HTC Desire review

Price when reviewed

HTC has launched a withering assault in the past two months on Apple’s dominance at the top of the smartphone tree. First the HTC Legend appeared, with its beautiful aluminium chassis and slick operation, and now the attractive HTC Desire is here. The competition is getting fierce.

The Desire is the Legend’s bigger brother in every respect: it has a larger 3.7in screen with a brighter OLED panel and higher resolution at 480 x 800. It’s a chunkier device overall, measuring 60 x 11.9 x 119mm (WDH) and weighing 135g. The finish isn’t quite as lovely as the Legend’s solid aluminium, but the soft-touch plastics that wrap closely around the phone’s core lends to a solid and hard-wearing feel.

The result is a truly luxurious phone and one that, despite its larger screen size and resolution, is no more difficult to pocket than the iPhone 3GS. It feels just as slick in use too. Thanks to the 1GHz Snapdragon processor, the Desire does everything instantly, without pause or delay.

Web pages load quickly, pinch-zoom gestures work without lag, and the automatic screen rotation enabled by the device’s accelerometer occurs as soon as you turn the Desire on its end. Our tests back up that feeling of speed. Load the BBC homepage over a quick Wi-Fi connection and it will take, on average, a mere 10 seconds. That’s slower than the Apple iPhone 3GS, but not by much.

HTC Desire rear

In the Acid3 web-standards test it scored a creditable 91, so it will load most websites accurately, then, as well as quickly. But that’s not the headline the inclusion of the Flash Lite 4 is. Although still not full fat Flash (that’s promised later in the year), we found it worked very well with the majority of interactive web content we tested it on. Embedded YouTube video played successfully, as did video on the PC Pro website. Alas, BBC iPlayer refused to play ball.

Augmenting the feeling of all-round quality is the accuracy of the touchscreen and reliability of the onscreen keyboard. It just feels right to use, and the addition of HTC’s superb Sense UI overlaid on top of Android means text entry works brilliantly, with iPhone-alike text prediction. You don’t have to worry about being too accurate anyway – tap cack-handedly away and, most of the time, you’ll be rewarded with readable text. Even if you find some links hard to press accurately, the optical d-pad beneath the screen provides an effective, alternative means of navigating around.


Cheapest price on contractFree
Contract monthly charge£25.00
Contract period18 months
Contract providerT-Mobile

Battery Life

Talk time, quoted6hrs 40mins
Standby, quoted15 days


Dimensions60 x 11.9 x 119mm (WDH)
Primary keyboardOn-screen

Core Specifications

RAM capacity576MB
ROM size512MB
Camera megapixel rating5.0mp
Front-facing camera?no
Video capture?yes


Screen size3.7in
Resolution480 x 800
Landscape mode?yes

Other wireless standards

Bluetooth supportyes
Integrated GPSyes


OS familyAndroid

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