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HTC Wildfire S review

HTC's latest Android phone is nice and small, but does it offer too little?

Our Verdict

A rare off moment from HTC. If this was £99 it'd be a formidable entry-level Android phone, but for over £200 the Wildfire S is lacking compared with the competition.

Product features

  • Built-in Memory : 512 MB
  • Rear Camera Resolution : 5 Megapixel
  • Battery Talk Time : 7.16 Hour
  • Screen Resolution : 480 x 320

View full specification

For

  • Solid and durable body
  • Great features on HTC Sense 2.1
  • Responsive capacitive touchscreen
  • Fairly decent still shots

Against

  • Under-powered processor
  • Disappointing video recording
  • No DivX/Xvid video playback
  • Too expensive for what's on offer

The HTC Wildfire arrived in mid-2010, when the world was still reeling from the impact of the sensational HTC Desire.

And the Wildfire was almost as popular, coupling HTC's fantastic Sense user interface with a smaller, solid and capable little body – it was a lot of people's first, affordable smartphone.

If you are in the market for a new smartphone, check out our sneaky video peek at the phone before reading on:

But things are a little different in 2011. The dual-core "superphones" have arrived, which means something with a lowly 600MHz processor is going to have to win fans via features and price rather than power.

The HTC Wildfire S isn't exactly a cheap phone, either. Currently on sale for around £220 through the SIM-free retailers, there are now plenty of extremely capable Android-powered phones out there for less money – such as the Samsung Galaxy Ace or LG Optimus One.

It's going to be a bloody fight, this.

Design

HTC wildfire s

HTC has refreshed the design substantially, giving the Wildfire S the same workmanlike black and chrome look as seen in the excellent HTC Desire S.

HTC wildfire s

There are no physical buttons on the front of the phone, with HTC opting for four capacitive touch-buttons. These are your standard Android Home, Menu, Back and Search options. They're responsive, plus HTC has put in a little vibration feedback to reassure your brain that your finger did indeed just hit the right spot.

HTC wildfire s

HTC has removed the optical trackpad, which has allowed it to make the Widlfire S a little shorter than last year's model. It's a very tiny phone and also manages to be lighter – 105g versus the original's 118g.

HTC wildfire s

The 3.2-inch screen runs at 320x480 resolution, so obviously isn't going to be as sharp as displays found on more expensive phones. But it is pleasingly solid, nice and glassy and responsive to even the lightest of touches.

HTC wildfire s

Given that the old HTC Wildfire had a screen outputting at a shameful 240x320, this is still a big step up. It's not particularly sharp, mind – there's a noticeable mesh over everything if you look closely.

Feel

HTC wildfire s

Round the back is your classic HTC moulded rubber cover, which is grippy and feels pretty solid. There's also the 5MP camera lens and, thankfully, an LED flash.

HTC wildfire s

There's a proximity sensor in the front case, allowing the Wildfire S to dim the screen when you press it to your ear. But there's no front-facing camera here.

HTC wildfire s

It's a chunky, well-made little phone that feels very nice in the hand and impressively solid. But is it any good when you turn it on?

Tech Specs

Product TypeSmartphone
Network BandQuad Band
Input MethodTouchscreen
TouchscreenYes
BluetoothYes
Wireless LANYes
USBYes
Contract TypeSIM-free
Maximum Memory Card Size Supported32 GB
Built-in Memory512 MB
Built-in FlashYes
Memory Card SlotYes
Cellular Data Connectivity TechnologyGPRS, EDGE, HSDPA, HSUPA
GPS ReceiverYes
Multi-SIM SupportedNo
Near Field CommunicationNo
Integrated TV TunerNo
Cellular Generation3.5G
Cellular Network SupportedGSM 850, GSM 900, GSM 1800, GSM 1900, WCDMA 900, WCDMA 2100
Rear Camera Resolution5 Megapixel
Number of SIM Card Supported1
Front CameraNo
Memory Card SupportedmicroSD
Phone StyleBar
ColourDark Grey
Operating SystemAndroid
Brand NameHTC
Battery Talk Time7.16 Hour
Product ModelWildfire S
Screen Size8.1 cm (3.2")
Screen Resolution480 x 320
Touchscreen TypeCapacitive
Weight (Approximate)105 g
Maximum Video Resolution640 x 480
Bluetooth StandardBluetooth 3.0
Operating System VersionAndroid 2.3 Gingerbread
Messaging TypeSMS (Short Message Service), MMS (Multi-media Messaging Service), Email, Instant Messaging
USB StandardUSB 2.0
Height101.3 mm
Width59.4 mm
Depth12.4 mm
Radio TunerYes
Battery Standby Time360 Hour
ManufacturerHigh Tech Computer Corp
Product NameWildfire S Smartphone
Processor Speed600 MHz
Screen TypeLCD
Sensor TypeG-sensor, Digital Compass, Proximity Sensor, Ambient Light Sensor, Accelerometer
Manufacturer Part Number99HMM152-00
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.europe.htc.com
Marketing Information

Surf in style

Your HTC Wildfire S knows that the online world, is your world. Being offline is not an option. With the HTC Wildfire S, surfing the web is easy. Enjoy multi-window browsing, watch text resize automatically on screen as you zoom in and out, and simply highlight text to quickly look up what you're reading about on Google, Wikipedia or YouTube. You're as connected on the move as you are at home.

Snap, tag and share

Whether it's a photo you've snapped with your HTC Wildfire S camera, or one you've received, it's easy to share it on Facebook and other social networks. Select any photo you want on your phone, upload it and tag it for all your friends to see.

Share apps in a snap

The Android market has over 100 thousand of the latest applications, games and tools that you can download straight to your phone and easily share with your friends. So you can fill your phone and your life with everything you love.