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May 20, 2011

HTC Wildfire S Review

by Franz Bicar

Mini phones are niche products that keeps on growing. Several manufacturers have announced their new and upgraded mini offerings for this year. The HTC Wildfire is an entry level mini smartphone that will replace the original HTC Wildfire. The Wildfire S refined and improved the original product.

The HTC Wildfire S looks like a combination of the HTC Desire and its predecessor, the HTC Wildfire. The Wildfire S is neat, compact, and remarkably durable. If you don’t like the brushed look on the front, you can choose from a variety of available colors.

The phone has a 600MHz Qualcomm MSM7227 processor, definitely faster and an improvement to the original Wildfire. It has 512MB of RAM, and another 512MB of ROM. For the display, you have a 3.2-inch screen capable of resolutions as high as 320 x 480. There’s no front-facing camera above the screen, but these are all considerable improvements from its predecessor.

At the back, you have a 5-megapixel camera with autofocus and LED flash. For connectivity, there’s WiFi b/g/n, Bluetooth 3.0, GPS, dualband HSPA/WCDMA (900/2100) and quadband GSM/EDGE.

There’s also a g-sensor, digital compass and proximity/ambient light sensors, a 3.5mm headphone jack and a microUSB port, as well as a microSD card slot under the battery cover. An LED indicator hides behind the speaker grill.

The Wildfire S comes with Android 2.3.3 Gingerbread OS. Android, coupled with HTC’s Sense 2.1 UI, brings out the best in all of HTC’s handsets. The Wildfire S’s screen can properly scale the UI into its compact display, and HTC made sure that users won’t have any problem tapping icons and applications on the screen given its size.

With a 600MHz processor, the Wildfire S is fast enough. Apps and websites take a while to load. But that’s understandable. Gmail messages can take a couple of seconds or more to open, and rendering in Google Maps is noticeably slower.

The Wildfire S’s camera app is similar to most HTC handsets. The 5-megapixel lens capture average pictures - don’t expect high-quality pictures specially in low light. For outdoor usage, the still camera either struggled with the white balance or consistently under-exposed the shots. However, indoor shots look pretty good.

As for performance, the Wildfire S scored pretty good. it has a decent volume, good signal reception, and speakerphone performance is excellent. HTC quotes up to 350 minutes 3G talktime (430 minutes GSM) or up to 570 hours 3G standby (360 hours GSM).

Since this is a mid-range phone, the HTC Wildfire S comes cheap. In the UK, it is offered free when you get a new two year £20 per month contract.



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