HTC Wildfire S – an initial thoughts review

The HTC Wildfire S arrives in an impressive form, exuding quality and elegance at a time when smaller handsets tend to look and feel cheaply built. The silver on white color scheme which One Mobile Ring was blessed with works brilliantly; the reflective edge to the screen brings out a certain sleekness that you just wouldn’t expect in a handset of this price point. The ‘S’ is slightly smaller in size than the original Wildfire, which we saw as part of the budget Android phone rush of last year. This new size is mainly down to the removal of the largely redundant and previously domineering optical tracker pad, at the front of the handset.

Unfortunately, the specifications are not likely to impress many but the plucky little phone makes up for this with a great design. The smooth rounded corners and solid build quality help it feel rather more expensive than perhaps it should, whilst arriving in some tasteful colours: purple, stone grey and black.

The appealing Wildfire S does receive some minor enhancements from the original model, with a 320×480 HVGA 3.2-inch display, a 5 MP camera and running from Android ‘Gingerbread’ 2.3 OS. The bad news is that it retains the original 600MHz processor, and the effects of this will become apparent, if not immediately. The accuracy of the touch screen compares well even against some of the industry giants, such as the HTC Desire, which does add to the overall attractiveness of the device.

It is disappointing, but not surprising to discover, the CPU is sluggish in certain areas. In our tests the camera was very slow and the speed was hugely affected when viewing multiple windows inside of the web browser. Although the Phone comes with a limited specification, the only real glaring omission is the lack of a file viewer. One Mobile Ring is quite confident there will be one made available from the marketplace in the near future, so it shouldn’t cause much of an outrage.

The Wildfire S is quite at home with the smaller everyday tasks such as video watching, along with a ‘bit’ of multitasking. We can’t help but feel that it needs a little more power to open up to a fuller range of possibilities. It’s frustrating to have the capabilities to run various different tasks, and whilst it’s technically possible to do this, you would have to watch the device struggle under the pressure. It’s already known to many how powerful the operating system can be, only it’s up to the manufacturers to supply the necessary hardware and here,  they have not.

Nevertheless, as the original Wildfire proved comfortably when looking up to the Desire where there is still plenty to love about the ‘little brother’. Whilst the look of the mobile phone is not everything to everyone, this alone could be enough to see it flourish, but its functions leave a lot to be Desired (no pun intended).

– B

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