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HTC Wildfire early review: Fanning the flames of Android

The HTC Wildfire doesn't want set the world on fire, it just wants to start a flame in your heart, thanks to a low price and plenty of features

Flora Graham
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If you don't have the dosh to fulfil your dreams of a Desire, prepare to play with fire. The HTC Wildfire is a budget smart phone that shrinks the cost -- and the size -- of the HTC Desire, without losing many of the features.

The Wildfire -- which got its name from a Facebook poll (inexplicably, 'Jovi' didn't win) -- looks like a shorter, squatter Desire. Its 81mm (3.2-inch) screen isn't the AMOLED type, so it's not as bright as the screen on the Desire or the HTC Legend, but it's easier to see in sunlight. The Wildfire also compromises with 320x240-pixel resolution, lower than its pricier brethren.

But after seeing the Wildfire in person, we think it still keeps the design flair that's given HTC the sexiest stable of mobile phones this year, and it feels solid and well-made. It also gets us all warmed up with its Wi-Fi, GPS, HSDPA for fast surfing over 3G, and the latest version of Android, 2.1.

Whether we fan the flames of the Wildfire will depend on how low the price goes when it hits the shops in July -- especially since we can pick up our March Editor's Choice, the HTC Legend, for free on a £20-a-month contract. The networks will have to beat that, and offer unlimited data to enjoy its wealth of features, for the Wildfire to sweep through our dry grass of critical acclaim.

Click 'Continue' as we recline on the orange leather and cuddle up to the Wildfire's features.

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The Wildfire will come in several colours, including red, white and black, although they won't all be available on every network. Expect to see the phone in UK shops in July.
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In black, the Wildfire looks even more like a smaller HTC Desire. The 5-megapixel camera and photo flash are the same as the Legend and the Desire.
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The Wildfire has the HTC Sense user interface we've loved on other phones, including live home-screen widgets that show your Facebook and Twitter updates.
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Flash Lite ensures Web sites look just as they should on the Wildfire, although its QVGA screen doesn't have the pixels to show many sites without some serious zooming out.
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The Wildfire runs the Android operating system, so you can download and install apps for the phone from the Android Market.
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HTC also includes some new apps pre-installed on the Wildfire. This one lets you share links to your favourite apps over email, text message, Twitter and more.
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Since the Wildfire's price could tempt people to switch from a feature phone, there's also an app to help transfer your contacts and settings over Bluetooth. Once that's done, Android syncs your data with your Google account in the cloud.
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An FM radio is a welcome treat, and there's a microSD card slot so you can pack the phone with all of your music files.
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A fun torch app takes advantage of the phone's LED photo light.
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We're almost blase about a 3.5mm headphone jack now, but that won't keep us from giving a shout out to the Wildfire's. Hey there, little guy.

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