HTC Desire Review

HTC Desire Review

Later today, HTC Philippines will have announced local availability of the HTC Desire in the Philippines as well as revealing the suggested retail price. Before that happens, read on and check our full review of the handset below.

It is no secret that the HTC Desire was patterned from the Google Nexus One which it was also commissioned to do (more like a co-branded partnership of sorts) early this year. As such, the Desire looks like a fraternal twin of the NX1 with some minor cosmetic changes and added features. To give you a better perspective, read my review of the Google Nexus One first.

The rounded corners, the brown and dark gray color tones and the optical trackpad are all signature designs of HTC. The Desire has all that with an anodized aluminum front and (rubber-like) polymer back panel. The power button is on top, just across the 3.5mm headphone jack. The micro-USB port is at the bottom and the volume rocker is placed at the left side. The handset lacks a dedicated camera button normally found in most other smartphones. At the back is the 5MP camera and LED flash

At the bottom end of the front panel are the familiar buttons for an Android phone — Home, Menu, Back and Search. In the middle of the four is a nice optical trackpad which looks like a cross between the marble trackball of the HTC Hero/NX1 and the optical trackpad of the BlackBerry Bold 9700.

HTC was able to retain a design signature yet able to address the problem with regular trackballs getting dust and dirt on the sockets. One drawback to this approach is that you don’t have any sort of tactile feedback. The physical buttons are similar to that of the Hero, only this one is probably made of stainless steel, but way better than the touch panel on the Nexus One.

One of the most attractive feature of the HTC Desire is its 3.7-inch AMOLED touchscreen (480×800 pixels) that offers a very bright and ultra-crisp display. The screen is impressive, matched only by very few other handsets like the Omnia II, Galaxy S, Legend and Nexus One. Once you tried AMOLED, you’d look at all other screens differently with a little bit of longing.

The display size is just enough — not too big and not small either. Couple that with haptic feedback and multi-touch and you get a nice experience browsing websites, maps and watching videos.

Powered by QualComm’s SnapDragon 1GHz processor, the HTC Desire is one of the fastest smartphones around. Here’s a short video I recorded showing the UI, responsiveness of the device and how fast it loads some of the apps.


The virtual keyboard is always a challenge on all full touchscreen handsets and the Desire is no exception. With Android handsets like the Desire, you’ll need some time to get use to it, especially that you have to “train” the built-in dictionary when auto-correcting your spelling. This experience might vary from person to person depending on what language and texting style they use with the unit.

The HTC Sense UI adds a bit more eye-candy and usability to the device, along with 7 homescreen panels to boot. The Desire comes out of the box with Android 2.1 OS so you get the latest features including multi-touch, phone tethering, live wallpapers and voice controls among others.

The 5MP camera performs very well with average to good picture quality, thanks to a relatively fast shutter speed. However, the camera seems to find it hard to autofocus on subjects. Gets even harder indoors or in low light. Here are sample shots (cropped and resized).

Video capture is decent although maxes out at 15frames per second at 800×480 WVGA. The NX1 does a bit better at 20fps. Here’s a sample clip done at highest settings.

Battery performance is average (1400mAh) and depending on how heavy your usage is, it could last anywhere from one full day to two days. Like most other smartphones, connecting to 3G eats up the battery the fastest (in which case, portable battery packs like these helps).

The 3.7″ screen of the HTC Desire in the middle of Xperia X10’s 4″ and the Hero’s 3.2″.

The more obvious feature that the HTC Desire has that is missing from its Nexus One sibling would be the FM Tuner. Aside from that, the other differences are minor at best and both have almost identical DNA.

htc desire

We’ve yet to get the final retail price of the HTC Desire but if the current prices in the gray market (Php31k) and the suggested retail price of the HTC Legend and Hero, we might see the Desire reach the Php35k range. It’s a bit pricey but the handset delivers in both the hardware and software department. The Desire is one of the top Android smartphones that can go head to head with the Galaxy S and the Xperia X10.

Update: Suggested retail price of the HTC Desire is Php34,900.

Abe is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of YugaTech. You Can follow him on Twitter @abeolandres.

