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HTC Desire - HTC Desire

By Edward Chester


Our Score


User Score

Review Price £314.50

Google's superb web browser is present and correct and it's as easy to use as ever. Complicated web pages are properly rendered and thanks to Flash support, you can even watch online video. Double tap the screen and you zoom in by a predefined amount or perform a pinching action and you can zoom in and out to whatever level you like. Once resized the text will then squash in to fit the width of the screen, meaning you don't have to scroll left and right to read the whole paragraph. Comparing it to the much vaunted iPhone browser interface and the pinch actions feel a little less intuitive, the set double-tap zoom level can feel restrictive, and the squashed text can be annoying as it can break formatting. However, the latter two features are in fact preferable to the iPhone's way of doing things in equal measure. All told we think neither platform quite has the perfect browser navigation solution yet.

HTC Desire browser

The 1GHz Snapdragon processor means Flash video framerates are better than we've ever seen on a mobile device, though they're still someway short of a desktop experience – you seem to get every other frame whereas the Legend, say, struggled to show half as many. Overall browsing speed, though, is stupendous. In fact, the whole phone zips along like you wouldn't believe, loading games, apps, webpages and emails almost before you've thought to press the icon. Despite this, though, some actions can still make the Desire struggle. Things like scrolling a long list can result in jerky motion. It's only aesthetic but it's takes the edge off an otherwise impressive performance.

HTC Desire back angle

Fans of filling their smartphone with millions of apps (unlike me) will be pleased by the number now on offer in the Android marketplace. It's still nowhere near the level of the Apple app store but you should seldom be left wanting for most genuinely useful apps. Basics like the ability to open Microsoft Office apps are already inbuilt so even relatively enthusiastic users should be ready to go straight out the box.

When it comes to the day to day duties of this phone, it performs very well with good call quality and reception, though the loud speaker is a little weedy. Battery life is also surprisingly decent considering this phone's capabilities. By all means you'll need to charge it at least every other day and all those widgets can certainly drain the battery even in standby, but with sensible use it's no worse than most large touch-screen phones.

HTC Desire front angle

Comparisons between the Desire and Nexus One are inevitable as they share the same basic features of a 3.7in OLED screen and 1GHz Qualcomm "Snapdragon" processor. However, the Nexus One has a physical trackball and touch-sensitive buttons, and also has clever noise-cancelling for calls and a powerful voice-recognition feature - both of which we certainly didn't feel ourselves craving when using the Desire.

Any true comparison falls down, though, when it comes to price. The cheapest we've found the Google Nexus One for £499 (SIM free) while the Desire can be had for a truly bargain price of £380 from a number of shops. At this price it is clearly the choice smartphone of the moment. That doesn't, however, mean we'd recommend it to everyone. You see, despite being a superb device, the Desire doesn't really bring anything new to the market and it certainly lacks that wow factor that makes us want to grab one now. Sure, if you're dead against an iPhone, can't afford one, or just want something now then the Desire is the pick of the alternatives but we would be inclined to wait and see what Apple's fourth gen phone turns out to be like before making any decision.


The HTC Desire is a truly wondrous smartphone. It's 3.7in OLED screen looks amazing, its 1GHz processor makes it super fast, and its Android operating system is easy to use and powerful. It does lack the visual impact of some alternatives and doesn't necessarily break new ground, but if you're in the market for a smartphone right now this is the pick of the bunch.

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April 2, 2010, 1:45 am

Had mine since last Saturday and love it! Fixes the Hero's one flaw - slowdown. No matter how much I multi-task I can't get it to lag for a second.

T-mobile are offering stupidly cheap contracts for it.

snoop 7

April 2, 2010, 1:49 am

Great review. I torn between this and the legend.


April 2, 2010, 3:22 am

I think this is a far better choice than the legend at the moment. I was amazed when I saw the price. £380 sim-free seems very reasonable for feature set, and the legend looks overpriced in comparison.


April 2, 2010, 4:35 am

I've had the Nexus One for 2 months which is bascially the same as the Desire and it's the best phone I've ever owned (i came from a iphone 3GS)

The Desire currently only uses Flash Lite which is why the video playback is slow, it's only using software decoding. When full Flash 10.1 comes out in a few months, it will be using hardware acceleration and take advantage of all the snapdragons processors capabilities, Flash video will be perfectly smooth.

