Taking a step back from high end models such as the Desire HD and the HD7, the Wildfire signifies a different direction for super brand HTC, this time aiming at the lower end of the lucrative smartphone market.
Despite boasting a lower specification than many of its big brothers, the Wildfire does not lack in terms of design. The handset looks compact and the screen is joined by a row of touch sensitive buttons underneath. It is pleasing to see that the excellent optical trackpad has made it on to this model. Sitting centrally at the foot of the device, this offers a more precise alternative to the touch sensitive screen, and comes in to its own when editing text documents. Looking around the back of the chassis, the unit features a soft touch finish on the back panel that makes it feel very comfortable whilst in your hand. Generally the build quality is on a par with the best selling HTC Desire, despite the phone being a slightly smaller measurement of 106.8 x 60.4 x 12mm. Unlike higher end models in the range, HTC have fitted this device with an LCD screen, which in fairness works superbly. At 320 x 240 resolution, image quality is on a par with the likes of the new Nokia X5. The display utilises capacitive touchscreen technology and thus is responsive to touch, and it also benefits from its support of multi touch, enabling the excellent pinch and zoom method to be used. This screen perfectly displays the Sense user interface that as been attached to the Android 2.1 operating system. Sense offers a functional menu system with neat additions such as the Leap view which gives a useful overview of all homescreens rather than you having to scroll through each one.
A Qualcomm 528Mhz processor powers the HTC Wildfire along nicely, despite lacking the power of the 1Ghz chips found in models such as the the HD7. Applications seems to load quickly enough and no serious issues were encountered when browsing the web. A big factor in this is also the phones brilliant connectivity facilities. The standout feature here is the Wildfires WiFi connection, offering the ultimate in speed when surfing the web. Perhaps more useful in general are the 3G facilities, which offer excellent transfer speeds even when you don't have access to a personal network. Local connectivity is covered by virtue of a micro USB port along with Bluetooth for wireless connection. A 5 mega pixel still camera heads a very comprehensive multi media package which also includes video capture and an excellent audio player which benefits from a 3.5mm stereo jack plug.
The HTC Wildfire is the perfect first smartphone, or indeed an ideal switch for current owners using a brand less comprehensive than the mighty HTC. The HTC Wildfire and the Dell Venue Pro are available now.