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126 Responses

  1. romanpo says:

    @abeolandres Desirable review and photos :) how much did you get yours?

  2. simplynice93 says:

    drooling too…..

  3. Jon says:

    Drool-worthy. :D Just a little bit pricey. I’d wait for the price to go down, or get a Nexus one instead. LOL

    On another note, I disable the predictive text of android, just like I do with any phone that has that feature. I find it too annoying or disturbing that it “guesses” or corrects my input automatically. It sometimes helps when I’m too lazy to whip up the hardware keyboard, but in most cases, it just slows me down.

  4. Calvin says:

    ^that’s what i did too with the htc mini. disable predictive texting. pero mahirap pa rin mag touchtype despite using it for 2 weeks already.

  5. Apollo says:

    Pretty phone but no one bet iphone4 :)

  6. jomartigcal says:

    @abeolandres Will the HTC Desire to be sold here running on Froyo?

  7. the yawner says:

    I was able to acquire an HTC Legend for 26k cash at Cyberzone Megamall. I’d have gotten the Desire but I was told that they only had two units, both immediately sold. And apparently, they were selling this at 30k.

  8. Rom says:

    Nice photos! I also am waiting for my HTC Desire. I just hope that HTC rolls Froyo on-time and not like the 2.1 HTC Hero update which took 6 months!

  9. sonofa says:

    bakit nagmumukang panget yung x10 sa tabi ng desire?

  10. crun22 says:

    sinabi sakin ng taga HTC sa sm annex matagal na narelease mga last week pa ata.. around 34,000 siya. kaya mas mahal kasi dumaan daw sa NTC. kaya sa iba ala daw warranty kahit na mura.

  11. poche says:

    lol “kaya daw mahal kasi dumaan sa ntc”?
    e bat un nagtitinda ng 27k dumaan din ng ntc?
    laki talaga ng tubo pag mall pricing na hehe.

  12. andrew says:

    syempre mahal ang bayad ng pwesto sa mall. tapos ang dami pa nilang tao. 3 or 4 ata yung tao sa HTC sm north annex e lagi naman walang customer dun.

  13. jobeck says:

    im getting my desire next week @

    CMK Cellphones
    311-B Roosevelt Ave., QC
    beside Bank of Commerce, near Munoz Market
    mon-sat 9am-6pm

    nagkakaubusan yata ng unit kaya best pareserve na kayo. and you could use your credit card to avail a unit. ill be getting mine half cash rest will be credited to my BPI SIP. hhayy cant wait!

  14. enzo says:

    im selling mine hehehe..

  15. ikilobo says:

    wow keren…
    desainnya juga ok..

  16. Jdavao says:

    Haaay, Need to upgrade to this, although my HTC magic is still “ok”, masyado na old school ang version ng andriod ko, nasa 1.5 pa ako, I want 2.1 or 2.2 at best…sana lang may available dito sa davao na around 30K-35K. :-)

  17. JChris25 says:

    I’ll be getting mine also from CMK cellphone, mura sa kanila and pwede pa credit card ang payment. Half cash and half installment ang payment na gagawin ko. Tanong lang, nagbebenta ba ng cases and accessories sa HTC SM North Annex?

  18. Teesh says:

    Hi! Trusted ba ang CMK cellphones? Like, safe ba bumili sa kanila?

  19. why didn’t HTC just make a Legend with 1Ghz CPU, WVGA screen, and a higher RAM/ROM.

    what lets me down with desire is the presence of the hardware buttons, curve corners, and D.O.M.-brown color.

  20. jake says:

    i ordered one from kimstore for 27k. just search it sa google. based sa mga feedback ng buyers, pati na rin sa experience ko at ng mga kaibigan ko, kimstore is pretty reliable. and they have 1-week replacement warranty, 1-year service warranty.

  21. jake says:

    btw, one downside of the desire compared to the nexus one is that nexus one, being a google-branded phone with stock android OS, will get the OS updates quicker. desire, on the other hand, will get the updates at a later time (weeks to months) since htc needs to port the sense UI to the new OS version.

