HTC Desire S review
|Review: March 2011|
Last updated April 2013
In a nutshell: The original Desire was the best selling Android phone back in 2010, and the HTC Desire S takes everything that made the Desire so hot and makes it better! Running Android 2.3 and a new version of HTC Sense, its key features include a heavy duty metal body, a good-sized screen, a fast 1GHz processor, GPS with Google Maps, HD video and a second camera for video calling, plus fast internet and plenty of memory.
When we first reviewed the HTC Desire in March 2010, we described it as the nearest thing we'd seen to the perfect phone. So to be a worthy upgrade, the Desire S has to retain everything that made the Desire so fantastic, and deliver noticeable improvements. This it does.
First the exterior styling of the phone has been given a subtle makeover. It's still very much a HTC, but it's sleeker and more modern looking. HTC have shaved a few millimetres off the length of the phone, and even made it a little slimmer and lighter too. They've replaced the ugly-looking front buttons with sleek touch-sensitive buttons flush with the phone and given the strong aluminium unibody casing a black matte finish. The immediate and lasting impression is one of quality.
At the same time as making the phone smaller, HTC have retained the big 3.7 inch ultra hi-res display that was one of the keys to the Desire's success. 3.7 inches seemed huge a year ago, but these days it's quite commonplace amongst high-end smartphones. Nevertheless it's a good size for running all kinds of apps and we think it's big enough for all but the most demanding of users. The Desire S runs the latest Gingerbread 2.3 version of Android and brings HTC Sense 2.1 as the primary user interface. The combination of updated software and large capacitive display make for a very user-friendly and responsive interface with tight integration of contacts and social networking, plus easy access to apps. There are new widgets available and improved menus too. The customised virtual keyboard provides for very accurate typing.
The phone's memory has been increased to 1.1GB of built-in memory and 768MB RAM, plus the ability to add microSD cards up to 32GB. The 1GHz lightning-fast Qualcomm processor makes everything happen immediately, which is just how things should be.
The camera remains at 5 megapixels, but there's nothing wrong with that, and with autofocus and a power LED flash it still has the edge over the Samsung Galaxy S which lacks a flash. Moreover, the video recording has been upgraded so it now records in 720p HD format. There's also a VGA camera mounted on the front, enabling video calling.
HTC have clearly learned a hard lesson when it comes to battery life and have equipped the Desire S with a powerful 1450 mAh battery, which ought to deliver slightly better performance than the original Desire and significantly better than the Desire HD. The battery life times quoted by HTC are substantially better for the Desire S than the original Desire in fact.
The Desire S is a 3G phone with HSPA for super-fast internet access. The Desire S can achieve peak download speeds of up to 14.4 Mbps (twice as fast as its predecessor) and for even faster data transfer its Wi-Fi capability can be used. Thanks to Gingerbread, you can even turn the Desire S into a Wi-Fi hotspot, enabling Wi-Fi devices to make use of the phone's 3G connection. Other connectivity options are Bluetooth, USB and a 3.5mm audio jack for connecting headphones. You can stream photos and videos to a TV now too using DLNA.
For a handset with a large touchscreen and fast internet access, you'd expect web browsing to be a treat, and it is. Rendering of full web pages is performed rapidly and accurately, with auto-resizing of text on pinch-to-zoom, and flash support for videos. Really, the mobile internet doesn't get any better unless you upgrade to the larger screen of the HTC Desire HD or the HTC Incredible S.
Media support is excellent, with all common music formats supported and audio quality very good too. With the 3.5mm headphone jack and DLNA streaming, we can't fault connectivity either. The Desire S introduces SRS Surround Sound too. An FM radio is also incorporated. The omission of DivX video playback is an obvious omission however.
Other features worth noting are GPS with Google Maps and a digital compass.
HTC Desire S features include:
- 5 megapixel camera with face detection, autofocus and power LED flash
- 720p HD video recording
- Display: AMOLED capacitive touchscreen with pinch-to-zoom capability, 480 X 800 pixels (3.7 inches) with auto-rotate
- GPS receiver with digital compass, Google Maps, HTC Footprints and geo-tagging
- Music player (aac, .amr, .ogg, .m4a, .mid, .mp3, .wav, .wma formats)
- FM radio
- SRS Surround Sound
- Messaging: SMS, MMS, Email
- Ringtones: MP3 ringtones
- Internet: GPRS, EDGE, HSPA (14.4 Mbps download, 5.76 Mbps upload)
- Connectivity: Bluetooth 2.1 with Enhanced Data Rate, mini-USB 2.0, Wi-Fi, 3.5mm audio jack, DLNA
- Memory: 1.1GB plus 768 MB RAM plus microSD memory card (up to 32GB)
- Vibration alert
- Quadband GSM (850/900/1800/1900 MHz) plus HSPA/WCDMA (900/2100 MHz)
- Size: 115 x 60 x 11.6 mm
- Weight: 130g
- Battery: 1450 mAh
- Talktime: 435 - 490 minutes
- Battery standby: 430 - 455 hours
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HTC Desire S user reviews
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Average rating from 67 reviews:
Reviewed by moontrip
on 19th Oct 2015
Update - 2 years later this phone is still going strong - sure, the OS is dated now but for a phone to make calls, text, mobile internet, play music etc (the same as all of todays modern phones!) this is still a decent bit of kit
I've seen friends phones come and go - crashed, cracked, OS failures but they are all amazed how this one keeps going and has outlasted them all
The issue with the alert tones was resolved pretty quick so I'll now give it 5 stars (would give it more if I could for its longevity!)
Reviewed by amit kudada
on 12th Jan 2015
only most relevant issue is battery backup....
Reviewed by moontrip
on 2nd Nov 2013
Good all round phone, wi-fi is good, haven't lost signal yet, good screen etc.
However, it loses a star as I can use my own tunes for incoming calls and the alarm clock, but not on the message (sms) alert tone. It will only let me use the ones pre-set on the phone (which are pretty poor!) or download other poor ones from HTC
Reviewed by NCR from UK on 26th Nov 2012
Having previously owned the Wildfire S and original Desire I managed to pick a Desire S up for £80 in as new condition. First impressions were that it was a much more pleasing phone to handle than it's predecessor with none of the onboard memory issues from having more than 4 apps downloaded. Front facing camera means Skype can be used and I found Android 2.3.5 to be very good. However after loading it up with all my fave apps, popping in a 32gb memory card and packing it with music I found that it became a bit laggy and slow to move between apps. So I did a bit of research and found the ICS update (via PC). Wow, What a difference! I'm now running 4.0.4 with Sense 3.6 and it is a pocket rocket! No lag issues, no slowing down when multitasking and great additions such as face unlock and multi tasking mini previews make this an outstanding phone. Build quality is good and battery gets me through a medium use day with 3G on and I have around 25% left come 11pm, acceptable for a smartphone.
