We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
Android smartphones Reviews
15,669 Reviews

HTC Wildfire review

Price depends on contract

Manufacturer: HTC

Our Rating: We rate this 3.5 out of 5

The HTC Wildfire is a smaller, cheaper version of the HTC Desire mobile phone. The Wildfire's low-resolution display and occasional lag are down sides, but it is well designed, has impressive features and offers excellent value for money.

The HTC Wildfire is a smaller, cheaper version of the HTC Desire mobile phone. The Wildfire's low-resolution display and occasional lag are down sides, but it is well designed, has impressive features and offers excellent value for money.

The HTC Wildfire smartphone has a very similar design to the Desire, albeit in a smaller, more pocketable form factor. Despite targeting a young, budget-conscious audience, the Wildfire's build quality hasn't taken a hit; HTC has once again employed an attractive combination of brushed metal and solid feeling plastics. Like its more advanced sibling, the Wildfire is a delight to hold and has a distinctive slightly curved "chin". It comes in black and white variants, with the latter exclusively sold through Fone Zone stores on post-paid plans until 28 September, before it is available from all Telstra stores and partners.

The HTC Wildfire includes the same responsive optical trackpad seen on the Desire. Above it are four touch-sensitive keys — home, menu, back and search. They work well enough, but the lack of backlighting means using them at night is problematic. A physical power/lock button on top and left mounted volume controls complete the physical controls.

HTC has kept the handset's price down by cutting a few corners with the HTC Wildfire's display, opting for a regular TFT LCD screen rather than the excellent AMOLED display used by phones like the Desire and the Legend. The result is a low-resolution display that's hard to see in direct sunlight and has poor viewing angles, but at this price, its hard to complain. It uses capacitive touchscreen technology, so it's already a step ahead of some other budget Google Android phones, such as LG's Optimus.

The capacitive touchscreen makes text input a positive experience, and the Wildfire's on-screen keyboard is well designed. Keys are slightly smaller and more cramped than the Desire, but the responsive screen, haptic feedback and excellent spelling correction aid the experience. Our main complaint is slight keystroke lag when typing quickly — the Wildfire is a little sluggish at keeping up with your taps, often taking half a second to register keystrokes on the screen.

The HTC Wildfire runs the 2.1 version of Google's Android operating system and it includes all the regular features and functions of more expensive Android smartphones. Access to the Android Market for third-party apps, an excellent notifications taskbar and automatic and seamless synchronisation with Google services are all part of the experience, as is HTC's Sense UI. The Wildfire can have up to seven home screens for live widgets and shortcuts, and you can pinch the screen to quickly display them and select an active screen.

The Sense UI includes HTC's Friend Stream, which integrates all of your social-networking contacts, including from Facebook, Twitter and Flickr, into one organised "stream" of updates; People, which combines all forms of contact with an individual in your phonebook; as well as News, Facebook, Web Bookmarks and HTC's much-loved weather widget. Finally, Footprints allows you to take a geotagged photo and store the image in a particular category, then instantly share it with others via email.

The HTC Wildfire has a few exclusive features, headed by a "next generation caller ID" function that allows you to see Facebook updates and birthday information when making or receiving a call. The Wildfire also has the ability to import contacts and calendar entries from your old mobile phone via Bluetooth, and includes HTC's Sync software for music synchronisation with your PC.

One of the more impressive features is Swype text input, an option that allows you to slide your fingers over the letters you want to type in a single motion, letting the software work out the word you are trying to write. Swype is an excellent feature and considering the smaller screen size of the HTC Wildfire compared to the Desire, it’s a very smart and thoughtful inclusion.

Although the HTC Wildfire is capable of almost everything the Desire is, most tasks take a second or two longer. In addition to the keystroke lag while text messaging, the Wildfire also chugs along when browsing through images in the gallery, loading web pages, playing videos and taking photos with the 5-megapixel camera. We've clearly been spoiled by playing with faster, more expensive Android smartphones, so the HTC Wildfire's sluggishness is a tad frustrating. When you consider its price though, these minor issues are much easier to live with and are a small compromise to pay for a handset that offers outstanding value for money.