  22. jake says:

    well, if you’re adventurous, you can root the nexus one (which google actually made easy to do) and install the sense UI on it. that’s what i like about android, it lets you do just about anything you want with your phone hehehe!

    with that said, i do prefer the desire’s hardware buttons to the nexus one’s touch buttons.

  23. tonto says:

    @jake – Did Kimstore mention where she would be bringing her broken phones in for repairs? Nayari na ako ng ganyan sa Ghills. Naayos nga nila yung unang problema, napalitan naman ng iba because of poor workmanship. And they don’t even have original parts for repairs. I also found out that the equivalent value for a service warranty is only P500-P1,000. That’s not even 1% of any smartphone’s value!

    Maybe it’s just me pero parang lugi pa yung buyer sa ganyang deal.

  24. We now have HTC Desire units!

    Authorized dealer kami, guys. Please feel free to contact HTC Service Center to verify. =)

    Contact us if you’re interested: 0923.660.06.42
    [email protected]

  25. JChris25 says:

    Maganda rin sa kimstore pero nagtanong kasi ako about the warranty. Kimstore has their own service warranty while CMK has Official HTC warranty. Eh since meron ng concept store sa SM North ang HTC eh I’ll go with the official HTC warranty na lang.

  26. mon says:

    nagtanong na ko sa sm annex about sa warranty and they said to me.. sa makati pa rin dpat pumunta kc d daw cla htc care..

  27. JChris25 says:


    oh? ok, but at least meron pa rin silang service center dito, meron ba silang mga casing ng htc desire dun sa sm annex? thanks

  28. HTC tech says:

    A good phone for those who hates windows mobile, a major problem though, if you guys are application junkies and loves getting applications from the market. This will be a hated phone. only has 576mb for internal memory. applications are installed through phone and not SDcard. Also, for those who are fond of Exchange Active Sync, beware if certificate issues and sync issues. Limitations with bluetooth car kit devices is something to be weary about. Overall one of the best android phones on the market, though 2.2 for android is unannounced for this phone. (will be waiting for ERIS and BREW)

  29. jay says:

    @HTC Tech

    Most of those problems are supposed to be resolved in Froyo 2.2. And HTC has already said that the Desire will get this update. Only question is when, but I’d guess July or August.

  30. qualitycontrol says:

    @calvin, posted this on your site too! desperate for a response. :)

    (long time reader, first time to comment)

    i have been willing to ask, since these phones are meant to be always online, what would be the average data consumption per month for us pinoys. just casual browsing, facebook/twitter updates, some email, and widget/system updates (clock sync, etc).

    i am thinking of having this always on scheme for the full smartphone experience preferably opting for the per KB charging offered by Globe, but scared of the possible costs since i am on prepaid and have no intention of getting the unlimited data plans.


  31. r12_neo says:

    hi to all of you guys. im a filipino who resides here in the uk. I have the desire for a few months now and i love it. it is fast and superb user interface and high specs. i just recently bought the iphone 4 when it was released here almost two weeks ago, i can say that it is still a good phone but having played with the iphone 4 for a couple of days now, i cant see any diffrence with the 3gs which i previously have. and having both the desire and the iphone 4, i can say that if you are up to a mobile that can do more than apps go for the desire. it has a lot more to offer than the iphone 4. but if you are after design, sophistication and better apps go for the iphone 4.

  32. r12_neo says:

    another thing, i already have the update for the desire. i now have the froyo 2.2 yesterday

  33. Yol Joyce says:

    Hi there r12_neo, my husband is in U.K too and i told him to get a phone there. How much to upgrade to froyo 2.2? I am planning to get this HTC desire so if he’ll buy it there he can upgrade. Which shop did u buy your HTC?

  34. peedee says:

    Meron akong htc d2 P3650 i2 medyo luma na, pero ok nmn ang performance,Problema ko lang spanish ang OS nya..Mapapalitan ko pa ba i2 sa english?

  35. carlo says:

    @r12 neo
    Official froyo from htc? Or the ones from xda?

  36. peng says:

    Got my htc desire fr singapore for P24k. Sweet. Its pretty fast. Downside : its a struggle to input text, but i’ll try turning the predictive text off like some of you did. Also, the 576mb internal memory is way to small for app junkies like myself. You really cant have everything. having said that, im happy with the overall performance of the desire. Its a beauty and worth every cent.

