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Review of HTC Desire As Alternative To iPhone 544

Posted by timothy
from the not-exactly-a-ringing-endorsement dept.
Andrew Smith writes "My search for an alternative to the iPhone has been long and frustrating. On paper, the HTC Desire is the first serious challenger to the iPhone's reign as king of phones. But how does it compare in use? There is much good and much bad. (This review is primarily for UK readers as HTC's new handset, the Incredible, will not be available [in the UK].)"
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Review of HTC Desire As Alternative To iPhone

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  • It's great (Score:5, Informative)

    by WarwickRyan (780794) on Monday April 26, 2010 @02:15AM (#31981088)

    Beautiful screen, Exchange integration works perfectly (even with the exotic configuration I have at work) and the widgets available are really cool.

    Battery life is acceptable. Better than my last smartphone (N91).

    There are some fantastic apps: Layar in particular is not only technically cool, it actually has a practical use.

    Downsides:

    1. Not all alls in App Market are available, including goodies like Google Earth. Though I hear that this'll be solved soon enough.
    2. Keyboard is terrible when you need to write in multiple languages (in my case dutch & english). For English alone it's fantastic.
    3. SMS, twitter dms, emails aren't integrated into one app. I'd love to see a single 'messaging center' for all apps (even if its just via a notification API or something). No idea if the iPhone / Palm can do this btw.

    • Re:It's great (Score:5, Informative)

      by WarwickRyan (780794) on Monday April 26, 2010 @02:26AM (#31981128)

      Just RTFA.

      >Many functions require a press of the menu button to bring up a list of
      >options, whereas on the iPhone there would be a button on the screen.
      >This extra step makes the Desire feel a little cumbersome.

      The thing is, on the Desire you have a widget for almost everything, so you don't even need to open the application. It's just there. You just need to navigate to the correct home screen.

      As I understand it on the iPhone you must load each application, and can only open one at a time. Which is more cumbersome than hitting the menu key occasionally to exit apps.

      I also see no mention of the fantastic friends-list. It combines all your contacts from all sources. You can group them. Then you can put a group of contacts on one of your screens. It grabs avatars from gmail/facebook for your contacts, and that's what you can see on the contacts screen. It's useful and way more practical than any 'address book' feature I've seen in other phones.

      >Sound quality during calls is noticeably worse than the iPhone. Both
      >the earpiece and the speaker produce a feeble, tinny sound with a
      >background hiss.

      Sound on mine is fine. It's not as good as a good GSM, but then neither is the iPhone. Don't see any hissing. Speakers are tinny, but all mobile speakers are tinny. You'd not play music with it, just as you'd not play music with any mobile speaker.

      > Battery life is appalling. With moderate use I have to charge the Desire
      > twice each day. The phone loses around a fifth of its charge just sitting
      > on the bedside table overnight.

      I get a little over a day out of mine, with everything turned on to max and whilst playing with apps for several hours. Apparently you can improve this considerably if you turn the polling down and don't leave hefy apps open all the time, but to be honest I prefer having the bells and whistles..

      • by SharpFang (651121)

        Many functions require a press of the menu button to bring up a list of options, whereas on the iPhone there would be a button on the screen.
        Wait, so that's a "menu key on the phone" vs "menu button on the screen" and the physical key is more cumbersome?

        I'd think they would be pretty much equivalent except for tactile feedback and screen real estate.

        • Well, it does take some getting used to that most apps don't have a close button... and a lot stay open, only closing when you use a third party task killer...

          Which is another critisism, and one which doesn't appear in the article. Probably because the author only spend 5mins playing with the Desire before writing his review.

          • by SharpFang (651121)

            Then the article sounds like another case of "it's worse because it isn't the same".

            I remember an Open Office review where it was bashed for doing things differently from MS Office. Like, if you want the page to be in Landscape mode, why would you ever go to Layout > Page, instead of the obvious File > Print Properties?

          • Re:It's great (Score:5, Informative)

            by Threni (635302) on Monday April 26, 2010 @04:12AM (#31981590)

            > and a lot stay open, only closing when you use a third party task killer...

            Yeah, a lot of people task ram and resources running third party task killers which server no purpose at all, given the design of Android. All apps on the Android are candidates for closure if memory is required. It's unlikely to happen to an app you're using *now* because it's given a high priority, but if you click `home` or `back` on an app then it might techinically be `running` but not necessarily consuming any resources.

            Most people are ignorant of this, hence the confusion. Take a little time to read about how Android works before spouting nonsense.

      • Re:It's great (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Facegarden (967477) on Monday April 26, 2010 @03:56AM (#31981518)

        Just RTFA.

        >Many functions require a press of the menu button to bring up a list of
        >options, whereas on the iPhone there would be a button on the screen.
        >This extra step makes the Desire feel a little cumbersome.

