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HTC Wildfire S - Performance and Interface

By Edward Chester



Our Score:


Something else that doesn't help the typing proficiency of this phone is its speed. Sporting just a 600MHz CPU, the phone can get a bit laggy while typing fast, and even navigating around the interface causes the odd slight pause. You can alleviate this somewhat by clearing the homescreens of most widgets, and again typing slower will heed better results, but those of you used to careering around your smartphones will find the Wildfire S not up to snuff.

One area where the lack of speed is felt most acutely is gaming. You can get away with the likes of Angry Birds just about – it's playable if a little stuttery – but more graphically intensive fare like Reckless Racing is something of a no go.

All is far from lost for the Wildfire S, though. If you stick to smartphone basics like email, web browsing, Facebook, Twitter, GoogleMaps and YouTube you'll be fine and indeed the Wildfire S perfectly fulfils its remit as a more compact and bijou version of larger smartphones – after all, you're to expect a degree of compromise from a smaller device.

One area where this phone should be right on the curve is its OS. It runs the latest 2.3 version of Android so is packed with features. That said, because HTC has meddled with things, the benefits aren't quite so obvious or indeed present at all. As well as the aforementioned changes to the keyboard, HTC also uses its own (admittedly quite good) text selection and editing interface, and the general smartening up of the interface that Google did in the latest version of its OS is masked by HTCs own stylings.

None of this is disastrous but it all adds up to an experience that feels not as good as it could have been.

One positive addition is HTC Sense. This brings together information from Facebook and Twitter and adds it to your contacts, giving you the ability to view all your friend's information from a single view. In truth we've never really used this facility but it can be useful if you've forgotten a friends Twitter tag for instance or if you're chatting to someone over multiple messaging services.

Carrier pricing updates & information supplied by WhistleOut

Matt McGuire

May 4, 2011, 9:14 pm


For a brand new phone where the advice is:

"to type slower heeds better results" and "turning everything off" helps.

Once again another Android fail.
How can it be, that a device which is far worse than the original iPhone receive an 8/10?

If a smartphone can't keep with my typing, it deserves a 1/10.
That's not smart. It is rubbish.

Seriously, I'm not anti-android - but this is unacceptable especially given the San Francisco alternative.


May 4, 2011, 10:15 pm

@Matt: If my HTC Hero is anything to go by, none of the screen size or related keyboard issues are as bad as this review makes them sound. If you find the keyboard to be too cramped, then perhaps you should get used to using the landscape keyboard more often. These are some of the compromises you have to put up with when owning a cheaper, more compact device. If you consider that to be a compromise too far, then this phone is not intended for you.

Don't get me wrong, I certainly see the benefits of a larger screen, and for most people the San Francisco is the smarter choice. It's just that terms like 'fundamental issue' might be a bit strong considering that 3.2in 320x480 screens were the smartphone standard not so long ago.


May 5, 2011, 12:12 am

In my experience the SF is also laggy and underpowered although the price makes up for it.

I also never found typing on my old Hero a problem and think the HTC Keyboard is great.

Why do people always seem to compare budget Android phones to iPhones and expect them to match up? How about like for like, a Galaxy S2 perhaps. If you're buying a cheaper phone there's always going to be a compromise.

Hamish Campbell

May 5, 2011, 12:05 pm

Isn't this not only an increase in resolution for the wildfire, but also screen size?

I'm pretty sure the old wildfire had a smaller screen size as well as lower res, perhaps as wide but not as long? Or is it just the resolution that gives that impression?

Anyway, this update actually bumps the specs up to the level of my HTC Legend, which also struggles with games, although I haven't noticed any typing issues, apart from the slightly cramped keyboard due to the narrower screen. But I'll admit I drop flashy widgets etc to help the processor out...good for the battery too.


May 5, 2011, 2:51 pm

The old Wildfire had the same diagonal - 3.2 inches. However, the older model had a more square aspect ratio due to its 240x320 resolution, so it may have been a little wider.

Sam Wright

May 5, 2011, 3:10 pm

I really get annoyed when a consumer, if they dont like one facet of a product, automatically give it a 1/10. You need to remember that professional reviews are looking at what the device is trying to do in which niche. And while the screen is small, so not great for large hands, just because you dont like it, doesnt mean its a bad device for its target audience.
Frankly a small screen wont be an issue for the vast majority of people. You get used to not just blundering around screen, and its only recently the truly giant touchphones have come into play, and before then people were absolutely fine.


May 8, 2011, 11:51 pm

I was considering this as my other half's first smartphone but when the specs were checked I got a cracking deal on a HTC Desire with a contract, compared to this. For the keyboard complains, please do yourself a favour and sign up for the Swype beta beta.swype.com - truly incredible tech from the inventors of T9 apparently.


July 29, 2011, 9:22 pm

The review is not of the phone I bought, so I will meekly move on to another review site...

(Maybe there's an objectivity failure? After all, TR has a good reputation.)


June 13, 2012, 5:40 pm

I have no problem with the basic functionality of this phone, but I have had "Insufficient Storage" issues on this phone since the first week! Neither Orange, not HTC were able to resolve them. I have done 3 factory resets in the last 12 months. I have to say I thought my problems with the HTC Hero were a one-off, but I will never buy an HTC phone again and I will (and have) actively discourage friends and relatives from getting one.

What's the point of having access to the apps on Marketplace if you can't actually use them because you have to delete them to be able to receive messages or view photos etc.


Manoj Luintel

September 25, 2013, 1:48 pm

Is it possible to make Skype calls thru Htc wildfire?!

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