HTC Desire S review: Droid cravings

Droid cravings

GSMArena team, 18 April 2011.


Powerful hardware, large high-res screen and the latest Android version in a solid metal body– the recipe did wonders for the original Desire so no wonder HTC are in no mood to experiment with the sequel. Take the best and make it better pretty much sums up the game plan. Oh well, we’ll take quietly brilliant even if emphasis is sometimes on quiet. In other words, the Desire S is a phone we’re ready to like. But make no mistake – it’s not meant to be the flagship its predecessor was.

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HTC Desire S official photos

HTC has the Sensation to send against the heavyweight competition. The new Desire is given a different, though no less important role. Ideally, it should be the smartphone that has broader appeal, the one to offer as reward to loyal upgraders. The phone to give you – wait for it – more bang for your buck than we’ve come expect from HTC.

Here’s what it puts on the table summarized.

Key features

  • Quad-band GSM and dual-band 3G support
  • 14.4 Mbps HSDPA and 5.76 Mbps HSUPA
  • 3.7" 16M-color capacitive LCD touchscreen of WVGA resolution (480 x 800 pixels)
  • Uses the best screen from HTC so far (along with the Incredible S)
  • Android OS v2.3 Gingerbread with HTC Sense
  • 1 GHz Scorpion CPU, Adreno 205 GPU, Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM8255 chipset
  • 768 MB RAM and 1.1 GB ROM
  • 5 MP autofocus camera with LED flash and geotagging
  • 720p video recording @ 30fps
  • Wi-Fi b/g/n and DLNA
  • GPS with A-GPS
  • microSD slot up to 32GB (8GB card included)
  • Accelerometer and proximity sensor
  • Standard 3.5 mm audio jack
  • Stereo FM radio with RDS
  • microUSB port (charging) and stereo Bluetooth v2.1
  • Smart dialing, voice dialing
  • Front facing camera, video calls
  • DivX/XviD video support
  • Compact aluminum unibody
  • Gorilla glass display
  • HTC Locations app
  • integration
  • HTC Portable Hotspot
  • Ultra-fast boot times (if you don’t remove battery)

Main disadvantages

  • No dedicated camera key and no lens cover
  • Below-par sunlight legibility
  • Wi-Fi signal degrades when you cover the top part of the back panel
  • microSD is below the battery cover

Those coming from the original Desire will certainly notice the absence of the optical trackpad and that now capacitive keys replace the hardware buttons. It’s a different way of interacting with the phone but by no means less comfortable. Other than that, the new smartphone certainly does well to upgrade the original. You get more RAM, a slightly more compact and lighter body, which is still solid enough thanks to all the metal, along with the latest Android and a more powerful GPU.

Video-chat enthusiasts will cheer the front-facing camera, while those who want lots of apps installed on their smartphones will appreciate the extended built-in memory.

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The HTC Desire S at ours

The bad news is the Desire S is – in more than one way – running against the clock. A year is a really long time in cell phone terms and there’s no guarantee the updates are enough to make it competitive in a market that’s embracing dual-core and pushing beyond the 1GHz mark.

The easiest way to dispel the doubts would be to sail smooth through this review. So why wait – unboxing coming up right after the break.

Reader comments

  • dev

How u upgraded ur desire s510e? Please help me. I tried a lot but failed.

  • thefearfulsilence

I got one of these second hand and I have to say that it's a good little handset. My problem is with the ICS upgrade. It's just too unstable and contains numerous bugs. Occasionally a portion of my screen becomes unresponsive to touch input and th...

  • m.sharif

i upgrated to is better than 2.3.excelent