HTC Desire S review

We take a look at the HTC Desire S, the company's debut Android 2.3 smartphone, to see if it has what it takes to pick up where its market-leading predecessor left off.

The HTC Desire S

Typing does feel slightly more responsive compared to the original HTC Desire, although this is probably due to the more powerful hardware. The Desire S keyboard is arguably better than the already superb iPhone keyboard since it provides easy access to punctuation and other symbols without having to switch to a second keyboard screen. HTC's text prediction was accurate in our testing. The autocorrect also learns very quickly, so it'll pick up all your little grammatical nuances in no time.

Quirky bundled apps include the Mirror app for checking your appearance. There's also an ebook Reader app. It's useful since, unlike the Amazon Kindle app, it can read ePub-formatted books.

Much more useful for serious work are the email and Calendar apps. They worked well with our Exchange 2003 server, allowing us to accept or reject meeting invitations. If you use Facebook to organise your personal life, you'll appreciate the ability to synchronise the Calendar app with your Facebook account. It's an ability the iPhone lacks.

HTC's copy and paste system is an improvement over the cruder mechanism on older Android 2.2 phones, but is a little superfluous here since Android 2.3 has a similarly improved copy and paste system. These two competing systems means that selecting text is still a little inconsistent with a magnifying glass tool in some apps and a pair of selection handles in others, but it works well enough.

One of the major weaknesses of the original Desire was its battery life it often struggled to make it past lunchtime. During testing we gave the Desire S some serious abuse lots of video playback, phone calls, web browsing over Wi-Fi and even some DLNA video streaming action. Despite all this the battery lasted more than a full day off a single charge. In our more formal MP3 playback test it lasted an impressive 27 hours and 18 minutes, closely matching the Nexus S but behind the iPhone 4 which lasted a staggering 49 hours.

So what's our verdict?


Overall, we were impressed with the HTC Desire S. It picks up where the original Desire left off, introducing more processing and graphics power, more RAM and even shaving some of the bulk off to save you 5g in weight. It's a good smartphone. For some, these incremental improvements won’t set any pulses racing. However it costs just £316 ex VAT SIM-free though, which is a bit cheaper than many high-end Android smartphones making it good value. On contract it's a different matter where it's available for free on a 24-month £30 a month Vodafone contract, just like the HTC Incredible S and Google Nexus S. The Incredible S is more comfortable to hold, while the Nexus S should receive immediate Android OS updates, unlike either HTC handset. If you're willing to commit to lengthy contracts, either of those two phones would be a better choice, but only just.

Connectivity: GSM 850/900/1800/1900, 3G 900/2100 Display: 480 x 800 pixels, 3.7 inches OS: Android 2.3 with HTC Sense Camera: five megapixels rear facing, 0.3 megapixels forward facing GPS: A-GPS Processor: Qualcomm MSM8255 Snapdragon 1GHz Bluetooth: v2.1 Wi-Fi: 802.11 b/g/n Storage: 1.1GB RAM: 768MB Dimensions: 115 x 59.8 x 11.6 mm Weight: 130g Battery: Lithium Ion 1450 mAh