Cute, Compact and Capacitive
It’s a truly pocket-sized model, but does the Wildfire S offer too little in feature-terms?
After the unexpected but nonetheless profound successes of the original Wildfire, the Wildfire S has a lot to live up to. The initial signs are good with enhanced Android software on-board and an improved capacitive touchscreen, but questions must be raised over the seemingly underpowered processor that the phone runs on. At around £150 on a pay-as-you-go tariff, the Wildfire S is by no means one of the most expensive smartphones out there and remains one of HTC’s entry-level handsets. Still, the jury is out as to whether or not this particular model is overpriced considering the apparent lack of high-end features on offer.
What We Like
The design of the Wildfire S is a definite plus point, with the compact and curvaceous build making it a proper pocket-sized companion. At a mere 105g, the handset is light for a smartphone of its calibre, whilst the rubber back which the phone is fitted with makes it easy to grip and carry around all day, every day.
Improvements have also been made to the 3.2-inch LCD screen that the Wildfire S boasts, with a much-needed increase being made to the previously lowly resolution of just 240x320 pixels on the original Wildfire. At a higher resolution of 320x480, the device isn’t exactly leading the pack in terms of display quality, but at least some desperately sought-after enhancements have been made in this department.
Furthermore, the updated operating system that the Wildfire S runs on definitely deserves some form of recognition, with Android Gingerbread 2.3 proving a real plus point here. Considering that the Wildfire is one of HTC’s low-end models, it’s pleasing to see such an up-to-date, modern variety of Android on the phone – even if the coveted video call feature is rendered impossible in the absence of a front-facing camera.
What We Don't Like
Enough of singing the Widlfire S’s praises – it’s about time we got to work on some of the negatives, of which there are a fair few. As stated previously, although this device is cheap by HTC’s standards, there are few high-end features on-board that really catch one’s eye. DivX/XviD videos aren’t supported by the new Wildfire, whilst the sluggish 600MHz processor is comparatively poor when you look at the 1GHz+ engines found in many modern smartphones in the same price range.
Then there’s the problem with the phone’s 5-megapixel camera. Despite sounding reasonable on paper with an LED Flash accompanying it, video recording on the phone is of a low resolution which makes it a practically worthless feature. In spite of the abundant lack of high-specification features, the Wildfire’s battery life remains mysteriously short – yet another source of disappointment for the user.
Bearing in mind that the Wildfire S is an entry-level phone from HTC, it looks and feels great, with welcome improvements being made to the previously under-par display and bland user interface. With a modern version of Android to its name, the new Wildfire looks good on paper, but lacks those high-end features to make it stand out from the crowd. If you can get a good deal on this handset then it could prove to be a faithful companion, but otherwise, it’s undeniably overpriced for a device which lacks real firepower.