desire S’ onscreen keyboard annoying, and the device has no excuse because it features a 0.2-inch bigger screen. Desire S scores 7 / 10 when it comes to software. The only thing that saved HTC Desire S from doing bad is the Android 2.3 Gingerbread, as the huge widgets and the onscreen keyboard are more than disappointing.
HTC Desire S Conclusions
Compared with the previous version of Desire, it’s obvious that HTC Desire S comes with lots and interesting improvements. We were more than glad to find that Desire S moves pretty fast, the battery life was improved and that the screen comes with Gorilla Glass. We penalized HTC Desire S because of the camera, the annoying onscreen keyboard and oversized widgets, but we appreciated that it is cheaper than Incredible S, although the main difference between the two is the 8MP camera on Incredible S. Thumbs up for the ergonomics of HTC Desire S, so the device has an average score of 8.5, which is pretty impressive.
Anyway feel free to give HTC Desire S grades and share us your opinion about the device in the comments area bellow.