HTC Wildfire S Hits T-Mobile

 22 Jul 2011 - By Omar Yesid Mariño+

If you still have nightmares about the original Wildfire, the new version (the Wildfire S) will wipe those notions out of your head. This new phone, now available at T-mobile (or at least it will be in August—not too much longer to wait) is a mid-level Gingerbread phone that has all you really need packed into a tiny, efficient little package.

The phone runs on a Qualcomm MSM-7227 processor at 600MHz coupled with an Adreno 200 GPU and features 512MB of RAM for your computing pleasure. That’s not to mention the handy 3.2 inch HVGA display sheathed in Gorilla Glass (that takes up most of the phone’s real estate). Complete this with a 5 megapixel camera (on the rear) and you’ve got a smartphone that isn’t a genius but won’t get stuck with the dunce cap on its head.

HTC Wildfire S Release

That’s a whole lot better than the 528MHz processor and QVGA display in the first model to bear the name Wildfire.

Even better is the price. The handset will cost you $80 (of course with a 2 year contract) (which is also a lot better than the $290 price tag on the original model—what was HTC thinking?)

The handset will be available in either white or black (though you won’t be able to convince your friends that it’s an iPhone) and will fit conveniently in the palm of your hand. In fact, that’s one of the nicest features about this phone—it doesn’t forget that it’s a phone. I have a friend—who shall remain nameless—that’s startled every time his fancy super-smart phone rings because he forgets it’s actually a phone. HTC has done a lot to remind us that the Wildfire is just that—a nice little cell phone with some cool “smart” options. The primary design factor is the less-than-4-inch breadth.

Video review:

Of course you’ll get the micro-USB port that everybody loves to hate but the Wildfire also grants you physical lock/power, and volume buttons. In addition you can look forward to obligatory WiFi b/g/n, hotspot functionality, Bluetooth 3.0, and an FM tuner—cause who doesn’t want to listen to the radio . . . on their phone?

The 1230mAh battery isn’t the biggest we’ve seen (nor the smallest) but will last long enough if you don‘t overtax it. So, with reviewers quoting anywhere from 5 to 30 hours of use, how do you know who to trust? I’d shoot for the lower end of that scale unless you don’t use your portable devices much. Turning off the WiFi functionality and adjusting the screen brightness will help but you’ll most likely find yourself without a charge when you need one, at least once or twice with this puppy, until you get used to the fickle nature of the juice box.

Affordable Android phone

The camera functionality is a bit wonky. While the sensor is big enough to take some seriously good pictures, the application which runs the camera is slow to respond and taxes the processor heavily. That means what should be a fun and fluid experience (snapping a photo) ends up being jerky, frustrating, and produces lackluster results that are just okay.

And that’s not the only software issue you might run into. As I said above, the phone runs on Gingerbread but it has been skinned with the HTC Sense User Interface. Like the Desire, EVO, and Incredible before it, the Wildfire S will look much the same. While that may be a plus for some users, undoubtedly others will be left wishing that HTC would stop pumping out the handsets and work on a better UI.

So as far as final thoughts go, the Wildfire S is a big improvement over its namesake but it’s definitely not the best phone on the market. However, with an $80 price tag, it does give those of us the phone companies like to call “bargain-minded” an option to get our hands on an Android device that won’t break the bank.

If you want snappy functionality and all the bells and whistle, look elsewhere. If you want a phone that works fine as a phone and has access to the Android Marketplace and all the apps therein, pick this puppy up.

Remember, it’s coming to T-Mobile on August 8th.

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