The HTC Wildfire's camera has autofocus and flash, and doubles as a video recorder, but video playback on such a low resolution display isn't ideal. Other standard features include a built-in accelerometer, a digital compass and a GPS receiver, while the web browser displays Flash content and supports multitouch zooming. The Wildfire also has a microSD card slot for extra storage, located behind the rear battery cover.

A real positive of the HTC Wildfire is its battery life. No doubt partly thanks to the low-resolution display, the Wildfire managed to last more than a full day with moderate use — placing it ahead of the iPhone 3GS and HTC's own Desire and HTC Legend smartphones.

Find the best deals on the HTC Wildfire

NEXT: our expert verdict >>

See also: Group test: what's the best smartphone?

Mobile phone deals

HTC Wildfire Expert Verdict »

HTC Wildfire reviews verified by Reevoo

HTC WildfireScores 8.3 out of 10 based on 2760 reviews
528MHz CPU
ROM: 512MB, RAM: 384MB
3.2in touchscreen, 240x320 QVGA
Supports up to 32GB
3.5mm audio jack, micro-USB
G-Sensor, Digital compass, Proximity sensor, Ambient light sensor
HTC Widgets: Bookmarks, Calculator, Calendar, Clock, FM Radio
Photos application, Music, FM Radio
Supports:.aac, .amr, .ogg, .m4a, .mid, mp3, .wav, .wma
Video supported formats: Playback:.3gp, .3g2, .mp4, .wmv
Rechargeable Lithium-ion battery
Capacity: 1300 mAh
HSPA/WCDMA: 900/2100MHz
GSM: 850/900/1800/1900MHz
Android 2.1 (Eclair) with HTC Sense
5Mp colour camera
Auto focus and flash
3G, GPRS, EDGE, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth: Bluetooth 2.1 with Enhanced Data Rate, A2DP for wireless stereo headsets, FTP and OPP (object push) for file transfer, Other supported profiles: AVRCP, GAP, GOEP, HFP, HSP, PBAP, SPP, Service Discovery Application Profile
Internal GPS antenna
Google Maps
HTC Footprints
  • Overall: We give this item 7 of 10 overall

The HTC Wildfire boasts impressive build quality and the full suite of Android features, but it has a low-resolution display and sluggish performance. When you consider its price though, these minor issues are much easier to live with and are a small compromise to pay for a handset that offers outstanding value for money.

  • HTC Wildfire S

    The HTC Wildfire S proves that lower-end Google Android phones don't necessarily have to be attractive too.

  • HTC Desire S review

    HTC Desire S

    The HTC Desire S is an update to the firm's popular Desire Android smartphone. We got our hands on the HTC Desire S for a first look.

  • HTC Desire HD review

    HTC Desire HD

    A souped-up version of the HTC Desire that wowed us last year, the Google Android 2.2 'Froyo'-based HTC Desire HD is one of the most popular smartphones on the market. Updated 22 March 2011

  • HTC Incredible S review

    HTC Incredible S

    The HTC Incredible S does a respectable job of living up to its name.

  • HTC Desire Z review

    HTC Desire Z

    The HTC Desire Z smartphone boasts a slide-out QWERTY keyboard and runs the latest 2.2 "Froyo" version of Google's Android operating system.

IDG UK Sites

LG G4 Note UK release date and specification rumours: Samsung Galaxy Note 5 killer could be the LG 3......

IDG UK Sites

In defence of BlackBerrys

IDG UK Sites

Why we should reserve judgement on Apple ditching Helvetica in OS X/iOS for the Apple Watch's San...

IDG UK Sites

Retina 3.3GHz iMac 27in preview: Apple cuts £400 off Retina iMac with new model