CNET First Look
HTC Wildfire S (U.S. Cellular)The Wildfire S is a great bargain, particularly if you're dabbling with smartphones for the first time and don't mind the smaller screen and design.
-Hey everyone. I'm Roger Chang, senior writer at cnet.com, with a look at the HTC Wildfire S for U.S. Cellular. Small sized, the Wildfire definitely stands out in a sea of giant smartphones. It's a real bargain and ideal for first-time smartphone users not looking to break the bank on a new phone, but there are some tradeoffs that may cause you to pause before considering this phone. First, the good: The quality of the material is surprising high and the rubber-like feel of the plastic case is less prone to scratches than other more expensive phones. Because of it's size, it's more easily pocketable. It runs on android 2.3 Gingerbread as well as the HTC Sense user interface. It's not the latest version of Sense, but it does just fine. Also runs on a slower 600-megahertiz Qualcomm processor. I did experience a lot of lag with the basic tasks that I did. It's biggest disadvantage is its small size. It makes the slim iPhone 4S look positively giant next to it. As a result, the 3.2-inch screen makes navigating the internet, watching moves, and reading e-mails a chore. Surprisingly, I didn't have as much trouble typing as I thought it would. If you have big hands, I would definitely recommend you stay away from this phone. U.S. Cellular like every other carrier can resist [unk], but fortunately it's not too bad. It comes with a driving navigation app, which I didn't get to use since I don't drive in the city. It did have a local search function that wasn't too bad, although there are other apps that can download that's better at this sort of tasks. The phone also comes with a ring tone store that I found comical. Remember when we used to pay for ring tones? Yeah, I don't either. There's also Daily Perks app, which acts as a mash-up of Yelp and Groupon, which will serve as cool. The 5-megapixel camera works okay when there is good lightening such as when you're taking an outside shot. I wouldn't use it as my everyday camera. I tested the phone while I was in the Bay Area and in New York. The call quality was fine. There weren't any dropped calls. In both cities, however, I was roaming on someone else's network. The Wildfire S is a great bargain particularly if you're dabbling with smartphones for the first time and don't mind the smaller screen design, but there may be too many tradeoffs if you're looking to spend a lot of time with the device. I just had big hands. If you like the HTC feel, there's the more expensive Hero S at U.S. Cellular. The Wildfire S is free after a 100-dollar mail-in rebate into your contract. I'm Roger Chang and this has been a look at the HTC Wildfire S for U.S. Cellular.