Friday, August 13, 2010

My new HTC Wildfire - Stepping into Android world !! :-)

Those who are following me in twitter/buzz might be knowing that i recently joined the Android community with the purchase of HTC Wildfire. It is one of the most recent phones from HTC released in India. As a matter of fact, i am really happy to see HTC building its base strongly in India (there are already 3 to 4 service centres in chennai alone and one in coimbatore too!). I wanted to buy an Android phone inspired by the adventures with android (nexus one) by varunkumar.

Ok, here i go with my first review of the brand new HTC Wildfire.

Specifications

  • Capacitive touch screen 240x320 QVGA

  • Android 2.1 with HTC Sense UI

  • 512 MB ROM

  • 384 MB RAM

  • microSD slot (2GB included) - expandable upto 32 GB

  • 3G upto 7.2 MBPS, Wi-Fi IEEE 802.11, GPRS, EDGE, Bluetooth v2.1

  • Internal GPS Antenna

  • 5 Megapixel Camers

  • G-Sensor, Proximity Sensor, Digital compass



Pros


  • Look and feel: The phone looks really sleek with a good amount of screen space (with both landscape and portrait orientations obviously).


  • Touchpad Input: This was something i was worrying before i bought this phone, as i have never used a touch pad based phone before. But now i know my worries were totally stupid, the capacitive touch screen in HTC Wildfire is really very good and much better than their resistive equivalents in the recent nokia phones. (N97 users, no offence, but the touchpad here is much better than N97). And yeah, life gets 100 times better with swype installed. We are really in the next generation of text inputs. Waiting to see how swype can change touch based netbooks. (For those who don't know what swype is, look here).


  • Sound Clarity: The sound clarity has been decent as far as i have experimented. (I am not an expert in playing around with the equalizer fields of a music player). To my needs, which are, hearing songs, loud ringtone, it works much more than fine.


  • Sensors: This is one feature that i never expected to be toooooo good. The sensors in the phone are realtime awesome. First is the orientation sensor which works much better than my previous mobile (n79). Even when i am lying down in a bed, the orientation sensor works perfectly. And as HTC says, another major sensor added to wildfire is, when you get a call, the phone automatically reduces the volume when you pick the phone up in your hands. Also, if you just invert the position of the phone, it stops the ringing tone. Another good sensor available is, when you are talking over phone, (with the phone close to your cheeks), the backlight automatically goes off. And it goes on at the instance you get it out of the talking position. On the whole, sensors really stand out in Wildfire


  • Camera Clarity: Again, as far as i have experimented, camera clarity has been quite good. HTC Wildfire comes with a 5 MP camera with autofocus. I will update this area after my friend bala experiments the camera features. The flash makes pictures taken at night also pretty clear.


  • Sync with Google Accounts: I would say Android is really a trademark google's approach for mobile phones as they have shown it with the amount of integration that can be done between your android phone and google account. You can sync everything from contacts and emails to even docs. Google latitude and buzz integration are pretty good too. Even with my slow speed gprs internet, i receive mails just like smses in my wildfire.


  • Context Aware Notifications: I learnt this during my schooling. When we right click somewhere in windows, we will get a pop up menu. But the contents of the menu will vary depending upon where you right click and hence it was called as a "Context Sensitive Menu". Similarly, the notifications in Android are all highly Context Aware (e.g. location information are always opened by google maps and not by the internal browser). And many helpful notifications to save battery power are also really good.


  • Friends Stream: Again this is one of the features that HTC is using in its marketing campaign for Wildfire. It is really a usefull application that connects you with your twitter, facebook and flikr friends. And yeah how can i forget to mention about the contact syncing done by wildfire. Since i had all the contacts in phone memory in my previous phone, i was planning to transfer it to my new one. Thats when i found that wildfire has already picked up many of the phone numbers of my friends from facebook and twitter. Wow! It saved atleast and hour to two of my time :-) And i don't need to update my contact book anymore, my phone does it for me.


  • Innovative Caller ID: Instead of just the boring caller name and caller photo, Wildfire shows the callers facebook status, birthday, etc. This works nicely even with my slow speed gprs connection (probably some caching is done somewhere!).


Cons


  • Battery Backup: Since the phone is almost always connected to internet (via gprs), battery power doesn't last for more than 24 hours. I feel this is okay for people like me who don't have trips often and get ample amount of time to charge it. Anyways, this definitely needs scope of improvement especially if HTC is going to market Wildfire as a business phone.


  • Heating Up: Almost all the gadgets have this problem these days. Wildfire gets heated up a bit too much while charging. Unlike my previous phone, it doesn't get heated up when using gprs/wifi extensively.



Overall, a really good Android phone to buy especially in a relatively expensive mobile phone market like India.

P.S.: Expect a few android from me apps soon ;-)

-Vignesh