        The thing is, on the Desire you have a widget for almost everything, so you don't even need to open the application. It's just there. You just need to navigate to the correct home screen.

        I just wanted to add to that:
        The menu button feels different from the iPhone when you're first switching, but I love it now. When i pick up an iPhone, *it* always feels more cumbersome to use. "Menu" is a very intuitive concept, and I like that more than having to keep every possible function onscreen on the iPhone, which is itself cumbersome. Or, many iPhone apps end up implementing a "Menu" icon onscreen, but those will all be in a different place based on the UI design. On Android, "Menu" is always in the same place, and since its always there, UI designers don't feel like they have to put icons everywhere for things, they can just use "Menu" without worrying about making a cumbersome UI. I think its better personally. But as I said, it feels awkward coming from iPhone OS... but that goes away.

        Also not cumbersome? A Back button.
        -Taylor

      • Re:It's great (Score:4, Insightful)

        by jo_ham (604554) <joham999@@@gmail...com> on Monday April 26, 2010 @04:33AM (#31981668)

        I think his battery life will go up as he uses it more. It's a feature of these small lithium batteries that they need to bed in. It's very noticeable on the iPhone, where I was charging the phone once a day from red to doing it every couple of days without changing my usage at all. The same was true for my sister's iPhone. I'm sure the Desire is very similar once the charging system has calibrated the battery after a few cycles.

        It also seems, regarding sound quality, that the Desire can have carrier-custom firmwares that affect the sound, and restoring the default HTC one improve the quality considerably. Score one for being able to modify the firmware yourself.

      • Re:It's great (Score:5, Interesting)

        by OzRoy (602691) on Monday April 26, 2010 @04:42AM (#31981708)

        I replaced my iPhone with a Desire just a few weeks ago. It has taken me a little while to get used to it. I forgot about the existence of the hardware buttons and would expect all functionality to be available on screen via a touch, like the iPhone. I'm quickly getting past that though, and I don't think either system is better or worse than the other, just different.

        First the iPhone does feel more polished than the desire. Part of that may be because of familiarity, but other things, like my gmail account not showing up with the HTC mail widget is just annoying.

        Other things though are much much better. Widgets are fantastic. All the information I want if available on the phone's 'desktop'. Multi-tasking! It's great! The best experience I had was something really simple. I recieved an email with a link to google maps. Touching the link opened up the maps application. I was able to navigate around the map and then clicked the back button. Because Android allows multi-tasking clicking back left the map and put me back into my email on the mail app exactly as I left it. That may sound trivial, but I think it's a major improvement over the iPhone. It's the way any device should work.

    • 2. Keyboard is terrible when you need to write in multiple languages (in my case dutch & english). For English alone it's fantastic.

      Have you tried the 'Dutch for SlideIT Keyboard'? It's a free app on the Market, it supports a primary language and secondary language(s), and it's getting five star reviews from users (I wish I could tell you what those users are saying, but it's all gibberish to me).

      • by RMH101 (636144)
        Slide-It is bloody great. It's awesome and free - you just slide your finger around on screen qwerty keyboard without lifting off, and it works out the word you were after - sounds great in theory but probably buggy in practice? No! It's *brilliant*.
  • From TFA... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by tonywestonuk (261622) on Monday April 26, 2010 @02:20AM (#31981106)

    "The problem, you see, is that the iPhone is close to perfect. It feels solid, it looks pretty, and its screen responds to the slightest gesture."

    Followed by..

    "But it is hobbled by Apple’s super-tight approval process that...."

    Don't you think, that the reason iPhones are close to perfect, is because of the super-tight approval process.... Not only in the App Store, but also in the build and design of it. Where other manufactures make something just good enough to sell, Apple go one step further.... The touch screen has to work perfectly, it has to feel solid, and the Apps that are available for it, better not let the whole experience down....

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Now see I don't mind apple having a quality control process for the apps. If they reject things because they are completely pointless/useless and/or they don't work properly or are very buggy, that would be fine by me, but that would get rid of the 301 flashlight apps and other junkware.

      Instead, they block apps for all kinds of reasons:
      1. Using 3G networking for things where it's "Not approved".
      2. "Confusing users" by upgrading core functionality.
      3. Using magical APIs that only Apple is allowed to use.
      4. B

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Don't you think, that the reason iPhones are close to perfect, is because of the super-tight approval process.... Not only in the App Store, but also in the build and design of it.

      Having experienced the App store approval process and used an iPhone. Absolutely not to the first point, and a resounding yes to the second point (the build and design of the OS and phone).

      The OS, UI and tight design (not tight controls on apps) are what sets it apart.

