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So you like the sound of this Android smartphone business, but you don’t want to spend a fortune? Well, the HTC Wildfire isn’t the first budget Android blower, but it’s arguably the best. HTC Wildfire Hot product: HTC's Wildfire Previously, if you wanted an Android phone on the cheap you had to sacrifice stuff. First to go …

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Dead Vulture

resistive = inferior?

Why must a resistive touchscreen be inferior? Having handled both types, and using an n900 with resistive touchscreen every day, I'd say each has it advantages. Yes, I have to touch the screen a bit more (though not *that* much), but as a bonus, I can use whatever I want to touch the screen, so for example I can make drawings or write things down with a stylus.

In this review, the fact that it only has a 320x240 screen is declared to be not so bad, but I'd rather have a hi-res resistive screen than a low-res capacitive. 320x240 were the norm 7 years ago. This is 2010... Hello?

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Clarity

Resistive screens are often not as sharp as a capacitive screen, it's all in the optical properties of the screen itself. However, it's possible to screw up a capacitive screen if you get your ITO patterns wrong.

I did like the old P800 (and indeed, I've still got one that works) and the interface on that - must have been one of the earlier examples of the touch-screen, including the little plastic keyboard that fitted over part of the screen and activated it when the buttons were pressed, for those who weren't quite with the concept.

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Stop

Mmm

I don't want to get into a flamewar over this, but I set up my Girlfriends Wildfire this weekend* and that meant migrating and wiping her old HTC Diamond. In my opinion, the difference is a million miles away. I found myself constantly frustrated that it just didn't work as nicely as it could. This coming from the person who was using WinMo until 2 months ago.

In my case case, once you go capacitive, you don't go back!!

*a marvelous phone by the way, and perfect for it's target audience. I tried to pursuade her to go for the Desire as I love mine, but she felt it was too big and bulky. The wildfire is a perfect compromise, and lighter on the wallet.

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I agree

I have the HTC Tattoo (brilliant phone by the way!) But I use other HTC smartphones at work including the touch pro, diamond and HD/mini. Although these are WinMo jobbies so not directly comparable, I'm still convinced there isn't that much of a _practical_ difference between resistive and capacitive screens. In fact, I think the resistive screen offers the distinct advantage of being able to use a pen or anything as a stylus for fiddly links or writing/drawing.

I think it's the new smartphone snobbery. ;)

Though I definitely agree that whatever its touch technology, the resolution of the screen on an android handset makes a big difference. The only thing I don't like about my phone is that its QVGA screen restricts the choice of apps. It's annoying that some developers just don't think about their apps fitting on that size of screen. But more annoying though is the way that some apps scale down just fine; but the developers haven't ticked the 'this works on QVGA' box in the description, so it doesn't appear in the market!

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Resistive vs Capacitive

I don't think I'd like a resistive phone, but they absolutely have their place in tablets. You can write on a resistive screen with a stylus, you can't with a capacitive. The best you can do with a capacitive is buy some wand like device and tap the screen making sure not to actually touch the screen with your hands or you'll confuse the device.

People keep bleating about how the iPad would be great for academic use etc. but it's capacitive screen sinks that idea immediately. The ideal tablet would be one which offers some kind of resistive support (some hybrids offer capacitive too) so that someone can write notes directly onto the screen with a stylus. Better yet if these notes were correctly integrated into the reading software for proper reference.

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Stop

Android 2.2

"Although the Wildfire has Android 2.1, it takes time to update Sense to the next version, so don’t expect Android 2.2 just yet"

In fact if you want Android 2.2 wait and buy a phone with Android 2.2. I bought my HTC Hero with v1.5 and waited, and waited as HTC kept slipping the deadline. The whole time they were releasing new Sense UI phones with v1.6 + v2.1.

Then I'm pretty sure Orange/HTC still haven't released anything newer than v1.5 for the UK Hero so if it weren't for villainrom.co.uk I'd still be without.

This is a real shame and honestly my only gripe with my first Android handset

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Unhappy

Nice but...

That QVGA screen is a problem. I've seen a lot of forum posts saying that users can't find apps on the market.

If the devs miss QVGA out of the manifest, the app isn't visible to those devices, even if they can run it happily.

An easily fixed software problem (for the devs), but a still a problem for new users looking to get into Android on a budget.

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Coat

But what about RF Power Control?

Does it have fingertip RF power control like the iPhone4?

Mine's the one with the missing bars.