  37. THanks for the comprehensive review. The comparsion photo between the Desire, Galaxy and Hero was quite telling – screen size is good, but not too large, which is how the Galaxy tends to feel.

  38. gh0st says:

    how good is it playing divx/h.264/mpeg4 videos given it has the qualcomm proc which was notorious for slow playback for these file types (same with all qualcomm based phones in the past)?

  39. firesnake says:

    @abeolandres would you happen to know if Globe or Smart will bundle the HTC Desire or the upcoming HTC Wildfire with their postpaid plans?

  40. soloista says:

    guys need some advice, i’ll buy htc desire next month.. I saw this shop, MEMO EXPRESS in SM San Lazaro, they’re selling it for 23k vs CMK’s 25.5k.. Well, 2.5k is a big differnce, i can already purchase a quality pouch or case, if there is.. can anybody help me research on this one??? the fact that i haven’t been to CMK, i can only see half of the picture.. help me decide on which store to choose..
    i really think desire is a must have phone!

  41. tonichi says:

    P23,000?! That’s incredible! Better double check, man. I’ve had the experience of Memo Express employees giving me a wrong price.

    Also, better research some more. As far as i know, CMK was the first to lower their prices but they’re no longer the lowest.

  42. Yol Joyce says:

    Got my HTC desire last Saturday hubby bought it in England. It is very cool and must have phone. Very fast downloading websites and uploading pics. The best phone I’ve got!!!! So far I am enjoying it!!!

  43. VinceCu says:

    HTC Desire:
    just bought one and i think its a great phone.. also won me over samsung galaxy S. however, i need help in configuring the device in using SUPERSURF under 3G from Globe. I have a Blackberry and it syncs flawlessly over the BIS. Please help me go through this. :-)

  44. czeroh says:

    talaga?? mas mahal pag mall?? baka d ka lang marunong mag hanap? look for techwarez cyberzone SM north nag sell sila ng 25k htc desire! lolz! got one already!

  45. Cliff Rosaro says:

    @ r12_neo: Said that most Desire Phones have been updated to Android Froyo 2.2.. Anybody here that’s not yet updated?

    Contemplating if I’ll get the HTC Desire now, Save Up for Galaxy S or Wait/Save Up for Iphone 4.. (or if I’d really want something cheap.. I’ll go for the BlackBerry Storm 2 9550.. I saw a pricetag of P17999)

    @abe words of wisdom from you!?

  46. Ric says:

    Got one but sadly no OTA upgrade to Froyo yet (at least for Asian phones)

    Rooting is an option but I’m not feeling too brave yet =)

  47. Cliff Rosaro says:

    @Ric: hmm.. is that so.. @ABE!! Can you get this feedback over to your HTC Phil friends…

  48. Yol Joyce says:

    My hubby inquired at the shop(in England) where he bought my HTC desire about upgrading to Froyo 2.2 but sadly the guy said not available. But so far I’m happy with the performance of my phone.

  49. HTCseeker says:

    Anyone knows kung magkano na HTC Desire ngayon? I am planning to buy the phone next month and I prefer to buy it in the mall to get the official warranty. Im from CDO kasi and there is no way i can get that phone here thats why i have to fly to Manila pa for it. Hope anyone out there could help me. Thanks a lot.

  50. Jet says:

    just want to aski if comaptible ba ung 3g band ng at&t s globe n smart?

  51. Protege says:

    hi everyone.can you help me confussed because this xmas i will confussed what to chose a netbook or a smartphone like htc desire?tnx in advance

  52. pumpkin76 says:

    HTC desire is a good choice..downside im sure SLCD na un available sa pinas..not the AMOLED version, pero ok pa din kse one of the top adroid phone xa ngayon..

  53. gie says:

    I got my htc desire 5 days ago, all I can say it is the best phone that I ever had, its awesome but i got super lcd screen not amoled and i bought my phone 500 euro in athens, greece. Now im waiting the new phone htc desire hd and the windows 7.

  54. Bernard says:

    Anybody can help me out on the internet/MMS stting for the HTC Desire?