Reviewed by Rhys Cannell from United Kingdom on
13th May 2012
I have had my HTC Desire S since september 2011 and since then, i have been happy with the performance it has given me. Its slick, smart and runs perfect no matter what app, suggesting you have a good memory. However, since february, so only 2 months after my purchase, the cover of the battery began creaking, and now its unbelievably creaky. I only have to press the home touch sensor to hear a loud creak. I have not been given much support on this topic through T-Mobile yet but i suggest to anyone who is wishing to buy this phone, be careful if you have animals, they make think your holding a mouse...
Reviewed by James Martin from England on 12th
Superb phone. I've had mine for a year now and it's been fantastic. I have read a number of reviews below and I have experienced loss of reception at some places but I think that is more to do with Orange's signal being poor in areas rather than the phone itself, and I myself haven't experienced the problem of signal or Wi-Fi cutouts if I hold it in a specific place.
If you're the ROM installing type and like to root your Android phones then fear not, it's easy to root and install your own custom ROM. At the moment I'm using Endymion v3.5 and it runs excellently with Android 2.3.5 and HTC Sense 3.5 (as opposed to Sense 2.1 which comes as stock). HTC have also announced that Ice Cream Sandwhich (ICS) and HTC Sense 3.6 (not 4.0 I believe) will be making its way over to it next year, but if you head over to XDA-Developers then you'll see that there are already some Sense 4.0A ROM's available for the device running ICS by some talented developers, although the camera doesn't work properly as yet on these ROM's. I have my phone overclocked to 1.3GHz too which is very easy to achieve.
All in all, this is one of the best smartphones of its price range out now. I'm paying £26 a month for mine (seems a rip-off now!) but if you can get it for sub-£20 then it's a superb phone to get. Of course, it isn't the best around anymore with the likes of the HTC One X/S and the Samsung Galaxy S3 just around the corner with its high-power quad-core CPU, but it's definitely worth the money.
Reviewed by Paul from UK on 7th May 2012
Very smart phone, pretty speedy and well equipped with good overall features, and nice and simple to use. Screen of high quality.
Pro's - Screen quality, pocketable size, sound quality, ease of use.
Con's - Wifi reception suffers from death grip (top middle), poor phone reception. Often on no signal in my basement flat where as my sony xperia manages just fine. Takes ages to regain signal if it loses it. Poor 3g reception. Acceptable battery life. Put hand over the left bottom of phone where aerial is and kills the signal.
Verdict - Nice midrange phone if you live in a strong signal area. If you don't or need to use it in poor signal areas this is one to avoid.
Reviewed by Alex Evans from UK on 5th May 2012
Just brought this phone from T-Mobile and I am not having any conection problems. The only thing with my network that dies anoy me is that they have not even brought out the Android 2.3.5 update with HTC sense 3.0 yet! Overall though I am really enjoying the phone. Lots of people have been talking about the poor battery life but I don't think that it is as bad as people make out it is. Mine easly lasts a day with very heavy use and will go for 2 days with medium usage. I have also tested this against my friends iPhone 4S and there is not much difference in fact things like voice search works better on the desire s. Brillient phone. Definatly not disappointed.
Reviewed by IainH from UK on 5th May 2012
Had my main Desire S for around 7 months now and it is simply the best phone around for the money. I'm on Vodafone and have had no issues with connectivity whatsoever. The only thing that lets the phone down is the camera that while being 5mp the sensor itself is not that great. Apart from that though the phone cannot really be faulted. It is running the latest Gingerbread and I believe an ICS update is coming, well on Vodafone it is.
For those reporting connectivity issues on T-Mobile, I hate to be the bearer of bad news but I had the same issues with T-Mobile and despite what they tell you, their UK coverage is awful.
Reviewed by GinaG from UK on 16th Apr 2012
This phone is rubbish! - everything was fine for the first month, then after that it drops the network on a daily basis so I have to check it every half hour or so and I have to manually connect to T-Mobile. Half the time when people ring me it goes straight to voicemail, then I get a text to tell me I have a missed call anything up to 8 hours later! I know two other people with this phone and they have the same complaint. I will sell it on Mazumba for £110 and buy an I-Phone.
Reviewed by Sharon from UK on 11th Apr 2012
I got the Desire S from T Mobile on a monthly contract just over a week ago - version number on phone is 2.3.3. It was my first smartphone so I was a bit apprehensive. Its now going back to T Mobile as it cannot perform a simple function like receiving text messages. I get messages sent at 8.00pm at 4.00am in the morning! Its not my sim card, have put that back in my faithful nokia -seeing the reviews and forums it seems to be a common problem. It's a shame - as I like the phone and all that it does - but I rely heavily on texts from my daughters and this is just not practical - now I need to decide on another phone.....
Reply by heraldmum37 from England on
16th Apr 2012
Don't know if it will be any help, but my Desire S went through the same stage about 3 months ago i.e. no texts coming through, crashing at intervals. Then I did a software update - now on version 2.3.5 - and it has been working like a dream ever since! If you go into the About Phone tab in Settings, then select Software Updates, it should let you download it. It does take a while and will restart once done, but whole look of the phone changes and it seems to sort out all the bugs. I hope this is of some help.
Reply by Sharon from UK on 17th Apr
Tried that but it says there are no updates available. I emailed HTC and they have told me to do this, but I am worried this will void my right to change the phone if this fails as well - so am sending it back.... "I understand that you are currently experiencing difficulties with reeiving texte messages In order to rectify this I would like you to perform the following actions: from settings-applications-manage applications-click on (ALL) find messages click on the app then click on clear data. then please remove the battery and insert it back . with the device turned off press and hold the volume down button, while holding the volume down press and release the power button. release the volume and press it once to highlight recovery. wait until red triangle appear on the screen, press and hold the volume up while you holding the volume up press and release the power button. reboot system now is highlighted, release the volume up then press volume down 3 times to highlight wipe cashe partition. the same screen appear again, wait until wipe cashe completed appear in yellow, press the volume up once then the power button once."
