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Two weeks with the HTC Desire S

About two weeks ago I was able to nab the HTC Desire S running on Android 2.3 more popularly called Gingerbread. As far as I know, this and the Sony Ericsson Arc are the first two Gingerbread devices that are available in the Philippines running on the latest version of the Android OS. What’s the main difference between this version of Android and the previous? Well, not much really: they cleaned up the UI performance, they added a feature called Near Field Communication (like how in some countries you simply need to tap a commuter card onto a sensor to let you pass) and correct me if I’m wrong, real support for a front facing camera out of the box. Hence, the HTC Desire S comes with a front and back camera.


It’s a rather interesting commentary to see how these smartphones are reinventing the front camera like it was big news. I honestly don’t use it because I don’t do video, but still, Android and iOS (iPhone, iPad and iPod touch) are only supporting this now when in fact so many feature phones (i.e. Nokia) had front cameras for years.

Do you use the front camera?


I am absolutely impressed with the Desire S. The overall aesthetic and feel does justice to the ultra popular predecessor, the HTC Desire. I suggest reading Technoodling’s review as well.

HTC’s Desire S is slightly shorter than the previous version owed to the decision of removing the hardware buttons and turning them into soft buttons that vibrate when touched. This cuts off a few millimeters of space from the phone vertically.On power saving mode (or by clicking on options) you can turn this vibrate off.

Battery Life
I did several real world tests with the Desire S 1450 mAh battery. With barely doing anything with the phone (meaning all you use it for is an alarm clock and a few texts) you actually get more than 3 days of battery life. But this is an oddball scenario which will never be true in the real world. I’m currently subscribed to a data plan with SMART so with data turned on 24/7 using Twitter, Foursquare and Facebook, expect battery to last about 7 hours. If you start playing Angry Birds, cut your battery life down to 5 hours. HTC phones come with USB chargers with USB to wall adapters. This is true for all the HTC phones I’ve used whether you’re running Windows Phone 7 or Android. This means that you can choose to charge your device from a USB port or from the wall. The adapter makes for a nice bonus as you can also use this to charge your other USB-dependent devices such as iPods and Flip cams (which sadly are no longer being manufactured).

When I first unboxed the device it took me 30 minutes to sync my GMail and Facebook data via WiFi. That’s a couple of thousand contacts. Not bad. I will say it now that coming from someone who has used Windows Phone 7, the former still has a better integration of linking contacts from GMail and Facebook. If you’re transferring contacts from another Android device, you might be overwhelmed with the fact that HTC has its own version of the Facebook app as well as Twitter so if you already have your own social apps synced, linking contacts might be a tad confusing as the phone will ask you to link both “Facebook” and “Facebook for HTC Sense” for instance when you only need one. Nonetheless, this is a minor inconvenience.

The first couple of times you skim through your address book, the phone may be a tad laggy. I think this may have something to do with your phone buffering your contact list. I’m not sure. Anyone else experience this? This isn’t the fastest phone I’ve used but “fast” can be relative. I still get to accomplish what I need to do with some minor lag moments. It’s still very usable and as an overall package, you tend to forgive HTC for this.

Oh and one more thing. Yes the built-in keyboard is crappy. Prepare for embarrassing misspelled SMS and Tweets. I suggest downloading a better keyboard app.

I’m loving this phone’s 5MP camera. On auto, the flash doesn’t give me “deer in the headlights” shots which is especially annoying for taking photos of text. In broad daylight, it delivers. Sample:

You can’t go wrong with the HTC Desire S. Decent battery, 3.7 inch screen, Gingerbread all come in a nice retail price of PHP 25,9xx.xx. If you’re on SMART, the HTC Desire S is FREE at Consumable Plan 2500 and Unlimited Data Plan 2000. I suggest going for the data plan for this reason.

By Jayvee Fernandez

Jayvee Fernandez is a tech enthusiast and sitting Techbology Editor for The Philippine STAR.

He is also an EAN certified SCUBA Diver and underwater photographer based in Metro Manila, Philippines. His photos and videos have appeared in various international and local publications including Random House Germany, Discovery Channel Canada, and CNN.

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