HTC Desire (U.S. Cellular) review: HTC Desire (U.S. Cellular)

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CNET Editors' Rating

4 stars Excellent
  • Overall: 8.3
  • Design: 9.0
  • Features: 8.0
  • Performance: 8.0
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good The HTC Desire features a sleek design with a sharp and responsive touch screen. The 1GHz Snapdragon processor keeps things running smoothly, and call quality is good.

The Bad No voice dialing over Bluetooth. Camera and camcorder quality are so-so.

The Bottom Line Sleek and fast, the HTC Desire is not only U.S. Cellular's best Android device but the carrier's best smartphone to date.

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First announced at Mobile World Congress 2010, we've had to wait seven long months for the HTC Desire to land Stateside, and admittedly, we were worried that it would come up short compared with some of the smartphones that have come out since. We were wrong. Sure, it doesn't have some of the latest and greatest features found on other smartphones, like a front-facing camera or an HDMI port, but it offers a solid feature set, top-notch design, and great performance. It's a particularly great and important addition for U.S. Cellular, whose smartphone lineup has been lacking and whose only Android offering up until now has been the Samsung Acclaim. In our book, it's hands down the best smartphone that the carrier has to offer. The HTC Desire will be available from U.S. Cellular starting August 27 for $199.99 with a two-year contract and after a $70 mail-in rebate.

Design
As a close cousin to the Nexus One, the HTC Desire sports a similar design, and we have no problem with that since we love the N1. The handset measures 4.7 inches tall by 2.4 inches wide by 0.5 inch thick and weighs 4.76 ounces, so it's not too big and not too small. Like a number of HTC's Android devices before it, the Desire has a slight chin at the bottom but it's much more subtle and doesn't get in the way of slipping the phone into a pants pocket. The rounded edges also make it comfortable to hold in the hand. It's a solid-feeling phone all around--not plasticky or cheap.


The Desire has a design similar to that of the Nexus One.

The Desire features a 3.7-inch, WVGA (800x480) capacitive touch screen that's beautiful and sharp, so whether you're reading text, Web pages, or viewing photos and video, you're getting a great experience. In addition, the display is responsive and has pinch-to-zoom support, a built-in accelerometer, and a proximity sensor. The zooming capabilities are smooth and quick, and there was very little delay when switching screen orientation. We were able to quickly launch apps and scroll through lists with ease as well. HTC's onscreen keyboard is pretty decent, though slightly cramped in portrait mode.


The Desire features physical controls rather than touch-sensitive buttons for the Android shortcuts.
Unlike the Nexus One, the Desire features physical buttons for the home, menu, back, and search functions. You also get a volume rocker on the left spine, and a power button and a 3.5mm headphone jack on top of the device. The Micro-USB port is located on the bottom, and the camera and flash are on back.

U.S. Cellular packages the HTC Desire with an AC adapter, a USB cable, a wired stereo headset, an 8GB microSD card, and reference material. For more add-ons, please check our cell phone accessories, ringtones, and help page.

User interface
The biggest difference between the Nexus One and the HTC Desire is that the Desire runs HTC Sense instead of the stock Android skin. We like the standard Android experience and, of course, it makes getting updates much easier. However, out of all the custom skins, Sense is easily one of our favorites as it provides features that enhance the phone's capabilities and usability without overcomplicating things or being too obtrusive. For more on the features of HTC Sense, please check out our review of the HTC Legend.

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Where to Buy See all prices

HTC Desire (U.S. Cellular)

Part Number: DESIREUSC Released: Aug 27, 2010
MSRP: $199.99 Low Price: $198.88 See all prices

Quick Specifications See All

  • Release date Aug 27, 2010
  • Talk Time Up to 400 min (GSM)
    Up to 390 mins (WCDMA)
  • Technology WCDMA (UMTS) / GSM
  • Combined with With digital camera / digital player / FM radio
  • Service Provider U.S. Cellular
  • Weight 4.76 oz
  • Diagonal Size 3.7 in
  • Sensor Resolution 5 pixels