      There are no tight controls on app quality, quite the reverse (just look at all the terrible apps on the store), but there are bizarre, inconsistent, constantly changing controls on app functionality/use.

    • by CondeZer0 (158969)

      As anyone that has gone through the 'approval process' knows, it has zero to do with quality, all kinds of crap gets approved and good apps get rejected, the rules are arbitrary and are unevenly enforced. It is all about control and protecting Apple's interests.

    • Re:From TFA... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by SanityInAnarchy (655584) <ninja@slaphack.com> on Monday April 26, 2010 @03:04AM (#31981298) Journal

      Don't you think, that the reason iPhones are close to perfect, is because of the super-tight approval process...

      Nope, not really.

      Not only in the App Store,

      They don't allow third-party app stores, so it's not just the app store, but the entire device that they're asserting that control over.

      You give up nothing by using an open phone -- you can still stick with Google's App Store if you really want, or you can use a third-party app store, or install apps yourself, or...

      also in the build and design of it.

      That would be where it really shines, and where Steve Jobs' style may work really well. Unfortunately, it also has the effect that if there's any element of that design you don't like, you're SOL.

      Some people want physical keyboards -- with Android, you can find phones with them and phones without them. With iPhone, Jobs says no keyboards, you don't get a keyboard.

      The touch screen has to work perfectly,

      And how hard is that to get right?

      and the Apps that are available for it, better not let the whole experience down....

      Because clearly, that's what's holding OS X back on the desktop. Riight.

      I mean, people always bitch about some random OS X app not having a native-like interface, but you know what? If my choice is between The Gimp and nothing, I'll take The Gimp, ugly X interface and all, every time. It's not like one app is going to ruin my entire experience, and if it did, I'd know exactly where to place the blame.

      Of course, you and I both know this is bullshit. Apple didn't censor "sexy" apps to make sure the experience was seamless. They didn't block tethering apps to make everything that much more perfect. They didn't block Google Voice because they just knew it was exactly what the customer wanted. No, they do all that and more for purely business reasons, when it isn't just someone fucking up or making an arbitrary spur-of-the-moment decision.

    • Re:From TFA... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by pydev (1683904) on Monday April 26, 2010 @05:23AM (#31981930)

      Don't you think, that the reason iPhones are close to perfect, is because of the super-tight approval process....

      No. There are plenty of apps that violate Apple UI conventions, that crash, that leak memory, and that are generally awful. Apple's approval process is there for business and strategic reasons, not as quality control.

      iPhones appear "close to perfect" because Apple avoided most of the hard problems in making a modern phone: multitasking, application integration, file management, USB devices, full Bluetooth support, DUN, full over the air synchronization, security and access control for applications, intents and other APIs, etc. They also appear "close to perfect" because it's premium hardware and you pay a premium price for it.

      It's a tradeoff that works in the market: Apple is grabbing market share now. In a couple of years, iPhone-like responsiveness will be on sub-$200 Android devices, but then we'll still be stuck with Apple having grabbed a large part of the market and charging a premium.

  • by SirCowMan (1309199) on Monday April 26, 2010 @02:24AM (#31981120)
    ...however, take a peek at the N900. The screen is way better than a 3GS, Skype & IM integrate seamlessly, and there is no sleazy attempts to keep you from doing anything with your phone. Meamo 5 may be only, say, 75% done, but it's better than only being able to use 50% of the phone!
    • Here's the review (Score:5, Informative)

      by dingen (958134) on Monday April 26, 2010 @02:45AM (#31981220)
      Here's a copy of the article text from my cache when the site still worked:

      Review of HTC Desire as alternative to Apple iPhone

      My search for an alternative to Apple’s iPhone has been long and frustrating.

      I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve walked out of a highstreet phone shop, disappointed by devices that promised so much but turned out to be flimsy toys with sluggish software and unresponsive touchscreens.

      Anyone who has similarly quested an escape from Apple’s grasp will know my pain!

      The problem, you see, is that the iPhone is close to perfect. It feels solid, it looks pretty, and its screen responds to the slightest gesture.

      But it is hobbled by Apple’s super-tight approval process that, for example, blocked Pulitzer Prize-winning work by satirist Mark Fiore, and kept customers waiting an astonishing 20 days for the popular Opera web browser to be allowed on to the device.

      (Fiore’s work was eventually approved after much public outcry, while Opera rocketed to the top of the iPhone app chart with more than one million downloads in 48 hours.)

      The latest, and most enticing alternative to the iPhone comes in the form of the Desire by Taiwanese mobile phone specialist HTC.

      With HTC’s announcement on Friday that its next handset, the Incredible, will not be launched in the UK — and presumably not on the Continent either — it is likely that the Desire will remain as the iPhone’s main European rival for some considerable time.