Reviewed by Louise from UK on 7th Mar 2012
In two words, dont bother!!!!
If I knew now what I did when I bought this phone I would not have bothered getting it believe me or convinced some family members to get the same brand either!!
First of all, problem one, text messaging went mental! I was receiving all my texts at once, up to 10 at a time and had nothing for hours, constantly having to restart the phone to check if I had any messages, missed calls, etc as the number of arguements the phone not delivering or sending my texts had caused was getting ridiculous and now my 2nd phone, likes to turn the wi-fi on by itself. Although this is not a problem when I am at home, as its wi-fi but I havent asked it to nor have I asked it to do it whilst out!!!
Basically wont be having another HTC for sure, I take back anything I said about an iPhone or other smartphones such as Blackberry. Karma has delivered me with a big fat return!
Reviewed by steve from uk on 7th Feb 2012
rubbish!! im now waiting for my fifth phone in two week's Battery life is poor needs charging at least twice a day,poor signal,over heats and screen not working properly. My first i had for a few months and i had to charge it regular during the day if i used it for the internet even without blue tooth wifi and gps off.i also missed quite a few calls during that time as it would lose a signal constantly. it eventually started to get really hot whilst just txting. i eventually rang orange who replaced it no problem. the second though within a week was doing the same and they swapped it again.after trying a new battery to no avail. the third the touch screen wouldn't work propperly and after eventually opening the screen the letters wouldn't type whatever letters i wanted to type. they changed that again but the fourth phone i struggled to get any signal at all in doors at home or at work.outside i got one bar intermittently.im currently trying to organise the fifth phone so fingers crossed grrrrrrrrrr also read that these problems are regular with this phone but im no expert
Reply by Manny from Uk on 14th Feb
Dont Buy a Phone from Orange, as they have Heavily Modified it with there own Software which is full of Bugs & Slows you Mobile down, i Got mine form 3 Network, but Does'nt have any Phone branding, Just Strait form HTC Factory so runs Really Good, with good Battery life & reception.
Reviewed by mark from uk on 6th Feb 2012
The desire s is without question the best phone i've ever owned!
I was very worried about the touch screen only interface and I still think there are times when a physical keyboard is an advantage, but the desire s has converted me like no touch screen phone before.
Great call quality, superb internet experience, brilliant camera, awesome sound and even texting for someone with big hands like me is very comfortable in landscape mode at least.
The only downside is battery life which although amongst the best for touch screen smart phones it still requires daily charging. I have however downloaded an amazing free app from the android market place called juice defender and it has more than doubled my battery life. I would recommend the app to any smart phone owner and I would also advise lowering screen brightness.
Reviewed by Nola from UK on 4th Feb 2012
I have had my Desire S for 3 months. I ffffflove it. It was am upgrade from the original Desire which I really liked. And it does everything I need it to do: much more memory, updated software, and it keeps the brilliance of the original Desire. Would recommend it to anyone. PS I have used lots of phones (Nokia, Apple, BB) and currently have a BB 9900 as well. This is my best phone thus far.
Reviewed by Merlin from Peru on 27th Jan 2012
Bought this phone only a month ago in the UK. The four keys at the bottom of the phone do not work. As I am overseas this is now useless junk. Put the sim card back in my old motorola which has never ceased to work. Do not buy one or if you do keep your old phone with you at all times.
Reviewed by Rob from England on 24th Jan 2012
I bought my Desire last week as an upgrade from my Blackberry Bold as my eyesight and fingers couldn't cope with the small buttons. Overall the phone is really good. I like that I can just have the shortcuts I want on the front screen. The phone app is better than I expected - very quick to find a contact and dial. Email was a little trickier to set up than on the BB but it's all sorted now and way much easier to read than on my BB. My only gripe is the quality of the phone reception. I'm working in a bad area and the phone often drops calls, two bars goes to zero when you pick the phone up, wave it round, they come back, hit send and then it drops again. The phone as a phone simply isn't like my BB or earlier Nokias. It's a real balance between all the fantastic features / ease of use and the fact that the phone lacks ability just when you need it. I've got a week more before I can send it back for free...
Reviewed by j edwards from england on 22nd Jan
Had HTC Desire S as a christmas?birthday present........what did i think of it.....HATE IT HATE IT HATE IT HATE IT HATE IT.........why?????? so hard to use with all the technology.....nothing is easy.....then updates already and not even a month old and it changes everything again...why oh why...i have had tears over this phone......i have now removed my sim card and put it back into my old phone a LG..home sweet home...so much easier to use and does exactly wnat i want it to...the problem i have now is selling it as my husband paod £290 for it and now can only get £120 maximum for it and that is not impressive either...gutted what a waste of money so it is now sat in a drawer not being used and thats the best place for it......IF BUYING A PHONE AS A GIFT FOR SOME STOP AND THINK FIRST..MY OPINION DONT DO IT...LET THEM CHOOSE THEMSELF!!!!!!
Reply by Manny from UK on 6th Feb
i AM not even Clever, but still know how to Use this phone, great Phone, Nothing wrong with it.
Reply by David from UK on 21st Feb
To J Edwards....Why did't you do some research before getting it? This has no more technology than any other smart-phone.
Reviewed by abby from uk on 22nd Jan 2012
This is by far the Best HTC Phone when it comes to overall Performance & Use, its the first time a HTC Battery can last over a Days of Moderate - Heavy Use, Certainly Better than HTC Desire HD, & HTC Sensation on everyday Use, I cant Feel any difference with the HTC Sensation & Desire S, apart from Half a second Faster, which you won't Notice from a Blink of an Eye.
Reviewed by cath from edinburgh on 13th Jan 2012
I ve had my htc desire s for three days now its slim and its fast and compact many apps the battery is great is a excellent phone l just love it . l wish the texts where in colour just like the iPhone if anyone thinking of getting a HTC get the desire s
Reviewed by Mark from UK on 10th Jan 2012
An awesome phone at a decent price. I love mine!
Reviewed by dawn from uk on 29th Dec 2011
In response to Steve below. I've had my Desire S for a year now, it's a solid and dependable phone. Fairly good battery, great screen, quick, compact & easy to use. When I first got it I had exactly the same issues as you, ie constant reboots. I took the pin lock off my sim card and it sorted the problem straight away. It might not help you but I thought it worth a mention:)
Reply by Kenzo from UK on 4th Mar
You've had your phone for a year in Dec 11? Hmmmm thats wierd as the phone wasn't released until Mar 2011...........
