HTC has become a powerhouse in manufacturing Android powered devices. They have created a device to fit practically every form factor, budget, and cellular network type. HTC has now set their sights on the budget friendly market with the release of the HTC Wildfire. Typically, in order to create a lower-priced device, manufacturers must sacrifice some quality or features. We can’t help but be curious to see as to whether or not HTC puts a mark on its reputation for quality with the Wildfire. Read on to find out in our full review of the HTC Wildfire!
Here’s the unboxing for the Samsung Captivate. As you can see, the box comes packed with just about everything you need. A 2GB MicroSD card is supplied, which you may want to eventually upgrade.
On the spec side of things the HTC Wildfire is running with a 528MHz processor. This speed is certainly a little dated based on today’s current Android device specs. However, it still cranks right along fairly well. It has 512MB of built in ROM storage which MicroSD expansion of up to 32GB. The Wildfire is complete with a 3.2 QVGA capacitive screen with a resolution of 320 x 240. In order to keep the price point low, HTC had to utilize this much lower resolution screen, (by today’s standards). The Wildfire also meets many of today’s expected standards with its WiFi (B&G), Bluetooth 2.1, GPS, and a 5.0 Megapixel camera with LED flash. This device takes advantage of a Micro USB port to charge its 1300mAh battery, and a 3.5mm headphone jack for audio output.
When comparing the Wildfire’s screen to that of the Nexus One or even HTC EVO 4G, it is simply blown away. The low-resolution screen is certainly not a step forward. Images on the screen appear to have lines through them and colors are washed out. However, this is likely because we have grown used to much higher resolution screens. Users who have experienced older style phones up to this point likely won’t notice.
The device gets its looks from both the Nexus One and the HTC Desire. The combination of an aluminum frame and Teflon coated plastic makes the device feel very solid. The capacitive front buttons mixed with the optical trackpad provide the best of both worlds in terms of haptic and tactile feedback. HTC has kept the placement of the four main Android buttons consistent on most of their devices. This translates into little to no learning curve if you’re an Android veteran.
The left side of the device houses the up and down volume rocker, which is flanked on the right side by a smooth button less finish. Next, the power/standby button and 3.5mm headphone jack are located on the top of the device. Lastly, on the back of the device we have the chrome HTC logo and the 5MP camera lens paired with its LED flash.
Removing the battery cover welcomes us to the 1300mAh battery and a MicroSD card slot that does NOT require the user to remove the battery. Finally, beneath the battery you will find the SIM card slot.
The Wildfire’s 3.2″ capacitive screen is easy to use and is viewable outdoors. However, the low resolution certainly leaves a little to be desired. Colors seem to be washed out and pictures appear to have lines through them.
HTC packages their own Android skin called, “Sense” with their devices. Part 1 of our software overview provides a tour of the HTC Sense system. Overall, Sense streamlines navigation through the Android OS and provides the user with seven homescreens, which is more than the typical “Vanilla” version of Android offers. Sense also provides a designation phone button on the dock and many useful widgets, such as the acclaimed flipclock on the homescreen.
Our second software overview video compares the software performance of the HTC Wildfire to the HTC EVO 4G. The EVO 4G has a processor that is clocked at twice the speed of the Wildfire’s and also has more RAM so it was very interesting to see the results as they competed head-to-head. The Wildfire held its own in many of the tests. However, during multitasking with a handful of applications at once the faster processor and greater RAM amount were the clear-cut winner.
By incorporating an LED flash into the Wildfire, HTC has given users the ability to take pictures in very dark areas. However, as you’ll see in a few of the pictures below, pictures taken indoors with somewhat low light display quite a bit of noise.
Pictures taken outdoors with an abundance of light look quite clear. The camera does a somewhat decent job of properly focusing. By no means will the Wildfire replace a stand-alone camera. In this case, you truly do get what you pay for. Below are a few more images taken with the Wildfire.
The 528MHz processor is typically able to consistently run many of our day-to-day applications without a hiccup. However, loading feeds in the twitter application, and starting up programs usually takes longer, which was to be expected. Sense is optimized to run fairly well on this device and it isn’t until multitasking with a handful of operation that you’ll begin to notice slowdown.
CALL QUALITY/NETWORK SPEED
Call quality over AT&T’s network was very good with zero dropped calls.
The Wildfire is only able to handle an EDGE connection in the United States. Therefore, speeds are nowhere near what 3G is able to get. If you’re looking to download or upload large files, you’ll want to do so over WiFi.
Call quality over AT&T’s network was fantastic, and I experienced no dropped calls.
The Wildfire’s battery life is above average when comparing it to the many other Android handsets current available. With a 1300mAh battery powering only a 3.2″, low-resolution screen I was able to easily achieve a day of full use. With light usage getting through 2 full days is easily attainable.
PURCHASING AND AVAILABILITY
The HTC Wildfire is priced at a very affordable $300 unlocked and is available at Clove.co.uk.
+ Very affordable (unlocked) price-point
+ Aluminum and Teflon coated plastic make hardware feel very solid
+ Thin and light
+ HTC Sense
+ Pre-loaded with Android 2.1
+ LED flash
+ Above average battery life
– Poor camera
– Very low resolution screen
– Last generation processor
– No front-facing camera
For a low priced entry level Android device, the Wildfire surely impresses. If you’re looking to jump onto the Android train but are still locked into contract this could be a great option for you. Or, if you want to try out Android but don’t have or want to spend $500+ on the other unlocked HTC devices, the $300 Wildfire is a great substitution. However, if you’re a user of current generation of Android devices this unfortunately may be a step backward.
The biggest weakness of the Wildfire is going to be its last generation processor speed. While it’s enough to suffice and get by with currently, you may find yourself being left out of future OS updates such as Gingerbread and possibly even Froyo.
At the end of the day, the Wildfire is a great device and a perfect fit for a niche market. Due to that I give the HTC Wildfire a 4/5.