Lord Comben III

April 2, 2010, 4:37 am

Yiippee just the review i was waiting for. Love the look of the desire and i hate apple so gooo team htc desire :)


April 2, 2010, 4:53 am

I Desired it MUCH ...

Went to T-Mobile UK Store in Newport with a wad of Cash - My transfer Codes and Identity hopeing to Sign up for the most anticipated new phone in years

No - You cannot have one sir The HTC is Faulty -

Faulty ? Surely My ANDROID lust in the past few weeks would have picked up on the Desire being Faulty? Not a mention on any forum UK or USA saying the Desire is FAULTY!!

Yes sir the phones FAULTY full of bugs indeed - The phones withdrawn ! So I suggest to the "Sales person" that if indeed T-mo added something nasty to the HTC Desire it it may well be FAULTY - But surely its not a good idea to say the HTC is FAULTY - Only that T-mos implementation is FAULTY ?

She showed me the door - Thankfully THREE Voda and 02 have the desire listed as coming soon ;)

I Doubt theirs is FAULTY madam

iain coghill

April 2, 2010, 10:11 am

@ravmania "T-mobile are offering stupidly cheap contracts for it."

Gosh yes, if like me your minutes/text requirements are low but you want unlimited internet these look like a bargain.


April 2, 2010, 11:22 am

I had a go with one of these in Carphone Warehouse yesterday lunchtime.

Currently a 3GS owner, I was keen to see what is around to upgrade to. I really liked the look and feel of the phone, and there's no doubt that the screen is stunning. However, the comment about jerking when scrolling a long list is very true. It lacks the snappy responsiveness on the iPhone.

Verdict? I woulnd't take one of these now, when it is pretty much 50/50 with the iPhone from nearly 12 months ago. It will be worth holding on to see what Apple have done in this time - June, July maybe?


April 2, 2010, 2:11 pm

@DavidDB - that's very odd since I have a Desire on T-Mobile and I've had no problems with it whatsoever. In fact I'm writing this comment on it right now.

So far I absolutely love the Desire and as was mentioned above the T-Mobile tariff is incredible value. I'm just thing to get used to not waiting ten seconds every time I select anything as I did with my iPhone 3G :)


April 2, 2010, 2:13 pm

@Lord Comben ... you can hate Apple as much as you want, if it wasn't for the iPhone revolution, you wouldn't be looking at an HTC anything. I have the Desire after having had an iPhone 3GS and I thank Apple every day for making my life simpler!


April 2, 2010, 4:00 pm


My T-mobile Desire has had no issues whatsoever. Very happy with it.

@iain coghill

I know. I've paid £360 for a Desire with 3GB of data a month for two years!


April 2, 2010, 6:26 pm

I knew that but Try Telling T-Mobile shop in NEWPORT that

I will get one from somewhere Im sure - Might order it online to be Picked up in store lol ;)


April 2, 2010, 7:23 pm

The T-Mobile Tarrifs do seem great indeed. I previously was looking for my next phone at buying it outright and then using simfree month-month deals. As I've been annoyed with my current phone at being locked in for so long.

Current best simfree 30day deal seems to be Tesc: 500 mins, Unlimited Texts, Unlimited Internet. £15 every 30 days. With of course lets say £380 for initial purchase.

So, ignoring the benefits of flexibility for now over 18 months that would be

£380 + £15 * 18 = £650

Comparing to a comparable T-mobile tariff:

£129 + £25 * 18 = £579 (600 mins, 500 texts).

Personally I think 24 months is a long time to be locked in for any self-respecting techie! Just think how many cool new devices will be out by then!

So for me the best deal I reckon is T-mobile £129 initial, £20 a month for 18 months giving 300mins 300 texts.

Could anyone confirm that there is an additional flexible booster on these tariffs, or is the Unlimited Internet already using up the booster?


April 2, 2010, 9:09 pm

I've got my Desire being delivered tomorrow and can't wait to finally ditch my 2 year old Touch Dual. Goodbye Windows Mobile.