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Great little phone

My wife got one of these and absolutely loves it - the screen is low res but still very clear (I've got a desire and the screen is noticeably lower quality when compared side by side but taken in isolation it looks fine)

Also, more and more apps are supporting the QVGA screen now (even CoPilot, which is surprisingly usable on the small screen). She had an iPhone (3G) and a Pre before this and the Wildfire is definitely her favourite of the 3.

One big advantage of the smaller screen is there aren't as many pixels to push around so the lower spec processor chugs along really nicely and performance is more than acceptable.

She got the Wildfire instead of the desire because she wanted a smaller phone than the desire but with the fantastic Sense UI.

I was concerned about the QVGA screen because, well, it's QVGA, but she had a good test of one and decided it was exactly what she was looking for. That pretty much sums it up: If you're not hung up on the specs, then the Wildfire is a fantastic little phone. If you want to play spec top trumps then there are better devices out there...

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Jobs Halo

It's cheap and a nice entry level droid

As a long time iPhone user I wanted to mess about with a droid before I'd be hooked to the iPhone4. This cheapish entry level device made that possible [230 euro, carrier unlocked].

Nice hardware, very decent interface, but boy do I miss the App store!

The droid market is poor, with more then 80% of my fav apps not available, apps crashing, intimidating questions:

With every app you install you have to agree to give access to network, system, and other weird stuff you did not even know was in the phone like you should be aware as to the potential 'dangers' that accepting that would be...

Plenty of applications are available only when paying [micro payments like 1 or 2 euro]:

want sshd? pay!

want a half decent virtual keyboard? pay!

terminal? pay!

Oh and IPv6 is still not fully working for mobile operators either [only on the Nokia N52 or N900 are today]

As it is with the whole Win vs Mac debate, the one is cheap to buy, the other cheap to run.

My verdict: A nice device for your nephew who likes tinkering [and pr0n ofc] and got more time then cash, the rest of the family who needs to get things done just stick to the carefully cultivated app environment Apple offers.

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Off topic?

"With every app you install you have to agree to give access to network, system, and other weird stuff you did not even know was in the phone like you should be aware as to the potential 'dangers' that accepting that would be..."

And personally, I'm glad it does.

I agree it could be streamlined, but the approach is a good one from a personal security view.

"Plenty of applications are available only when paying"

Damn those developers with mouths to feed!

And, as far as I'm aware, the Apple app store has similarly chargable apps? No?

Personally, I've found very little utility apps that didn't have a free alternative. Regardless, you can get any payments fully refunded within 24 hours - I've found it ridiculously easy to try the paid-for apps and then get them refunded.

"Oh and IPv6 is still not fully working for mobile operators"

Huh?

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Re: It's cheap and a nice entry level droid

"want a half decent virtual keyboard?"

Get on the Swype beta.

"Plenty of applications are available only when paying"

As opposed to Apple's app store, where everything is free?

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Silver badge

App store vs marketplace

I agree marketplace is quite poor in some respects (e.g. level of spam, lack of policing, lack of recommendations), but your points are not very valid.

a) Favourite apps - there are usually analogous apps and it's clear that more apps are appearing by the day. e.g. Nook and Kindle just appeared for Android the other day.

b) Install Warnings - apps access certain features so why don't you want to know what features they use. At least you get told up front what features the app is using. Personally I'd like Android to allow me to set a default and a per app policy which allows me to veto certain actions, e.g. dial numbers, access certain websites etc.

c) Micropayments - big deal. Don't use those apps. The great thing about marketplace is apps are completely free to determine their own payment models - free, ad supported, trialware, shareware, subscription etc. If you don't like apps using one model don't use them.

d) sshd, terminal, keyboard etc. Again I don't see the objection here. There are free versions of these apps even if some people choose to charge for them. Furthermore you should be rejoicing that Android lets you add these things. If you don't like the default keyboard you can just replace it with another. That's a mark of a well designed OS.

d) IPv6. Android is capable of it, though I doubt many network providers do.

Your verdict is invalid. Android is a more than capable device and certain devices such as HTC's are extremely pleasant and friendly to use. I think the stock OS still has some rough edges that individual phone manufacturers shouldn't have to be fixing but there are still more than enough reasons to favour a decent Android phone over the iPhone.

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Sense homescreen tweaks...

..are available in the LauncherPro app. No Sense = far faster ROM updates.

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Boffin

Wake button is...

...the same as the Desire.

