We had a great time reviewing this little but powerful HTC Wildfire. functionally it is a great phone and exceptional value for money - read the full review.
Following the release of the incredibly successful and widely rated HTC Desire, HTC has extended their range of smartphones with the HTC Wildfire which is a more affordable option. But how does it rate as a business mobile phone?
The touchscreen handset runs Android 2.1 with the user-friendly HTC Sense UI and has exactly the same processing power as the HTC Hero.
The HTC Wildfire is smaller than the HTC Desire and fits nicely in the pocket but it is not as small as the Sony Xperia X10 mini so still has an ample screen size of 3.2 inches (the desire is 3.5 inches).
Facebook has been integrated into everything from the calendar to caller ID. Also on the social networking front sharing Android apps has also been made simple with a system for sending links to friends from the handset.
In terms of the design the HTC Wildfire does not look at all cheap – it is nice, compact and stylish weighing just 118g – just 20g more than the Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 Mini – which is a tiny little phone.
If you are used to a 3.5 inch screen then you may notice the difference but for me having the convenience of a phone that sits nicely in the pocket (ridiculous for a techie to worry about I know) is sometimes a fair price to pay – but will we be convinced after a week of use?
I do have fairly skinny little fingers so didn’t have too much bother but the more fat fingered amongst us may find it a little more difficult to navigate.
The HTC Wildfire has the same bold silver highlights and optical trackpad as the HTC Desire and is streets ahead of the other budget Android handsets we’re starting to see invade the market.
It is available in a number of different colours and feels solid in the hand.
The HTC Wildfire comes with a few good quality accessories – there is the multi-part charger which doubles up as the USB connector. The Wildfire also comes with headphones; fancy black earbuds with a 3.5mm connector and hands-free capability.
The thing that I really liked was that the HTC Wildfire has a great balance – they haven’t gone all out to achieve a low budget option – The phone looks and feels high quality and it runs the Sense UI which is an absolute pleasure to use but at the same time it is a lot more affordable than other smartphones out there.
Out of the box when you turn the phone on there is an incredibly easy to follow eight-step set up wizard that gets you up and running with your contacts imported, social networking sites up, Google account activated, wifi connected and your preferences set quicker than you can say “smartphone”.
The most popular widgets, like weather, news, favourite contacts and FriendStream (HTC’s social network aggregator) come ready installed to home screens but moving and removing these is a doddle. simply hold down the icon you want to reorganise then dragging it to its new location (or the trashcan) and you’re done.
You are slightly restricted by the number of icons that you are allowed to place on the page but it’s not too bad.
This phone is fast too, the processor is the same speed as the HTC Hero’s (528Mhz), although it’s not as super fast as the HTC desire, however it is comparable to the i-phone 3G.
You can scroll between using the optical trackpad which HTC call ‘Leap View’, which was introduced with Android 2.1 on the HTC Legend and HTC Desire earlier this year.
It is a little bit of a shame that there are no buttons on the front of the phone for just calling and ending calls and it would also be handy to be able to use the trackpad as the screen unlock button as well as the power key.
With the HTC Wildfire you have full access to all of the Android apps for download and we found that online speeds were pretty solid on WiFi and fair to good on 3G. It is really easy to send on the apps you like to friends through email and social functions.
The phone is nice and easy to use but ideally it is aimed at people who are willing to spend a little time getting used to all of the functions, the set-up guide easily takes you through the various email and social networking accounts, while the menu system is also very straightforward.
There are seven home screens which may be a little more confusing for some users, but these will also become simple once you’ve customised them to your needs. However, you can view all of these at once so not too much grief if you forget where you have put something.
it is also very easy to transfer everything from your old phone via Bluetooth using the onboard ‘transfer data’ app to the HTC Wildfire.
The HTC Wildfire has the haptic feedback set by default – this is the little buzzy function as it registers your commands, if you do not like this then you can turn it off in the settings menu.
The menus are really well laid out and it is a nice addition that the settings are in collapsible panels – reminds me a little of the Firefox browser, It allows you to get into them without going through a number of menus.
