Remember my blog from Taipei last week where I was tempted to buy the HTC Wildfire but changed my mind at the last minute? Well, I changed my mind again, went back to Guang Hua Digital Plaza the following day, and eventually gave in to the temptation. After much haggling with one of the retailers (and with the gracious assistance of an English-speaking Taiwanese lady manning a shop nearby), I was able to get a white unit at the cash price of NT$11,000 (around PhP15,320 or USD347) with an 8gb micro SD card, a freebie (a good-quality silicon protective case) and discounted screen protector. At first, I thought there will be major adjustments from my end getting used to it, but in just a few hours (and with the big help of strong wi-fi from my hotel), everything looks good and easy to use!
I must admit that I was originally eyeing a Legend or Desire, but since I had a budget to work around with, ending up with my first Android Wildfire phone is, in my opinion, a worthy buy. It may not have the best screen resolution (compared to the AMOLED of the former) but I’m still happy because it is packed with a lot of features – least of which is my access to loads and loads of Android Apps which means breaking away from the monopoly of iTunes in this regard.
One particular Android app I got a kick out of adding to my phone was the Laputa book reader because it allowed me to download popular bestsellers outside the usual classics for free. I now have “The Lost Symbol” by Dan Brown, “Eat Pray Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert, “Medium Raw” by Anthony Bourdain, the Stieg Larsson trilogy and “The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins (and its sequel “Catching Fire”) without paying a single cent. It also delays my need to get a Kindle or Nook…at least not for the next 6 months.
Now, just for the sake of formality, here are the specifications of HTC Wildfire:
OS: Android 2.1 with HTC Sense
Screen type: 3.2-inch touchscreen display
Screen resolution: 240 x 320 (QVGA)
Processor: Qualcomm MSM7225 528 MHz
ROM: 512 MB
RAM: 384 MB
Expandable memory: microSD support up to 32 GB
Camera: 5 megapixel, autofocus, LED flash and geo-tagging
Location services: A-GPS, digital compass and Google Maps
Radio: FM radio
Sensors: Accelerometer, proximity sensor and ambient light sensor
- WiFi (802.11 b/g)
- Bluetooth 2.1
- 3.5 mm audio jack
Battery: Li-Ion 1300 mAh
- GSM/GPRS/EDGE 850/900/1800/1900 MHz
- UMTS/HSPA 900/2100 MHz
Dimensions: 60.4 x 106.8 x 12.2 mm (2.4 x 4.2 x 0.48 inches)
Weight: 118 grams (4.16 oz)
In terms of charges, you do need to exercise some caution because having a lot of applications can mean push notifications on a regular basis. With Facebook and Twitter alone, one can get multiple updates so the data services can translate to large bills unless your network provider has a fixed monthly unlimited plan for the same . But if you live and work in an area where there is constant access to wi-fi, that shouldn’t be a major concern.
Over-all, this could be the best budget Android phone in the market today. It has outstanding features that more than make up for the less impressive screen resolution. The friends stream makes it easy to track the birthdates of your (phone & FB) contacts And when used side by side with its more expensive HTC siblings, the battery life is relatively more decent (2 full days in my case). The long list of Android apps is also a big come-on, aside from a reliable GPS tracker and a good 5mp camera plus camcorder. And you can find all these in one phone!