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HTC Desire (Bravo) - first look
Live images of the HTC Desire
Formerly known as the HTC Bravo, this phone got its new codename that does fit its positioning as HTC's multimedia-ready flagship better than the previous one. Let's see why.
There is no way the HTC Desire will be able to avoid countless face-offs against the Google Nexus in the reviews to come, since they are built around the same platform and have a lot of things in common, including design. The Desire comes in a Nexus-esque slightly curved and streamlined casing. As far as design is concerned, we don't have any niggles with the Desire - it's quite staid and versatile.
In my opinion, that works to HTC's advantage - as of late they have been churning out phones with neutral designs that pretty much no one will find overly quirky or unappealing. Some deem this approach unviable, but it works out for HTC, since their fortes are software and technologies, while design and aesthetics take a back seat. And the Desire is the epitome of this rule.
The Desire's casing is made of soft matte grey plastic with a couple of orange inserts around the camera lens and earpiece that make it look a bit more lively.
The HTC Desire is by no means a pocketable phone largely due to its 3.7-inch display, hence is HD2-esque footprint. Nevertheless it still manages to be pretty palm-friendly mainly thanks to its materials and shape.
Since the phone is composed of two halves - front fascia and the battery cover - it doesn't creak or squeal, and generally feels very robust.
The left-hand side plays host to the volume rocker, and the power button has finally been moved back to the top end - as you probably remember it was merged with the End key in the HTC Hero. Unfortunately, there is no camera button - HTC are still true to their self-invented theory that all top-of-the-line phones must come with one.
Sitting right below the display are the Back, Menu, Home and Search keys. The place that both the Hero and Nexus had reserved for a trackball, is now occupied by a touchpad (an optical trackball, as HTC call it). All in all, it feels more like a mixed bug, much like the trackball did - you'll definitely have to spend some time getting used to it.
All elements on the Desire's casing are well spaced out, so that you'll hardly ever run into the problem with misclicks.
Much like other recently announced phones, the HTC Desire comes preinstalled with an updated version of the HTC Sense plus Android 2.1 (Eclair). On balance it offers a tad better usability and a bunch of new features - we'll give it run-through in a separate article.
The phone employs Qualcomm Snapdragon (QSD8250) platform with a 1 Ghz CPU, 576 Mb of RAM and 512 Mb of storage space. On top of all that there is a microSD memory card slot. I'll reserve my final judgment on its interface speed, though, having played around only with a couple of engineering samples, for now, suffice it to say that I haven't found any notable differences from HTC's previous Android-based solutions.
Spec-wise, it's the best Android phone from HTC we've seen: capacitive AMOLED with a diagonal of 3.7-inches and a very capable platform. Plus there is standard HTC fare with bundled Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, GPS, 5 MP camera.
The HTC Desire is set to land in Russia in April, although there's still no word on its pricing - probably its price tag will be in neighborhood of 800-900 USD. At the same time, the Desier is ought to be more expensive than another newcomer from HTC, the Legend, so it's not particularly clear whether they'll launch them simultaneously or not.
As far as its similarity with the Google Nexus - the latter is touted more as a Google-branded phone and doesn't come with Sense user interface, although price-wise they won't be too far apart.
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