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HTC Wildfire - Controls, Battery and Screen
Upon seeing the row of touch sensitive buttons that run underneath the screen we were very apprehensive as those on the Nexus One were rather poor. Thankfully there are no issues with those on the Wildfire, in fact they're very responsive and easy to use. We still feel, however, that Android devices in general have too many buttons – the search and back buttons in particular are superfluous and should be replicated in software on a touchscreen device.
Likewise, while the optical trackpad that sits below the buttons works very well, it is so seldom used that it really could/should be dropped. In fact this is one thing the Samsung Galaxy S got spot on as it used just three buttons (home, back, menu) and no trackball of any description.
Take the back off and you'll find a 1300mAh battery, which is slightly less than the 1500mAh cells you get on most larger phones. Nevertheless, due to the smaller screen, we found battery life was on a par with those devices. Typically you'll want to charge every night or you'll be running very low towards the end of day two, but conservative users might stretch to three days. Thankfully you don't have to remove the battery to reach the microSD slot, which lets you add up to 32GB of storage to the miserly 128MB built-in.
Turn on the Widlfire and inevitably the low resolution of its screen is immediately obvious; pretty much everything looks pixellated and almost blurry. There's no denying it's a limiting factor. Certainly you won't want to watch high quality videos, view many pictures, or read large amounts of text (i.e. eBooks) on it. However, in general use it's absolutely fine. Normal web browsing, reading emails and texts, navigating on Google Maps, and using Facebook is easy to do without too much hassle.
One potential problem is that some Android apps don't support such a low resolution, with games being the obvious casualty. The vast majority of general productivity apps do, however, as do some games. Potentially more of a problem is that the soon-to-be-released version of Android, 3.0 Gingerbread, has a minimum hardware requirement that will mean it definitely won't work on this device.
As it ships, the Wildfire comes with the 2.1 version of Android, which is one step behind the latest 2.2 version that adds native Adobe Flash support, quick switch multi-language keyboards, and many other small improvements. However, 2.1 is still very capable and we expect a 2.2 update to arrive at some point.
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