HTC Wildfire review: HTC Wildfire

The HTC Wildfire comes packaged with an AC adapter, a USB cable, a wired stereo headset, and reference material. For more add-ons, please check our cell phone accessories, ringtones, and help page.

Features
Despite being a budget-friendly phone, the HTC Wildfire doesn't skimp on the features. The smartphone ships with Android 2.1 and the latest version of HTC Sense, which includes the Friend Stream widget and Leap screen. However, it's also in line to receive the Android 2.2 Froyo update and HTC has already begun to roll out the update to some devices, according to some reports. You can read more about the new Froyo features in this article.

Aside from the standard Android features, HTC also throws in some a few extra apps, such as its Twitter client, Peep, and its geotagging and travel app, Footprints. Of course, more apps are available through the Android Market, and there's even an App Sharing app on the Wildfire that lets you send links of your favorite apps via e-mail, text message, Friend Stream, or Twitter.

As a phone, the Wildfire offers quad-band world roaming, a speakerphone, speed dial, smart dialing, voice commands, conference calling, and text and multimedia messaging. The phone also has Bluetooth 2.1 with support for stereo Bluetooth, and Android 2.2 finally brings voice dialing over Bluetooth.

The Wildfire is a 3G device, but since it's designed for the European and Asian markets, the smartphone does not support North American 3G bands, so if you stick in an AT&T and T-Mobile SIM, you'll be running on EDGE. There is Wi-Fi, however, and the device comes with Android's WebKit HTML Web browser, which is quite capable in functionality and performance. It supports multiple windows, Adobe Flash Lite, and it includes the recent feature that lets you look up words and phrases in the dictionary or Wikipedia by performing a long press over some text on a Web site. You can also select a whole paragraph to send to Google Translate.

The smartphone's multimedia capabilities are fairly standard. The built-in music and video player supports a range of music and video codecs, including MP3, AAC, WAV, AMR, OGG, M4A, WMV, MP4, 3GP, and 3GP2. The Wildfire has only 512MB of Flash memory, so it would be a good idea to save files to a microSD card (expansion slots supports up to 32GB cards). The music player features an attractive Cover Flow-like interface and also supports on-the-fly playlist creation, shuffle/repeat modes, and a share via Bluetooth feature. The Wildfire also has an FM radio and a dedicated YouTube player.


We weren't too impressed by the picture quality of the Wildfire's 5-megapixel camera.

You can record and upload your own video clips to YouTube using the Wildfire's 5-megapixel camera. The camcorder can shoot in either MPEG4 or H.263 format at one of three resolutions (CIF, QVGA, and QCIF). Unfortunately, recorded clips came out a bit hazy, though you could make out the subjects in the video. The same effect tarnished picture quality on indoor shots. Images taken outdoors fared better, however, with a bit more sharpness and brighter colors.

Performance
We tested the quad-band (GSM 850/900/1800/1900) HTC Wildfire in New York using AT&T service and call quality was good. On our end of the conversation, the audio was clear and rich. We weren't bothered by any background noise or voice distortion, and we didn't have any dropped calls during our review period. Meanwhile, friends had mostly good things to say about the sound quality on their end. One caller, however, said he could hear a bit of an echo..

Speakerphone quality was also respectable. Calls didn't sound too tinny or hollow, and there was plenty of volume to hold a conversation in a louder environment. We had no problems pairing the smartphone with the Logitech Mobile Traveller Bluetooth headset or the Motorola S9 Bluetooth Active Headphones.

Over AT&T's EDGE network, CNET's full site loaded in 1 minute and 17 seconds, whereas the mobile sites for CNN and ESPN loaded in 19 seconds and 11 seconds, respectively. YouTube videos took a little while to load. There were some interruptions in playback but video and audio were synchronized throughout. Meanwhile, our own videos played back nicely, and songs sounded very rich and balanced through our own headphones.

Powering the Wildfire is a 528MHz Qualcomm MSM7225 processor and it didn't exactly make the smartphone a speed demon. There were slight delays when launching and switching between apps. Though we're talking a matter of just a second or two, the sluggishness was slightly more noticeable than on other devices. That said, we didn't experience any major problems that required a reboot.

The HTC Wildfire ships with a 1,300mAh lithium ion battery with a rated talk time of 8 hours and up to 20 days of standby time. In our battery drain tests, the Wildfire provided 8 hours of continuous talk time over EDGE. The Wildfire has a digital SAR rating of 0.754 watt per kilogram.

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    Quick Specifications See All

    • Technology WCDMA (UMTS) / GSM
    • Combined with With digital camera / digital player / FM radio
    • Service Provider Unlocked
    • Weight 4.2 oz
    • Diagonal Size 3.2 in
    • Sensor Resolution 5 megapixels
    About The Author

    Bonnie Cha is chief correspondent for Crave, covering every kind of tech toy imaginable (with a special obsession for robots and Star Wars-related stuff). When she's not scoping out stories, you can find her checking out live music or surfing in the chilly waters of Northern California.