GUEST REVIEW: HTC Wildfire user interface

Here’s part two of Tim’s HTC Wildfire review, in which the man we know literally nothing about tells us a bit about his thoughts regarding the Wildfire’s UI and browsing powers. Beats us having to do it, eh?

TIM’S WILDFIRE REVIEW PART TWO: User interface

HTC’s Sense UI is a joy to use, with just about every feature you could ask for crammed in. You’ll find yourself scrolling between home screens and looking at widgets for most tasks, as opposed to accessing the app menu. There are widgets for news, messages, searching the web, listening to music or the built in radio, and performing tasks for your favourite friends (not literally, but you get my point).

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As this is an Android 2.1 device, you get the latest version of the Android Market, although I have been told that some applications will be excluded due to the limited screen resolution of the device.

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Typing via the on-screen, HTC-modified keyboard is easier than I thought it would be on a device this size (I’m a recent convert who pines for his old G1′s flip-out QWERTY) with predictive suggestions and spell-checking.

The screen is capacitive and responds generally quickly, although reorienting from portrait to landscape takes a few seconds. There are alternative keyboard modes but I can’t imagine anyone using them.

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The pinch-to-zoom is a nice feature and works well in the web browser, resizing and sometimes reformatting content to make it readable on the low resolution screen. Once again you may find yourself waiting a few moments for the Wildfire’s 528 Mhz processor to catch up if you get carried away pinching all over a web page.

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HTC is promoting it’s new line up of phones as providing full flash support (it’s almost as if they’re making a dig at a competitor!), which is quite an accomplishment for a low end device like this. It works, to a degree, showing previews and even playing flash videos right inside the browser.

Sadly the Wildfire just doesn’t have the muscle of its bigger brothers, and the frame rate is significantly decreased. Performance might have been improved by automatically rendering the flash movies in fullscreen, but this doesn’t seem to be an option.

Tomorrow I’ll look at some more of the multimedia features of the phone, as well as its built-in camera.

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