HTC Wildfire Android smartphone
The HTC Wildfire is a well-designed Android smartphone, but it has a low-resolution display
- Good build quality, well-designed on-screen keyboard, HTC Sense UI, capacitive touchscreen, multitouch and Flash support, battery life
- Low-resolution display with poor viewing angles, keystroke lag, often sluggish
The HTC Wildfire boasts impressive build quality and the full suite of Android features, but it has a low-resolution display and sluggish performance. When you consider its price though, these minor issues are much easier to live with and are a small compromise to pay for a handset that offers outstanding value for money.
Price$ 299.00 (AUD)
The latest HTC Android smartphone to hit the Australian market — the Wildfire — is a Telstra-exclusive, like HTC's flagship Desire Android smartphone. A smaller, cheaper version of the HTC Desire, the Wildfire's low-resolution display and occasional lag are downsides, but it is well designed, has impressive features and offers excellent value for money.
The HTC Wildfire smartphone has a very similar design to the Desire, albeit in a smaller, more pocketable form factor. Despite targeting a young, budget-conscious audience, the Wildfire's build quality hasn't taken a hit; HTC has once again employed an attractive combination of brushed metal and solid feeling plastics. Like its more advanced sibling, the Wildfire is a delight to hold and has a distinctive slightly curved "chin". It comes in black and white variants, with the latter exclusively sold through Fone Zone stores on post-paid plans until 28 September, before it is available from all Telstra stores and partners.
The HTC Wildfire includes the same responsive optical trackpad seen on the Desire. Above it are four touch-sensitive keys — home, menu, back and search. They work well enough, but the lack of backlighting means using them at night is problematic. A physical power/lock button on top and left mounted volume controls complete the physical controls.
HTC has kept the handset's price down by cutting a few corners with the Wildfire's display, opting for a regular TFT LCD screen rather than the excellent AMOLED display used by phones like the Desire and the Legend. The result is a low-resolution display that's hard to see in direct sunlight and has poor viewing angles, but at this price, its hard to complain. It uses capacitive touchscreen technology, so it's already a step ahead of some other budget Android phones, such as LG's Optimus.
The capacitive touchscreen makes text input a positive experience, and the Wildfire's on-screen keyboard is well designed. Keys are slightly smaller and more cramped than the Desire, but the responsive screen, haptic feedback and excellent spelling correction aid the experience. Our main complaint is slight keystroke lag when typing quickly — the Wildfire is a little sluggish at keeping up with your taps, often taking half a second to register keystrokes on the screen.
The HTC Wildfire runs the 2.1 version of Google's Android operating system and it includes all the regular features and functions of more expensive Android smartphones. Access to the Android Market for third-party apps, an excellent notifications taskbar and automatic and seamless synchronisation with Google services are all part of the experience, as is HTC's Sense UI. The Wildfire can have up to seven home screens for live widgets and shortcuts, and you can pinch the screen to quickly display them and select an active screen. The Sense UI includes HTC's Friend Stream, which integrates all of your social-networking contacts, including from Facebook, Twitter and Flickr, into one organised "stream" of updates; People, which combines all forms of contact with an individual in your phonebook; as well as News, Facebook, Web Bookmarks and HTC's much-loved weather widget. Finally, Footprints allows you to take a geotagged photo and store the image in a particular category, then instantly share it with others via e-mail.
The HTC Wildfire has a few exclusive features, headed by a "next generation caller ID" function that allows you to see Facebook updates and birthday information when making or receiving a call. The Wildfire also has the ability to import contacts and calendar entries from your old mobile phone via Bluetooth, and includes HTC's Sync software for music synchronisation with your PC.
One of the more impressive features is Swype text input, an option that allows you to slide your fingers over the letters you want to type in a single motion, letting the software work out the word you are trying to write. Swype is an excellent feature and considering the smaller screen size of the Wildfire compared to the Desire, it’s a very smart and thoughtful inclusion.