Reply by Mobile Phones UK from UK on
5th Mar 2012
Guessing that Dawn meant "about a year."
Reply by dawn from uk on 27th Mar
Oops, dizzy me.....In future I shall whip out my receipts and double check purchase dates before posting comments:)......... I bought my Desire S, end of Mar 2011. It is still a very good phone. Quick, good call quality, excellent wifi, tethering, great for browsing, decent battery life and a premium handset feel. All bundled up into a classy little package. Got a windows phone recently and although I like it a lot, I miss my Desire and might switch back. Missing the little things I took for granted, auto text reflow in pinch to zoom, tethering ability. The battery on the Desire is way better than the Lumia. Plus cut & paste isn't quite there yet in windows, which gets annoying quickly. Android might be boring but it's easy & works. To cut a long story short, would I buy the Desire again now, Yes. Shame some folks are having problems with their handsets, I was lucky and had no problems at all.
Reviewed by Kalu from Saudi Arabia on 29th Dec
Loved this Phone when I owned it. But very disappointed by the way they built it. For such an expensive phone the back cover is very weak. It never fits comfortably to the body and always makes a noise if you press (not squeeze) it. Eventually, the right side of the back cover seems to have lost its lock and started coming off slightly. When you press your finger and pull it down, it kinda opens a gap and comes down. Phone in General, I am satisfied. Recently got a software update and everything is working reasonably well. But too expensive for having this kind of build quality. I think plastic phones would be much better.
Reviewed by steve from uk on 23rd Dec 2011
I have had 4 of these phones, they all randomly crash and restart, each time I took it back under the 28 day returns policy and got another the same problems occur, even with the stock applications. O2 were no help and neither were phones4u. The phone will randomly freeze and restart, this could be just after locking it or just after opening an app or message, anything can cause it to fail. HTC were definitely aware of these issues yet chose to release the handset anyway. Very poor. When the phone works its great though. Just a shame the software is pants and HTC don't care! They just want money. I'll send the handset for repair through HTC but I'm somewhat sure the problems won't be fixed with a fifth handset.
Reply by Heraldmum37 from UK on 5th
I have had my Desire S since May 2011 and admittedly, it could crash quite often for no apparent reason. It also went through a stage of not receiving text messages or calls. I then searched for a software update and it did a huge download which changed the whole look of the phone. This was about a month ago and it has been working like a dream ever since. It never crashes, the new layout of the phone is great and I am getting an average of 2 days out of the battery before it needs charging. I am not a heavy user (mostly texting and a bit of surfing), but it seems any bugs have been squashed! I thoroughly recommend this phone - I love it!
Reviewed by Amanda Jenkins from UK on 20th Dec
Endless problems with phone losing network connection. Callers making up to nine calls prior to connecting with handset. Messages arriving with no sender I.D., this eventually rights itself. Orange my Network provider have tried numerous SIM updates. I estimate I have spent 5 hours on the phone to Orange trying to resolve issues with handset, last week the suggestion was to switch off answerphone setting so that calls will arrive first time, great but no one can leave a message anymore. Camera quality is superb. Screen has frozen a few times but that happens with a Samsung that I used to own. My advise- wait until HTC resolves thier software issues prior to getting one
Reviewed by Pete from UK on 12th Dec 2011
My first Desire S worked fine for six months (apart from the impossible to remove battery cover and reluctance of the GPS to find a signal), then it just crashed and I couldn't get past a white T-mobile splash screen. The replacement Desire S had a shonky screen which sticks up at the lower edge giving a sharp edge at which light streams out. My next (third) Desire S arrives tomorrow, but I'm not overly optimistic.
Reviewed by Kevin Donkin from England on 27th
Excellet phone allround, Highly recommend . My only problem which may sound trivial is that the phone must have been made in a tub of vaseline because it constantly slips out of my hand.!
Reviewed by Dan from England on 25th Nov 2011
Excellent phone! Got it as an upgrade from the Desire. Generally it's not that different to the Desire but it does have some new features and tweaks. basically improving what was already a very good phone. All in all I am very pleased with it and would say the battery life has defintly been improved. I can easily get a good days use out of it without worrying about it running out etc.
Reviewed by dave from england on 18th Nov 2011
well ive had this phone for a week now , i said i would never own a touch screen phone but this has proved me wrong, its a great phone , very fast and after 2 days of usage its very easy to use too, the battery life isnt great but i expected that from what is essentialy a pocket computer/phone/music player/radio.....ect, i cant realy fault it one bit, the touch screen typing is sooo easy its ridiculous , overall its a realy lovely phone to use and it looks good too :)
Reviewed by Joe from Scotland on 22nd Oct 2011
Got the desire s 4 days ago, and i have had a 3gs for 2 years so i am using to having a great fast dependable phone. first impressions are great many good features and things better than the iphone. But their are a few key differences from iphone that it just doesnt stand up to the same quality. for example the facebook problem where you have to have all you facebooks friends numbers on the push phone notification, the whole facebook aspect of this phone is a disaster its complicated and confusing! the email is also very unorganised. finally the fact you cannot delete apps that came from the phone is very very annoying! if you are a htc fan then great, but if you have had an iphone it just doents compare get the iphone 4s or stay with your 3GS.
Reviewed by Paul from UK on 15th Oct 2011
Stay clear really dodgy phone. First one i decided to send a random 112 texts out to my a random selection of my contacts Had it replaced thinking just a glitch, second one now just at the 3 month mark is faulty will not go any further then a white screen saying HTC on power up. Plus this phone is super out of date I think HTC are aware there have been a number of probs so have decided to focus on something new, do a quick search and you see a number of issues
Reviewed by Rimz from UK on 4th Oct 2011
I have had this phone for the last 3 months and it is a great little handset. Jumping from a Blackberry to Android took a bit of getting used to, but now its a breeze using this phone. The display is sharp and clear, the size of the handset is perfect for one handed use (and 2 handed use), battery life is 2-3 days with moderate use for me (make sure the handset gets a full 12hr charge the first time), software navigation and response is instantaneous. Camera quality is good in 'good' lighting conditions. Call quality is great. I have had no issues with the WiFi part of the handset where i get full bars in my house. GPS does take some time to get up and running, but its very good when it is. Overall a very good handset. Like most people have mentioned on here, the main gripe for me also is the battery cover, which does take a bit of effort to take off.
