HTC Desire S review

The follow-up to the popular HTC Desire
Photo of HTC Desire S
£382.80 inc VAT, SIM-free

The HTC Desire S has a very hard act to follow. Its predecessor, the Desire, won many awards and even today remains the smartphone of choice for many people. So has HTC done enough to bring the Desire up to date?

Tweaks, not transformation
Arguably, HTC has played it safe with the Desire S. Most of the changes here are a matter of tweaks rather than wholesale transformation. Physically, while there are visual differences between the two, such as the use of touch buttons here where there were physical buttons before, and the abandonment of the popular Desire optical trackpad, the dimensions are pretty much unaltered. The original Desire came in at 119x60x12mm and weighed 135g while the HTC Desire S is 115x60x12g and 130g. There’s barely a hair’s breadth between them.

The screen has changed even less. Now, as then, it’s a 3.7in, 480×800 pixel offering – though the new HTC Desire S screen is a Super LCD display rather than the AMOLED of the original Desire.

latest Android on board
For all that, there are some new features here, as befits an update. A front-facing camera wasn’t in the original Desire but is here, and Android 2.3 ‘Gingerbread’ makes an appearance, so that if and when video-calling apps become widespread (Fring apart), you’ll be able to take advantage.

The chassis design has been overhauled so that it is now made from a single sheet of metal. That means there’s a small cover on the bottom back for battery, SIM and microSD card. Annoyingly you have to eject the battery to get to the microSD card, making it impossible to hotswap cards. In our book, that’s actually a backwards step.

No dual-core
With dual-core processors already here in LG’s Optimus 2X – and set to get more common over the coming months – the HTC Desire S is already some way off the leading edge with its 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor. And the 1.1GB of ROM is a bit mean too – though an 8GB microSD card does given you a good wodge of storage space for apps and data.

Given that HTC has just announced an update to its superb Sense user interface, showcased on the newly annoucned Sensation, the fact that the Desire S sports the old version makes it appear even more behind the times – and as we write there’s no official word on an update. Still, all the expected HTC Sense goodies of old are here alongside some newer offerings like the Amazon MP3 store, Connected Media app for DLNA sharing of music, photos and video, HTC’s Reader and the company’s ill judged (in our view) charged for navigation app. Google Maps is here too, obviously.

Company: HTC

Website: http://www.clove.co.uk

Contact: 01202 552936

Positives
  • Familiar HTC Sense user interface.
Negative
  • Doesn't do enough to steal any 'best in show' awards.

Verdict

The original HTC Desire is the phone we still use every day, and nothing has yet come along to dislodge it. We aren't sure the Desire S will do it either - even though it is a very, very good smartphone. We'll wait for a dual-core smartphone to steal its place in our pocket.