      Hyped as the world’s first superphone, the Desire is fast, beautiful, and its touchscreen is every bit as tactile and responsive as that on Apple’s handset.

      At the heart of the Desire is Google’s Android operating system so it is near-infinitely customisable.

      It is also out-of-stock across much of the UK after delivery flights were grounded by the volcanic ash cloud.

      On paper, the Desire is the first serious challenger to the iPhone’s reign as king of phones. But how does it compare in use?

      Red faces

      The failings of the Desire hit you within minutes of first using it.

      Its screen is bright and colourful indoors, but almost unusable in sunlight. This severely hampers all aspects of the phone, from sending texts to web browsing, to taking photos.

      The touchscreen intermittently remains active during phone calls and it’s too easy to press the on-screen buttons with your ear. I’ve accidentally hung up on people dozens of times.

      Sound quality during calls is noticeably worse than the iPhone. Both the earpiece and the speaker produce a feeble, tinny sound with a background hiss.

      Used indoors, the Desire’s vivid screen is great for most apps, but when viewing photos or web sites you realise that the screen is severely over-saturated. People’s faces become beetroot red.

      Open Android

      Web browsing is a joy. Pages render quickly and accurately.

      When you zoom in on a web page using the familiar un-pinch gesture, the Desire neatly re-formats text to your screen width for easy reading.

      Built-in Google chat is a surprise boon, offering a free and instantaneous alternative to text messaging between friends.

      The phone is advertised as a hub-in-your-pocket for social networking, yet support for Facebook and Twitter is incomplete and unreliable, at times missing entire blocks of messages.

      Thanks to the open nature of the Android operating system, there is a myriad of alternative apps to replace the standard ones.

      Antiquated list-style text messaging is easily upgraded to a free iPhone-style app with familiar speech bubble conversations.

      There are superb free apps for Twitter, note taking, reading news feeds, and almost anything else you may want to do with a phone. Facebook apps are thin on the ground and quite poor, although a full-featured official Facebook client is persistently rumoured to

    • Nokia is about to radically change Maemo. I'm not getting on board at least until this is done. Guaranteed you won't be able to fully experience the cool new QT Maemo without getting the new hardware.
      • by Kupfernigk (1190345) on Monday April 26, 2010 @04:41AM (#31981706)
        It seems pretty clear that the N900 as is will run Meego, since you can already evaluate it. Nokia != Apple.

        I am finding that the biggest issue with the N900 is that it is being bought by people who think they are technically knowledgeable and are then finding that, basically, anything non-Windows is difficult. I went for it because it can ssl into my servers, and because the multitasking lets me run certain background applications that would never be accepted by Apple (they are our remote management tools.) So for me, as a developer, the N900 is a tool for which the iPhone could never be a substitute.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by CODiNE (27417)

          the multitasking lets me run certain background applications that would never be accepted by Apple (they are our remote management tools.)

          I'm pretty sure you could set up an enterprise developer account and do an internal app distribution. Not saying you want to but it is possible.

    • by LingNoi (1066278)

      Call back when it's 100% done and bug free. No one wants a half broken phone when they can buy an Android or iPhone and jail break it to get exactly what you're complaining about.

  • by MemoryDragon (544441) on Monday April 26, 2010 @02:25AM (#31981126)

    That they have excellent hardware but their long term software support is as miserable as the rest of the industry.
    Usually you get the phone, and as soon as you are out of the store, they dont see you as a customer anymore.
    If you are lucky you get one quick bugfix update, and then you wait for ages and if you are lucky you get another software update.
    The classical example this time is the HTC Hero, the top phone from them until January.
    The Android 1.6 update was promised, than they said, they were going for straight 2.0 in january, then february March etc...
    Now they have released the HTC Legend which is almost the same as the Hero except for the sensor instead of the trackball
    and the aluminium casing, it has Android 2.1, well the result was to protect their Legend sales the Hero update again was postponed
    to June. However in May Android 2.2 will be released.

    All I can say is avoid this phone like the plaque go for the Nexus 1 which will get the software updates in time for the forseeable future unless you are willing to hack your phone open and use the community as software update center.
    Actually the Hero will be my last non google branded phone. HTC has pulled the same stunt back then on the touch, and I should have been warned, now they are pulling the same stunt again with the Hero.

    As for me I will run the Hero until the end of the year and then will go straight for what Google has to offer (hopefully a non HTC Nexus2)

    • by MemoryDragon (544441) on Monday April 26, 2010 @02:32AM (#31981158)

      Problem is the rest of the industry is as miserable as HTC in this regard, Samsung, good luck to get any update after a few months, but they also have shoddy hardware usually, while HTCs is rock solid.