    Provider GLOBE, Post paid SIM.

    GLOBE customer service well……. apart from the friendly voices, buggled promises and “I do apologize for the inconvenience” (something they have to be able to say applying for that job) they offer a total blank….
    Do I have to say more?

  55. gie says:

    bernard buy a wifi router so that u can surf ur phone anything u want

  56. gie says:

    anyone know where i can buy a leather pouch for htc desire, tnx!

  57. androidmeda says:

    aw total fuck-ass!! no more amoled for desire in pinas? total fail for this mobile
    heres a comparison of the SLCD and the amoled.

    Id still buy this phone if it still had amoled…

  58. Jared says:

    anyone know the mall price of the desire? i’m hoping to purchase one if it ever goes below 25k.

  59. Cris says:

    YUGA I have an issue or a question. I just bought mine this month. My question is, I cannot setup my GMAIL account and I read that you need to be able to set the APN for your network(in my case Smart). The problem is, I cannot find HTC in the phone supported list of Smart that is why I cannot download the configuration for APN(MMS\Internet settings, etc..). Do you know a workaround on this issue? I cannot access Android Market because of this and some other application won’t work.

    Overall, I love HTC Desire. It’s just the phone for me :)

  60. gie says:

    Hi Cris! This is my mobile # 09212148253, txt me, i will tell what your going to do.

  61. rey says:

    25K at saudi

  62. gie says:

    I installed froyo 2.2 this morning around 3:25 am, I love it coz a lot of applications have been installed most especially the 720p hd video and my new software number now is 2.10.405.2

  63. snaproo says:

    Unfortunately most fail to believe that the X10 is a high end smartphone. While the price may suggest it the performance and the old android really deteriorates the appeal quick.

  64. jasper says:

    I replaced my Nokia 5800 with the HTC Desire (SLCD) last November 17. As usual, CMK pa din ako bumili. P25.5k ang price at the time. Medyo mahal pero yung satisfaction naman sa Android programming ay priceless :)

  65. chris says:

    wats this froyo? i just boughthtc desire..

  66. jasper says:

    Chris, Froyo is the codename for Android 2.2. Go to Settings -> About phone -> Software information to check your phone’s Android version.

  67. chris says:

    well i checked my android and it’s 2.2. what if it’s 2.2 android, wats the difference.thanks jasper

  68. jasper says:

    You’re welcome Cris.

    One of the major improvements in 2.2 is the speed boost. Apparently it’s 2 to 5 times faster. Another is 720p video recording.

    Just do a Google search if you want more details. Also Froyo is short for “Frozen Yogurt”, just letting you know.

  69. Jason says:

    cool @[email protected]

    where can i buy those in philippines?
    and whats the price range?..
    thanks in advance

  70. Mat says:

    @Jason There are a lot of stores in Greehills that sell the Desire. There is even a white model in the Bridgeway area. The lowest price I got from them was 24k.

  71. donna says:

    I want to buy this phone but my friend is having problems configuring the APN (globe postpaid). This is why I’m having second thoughts and is thinking about getting a Galaxy S instead. Is there anyone who knows how to configure the APN?

  72. Noel says:

    What’s up with these APN issues, must be grey market phones. I bought my Desire from Memo Express and after inserting globe pre paid SIM, it connected right away and even 3G/GPRS was automatically configured. It even comes pre-installed with Froyo. And where does it say SLCD, looks like AMOLED to me (previous owner of Samsung Jet).

  73. carlo says:

    If your desire came pre installed with froyo then it is most likely SLCD. It should also indicate in your box that is AMOLED, if not it is definitely SLCD

  74. marv says:

    Hi mga sir,

    mag low pa kaya price nito? 23k currently..


  75. Jason says:

    @Mat thanks for the reply. anyway I do have another question, if that’s ok with you. I’m just wondering if the display is still AMOLED? i mean the phones that are being sold at greenhills?.. or is it already SLCD? thanks in advance again for the replies..

  76. Rom says:

    as far as I know, all recent HTC Desire stocks now come with Super LCD due to the AMOLED shortage.

  77. deafeyes says:


    I’m planning to get a new phone (btw, I will be a first-time android user), and I’m deciding on either the desire hd or just the plain desire.