Although the HTC Wildfire is capable of almost everything the Desire is, most tasks take a second or two longer. In addition to the keystroke lag while text messaging, the Wildfire also chugs along when browsing through images in the gallery, loading Web pages, playing videos and taking photos with the 5-megapixel camera. We've clearly been spoiled by playing with faster, more expensive Android smartphones, so the Wildfire's sluggishness is a tad frustrating. When you consider its price though, these minor issues are much easier to live with and are a small compromise to pay for a handset that offers outstanding value for money.
The HTC Wildfire's camera has autofocus and flash, and doubles as a video recorder, but video playback on such a low resolution display isn't ideal. Other standard features include a built-in accelerometer, a digital compass and a GPS receiver, while the Web browser displays Flash content and supports multitouch zooming. The Wildfire also has a microSD card slot for extra storage, located behind the rear battery cover.
A real positive of the HTC Wildfire is its battery life. No doubt partly thanks to the low-resolution display, the Wildfire managed to last more than a full day with moderate use — placing it ahead of the iPhone 3GS and HTC's own Desire and Legend smartphones.
The HTC Wildfire is exclusive to Telstra until 15 November. It can be purchased outright for $349 on a prepaid plan from 6 September, and is also available for $0 upfront on Telstra's $49 Next G cap plan over 24 months. The HTC Wildfire is locked to Telstra if purchased outright. Online retailer MobiCity is also selling the HTC Wildfire outright and unlocked.
Become a fan of GoodGearGuide on Facebook
Follow GoodGearGuide on Twitter: @GoodGearGuide
Stay up to date with the latest reviews. Sign up to GoodGearGuide’s Gear Daily newsletters
Join the PC World newsletter!
Gadgets & Things
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Finally! LG OLED TV 2016 range review
- 2 Huawei Nova Plus smartphone review
- 3 Apple iPhone 7 Plus review: including Portrait Mode
- 4 Google Daydream View VR full, in-depth review
- 5 Google Pixel XL full, in-depth smartphone review: Phones just got smarter
Latest News Articles
- Samsung blames batteries from two makers for Note7 explosions
- Low-end Android phones could get VR with new Imagination GPU
- Android device updates: the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge are finally getting Nougat
- HTC's U Ultra flagship attacks the high end with a glass back, an AI companion, and a second screen
- The iPhone turns 10: Apple CEO Tim Cook promises 'the best is yet to come'
GGG Evaluation Team
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.
The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.
My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.
- Time to ditch Foxtel and the iQ3: How to replace Foxtel packages with cheaper alternatives
- The top 10 best and worst tech gadgets and products of 2016
- TV of the year award 2016
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
- FTBrand Marketing Manager - Premium Entertainment BrandNSW
- FTDatacentre Solution ArchitectVIC
- FTTechnical Account ManagerNSW
- TPSenior Business Analyst - Risk & ComplianceNSW
- FTMS Exchange System Engineer l PowerShell l Message LabsNSW
- TPPrincipal Business Analyst - DAFFQLD
- FTSAP BW ConsultantACT
- FTJava DeveloperSA
- CCTechnical WriterACT
- TPLearning/Instructional DesignerQLD
- FTIT Project CoordinatorVIC
- FTLevel 3 EngineerNSW
- FTSenior Drupal DeveloperNSW
- FTInfrastructure Solution ArchitectSA
- FTLevel 2 Service DeskNSW
- CCTest Specialist - NetworkVIC
- FTChief ArchitectVIC
- TPTechnical Solution ArchitectVIC
- TPSenior Business Analyst - Transformation projectsSA
- CCTest AnalystQLD
- CCSenior Java DeveloperNSW
- CCBusiness AnalystNSW
- TPBusiness Objects DeveloperNSW
- FTMDM - ConsultantNSW
- FTTechnical Consultant MS Dynamics AXNSW