To make calls it is incredibly simple to access the dial pad – there’s a large icon at the bottom of the home screen that takes you there. You can then just start dialling a number or a name and smartdial will shortcut the dialling for you using your contacts list.
We didn’t have any issues with call quality and reception although through browsing around the web I have seen a few comments regarding dropped calls.
There is a cool little function where if you get a call from somebody that you do not want to speak to or cannot speak to at that moment then you just turn the phone over and it will go onto silent mode until the answerphone kicks in.
As your contacts are integrated with Facebook and Twitter you can get their photos alongside their contact details which gives the phone a nice personal touch. You can also select your favourite contacts to sit on one of the homescreens.
As we mentioned earlier the HTC Wildfire is strong on Facebook and social networking – this includes caller ID. If the person calling is also a Facebook contact, it’ll tell you their latest status update and if their birthday is coming up – useful for remembering in advance before chatting – you come across as a really conscientious interested friend, which is always a nice touch if you are as forgetful as I am.
This isn’t really a business function but as work and personal life is becoming more blurred i think that this will be a useful function for a number of business mobile phone users.
The HTC Wildfire has a really simple and easy to use message function which is pretty and colourful to look at and each contact has its own threaded messaging for an easy reminder of the conversation so far so nice to be able to look back on long conversations when you are busy and make sure you have everything at the front of your mind.
The predictive text seems to quickly learn new words and the multi-touch display is cleverly able to register more than one letter at once, so if you are nimble with your fingers then you will be able to speed with ease.
We found that there was occassionally a small delay in receiving text messages and this was not down to poor reception so a bit of a let down.
Setting up Microsoft Exchange is no problem at all which will be handy for most business users as long as you have all the required information to hand to sign in.
With Emails you have the choice of a traditional inbox or threaded conversations – it’s also really useful to be able to sort emails by date, or look through only unread emails.
The HTC Wildfire comes with a WebKit browser which was pretty good but when we went on sites that were full of images or media it was not so speedy, at least compared to the HTC Desire.
With web browsing you do notice the smaller 3.2 inch screen, so zooming becomes second nature; multi-touch zoom worked well and the images didn’t pixellate too easily.
The HTC Wildfire also features a ‘find on page’ option like the control ‘F’ function on PC’s, which makes browsing through documents and long emails a whole lot easier if you are just looking for something in particular.
If you are planning on switching between 3G and Wi-Fi regularly, the HTC power control widget is a useful little tool to have in the kit. it allows you to control your 3G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS connections.
This can also control your automatic updates, screen brightness and push notifications if you need to save battery. Without this widget you need to manually switch connections in the Settings menu.
One restriction of the i-phone is that you cannot watch flash videos on sites like BBC News whereas with the HTC Wildfire you can play Flash games and watch embedded videos.
Flash isn’t perfect yet but with the forthcoming Android 2.2 upgrade that brings Flash 10.1 this promises to be much improved.
The camera is good as it packs 5 MP and with the addition of the LED flash is a cut above mnay of the competitors.
One issue was that the QVGA screen reflects light terribly so it is difficult to see what you are shooting on bright days. This screen also tended to make our photos look a bit low-res and pixellated.
As well as the basic click to shoot there’s an option allowing a timed-shot and also geo-tagging your photos by recording location information. You can also adjust brightness, contrast, saturation and white balance or you can use one of the built-in photo effects.
From within the camera app, you can switch quickly to video. The same effects options are available for motion capture as still shots.
As with many digital cameras on phones there’s a slight delay when pressing record for video which can be pretty frustrating at times.
The video quality was standard stock and nowhere near what we found with the HD quality on the Sony Ericsson Vivaz or the iPhone 4.
It’s also a small oversight that you can’t rename image and video files on the handset itself – you need to do once onto your PC.
The HTC Wildfire’s music player is nothing to write home about but it does do the job and I guess that is enough for most business mobile phone users as we just use the music player for commuting or to listening to podcasts.