Whilst I understand the trackball on the nexus protudes the optiball on the desire and wildfire do not so maybe the change was not needed. It would be nice to have the choice though >:o/

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HTC is known for great build quality and outstanding usability?

"HTC is known for great build quality and outstanding usability"

Really. News to me and the scores of suffering users with HTC Touch Pros... which are horrible to use and have a nasty habit of falling apart of stopping working.

OK, to be fair to HTC, Windows Mobile is a huge factor of the unusability and somewhat behind the unreliability of the hardware (a narked user who hates their phone tends not to look after them well). However there have been other device based problems that in various versions have rather quietly required changed from a "there's no problem" stance to a quiet and no-further-questions-asked replacement policy.

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Dead Vulture

I'm with you there

I have been using a HTC Touch Pro for work for a year now and it's the worst phone I have ever had. Yes WinMo is rubbish, but the radio on that phone is absolutely hopeless. Bad reception, calls dropped etc. Can't blame it all on the OS.

It's unstable as a smartphone, and it is appalling as a phone. (but it got a great review on reghardware)

For my next phone I am definitely eying away from HTC, despite wanting an Android device.

I don't know where "HTC is known for great build quality and outstanding usability" comes from.

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Get a Desire

It will change your world.

Epic handset

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There in lies your problem

The touch pro was gammy from birth, even the reviews on places like T mobile's website say the software panned. I have had 3 winmo HTC phones, all were brilliant. The tytn2 now over two years old and is still urinates freely over my N900 which replaced it, so much so I am thinking of going back to it. (Two years as my works phone has damaged the touch ability of the screen, but it still has brighter colours, more battery and more usability.)

Every other HTC phone I have used has had little niggles but everything works, they feel solid and well built. I have used via work the diamond, hermes, HD, touch, touch 3g, hero, tattoo and even had a play on the desire which I have to say is ace. All were solid and did what was needed.

Compared to the competitors? I think HTC are the best at build quality. I find carriers let them down for updates, and the OS if it is WinMo related.

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FAIL

Dont talk to me about HTC Touch!

I bought a Orange HTC Touch3G on a whim a few months ago.

Oh boy what a lemon of a phone. I bought the single most gimped phone ever this side of Apple.

Wont use wireless unless its from an Orange WAP. If you try to use another it switches to 3G (nice).

The GPS doesnt work without wi-fi and several other features. So essentially i have a Smartphone that will only make calls and do solitaire.

Not really HTCs fault but Orange need a good slap for that. Nver buy another Smartphone from Orange.

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Flash that firmware.

That phone is older than the Hero (my phone) which is pretty old in the world of smartphones.

You could install a debranded ROM to activate all your features and remove all the Orange crap or go the whole hog with rooting and a custom ROM.

Check out XDA the great thing about HTC smartphones is just how much customization can be done.

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Screen shimmer

I tried out one of these in Carphone Whorehouse the other day, and it's certainly good for the asking price. The screen was more of a let-down than expected though: I knew about the low resolution, but I would say it noticeably "shimmered" compared with my desktop or budget laptop TFTs, to a point that I would quickly find irritating. Anyone any idea what that would have been about?

Holding out for the Legend to maybe drop down a tariff notch, especially since my chipolata fingers weren't entirely happy on the Wildfire's physical size, and although the Legend isn't actually physically that much bigger, the aspect ratio would work in my favour when rotated to landscape.

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Samsung Galaxy vs HTC Wildfire

@Carl Williams

Yes the Samsung is available free on contract, but not the same contract.

For instance on T-Mobile you can get the Wildfire free on a £20 a month deal. To get the Galaxy S you have pay £35 a month.

Over 24 months thats a significant difference in price (£360), which some people won't want or need to pay if the Wildfire suits their needs

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Jobs Horns

I own one.

I had a T-Mobile Pulse and came to the Wildfire already familiar with Android. I am not a big fan of HTC Sense although it might be better on a bigger screen. Took me almost a week to get used to the low resolution, but now I think I am used to it and things don't look so ugly and blocky. I had to find a keyboard that was smaller so it didn't obscure the text that I was trying to input. (Swiftkey beta)

Pinch to zoom is great. Responsiveness is great and multitasking works a lot better than the Pulse due to the extra RAM. Camera isn't bad. Flash Lite works ok but I don't really have much use for it. Looking forward to 2.2 Hoping it gets rooted soon and custom ROMS start appearing.