Reviewed by jdm52 from England on 24th Sep 2011
I upgraded to this phone after using Nokia's for the last 10 years and I am very impressed. I have never had an Android phone before, so it took a couple of days to familiarise myself, but once I had, I found it very easy to navigate. I have not used all the functions on the phone as yet and probably never will, but what I have seen so far has not made me regret my choice. I have noticed too the battery life isn't as good as I'm used to but like someone said further down the page get into the habit of charging it overnight. The only annoying thing is my grandaughter used my phone to access her facebook & I now have all her contacts in my phone contacts, any ideas how to get rid as I can't see a delete contacts key?
Reviewed by Jon from UK on 20th Sep 2011
So far so good. Crisp display, feels great in the hand, slick Gingerbread, good call quality and getting pretty decent battery life (about a day and a half with medium usage, controlling 3G/Wifi etc). Had a couple of delayed texts but all the others arrived promptly. My main gripe is getting the back cover off. Very tricky. Just hoping I don't need to access the battery or memory card very often!
Reviewed by adam from uk on 16th Sep 2011
I got. This phone as an upgrade having owned an iPhone 3g and blackberry bold this beats them the one let down is the battery life love Android ginger bread very quick its kind of annoying to turn as it makes a row but all in a good phone best smartphone I ever owned like the different features and it does work aboard in France all in I give it 4 out of 5 it would be 5 but for the battery and annoying start up sound
Reviewed by Fat Dave from Scotchland on 7th Sep
Poor. Slow processor (nothing runs smoothly at all); music player sound quality is rubbish; mail interface is very clunky; touch function is either way too sensitive or not sensitive enough. And don't get me started on the battery life. Eight hours with light use is unacceptable in anyone's terms. I fell out of love big-style with my iPhone 3GS, and hoped that this would be a good introduction to HTC and Android prior to my upgrade in November. It's not, unfortunately, so time to look at Nokia, Sony Ericsson, and Samsung a bit more closely now....
Reviewed by gary from england on 1st Sep 2011
Had my desire s for 7 days,sent it back.Found music player poor sound.real task to remove battery cover.Had it on talk mobile found my wives galaxy ace ran rings around it on o2 streaming youtube, mybe the area.
Reviewed by Jen from England on 9th Aug 2011
First Android fone. Am impressed but why o why do I have to turn WiFi on to view pictures and videos? Why do I lose signal during conversations or browsing the net? And why do I have to leave fone on in plane mode for clock alarm to work? Despite these little annoyances I'm enjoying this phone............................ for now
Reviewed by Scott from England on 4th Aug 2011
The Desire S is my first Android experience, and I've been converted by this phone. Customisation is incredible with a world of free apps out there, and whilst it falls below dual core phones out there such as the S2, the recent price drops reflect that possibly even more than they should that making this a top choice. There are a few imperfections and very occasional glitches - WiFi death grip, difficult battery cover, the media isn't totally smooth, heavy multi tasking may mean you encounter the odd lack of smoothness, and battery life is no more than sufficient. But in practice, none of these will matter if you want a top single core Android for 25ish per month (I got a 12 month for under 30!). For what it's worth, and experiences seem to vary, but the death grip only occurs for me if I hold the phone in a very unnatural way and essentially try to make it happen. And even when I do, the drop isn't too bad, plus a slight leading of pressure and it's back to fully blast. In conclusion, 5 stars. Not quite a top phone, but more than sufficient for most, and in its price range it is almost certainly unrivalled.
Reviewed by Baz from UK on 20th Jul 2011
Blown away by all this device can do. (Try pressing & holding the search button, then dictate something like 'navigate to London' or 'call Peter' or 'message to Jack'; great fun - even the cock-ups.) To everyone complaining about battery life: leave the charge cable plugged-in and ready to go, next to your bed; get into the routine of connecting it up before you go to sleep. Honestly, following this simple habit, I have never had any problems with battery life.
Reviewed by Brad from UK on 15th Jul 2011
New to android and HTC. Been using this phone now for just under 2 months and not been let down once. fast and smooth action when browsing and loading apps etc. Battery life is good, iv hammered it and never got it below 50% left on charge. Looks and feels great. In a nutshell its a small laptop for a great price, contracts from about £25, cant go wrong. Well done to HTC for making something that is as good if not better than Iphone4 with same build quailty if not better and cheaper.
Reviewed by LM1980 from UK on 13th Jul 2011
Had this phone for a while now and feel that I should give my pennies worth of a review. Two things I'll say now before I go any futher is that the phone itself is ok, not as high end as the iPhone 4, Samsung galaxy s or s2 or others and Android is to power hungry for for todays battery technology. Here we go. I had problems initially with this goons when I first turned of on. It stayed on the HTC screen at boot for about 30 mins before being ready to use. This was very annoying. Charged the phone correctly and although the phone is new the battery lasted 6 hours on first charge. Very lot considering I only used that time to set the line up. It's been four weeks now and I can say that either battery is dud of its the whole package that is dud. I get 16 hours at most with very light use. There's no point having a smartpone if you have to turn the smart features off to get good battery life. The keyboard is not very precise. The amount of times I don't hit the spacebar corectly and then have to go back to put the spaces in is annoying. When aiming for the letter A I tend to catch the shift key. Build quality on my desire s isn't the best. The screen has movement in the corners. The battery cover never goes on right and I have to force it on at times. Having had several Android devices I can honestly say I don't like Android. There are way to many settings. All these settings seem to be there so oh can try and squeeze out better battery life. Android is better suited for home PCs with a touchscreen monitor or a tablet with a mega sized battery. This phone combined with Android is a let down. That's my opinion.
Reviewed by Lola from Britain on 29th Jun 2011
I got this phone last week to start with i was very impressed that is untiol the problems started to occur. First of all after linking up all of my contacts to their facebook pages ect the phone then wouldn't give a name as to who was phonong or texting. Switched off phone and turned it back on and started to work Ok. Then it wouldn't conect to my network so swiched it off then wouldn't switch back on at all. Had to take the battery out and put it back in then it eventually switched on. Still no network and couldn't find any network. So two major issues with a phone that i had for 5 days so sent it back and will prob now just get an Iphone. Clear to say v disappointed as if it worked properly would be a great phone!