      Motorola, they have good hardware, and so far the track record of software support is there, but outside of the USA they pulled the DRM stunt, by encrypting the bootloader, so that the phone is basically locked down and the community is prevented to open it to flash it on their own (Note this is basically just for the Milestone, the Droid is relatively open). So what if Motorola decides not to support the phone anymore.

      Sony/Ericsson, they are still to new in the Android area, but given their track record, I do not have high hopes.

      LG... shoddy hardware, and given LGs track record I would not have high hopes either to get a good customer support out of them

      Acer... they just pulled the screw your existing customers by not supporting them stunt on the Liquid One. While having good hardware, the phone is a no buy.

      So all I can say is, if you want Android, opt directly for Google, that is the only chance of being not entirely screwed by the manufacturer. Android itself is excellent, but the phone makers try hard to carry over their advertise sell and run businessmodell from WinMobile days.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by mike260 (224212)

        Problem is the rest of the industry is as miserable as HTC in this regard

        Not quite *everyone*, no?
        I seem to recall a certain company that does simultaneous releases of their mobile OS across all their phones, and is only now after 3 years dropping support for their oldest model.

        • by Joe Tie. (567096)
          Dropping support, coincidently, right at a point where a lot of first gen users are finding their AT&T contracts ended.
        • Well I was stricktly speaking about Android phones, which is an area where mostly ex WinMobile companies are around and they took their old habits with them.

          Other companies have a better track record, RIM for instance, or Apple, which you now can rely on having a 2 years of support (which should be standard, given the contractual times most carriers enforce), also Nokia on some models (Nokia is a hit and miss in this regard, but some of their models are really well supported, while others are cash in and ru

      • by 404 Clue Not Found (763556) * on Monday April 26, 2010 @03:56AM (#31981522)

        I wish I read your post before I signed up for a new contract with a Droid (or, more like, I wish the N1 were available on Verizon).

        The Droid already feels like a second-class citizen, what with the N1 getting all the updates (new versions of Android, Google apps like Google Earth, etc.) much faster. I feel bad for the early adopters stuck with pre-2.0 versions of Android... and that gap will only widen as time passes, with only Google's own phone getting the best treatment and everyone else begging for leftovers. This isn't idle speculation; it's already happened and is still happening. It's the difference between a Mac experience and a hackintosh experience.

        It's really too bad (IMO) that Google went with a decentralized approach to device and OS design and allowed manufacturers so much leeway in creating their own modified versions of Android and allowing them to update on their own schedules. Google, as a service-oriented company, has an incentive to continually provide newer and better software so their users will continue to use their services. Cell phone manufacturers, however, just bleed resources updating their software once the initial purchase is paid for... causing exactly the situation you describe.

        No two Android phones are alike -- and I don't mean that as a compliment. Some apps work on device X but not Y, screen sizes are different, the user interfaces are different (specifically home screens/launchers, notification systems, and messaging systems), and manufacturer post-purchase support is shoddy. Does a cell phone really need 50 different setups instead of one well-polished one that works well?

        What exactly is the point, anyway, of 50 different hardware designs that are mostly, but not quite exactly, the same? Didn't Verizon already try that with their standardized phone UI? Besides, how many different ways, in hardware, can you usefully differentiate one touchscreen Android phone from another? Processor, screen resolution, button placement... maybe, but the iPhone changed all that without compromising the user experience. Third-party Android manufacturers have not shown themselves capable of such. Keyboard? Maybe that'd be a valid point if the hardware keyboard on recent devices were actually any good. The Droid's isn't. Bluetooth support and roll-up keyboards would probably have worked better.

        So now we end up with an ecosystem that promised freedom but actually delivered half-assed apps, half-assed devices, half-assed manufacturer support, and half-assed accessories. Great.

        I mistakenly thought Android would mean "Google Phone" the way iPhone meant "Apple phone" -- i.e., a product designed from the ground up and managed exclusively by one company, with perfect feature support and flawless integration. Maybe the Nexus One is that, but the other Android phones certainly aren't. It's a great concept OS held back by third-party manufacturers, less-than-stellar apps seeing no real quality control and compatibility problems, not to mention incompatible hardware accessories. For other manufacturers, an Android phone is a Google phone the same way a Dell computer is a Microsoft computer -- sure, the underlying OS is the same, but the end-user experience is determined mostly by what the manufacturer does or fails to do. Android deserves so much more. It deserves Google-level innovation and competency across the board, not nearly-but-not-quite-there solutions from Old Guard manufacturers desperately trying to hold on to relevancy in a post-iPhone world.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by MemoryDragon (544441)

          Actually, the truth is somewhere between your assumptions and N1. Android itself is hosted and designed by a foundation of manufacturers (the open handset alliance) and every manufacturer who wants to brand his phone as android (fill version number here) has to proved the baseline of libraries the version itself has declared. So no phone manufacturer can bring out a cheap stripped down version of a baseline os like it happened with WinCE and Symbian in the past. However this obligation does not expand into

    • Exactly why I went with N1.