You can view your audio files as album cover tiles like in itunes or you can see them as a list.
It’s nice to see that a 3.5mm headphone jack is now becomming commonplace on smartphones and again the Wildfire does not disappoint. This means that you can use any headphones that you like although HTC’s in-box effort isn’t too bad, they are Sennheiser in-ear headphones.
The sound quality on these was no different to that of the iPhone or HTC’s higher-end Androids, the HTC Desire and HTC Legend.
The built-in speaker is as usual terrible and best left for the chav teenagers on the double deckers.
It is great to have an FM radio on the HTC Wildfire so that you can secretly keep us with the cricket/footie whilst working. The headset acts as the aerial(you need to use the supplied sennheiser ones though) so it has to be plugged in to use the radio.
In terms of battery time HTC reckons you should be able to get 480 hours of standby time out of the 1300 mAh battery – but it did seem a bit less in reality. On a full charge the phone lasted about a day and a half with just a normal level of use – about 20-30 mins talk time and some emailing and a few apps used.
The calendar on the HTC Wildfire syncs nicely with your google account; reminders and alerts for business meetings added to the desktop automatically are transmitted to the phone with no need for manual updates.
Socially you can also pull in Facebook events and birthdays etc. It is quick and easy to populate and very useful indeed.
The calendar is also capable of telling you the weather for the next 3 days based on your current location so great for planning meetings and outings with the team.
We had no issues with the maps – The GPS worked well and kept nicely up to speed with our movements.There is a built in compass that also works well – the i-phone app one seems to get confused but the HTD Wildfire one worked fine.
One unusual new feature – perhaps a gimmick but it was useful as well as pretty cool is a torch – I cannot recount the number of times that i have fumbled around in the dark looking for things (ahem) using my phones screen as a make shift torch – it is so nice to have a good purpose built one integrated.
With the gaming functions you can even add your scores to global scoreboards – nice for the ones of us who have the time and the skill.
It is very easy to connect to a PC via USB cable and to then copy songs, video files and documents over.
Like the HTC Desire the HTC Wildfire manages to give older models of the iPhone a run for their money; with Android’s flexibility and customisation, in many ways it’s a nicer handset to use than the iPhone 3G.
In terms of Apps the i-phone still leads but with a larger number of Android phones hitting the market and being bought up developers will spend more and more time focusing on Android.
Overall the HTC Wildfire is a great phone. All of the basics were right and it had great functionality on almost every front.
Personally I did like the convenience of the pocket sized 3.2 inch screen but in terms of practical usage when browsing it didn’t really come up to scratch with the HTC Desire and the i-phone 4, but then it is in a very different price bracket.
The resolution on the screen just wasn’t as good either – after recently using an i-phone 4 with the retina screen it is difficult to go back, the same can be said of the newer AMOLED screen phones.
However, the HTC Wildfire really is a great contender to win the budget/mid range market of smartphones at the moment – if you are looking for a cheaper option then buy it!
Check out HTC’s short summary video – obviously not objective but gives it a good showcasing.
0 0 HTC Wildfire black costs £188.17 £0.00 0 0 HTC Wildfire black costs £192.49 £0.00 0 0 HTC Wildfire black costs £254.54 £0.00
HTC Wildfire black Deals
Network Mins Texts Deal Information Cost p/m Buy
Turn a £10 top up into 100 mins and 300 texts (30 days)
Or £20 into 300 mins and 3000 texts (30 days)
Or spend £5 in the week for free weekend calls and texts
internet data costs 50p per day or £5 per month
Vodafone Passport lets you take your price plan abroad
Total cost £188.17
Pay As You Go
All in One 10 Add-on gives you 100 minutes, 500MB of data, 3000 texts
Free Skype-to-Skype calls, Windows Live Messenger and Twitter
Total cost £192.49
Handset only for use with any compatible SIM card
Total cost £254.54
HTC Wildfire black costs £188.17
HTC Wildfire black costs £192.49
HTC Wildfire black costs £254.54