First Impressions of the HTC Desire on Cellcom

I picked up my first Android phone on Saturday when Cellcom, a regional carrier in Northeast Wisconsin, launched the HTC Desire.  The Desire replaces my Blackberry Curve 8330.

It’s hard to give a fair comparison between a two year old Blackberry and a modern Android device, so I will try to avoid making direct comparisons. Even making a hardware comparison wouldn’t be fair as the Curve only has 96 MB of memory and a 312 MHz processor to the Desire’s 384 MB of RAM and 1 GHz processor.  As you can see, the chips that go into phones have come a long way.

The first thing you’ll notice about the Desire is how small it is.  HTC managed to put a lot of horsepower into a device that is less than a half-inch thick.  The form factor and thickness remind me a lot of the iPod Touch and the iPhone.  On measurements alone, it is just a few hundredths of an inch bigger than the iPhone 4.

Despite being a small phone, it feels like it was built very sturdy.

The Screen

The Desire has a 3.7 inch SLCD touchscreen running at 480×800.  The screen is crystal clear and displays colors well, and I have no problems reading text on the screen.

Positives after four days of use:
1.  This is the best mobile web browsing device I have ever used.  I can load the non-mobile versions of a website with this phone.
2.  The on-screen keyboard is delightful to use in landscape mode.  Portrait mode is awkward with my big hands, but almost every app supports changing it’s screen orientation when rotating the phone.  
3.  The Desire uses the HTC Sense interface.  This interface is very easy to customize by adding apps, widgets and shortcuts on the 7 home screens.  Moving between the screens takes a flick of a finger, so your Facebook, Twitter, and weather are easily accessed from the main screen.
4.  Exchange ActiveSync Support.  The one drawback of having a Blackberry is that I could not set it to sync with my home server without installing a program on my server and having a BES data plan.  The Desire, like all Android devices, supports Over-the-Air syncing with Microsoft Exchange servers natively.
5.  Compared to the slow and buggy Blackberry App World, the Android Marketplace is fast and very easy to use.

Negatives:
1.  Battery life doesn’t seem to be that great for moderate use.  I can drain the battery with marginal use in an 8 hour work day.  This may be my fault as I wasn’t able to fully charge the device the day I bought it.
2. I can only rotate the phone one direction to put it into landscape mode.  This can be a problem for me as I am left handed, and my pinkie finger ends up hitting the volume button when I’m typing.  Being able to rotate the phone the opposite direction would solve this issue by putting the volume button on top of the phone.
3.  The Desire lacks Blackberry-like sound profiles.  I do not have a central location where I can change my phone to different sound settings based on time-of-day or other factors such as being in a meeting.  There are, however, applications that try to correct this.

Despite the few shortcomings that I have found, this is a very enjoyable phone to use.  I would recommend it to any Cellcom customers looking for a smartphone.

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