    My main concern is battery life, since it will be a big issue for me. I travel a lot but usually I don’t have access to a charger/plug. I need a phone that can last me a little over a day for my on-the-go needs.

    In terms of usage, Wifi, texting, and a little bit of reading (via the pdf reader) usually ang gagawin ko. What are the advantages to each, and which phone do you suggest?

    Thanks in advance!

  78. vince says:

    may alam ba kayong forum site ng android for pinoy?

  79. angel says:

    Just bought my HTC Desire for 20, 680 here in Cebu. The best Android Phone so far.

  80. Dino says:

    @ angel…wow…where’d you get one at that price?

  81. btcmdex says:

    @ angel Asa ka nakapalit sa cebu? Nahan unta pud ko mupalit. San mo po nabili sa cebu? ^_^

  82. yves says:

    @ angel asa ka kapalit ana diri cebu?
    gusto ko rin sana bumili.

  83. Ross says:

    Hey Yuga, just a suggestion, you need to fix your website so it will display the latest comments on top!

  84. joelbambao says:

    For those having a problem setting up apn and internet connection. Just visit globe robinpson ermita, they can do it for you, very helpful. Dont go to globe sm san lazaro, hindi marunong don, maaasar lang kayo.
    Its price at memo exp. 26+k for. 0.%, 23+k for cash.

  85. josef says:

    hi guys,

    just wanna ask for an advice.
    im planning to buy htc desire.. can anyone tell me what’s the best micro sd card for this phone and what class? thanks.

  86. Most will love in the cyanogenmod community!

  87. vince says:


    pareho tayo… sabi nila the best daw ang 16GB class 6

  88. The design of this phone is pretty impressive, I would definitely create a review to this!.. thanks for the info mate!

  89. habilyonar says:

    alam niyo po ba kung kelan mauupdate ang desire?

  90. habilyonar says:

    pls send me an update. thank you

  91. gie says:

    This morning on the HTC UK Facebook page, the company posted, “Our engineering teams have been working hard for the past few months to find a way to bring Gingerbread to the HTC Desire without compromising the HTC Sense experience you’ve come to expect from our phones. However, we’re sorry to announce that we’ve been forced to accept there isn’t enough memory to allow us both to bring Gingerbread and keep the HTC Sense experience on the HTC Desire.”
    Means its bad news from us as htc desire owners that we can’t update our phones to android 2.3 gingerbread

  92. gie says:

    HTC takes its words back, Gingerbread for the Desire is a go
    15 June, 2011 | Comments (58) | Post your comment
    Tags: HTC, Android, Touch UI

    Now that’s a bit of unexpected news. HTC all of a sudden has decided that Gingebread will eventually come to the Desire. Yesterday the company announced that due to lack of memory the company’s last year flagship is not eligible for an update to Android 2.3.

    However, as it turns out, people’s voice does matter and due to the enormous pressure generated from yesterday’s statement, HTC immediately reconsidered their decision. Well done, HTC, you managed to solve the RAM puzzle, didn’t you?

    One thing to note, though. Did HTC really think they could get away with such laziness and just throw the Desire for dead without considering there might be some unhappy users? It’s understandable to ditch a phone like the Hero, but the Desire? Come on, HTC.

  93. Yol Joyce says:

    This is a good news!!! Very excited to get my Desire updated to Android 2.3 Gingerbread!

  94. peng says:

    Sweet! Can’t wait. Thank you HTC!

  95. RJ says:

    Hi I love the looks of the phone but just by looking at the price tag deters me. I hope HTC can do something with the hefty price. For the same amount I can already buy a tablet.

  96. bryan diko says:

    hi! i’d lang to ask about the internal memory of desire? my unit is 2.3 gingerbread. i did a factory reset to delete all data on the internal storage but i only ended up having 50mb of internal memroy space. what happened to the other 450mb?

  97. memo d3rd says:

    tatanung ko lang po kung sino may alam dito kung saan ako mkakabili ng case and gadget ng HTC desire S di ko lam kasi kung san ako makakahana. tnx!

  98. Divers says:

    Polymer Optics Manufacturer
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