April 3, 2010, 1:29 am

@Malderon "So for me the best deal I reckon is T-mobile £129 initial, £20 a month for 18 months giving 300mins 300 texts.

Could anyone confirm that there is an additional flexible booster on these tariffs, or is the Unlimited Internet already using up the booster"

That's the deal i am going on, the additional flexible booster is as well as unlimited internet, as i ordered mine on the phone and asked.


April 3, 2010, 2:45 am

These T-Mobile deals are just so stonking. Its just too expensive for me to buy out my contract at the moment. You can get £35 cashback from quidco on £20 deals - taking the initial cost down to £94. Total over 18 months is £454 on the deal mentioned above including quidco. Not alot higher than the SimFree cost! Amazing - And I'm stuck paying £35 a month for minutes and texts I barely use on my Blackberry Storm - which I dont hate... but its no Desire!


April 3, 2010, 6:19 am

I'm paying £10 a month for 100 mins, unlimited texts and unlimited net (3GB). Phone was £164 and I got £40 quidco. Total cost for 2 years is £364.

I don't even need the line. Just look at it as 2 years data for free and spreading the cost of the phone.

Big Rich

April 3, 2010, 2:14 pm

I got mine Thursday after ordering it from mobiles.co.uk - £19.99 phone cost, £40 per month with 300 minutes, unlimited texts and data on a 12 month contract which I'm chuffed with! The phone itself is amazing and so far I haven't had any problems with it (unlike the Nexus One which I had for a few days and ended up sending back due to a screen problem). My friends and I can't get over how quick it is, I have a HSPA connection here and this website loaded in seconds. I'm really impressed with this phone :)


April 3, 2010, 5:19 pm

I'm due an upgrade soon, but will keep my old contract as I'll get a £10 discount.

If I get one of these via this PAYG deal, will it work oput better and what'll it cost me in the end?


April 3, 2010, 8:53 pm

I've sent an email to Vodafone just asking how much it would be for early termination, or if its possible to downgrade the plan. The Desire looks just so awesome and the ravmania deal for less than the sim-free cost! And you still get a flexible booster (not sure whether I'd choose Landline or Euro) Unbeleivable - plus I was with T-Mob before and was happy with their service, only switched to Vodafone due to signal issues at a location I dont visit much anyomre.


April 4, 2010, 2:28 am

Got mine for a tenner as I was due an upgrade, nice!

Loving it, I had the Advantage before and that also was a great phone, 5" screen, great for TomTom.

Have tried the beebPlayer on my Desire and it's OK, love the barcode scanner too for a laugh. Can't quite decide what satnav to get, but might just repurpose the Advantage for that due to its big screen.

All in all, extremely well done HTC. I'v had one of your phones since the Wizard and can't see any reason whatsoever for changing to another manufacturer. You are the Samsung of the mobile world.


April 4, 2010, 5:26 am

upgraded my O2 contract to the HTC HD2 and had the HD2 for 2 weeks - handset was just to big for me so sold it in a provate sale and went back to my iPhone.

I am now a day away from picking up the Desire..? still have my doubts especially in the looks and apps departments - any thoughts?

Looks I think I can live with the brown finish although would like the graphite but its gonna cost me a little more and a slightly longer wait - apps wise, I am used to iPhones Apps store hopefull about Andriod and WinMo was poor.

Will hopefully update in 48hours



April 4, 2010, 8:10 am

Can you get this with Windows Mobile OS ? : - )

Martin Daler

April 5, 2010, 2:03 pm

what happens if you take this phone abroad? As far as I can make out from T-Mobile's pages, it comes with "unlimited" internet (UK) in the price plan because its internet connection is "always on". So if you take it on holiday, are you in for a shock when you get back? Can you switch off its internet connection, and if so how much of the phone's functionality remains?


April 5, 2010, 3:24 pm

Got my HTC Desire after returning the Xperia X10, and i love it i think it could contend if not beed the iphone.

@frank no its Android only.

@Martin Daler no you will need to turn it off as it will charge you A LOT Lol. you can still make and recieve calls and text but anything that requiers an internet connection I.E friend stream or the weather app wont work properly.

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