Reviewed by Abhay Jhawar from India on 24th Jun
Had this phone for 2 months. Itís an awesome phone from the looks to the screen and the speed is just fantastic. However since HTC has launched sense 3.0 in sensation, which is completely new 3d interface and i think itís just awesome (watch it on youtube), which basically means desire s is out-dated and old. Itís a shame if HTC are not able to launch 3.0 on desire s, since the desire s was launched just a month before sensation. I would have given the phone 5 stars but not anymore.
Reviewed by Dave from UK on 22nd Jun 2011
I have never been a fan of HTC, Tried the Desire and Mozart, both let down by totally dire battery life however the Desire S is different, I can easily get a days use with heavy use IE Music on 8hrs, WiFi on all the time, no problem to the Desire S. It is also lightening fast, I can from a 3GS to this and have to say the difference is like day and night its lightening fast. It also has another feature thats not highly advertised, UMA, Yes on Orange UK it has UMA which means in a poor signal area like at home your calls and messages can go through WiFi, This for me is the best feature as my reception at home has always been poor. All in all this is the best phone I have every owned, Very very impressed.
Reviewed by Ahmed from UAE on 8th Jun 2011
I had this phone for 10 days, and finally had to return it twise. The first time it had screen problems, the second it suddenly stopped charging. The company had my phnoe for the past 5 days and they do not know what is the fault. The battery life is too low no matter what you do. Most of the apps do not work or incompateble. Skype do not work and if you try to install it in any otherway the system crashes. Over all a very bad set and poor aftersale support.
Reviewed by anonymous from uk on 8th Jun 2011
Got this phone to replace the N8 I got. This is a great phone but I am a blackberry kind of guy. Exchanged the desire s for the torch 9800.
Reviewed by dawn from uk on 4th Jun 2011
Update to my previous post. I'm downgrading my rating to three star. My two month old desire s has developed a very annoying habit. It likes to have a system crash nearly every other day! I have a my sim card, pin locked. Which basically means, missed calls and texts if I haven't heard the phone croak and die...not very good performance! My bb NEVER had system crashes. Maybe some apps I've downloaded aren't compatible with gingerbread?...shame, as otherwise it's a great phone. I might go back to my bb. Missed calls and texts are just not on.....
Reviewed by Terry from England on 28th May 2011
Supposedly not as fast as dual core phones, but a whole lot cheaper and I couldn't tell the difference in the shop? AS a former Desire owner, this is the obvious upgrade. Sense is better than the Samsung user interface and you really don't need to spend more on a Samsung gs2 or the HTC sensation. This is just as good and costs less.
Reviewed by JC from United Kingdom on 24th May
Just a follow up to my earlier review with some further points I now have 3g and mobile internet on all the time, and push emails, FB and twitter set to 4 hour refresh, battery still lasts for two days. I've also put the screen on automatic brightness, because on my previous low setting which was perfectly good in the house, in the sun it was impossible to see, with automatic brightness on it's fine in the sun. (I wish there was a setting that would make the authomatic brightness less bright when inside though) I bought a small latex style case for it, but it made the phone too big for me to carry with ease so it's gone again, as yet no scratches or anything on the metal case as clear cut chap seems to beieve will happen. One thing that is annoying though, is the battery cover doesn't fit well, as I suspected, I haven't taken the cover off to replace anything but it doesn't fit 'perfectly' it doesn't quite marry up to the sculpt of the phone, and when you touch it moves slightly and creaks, a blot on the otherwise quality feel and look of the phone (I'm actually concerned it will break before my 12 months is up)
Reply by CoolGuy from UK on 29th Jan
You could insure it if your worried. Mind you, dead expensive unless you insure outside a main store.
Reviewed by Jake from England on 18th May 2011
This phone is amazing! i had a faulty blackberry torch, and changed it for this, its great!, feels solid in the hand, great grip, the screens amazing!, battery lifes great, both cameras are cool & the effects , loads of pre loaded apps, amazing phone, so happy i got it! first time android user, so am very impressed. good job HTC!
Reviewed by Elaine from England on 17th May 2011
I upgraded to this phone just over a week ago and I am very impressed. I have never had an Android phone before, so it took a couple of days to familiarise myself with the OS, but once I had, I found it very easy to navigate. I am not a heavy phone user - about 3 calls a week and 10 messages, but I have used it more for going on line. I have not had an issue with the Wi-Fi - it connects in seconds and the Internet is lightning fast. I have not used all the functions on the phone as yet and probably never will, but what I have seen so far has not made me regret my choice. I have managed to get just over 2 days out of the battery too, with a few texts, a couple of calls and a bit of surfing. I think this is more than OK - like other people have pointed out, this phone is like a laptop and therefore is bound to need charging more often. Calls are good also - very clear and no dropping of the signal, which can sometimes happen where I live. Overall, I love it and am looking forward to the next two years with my Desire S!
Reviewed by Paul B from UK on 15th May 2011
I've had my Desire S for two weeks now and I've got to say that I'm very impressed. I had the original Desire which was a very good phone but the battery life was very poor. I get annoyed when people say "well if you turn this and that off and lower the screen brightness and don't use wifi and Bluetooth etc." Whats the point in having an all singing, all dancing mobile when you can't use its features??? I'm glad to see that HTC have taken comments on board regarding battery life and the Desire S appears to be a great improvement. Battery life aside the other features of the phone are fantastic. The screen is crisp and clear, multitasking is very quick as is the general response in any task. I have still installed Advanced Task Killer which does help closing background apps etc. All in all I'd thoroughly recommend the Desire S. 5 stars for me!!!
Reviewed by Dawn from Uk on 14th May 2011
Update to my earlier review. Hadn't noticed this before now. There seems to be an issue with the backlighting of soft keys. The keys dont light up as they should do! Googled it and seems to be a known issue. At present no manual settings adjustment available to correct this, still a fab phone just an annoying tick. Oh, my keys have lit up now, but they should have done so an hour ago. Allow the user to specify please HTC. Still give the phone 5 star on account of other redeeming qualities.
Reviewed by dawn from uk on 14th May 2011
Love it. Had this phone for a month on contract with t-mob. Coming from blackberry wasn't sure if I'd get on with a virtual keyboard, glad to say it's not been an issue. HTC Desire S is a world away from my bb 9300, the look of the handset is great and the screen is awesome. Emails, web browsing & internet connection are super fast. Call clarity is very good too, better than my landline phone even! Battery will go two days moderate use, one full day heavy use. I totally recommend - a great phone.
