I recently got myself an HTC desire and as anyone who’s so much as seen me in the last week or so will yell you, I am absolutely enamoured with it. IPhone are cool and friendly, I certainly don’t fault Stephen Fry for his love affair with Apple, but the device I’m blogging from right now trumps the iPhone full stop in my opinion. The Desire is sleek and powerful. I’ve been waiting for an Android phone to come out on Telstra’s pricey but brilliant Next G network since I first heard about Google’s “iphone killer” and now, combined with the brilliant work of HTC’s boffins, I have received my heart’s desire.

So I thought I’d do a review. I don’t claim to be unbiased expert with experience testing every new smartphone on the market, but I’m a user with an opinion on the matter which I think I can convey in a reasoned manner so I’ll roll with that.

We’ll start at the beginning then; I’ve always liked HTC’s packaging, it’s casual and smart in a way that agrees with my own outlook on life, a friendly wrapping around some hardcore technology. Opening that wrapping for myself was brilliant. Inside is the sleek stylish brown and charcoal device which follows the human design principles I’ve gotten used to from using ubuntu.

The screen is a huge I-don’t-know-many-inches amoled thing that is definitely bigger than the iPhone 3gs though obviously dwarfed by the hd2, but unlike the iPhone and the hd2 the phone itself feels so much less bulky and cumbersome, though I hear that people quickly adjust to the 3gs and hd2.
The touchscreen is brilliantly responsive and the software keyboard makes typing a dream, though occasionally I forget about the spell checker when I’m entering non-cromulent words. Other reviews have said that the click buttons are an improvement over the Google version’s touch buttons and I can understand that, I have little time for excessive use of capacative sensors. Similarly I would have preferred to have a tractable over an optical tracker personally even though most other reviewers say this too is an improvement. Judging by how little I use the optical sensor, though, I can guess that a ball would, in all likelyness, get in the way a lot.

The camera is astounding. Weighing in at 5megapixels with autonomous and led flash, to say my cynical Outlook on phone cameras was pleasantly surprised is an obese understatement. After slightly adjusting the colour intensity and contrast, the quality of images I was getting was brilliant. I don’t care about megapixels etc. but the actual clarity blew the socks off pretty much everything in the shop excepting maybe the Ericsson 995. The graininess and dullness that I’d come to expect from phone cameras just wasn’t there. It’s no surprise that I’ve been taking an abundance of happy snaps and uploading them to the web.

One of the reasons I wanted to get a Telstra branded android phone was because I knew that the net access would be better and anecdotal evidence has put the Telstra firmware at something like three times the network speed of the generic flavour. Unfortunately at this stage, a few days after it’s release the Telstra firmware has a bug which stuffs up the gps. I’ve seen first hand the panic it’s caused at Telstra, so I’m happy to wait another day or two for that feature. Meanwhile I’ve got blazing fast access to the massive Next network. Since I got the desire I’ve been constantly online, meeting, emailing, instant messaging, uploading photos and browsing the web. I’ve got one of the higher end data packs on my account and I love the freedom it gives me.

One thing I’ve been downloading lot of is apps. I love all the cool creative wonderful things people so with the te apology available to them in open handsets. The iPhone store definitely has more apps, but I prefer the freedom of the way Android does things. Politics aside there are a lot of brilliant apps in the Google marketplace no matter how critics try to poohpooh it’s size. A couple of my favourites are Google made, google goggles which searches the web by pictures from your phone’s camera rather than text, and Google sky map, which tells you what you’re looking at in the night sky or what you would be looking at if you could see through the clouds/day sky/earth beneath you. I’m also enjoying the location mashup apps like speedster(which tells you about nearby speed traps etc.) and layar(tells you about nearby everything else) which will obviously improve when the gps becomes operational. I also liked picsay, an image editor, enough to pay for the pro version, and android does the same but with sounds, which means that when Emily starts making silly noises at me she risks becoming ringtone. Astrid and Google calendar keep me somewhat organiaed. Listen and netashare serve me my rss feeds and podcast from Google reader. Plus theres all those other nifty little things like Baroda scanners that search the web for price comparisons and ┬ácompasses, metal detectors and spirit levels. All of these things are made lightning fast by the desire’s 1ghz processor and 512mbs of RAM. Android also means I can multitask which has been an issue once or twice where I’ve had use my task kill desktop widget to get rid of things I’d left running and forgotten about in order to free up memory.

All in all, the desire is a multipurpose powerhouse which makes it easy to do a lot of thing that are often an unnecessary pain, like keeping on top of social media, managing email on the go, and blogging from under the bed sheets.

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