The first Wildfire was HTC’s first, real attempt to bring their Android sensibilities to the mid-market. Up until then, the company was creating high-spec Android devices that were firmly out of reach of most consumers (locally anyway). The Wildfire was their answer to the demands of the middle market, and while it was a good showpiece of what the company could do in that particular segment, the device was a bit under-powered for some. Today we’ll be taking a look at its direct successor, the Wildfire S, to see if the line has improved after its first outing.
One of the first things you’ll notice about the Wildfire S is that it’s absolutely tiny, especially when compared to its other siblings. It sports a 3.2-inch capacitive touchscreen and has an overall size of 101.3 x 59.4 x 12.4 mm. When you put it beside its bigger and badder siblings, like the 4.3-inch HTC Sensation it looks positively dainty. The Wildfire S packs a 600MHz Snapdragon MSM7227 CPU with 512 MB ROM and 512 MB RAM, which, in our opinion, is a bit lacking. Other hardware specs include a 5-megapixel camera (with geo-tagging and face detection) and a FM radio. Like many new Android devices, the Wildfire S comes with Gingerbread and naturally, the Sense UI layer that HTC’s famous for.
The overall build quality of the Wildfire S is good. Its very solidly made, with no creaks whatsoever on the body. Like its bigger brothers, there are four capacitive keys on the lower part of the phone’s bezel to facilitate navigation.
Navigating the Wildfire S was a breeze, thanks mainly to the Sense UI overlay on top of Gingerbread.
You get 7 customizable screens right off the bat, FriendStream (a social network aggregator) and other widgets and tweaks that can only be had with HTC devices.
Using the device wasn’t quite a chore as I originally imagined it was, but if you have big digits take heed: this device will punish you for your genetic predispositions. I have bigger than normal digits, which means I’m most at home with smartphones that have screens of 4-inches or more. Using the 3.2-inch screen of the Wildfire S was, frankly, a battle of wits, especially when trying to text with the cramped on-screen keyboard. Of course, your mileage will vary and if you’re a woman or have dainty fingers you won’t have issues with the screen or the keyboard.
Battery life is good. In a media loop test (where we basically just ran a looped video until the batteries gave out) the Wildfire S managed to stay on for about five hours before the battery gave up the ghost. The Wildfire S uses a 1230 mAh battery (more mAh = longer battery life) and with standard use (meaning a few texts, calls, and browsing) the device lasted through a whole workday with a little bit of charge left when we found it the next morning.
Like we mentioned earlier, the Wildfire S doesn’t have the speediest of processors. It gets by with a 600MHz Snapdragon MSM7227 CPU, so it was interesting to see where the Wildfire S landed when we ran it through our benchmarks. The Wildfire S managed to bag a score of 764 in the Quadrant benchmark that we ran, which is admittedly pretty good, just slightly behind the first Samsung Galaxy S. Unfortunately, that doesn’t translate completely to real time performance, and we did experience a bit of slowdown when visiting media-rich websites with a lot of flash content.
Is the Wildfire S worth it? With a price tag of Php 15,500, the Wildfire S is ione of HTC’s most affordable phones. If you don’t mind the small-ish screen, and aren’t much of a power user, then the Wildfire S might be your next Android device. If you are, then it’d be best if you look at its bigger brothers and other devices along those lines.
Easy to use
Great build quality
Small screen is hard to type on, especially if you have big hands
A tad underpowered
If you’re the sort that just needs a stylish, Android powered smartphone, then the Wildfire S is something you might want to consider.
- Operating System: Android 2.3 (Gingerbread), Sense UI 2.1 Overlay
- CPU: 600MHz Snapdragon MSM7227 CPU
- LCD size: 3.2-inch capacitive screen
- Physical Dimensions: 101.3 x 59.4 x 12.4 mm
- Weight: 105 g
- Band: GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900, HSDPA 900 / 2100