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HTC is known for great build quality and outstanding usability

In terms of Android devices this is a true comment. There have been no widespread issues with any HTC Android devices. Nick Ryan you've hit the nail on the head - the problem phones all share one common factor - Windows Mobile.

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Anyone compared the HTC Wildfire to the ZTE Racer?

The ZTE Racer has a similar overall specs (~500-600MHz processor. 2.8" QVGA screen etc), Resistive touchscreen on the Racer though.

Big difference: Price, 100 quid on PAYG (or 110 inc 10 topup) vs 230 for the Wildfire.

I mean we'd all like an HTC Desire or a Nexus one or whatever, but those are like 500 of your English Pounds (not counting contract options).

I'd really like a comparison of these new entry level models. even if the Wildfire is better, its still twice the price (& the Desire is 5x the price, the Desire 2 will be the same I presume).

Splashing out 500 large on a phone when I can get something that will do most of what I want for 100-200 appeals to me. (I can use it for a year or so, then buy something better than current high end models way less than todays prices).

What I use a phone for:

- Calling

- Texting

- Alarm Clock

- Occasional pics (in good light)

- Killing time waiting in lines

- 3G modem via Bluetooth

- I like a battery to last longer than a day (of light use, eg 15 min calling, 20 texts, 30 min online)

I don't *need* a smartphone, but boy do I want one (& am price constrained)

anyone played with both a Racer and a Wildfire? Thoughts? comparisons?

Cheers

Toolman

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Linux

I'm buying one so it must be good

Superb as it is - I don't think the iPhone4 does change everything - again. The HTC Wildfire does though. Not in terms of pushing the overall feature boundary - but in the bang for buck arena it's going to be kicking arse. At this price point, the HTC Wildfire sets a new standard which will probably change the shape of the market.

When I'm paying half what I would pay for an iPhone contract - plus with no outlay for the handset - it's an easy decision to make.

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Looks good... but...

I need a phone that must sync with Outlook calendar and contacts. I need to know what shifts my other half is working. I can't find anything anywhere that seems to say that any Android phone can do this... is this right? I've been syncing Nokias for years without a hitch (and tried to sync a Samsung and gave up on their truly awful sync software). And no, I don't want to sync to Gmail and then the phone.

Any ideas? I'd love a new phone, refuse to pay the Apple bling tax and don't fancy WinMo at all. Am I heading back to Nokia's open arms?

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HTC Sync

@thesykes - HTC Sense-based Android phones, which is pretty much all of them except the Nexus One, come with HTC Sync, which allows you to sync with Outlook - albeit via cable and a desktop client.

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Go

Can't speak for Android as a platform...

...but my HTC Desire (and according to the HTC website the Wildfire) can use the HTC Sync software (shipped with the handset or free off the HTC website) which will synchronize with Outlook.

Additionally, you can have the handset sync with Google Calendar (you'll need a Google account to make the most of the phone anyway) which means it's accessible anywhere and you can update from your handset.

You can then have Outlook on your PC use the Google Calendar too.

Therefore you handset (and possibly your other half's handset depending what it is) has the latest calendar all the time and can be updated on the handset in realtime. Plus your desktop Outlook has the latest calendar too.

And best of all you can access it when away from your desktop/Outlook from any other computer too...

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@ thesykes "I need to know what shifts my other half is working"

Have you considered just asking him/her?

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talk? as in person to person?

Amazingly, we do actually talk, although, her ability to remember her exact shift pattern over the next few months is not at perfection levels yet. Also, have you ever tried ringing someone two hours after they've gone to bed after working nights, to ask, what you working next Friday? Believe me, it's not something I'd ever recommend trying.

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text message?

just a thought?

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Made me a convert!

I have never been much into mobile phones and was quite happy to just use some old Samsung brick to make the odd call and a few texts. Decided to dip into some more modern communication technology and ended up with this one the day after it was released for no other reason than the guy in the 3 shop actually spent some time showing me what it could do (a lesson to learn there Carphone Warehouse... I even signed up for contract after 5 years on PAYG)

Does everything I wanted a phone to be able to do: GPS, email, web browsing, WMA format music (don't start) etc. Didin't want to get involved with Apples closed shop or pay out loads of cash. This is perfect. Great integration with Google contacts and calendar as you would expect (I hadn't been using this stuff before but using this phone made it make sense). Say what you like about Google and privacy, you have to admit they give you some cool applications for free in return.

Fuck me I have even started using Twitter.

Only made one call on it so far, which shows how much I care about mobile phones generally.

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