Reviewed by Jimbo from UK on 11th May 2011
Had the Desire S for a week now and it's fantastic. Coming from a Samsung Jet it's like a whole new world has opened up. Everything you do on the S happenes extremely quickly thanks to a decent processer and good operating RAM. The download speeds have to be seen to be believed and this is on hsdpa not wi-fi!!! The screen is good and bright, not had any problems in the sun, it's on auto brightness and does very well. The camera is one of the best i've seen considering it's only 5mp. Haven't tried the video recording yet. The only (slight) downside is the battery. I've had to charge it every night, but i shouldn't be too harsh as the phone is being used almost constantly. I would definitely recommend this phone, especially as you can get it on very good contract deals, it does much more than an i-phone and at roughly half the price!
Reviewed by Clear Cut Chap from UK on 7th May
Further to my earlier review of the Desire S I would like to add; The anodized Black finish on the Aluminium shell while better in abrasive resistance than Powder-coating itself still shows worse for wear due to the sheer contrast of the shiny metal below that is exposed in a scratch over the Black Anodized finish. As I mentioned earlier a scratch resistant/textured plastic case would age more gracefully and for a mid-range phone be more suitable especially if it makes the price-point still more attractive. From a point of view of the price-point that HTC have this phone, it just does not live up to even 4stars. I have also found that the Haptic feed back when switched on, is too vigorous-and gets a bit annoying with use and its just been a couple of weeks- and has no user adjustment. In comparison the HTC Incredible S has it spot on. The Screen can be used like a mirror-especially in sunlight and is frustrating. Even the Motorola Atrix with its antiquated TFT-LCD screen does marginally better. The Nokia N8 has taken the AMOLED screen and got the XBlack feature on it which definitely does wonders on readability in bright light. Surely HTC has to do something about their phone screens - it is making them earn a reputation of good looking handsets, that under perform on battery life-good example HTC Desire HD, and now even the HTC Wildfire S! All these Desire S comments have to be taken in the context of the price-point which is currently in the £350-£390/-range and rather high for the features provide in the context of the market; that has moved far ahead of the original Desire. So while it is a solid performer and amongst the new HTC with a better battery performance, I still stand by 3 stars.
Reviewed by JC from UK on 4th May 2011
I'm a little old fashioned, I want my phone to sync with my standalone outlook at home and in work for calender and contact use, connect to bluetooth handsfree with voice dialling, take reasonable shots for using back in the office of still basic things, have a flashlight, work logically and without fuss, whilst looking simple and easy to use, text easily, fit in my pocket without causing the fibres in my trousers to stretch to the point of breaking, and last more than 4 hours when it's used If you're more concerned with how fast it will download your emails through the cloud and HDMI output, or how mahoosive the screen isn't, what follows is probably not much use to you! (although I may touch on other aspects) I upgraded from a SE W995, which does all of the above very well (in fact so well I almost contemplated getting another one, mine the contactors on the poorly designed charger don't make contact properly anymore and it's a bit tempremental about when it wants to charge) I briefly upgraded to the SE X10 mini pro in January, but the battery would not last the working day (I had two handsets as they thought it may be a fault), with bluetooth on all day, 3 text messages and a 4 minute phone call. It also didn't sync with Outlook (yes I know you can get an app, but again call me old fashioned I like my phones to do something so basic out of the box, not via third party) So that was no use to me. I considered the Iphone, won't sync with two stand alone PC's without deleting the information (no good), Blackberry, are a little too big and and have no light (I often work in dark spaces so need one), along with numerous other new smartphones out, most of which got ruled out because of lack of light, voice dialling, or simply because I couldn't happily fit them in my pocket. So I plumbed for this, it looks smaller than it is, it looked a reasonable size in the shop but it's a little too big for my liking in all honesty, but just about passable (just) It does all the things I want, it has a light, camera is okay (if you want serious camera shots of moving things, get a real camera), it really is quite simple to use (although I am well aware under the nicely coated HTC surface that there is a plethora of tweaks and settings I can use if I so desired), it synched no problems at all with both PC's, although I would have liked a report to let me know what it did afterwards. You need to sync using USB which is a bit annoying with bluetooth active 24/7 on my phone and wi fi if I desired, then I don't see why I need to be be physically connected to the computer. It connected to bluetooth in the car no problem at all, however it does not have voice dialling, not outside of NOrth America, I am in discussions with my network provider over this because on their website it clearly states it does have this function. Call quality is good, although you'd expect it to be for a 'phone', build quality seems good, although if you were transferring memory cards, batteries or sims between this and onther handset on a regular basis, then the plastic shroud over this area feels like the clips would give up after not very long, although when in place it seems sturdy enough. I've had it a week now, and apart from the first two days where I charged it both nights when I was messing around with settings and widgets and apps and wallpapers and email accounts (yes I will use it, sparingly though) wi fi and facebook etc etc (it's all there as you would expect), I've charged it every other night, so 2 days usage and I wasn't below 20% when I plugged it in. Admittedly I have bluetooth on 24/7 and 3g is never on (I can handle slow download rates on the odd occasion I do go on the web), but wi fi only comes on in the evening for an hour, and I have mobile network off unless I'm out and require a quick browse of the web on site (I have a widget to turn them all on/off on one of my homepages so it's all fairly straightforward) all synching is turned off to manual, so really I use it as a phone mostly, and maybe as a smartphone about 90 minutes a day! Overall I would give it 3.5 stars, as it's a little too big for me, and the lack of voice dialling, although that's something it does do, just not at the moment, so I've given it 4
Reviewed by Joleen from UK on 2nd May 2011
@clear cut chap you clearly haven't got this handset because you've only focused on the negatives highlighted in other web reviews. Sounds like you want the Galaxy S2! I've been using this unit day to day for my 6 business email accounts, photos, blogs and other things and I can't fault it. I can see my screen in sunlight (there seems to be only one company using AMOLED these days)! I haven't seen anybody use a naked (uncovered) smartphone so the plastic vs anodized (not powder coated)aluminium argument is pants. The wifi works perfectly with the signal boost app I got with mine. I agree with you about the camera but, then again I don't think the Galaxy S2 will be a patch on my 6 yr old Fuji Finepix 4Meg. You need to put these things into perspective and stop talking in the third voice. I also agree with you about Sense UI its the slickest. I notice you've got a review on the SE Arc too, will you ever buy anything at this rate?