      You won't want to HAVE to use modded ROMs just to keep up with the mainstream Android release.

      The homescreens et al are neat but along the lines of the Android sw update issue, when these services change/update their APIs etc. how long before (if?) HTC responds.

      To be honest N1's contact sync w/ google and running gmail/meebo in background is good enough for me, I have the brain power spare to differentiate between IM, email and phone details and don't mind using a different app/in

  • by dybdahl (80720) <info@dyb[ ]l.dk ['dah' in gap]> on Monday April 26, 2010 @03:13AM (#31981336) Homepage Journal

    I use a Google Nexus, almost equivalent to the Desire, and I can recognize the battery drain. However, after a few weeks, the phone easily holds a day - probably because "moderate; use" is really "let's see what this device can do; use".

    Also, some apps are written badly and consume a lot of power when in the background. If you are experimenting a lot with your phone, chances are big that you have installed one of these. There are two solutions:

    1) Uninstall the bad apps.

    2) Use a tool, like task killer, which can kill the bad apps when the screen turns off.

    Additionally, if you are always online, and have enabled wifi, it will consume power. Quick solution: put a wifi on/off widget on your front screen, and keep wifi off under normal use.

    • by Facegarden (967477) on Monday April 26, 2010 @03:48AM (#31981482)

      I use a Google Nexus, almost equivalent to the Desire, and I can recognize the battery drain. However, after a few weeks, the phone easily holds a day - probably because "moderate; use" is really "let's see what this device can do; use".

      Also, some apps are written badly and consume a lot of power when in the background. If you are experimenting a lot with your phone, chances are big that you have installed one of these. There are two solutions:

      1) Uninstall the bad apps.

      2) Use a tool, like task killer, which can kill the bad apps when the screen turns off.

      Additionally, if you are always online, and have enabled wifi, it will consume power. Quick solution: put a wifi on/off widget on your front screen, and keep wifi off under normal use.

      Also a +1 for android, when your battery gets low, there is a little "Why?" button, and you can see battery usage by process, to see if its some poorly written bad app using it, a good app just doing more than you realized, or you're an idiot and left the bluetooth and wifi on all day (which are simple to turn off with the homescreen widget!).

      I use my nexus one like crazy and by midnight i still have half my battery left most of the time.
      -Taylor

    • Task killer is a no go, actually Task Killer is the biggest battery drain, do not use it, it constantly polls your process list. Android does fine is its own internal garbage collector and it works fine for Android 2.x. The biggest bad habit people carry over from WinMobile is installing task killers, they do more harm than good. I have been running Android for months now without them, never missed them and the battery consumption actually was significantly reduced by not using them.
      Neither was performance,

  • Battery life (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Joe Tie. (567096) on Monday April 26, 2010 @03:15AM (#31981342)
    Battery life is appalling. With moderate use I have to charge the Desire twice each day.

    That's about what I get with my iphone using bluetooth and frequent mp3 playback. Annoying, I'd agree. But I think it'd be far less so in a device where I can just swap the battery out.
    • Actually I am using the Hero (on a hacked 2.1) here, and I am getting 48 hrs with moderate usage. There are several factors:
      a) Remove Task Killer if you installed it, that thing is a pointless battery drain
      b) Use HTCs switching widgets so you can turn off selectively WIFI, UTMS etc... depending on your usage (they are really switches you can put on your homescreen, so no harm done there)
      c) Give the phone at least a week to fine tune its battery
      d) Turn of auto sync and use the sync button manually saves agai

    • by RMH101 (636144)
      I thought this until I'd had it a week. Battery massively improved after a couple of charge cycles. Also go into Mobile Networks and until "enable always-on mobile data", and tell the wireless connection to standby after 15 mins inactiviity. Any app that needs data will still get it on demand, the phone just won't keep up a pointless connection when you're not using it. My Desire gets better battery life than my 18 month old 3G and I hammer it.
  • by tingeber (1129619) on Monday April 26, 2010 @03:29AM (#31981404)
    I mean, I know I'm not supposed to, but come on...
    /. you're not even trying anymore.
  • by slasho81 (455509) on Monday April 26, 2010 @03:49AM (#31981492)
    Smartphones are still too thick and heavy. The next generation of phones should be thinner than 1cm and lighter than 100 grams.
  • I was considering getting an HTC Diamond (yeah I know, I'm a late adopter). But the real trick in China is to get a phone that supports 3G, GPS, and Wi-fi all in the same package. I'm similarly not an Apple worshipper, so no iPhone for me. Any hardware that fits the bill? All the mainland phones seem to be crippled and only have GPRS and Wifi instead of 3G.
  • by Andy Smith (55346) on Monday April 26, 2010 @04:08AM (#31981572) Homepage

    Got an e-mail from my host (Pair) saying that my blog had been disabled due to a script problem. But it's just a Wordpress blog. I've re-enabled it and hopefully it'll stay up now. Sorry for those getting 403 earlier, or database failure now :-(

  • by drb_chimaera (879110) on Monday April 26, 2010 @04:44AM (#31981718)

    To be honest, as a Desire user, I think this review is overly harsh.