Reviewed by Clear Cut Chap from UK on 30th Apr
The Desire S is definitely an improvement over its predecessor on many accounts. However, unlike the original Desire, it is now in a market where it is clearly a mid-field runner. The issues of WiFi signal drop-away are evident in usage though not catastrophic- it should not be there in the first place-HTC should not play around with consumer confidence in their brand. While the Single-piece Aluminium body gives it a real premium feel, I would prefer the lighter but sturdy scratch-resistant matt-finish plastic (like that on the back cover piece of the Samsung i9100). The powder-coated Aluminium is just as prone to scratches but shows it more than the scratch-resistant matt-plastic. The camera is just not upto par for a current 5-megapixel snapper - lacking in depth and detail. Colour saturation is almost cartoon-like especially in low-light. The S-LCD screen is not a patch on the S-AMOLEDs. That said, when the price comes down to a level more in line with what it offers, it will make it more appealing. HTC sense is still the best UI for Android and little conveniences like the turn-to-silence, ring-louder in the pocket/handbag, LED indicator/notification light all enhance the overall user experience and gone to some length of mitigating its shortcomings. In conclusion, if you are looking for a good overall, compact phone with an above average performance/ battery-life and if you really prefer the HTC sense UI then this is a phone that will do well-especially when the price comes down. If it had a S-AMOLED screen and solved the problem of legibility in sunlight I would have awarded it 4-stars, but unfortunately it misses 4stars just.
Reviewed by David from Leicester, UK on 27th Apr
I have received my Desire S today after upgrading from the Hero, in one word - wow! Whilst I cannot comment on battery life and other things that become apparent after a while has passed, my initial impressions are of quality, it looks and feels fantastic, runs very quick and the screen is a joy to behold. There IS some sort of issue with the Wifi but from what I can tell it is being blown out of all proportion, the antenna seems to be located near the camera at the top of the phone, purposely covering the camera area with your hand will reduce wifi from full signal to 2 bars, removing hand and its back to full again, if like me you use your right hand to hold the phone and your right thumb to click the screen then it simply will not be an issue. Its a very logical upgrade from the Hero, and being familiar with android it takes no time at all to get up and running. All in all its a superb device. Very pleased.
Reviewed by Kath from Bristol, UK on 23rd Apr
Had this phone for 2 days and must say I love it. It was an exchange for the blackberry 9780 & I'm glad I exchanged it. I have not had the wi-fi issue which has been mentioned by others. The touch screen is super fast, the internet lightening quick and there are so many features I could go on hours. For me it beats or certainly rivals the iphone and bonus its far cheaper than iphone and just as good if not better. will be keeping this one for sure
Reviewed by Dean from Uk on 22nd Apr 2011
I upgraded to this phone from previously having the iPhone 3GS , the bottom line is brill phone for anything else other than phoning lol the dreaded signal drops right off with me as soon as I put my hand on the back of the phone. It was a real problem for me so therefore I had to give up the phone shame on you HTC .
Reviewed by Joleen from United Kingdom on 22nd
Just got one of these and its a nice bit of kit. I dont think HTC will ever get their cameras right. The camera is very poor indoors. The speakerphone is not loud enough. I got this phone because after trying the obvious alternatives such as the SE Arc I felt on balance, this would be more reliable over 18 months. I use my phone mainly for bussiness and a bit of play. HTCs are generally boring like that. There is a death grip issue on WIFI but, only when the WIFI source is far away. It generally occurs when held in your left hand, when placed on a surface its minimal. Having used the phone day to day its not a problem as I use WIFI throughout the day and haven't noticed it. The speed of the phone is great having just come from a Hero and the battery life is very good for such a large screened phone. I particularly like the download speed over 3G. The body (aluminium) scratches easily, so get a case! It will take a while to get used to not using the trackbutton/trackball and other hardware keys but there are some software tweeks to take this into account. I would reccomend this phone as a good Hero/Legend replacement as it goes in the pocket well. The beta testing for this phone was done by the Desire owners- this is the finished article. It's nothing like the incredible s (class above), and it's not a two trick pony like the SE Arc and hasn't the power of an Atrix or Galaxy S2. HTC know this! Its a solid performer that will not need replacing in 9 months like some of the plastic handsets out there. I've owned HTCs,SEs, Ericssons and Motos for a very long time and this, in my opinion, is the best handset I've ever owned (so far). Techradar did a bad review and did not really quantify their results fully regarding wifi. I would also suggest you try the phone before passing judgement. It gets 4 stars because nothing's perfect.
Reviewed by alex from UK on 13th Apr 2011
I have had the HTC S desire for 4 days have two left before have to keep it! So far so gud previous blackberry storm 2 liked emails but batt pulls sticking screen was a bit of a nightmare. Anyhow great screen slick looks good, fast good camera. Only thing very quiet speakerphone but other than that loving it. No iphone for me!!
Reviewed by GAURAV from INDIA on 10th Apr 2011
Reviewed by Anthony from uk on 30th Mar 2011
Was thinking about getting this phone until Tech Radar pointed out a problem with WIFI antenna on back of phone similar to iphone 4. Signal totally drops if you cover back of phone with hand or put it down on a flat service. Would like to know if this is a one off problem with the handset they have or if it is every handset. If it is every handset then very disapointed as the rest of the phone is great. Can anyone tell me what the situation is with this issue?
Reply by Big C from UK on 5th Apr
This is the biggest load of tosh.
Reply by jon from london on 7th Apr
Anthony: please note that the iphone 4 antenna is TOTALLY different!! - The metal of this is **exposed** so that holding your fingers over it is the problem.. this is why they specify a case or similar to prevent this.. The HTC antenna has NO contact with the outside! there is hard plastic case in the way, that is properly built to high standard, not an 'afterthought'..
Reply by Mark from Newcastle on 13th
I too read the tech radar review and anthony is right in what he is saying. Jon you have misunderstood what he is saying. Tech radar say that the wifi problem is similar to the i-phone in that you cover a part of the phone and you lose signal. On the iphone as we all know you lose call signal but a case solves this for most people. On the Desire S you cover the back of the phone with your hand when you hold it the way most people do and you will lose the wifi signal. This is a big flaw as far as im concerned and if it is a not a one off dodgy hanset given to tech radar then HTC in my eyes are guilty of releasing this phone before solving the issue. I myself have a desire and this is one of the phones i will be trying out myself before upgrading. Try reading the review for details on this.