    While I do agree with the screen complaints (the OLED screen is all but unviewable in direct sunlight) and the battery life isn't great (although I find it'll last the day with moderately heavy use (and thats before dicking around with sync settings and other various battery-improving tweaks)), the other complaints I diagree with - for example I much prefer the chat system on the Desire to the bubble-style conversations of the iPhone although obviously other people will prefer things the other way (and they can install Handcent or one of the myriad other progams that will bring that functionality.

    He complains that on the iPhone there is a button to bring up the menu for any given app - this is true, but there is no guarentee it is in the same place or clearely labelled on each program - with the Desire you always go to the same place allowing for a more consistent experience. Personally I find that the phone has just the right number of buttons, even if it is a few more than the holy iPhone (home, menu, back, search and then power and volume keys

    The standard keyboard is a bit tricky to use in portrait mode due to key size (especially for me - I'm 6'5 and fairly stocky) however what it does offer is *choice* - quite apart from the landscape mode keyboard (which I believe iPhone now allows globally?) there are two other portrait keyboards you can use instead - compact QWERTY (each key has two letters as with some blackberries) and then a Phone keypad. One feature that impressed me is that if you have accidentally added misspellings to the dictionary (which I have done more than once) you can delete words individually rather than just resetting the user dictionary (which is certainly what you used to have to do with the iPhone, but I must admit my info could be out of date here.

    I do not see any of the complaintes about the sound quality of the phone - the earpiece is typical smartphone (which is to say good enough but easily beaten by the old dedicated phone handsets) and the speaker is pretty loud. Of course you'd never want to listen to music with it, but its good enough for spoken word stuff (audiobooks and stand-up comedy in my case).

    I don't agree with his complaints about the trackpad either, although to be fair I've not tried to use it with wet fingers so I can't comment on that, however I have seen no unusual behaviour with it either (and to be honest I don't use the track pad much anyway, It's served more use as a camera shutter button than it as as a navigation device - while its nice to have the choice I find the touchscreen is just much easier.

    To be fair there are some things that do annoy me with the phone, but its all minor things - for example in the media player I would like that in the media player it was possible to navigate back up the tree, but thats not always an option (for example if you pick a track from 'first principles' (ie fire up app, select artist then album then track) you can do it, but if you just tap on the media player widget it takes you to the currently selected track but if you want to change you have to navigate from those first principles again (with the exception of pickig a different track from the same album.) but its a pretty minor complaint, and the other things that annoy me are all little things as well.

    One thing that is an issue currently is that a lot of pay-for apps are as yet unupdated for Android 2.1 and are just not there in the app store, which is really irritating to be in a position to download say a 'free' (whether ad-supported or somehow limited) version, want to buy the complete version and its just not there. Lack of Google Earth is particularly annoying.

  • by YourExperiment (1081089) on Monday April 26, 2010 @05:13AM (#31981858)

    As a Desire owner who's also played with the iPhone a fair bit, I think I'm pretty well-placed to judge this. It's fairly simple: the Desire is the better phone in almost every respect.

    Additionally, I think the author of the article may have a faulty handset. Many of the problems he mentions having with the Desire are not an issue at all on my device. The supposedly oversaturated screen looks beautiful (put it side-by-side with an iPhone and see the difference), I've never had the touch screen remain active during a call, and the "tinny speaker" sounds great to me, giving far greater call quality than I've experienced on a iPhone. He's right that the screen can be difficult to see in bright sunlight, but I solved this problem by living the U.K.

    iPhone pros

    • more extensive app store

    50/50

    • interface - some people consider the iPhone to be slicker and/or easier to use due to its simplicity, while the Desire is far more customisable
    • touch screen - both devices have beautifully responsive and accurate touch screens - many other smartphones are rendered near-useless by screens that feel horribly sluggish or fail to register touches correctly

    Desire pros

    • better screen (OLED and higher res)
    • better camera (not just megapixels but quality)
    • faster processor
    • multitasking
    • open app ecosystem (also handy for hackers - put together your own apps with the free API)
    • web browser - remarkably, despite the slickness of the iPhone browser, the browser on the Desire is even better - and certainly faster to render pages
    • no need to use iTunes
    • half the price!

    Some of the above will be added in the new iPhone OS, indeed I'm sure the hardware will catch up with (possibly overtake) most of the above too. So if you're a real Apple junkie it might be worth your while waiting for the summer. But if you're after the best smartphone available right now, I don't think there's really any competition.

    • by markovg (991625) on Monday April 26, 2010 @09:09AM (#31983336)

      My wife was getting jealous of my iphone 3gs (had it for 6 months), so I decided to give it to her and I picked up an HTC Desire (have it for a few weeks now). It was almost half the price of an iphone in switzerland (580CHF vs 1000 CHF), and while I expected it to play better with Linux, it turns out to be waaay better in all respects (except app store sheer size, most apps I need are there tho). By comparison, the iphone sucks, really. I'm really happy I switched. ... battery life seemed initially a little worse than 3gs, but I found the "power managment widget" and now its still fully charged after a day on my desk, reading slashdot and email sync. Now I would say the 3gs has worse battery life.

      I like sooo many things compared to iphone 3gs:
      - email client, vip list is great, search of "other" mails on server (iphone just does locally loaded if I recall),
      - sync to gmail calendar great for linux users ... iphone I was stuck with an on phone calendar.
          - this alone will make me more productive than iphone.
      - plays ogg and make ringtones with a push of button in media player.
      - appears as disk for linux users to add music, etc. Not bound to itunes.
      - optical trackball seemed superfluous to me at first, but it turns out to be great for text editing
      - apps from third-party sites like andriodpit.com, with easy install by barcode scanning QR code on monitor! No unlock necessary.
      - contact management compared to iphone is more felxible, for ex: an ActiveSync and Exchange server in parallel with gmail.
          i.e. linking contacts together from different sources into one person. Very smart.
      - I like that u can set schedule for push support, so I don't get pushed spam waking my up at 1am
      - General htc sense software stack very mature and much more feature rich ... +1 for over iphone.
      - processor is easily as fast as iphone 3gs.
      - can swap battery on the road to extend battery life.
      - I like the extra keys like "search", "menu" but especially "back" ... make for much quicker navigation than iphone "one button" madness.

      Waiting SBB (swiss train service) online e-ticket app. Though an app FahrplanCH gets basic schedule functionality I need. The rest I can do in the browser.

      Skype seems to be not available yet, but nimmbuzz seems to be workaround, or one of many SIP clients: use case phoning home on wlan when I'm abroad.

      So I'm happy to say good riddance to my iphone 3gs. As a Linux user who wants features and options, I'm much happier with my HTC Desire than my iphone 3gs.

  • by mathimus1863 (1120437) on Monday April 26, 2010 @09:04AM (#31983278)
    I just recently got a Nexus One at about the same time my girlfriend got an iPhone. I don't know about the Desire, but I know that Google got fed up with other companies not implementing Android well, so they made their own phone as they envisioned it, and that's the Nexus One (it's the only phone they make, www.google.com/phone). It's very similar in design to the iPhone, but has a ton of stuff that I would prefer any day over the iPhone. Intimate integration with all google services, voice recognition, and an open app market make it much better in my opinion. Most other interactions are very similar to the iPhone, but to me it seems more polished.

    If you want to see true Android, get a Nexus One. At least most people on Slashdot will find the feature set much more desirable than the iPhone, and it's overall price is actually slightly cheaper than the iPhone.
  • No CalDAV, no sale (Score:3, Informative)

    by Dunkirk (238653) * <david@@@davidkrider...com> on Monday April 26, 2010 @10:21AM (#31984022) Homepage

    I researched long and hard before I bought my iPhone a couple months ago. I had been using some form of Palm device for about 15 years; the last two of which were a model of Treo. The bottom line is that I needed NON-EXCHANGE-TYPE access to calendars on mail servers. Specifically, I have a Zimbra FOSS mail server for my family, and a Zimbra NE server at work (which handles 2 companies). I didn't want either server to be "canonical," so I refuse to use ActiveSync and let it "take over" all of the PIM functions of the phone. For calendars, I use CalDAV, and the iPhone has KILLER CalDAV support. (I use a Funambol server at home to sync contacts, and the Zindus plugin to make them work with Thunderbird, though SyncEvolution works almost as well with Evoltion.)

    Neither the new WebOS-based Palm phones, nor any of the Android phones I can find, have any support for CalDAV. At all. How this situation exists, I have no idea, but I don't care. The iPhone has been great. However, I am one of those people who has used Linux on the desktop for about 11 years now, and I'm watching and waiting for an Android phone that will integrate with my collaboration servers as well as an iPhone. When this happens, I'll give the iPhone to my wife. Heck, I'd pay an early-termination fee to switch providers if the Sprint Evo could do it!

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