htc explorer review
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- HTC Sense UI
- Gingerbread OS 3.0
- Low Battery Longevity
Released this October, HTC Explorer is likely to meet expectations of the consumers who are looking for a good budget smartphone. And in this regard, it will surely throw a major challenge for other cheap smartphones like Sony Ericsson Xperia Mini PRO, Samsung Galaxy Ace and HTC Wildfire for sure. The Explorer is the latest release from the Taiwanese manufacturers for the budget android™ mobile phones. Available in stores at only £192, the phone has a lot of resemblance with one of its HTC sisters, the HTC sensation. Check out whether the HTC Explorer deal can become worth paying for this winter.
Hardware and Looks
As mentioned earlier, you are most likely to confuse the Explorer with HTC Sensation at first glance. The fact is the new device is a bit smaller than its predecessor with a 3.2 inch screen featuring below the standard touch buttons. The flipside of the mobile phone is rubber-built with the 3MP camera placed on a plastic belt. You might face problems removing the rubber-made back. But once you pull it off, you can find a sound well-built mechanism inside. A SIM Card slot placed right below the battery and the micro SD card slot has found place to the left of the battery. The micro USB slot is being on the left, the right part of the phone has given room for the volume rocker. The on/off/sleep buttons plus the headphones jack measured 3.5 mm has been intelligently placed on top. This way, all the necessary buttons can be reached easily and the device becomes a nice cute sturdy one fitting all pockets.
The HTC Explorer comes with an Android™ Gingerbread 2.3.5 OS covered up with a HTC 3.5 UI. Whenever you switch on the mobile phone, you will be welcomed with a large 3.2 inch screen with a 320x480 pixels resolution. The Sense UI will enable you to surf through any four functions you wish. Access your messages, contacts or even the camera with a quick swipe between the keys. It’s simple enough for not so savvy people and you can instantly go to a particular app at ease just dragging the shortcut icon of the same from the locked screen to the bottom circle. If you want the home screen only, just draw the bottom circle up.
Consumers across the world much prefer the Sense UI feature of HTC and this time, the mobile company has not disappointed them. The home screen of the android™ phone is extremely customizable and you can shift gears with your favorite widgets and apps shortcuts always on top. The notifications bar rightly serves you with a wide array of options like memory, Bluetooth® and networking to choose from. The user interface is smooth in general except that it’s not that smooth when it comes to turning over animations. When we tried to see all the home screens, it seemed a little bit bogged down. Also some apps will take longer time to respond than usual.
Because of the small screen, the standard QWERTY keyboard of HTC Explorer works well in the landscape mode. You might find it bit uncomfortable to type with this keyboard if you have large fingers as the screen is quite small. The AutoCorrect option is an expedient feature of the keyboard so you get typos corrected at ease.
As far the basics of multimedia are concerned, the HTC Explorer is capable of giving you a pleasant user experience. Browse the internet, watch videos at ease with this smart gizmo. And if you have got Flash software (downloadable from the android™ marketplace), you can also view the flash-websites. But the downside is the web pages take more time than usual to load and the apps crash pretty often when multitasking.
HTC Explorer is compatible with a wide range of audio or video formats but the screen is too small for video watching. You will be provoked to download games from the online apps store. But with the internal memory limited to 90MB only, you will be forced to push content to the memory card quite a lot. It’s better if you download an App 2 SD tool which will be extremely useful in transferring data from phone to the SD card.
On the other hand, the 600MHz Scorpion CPU and the Adreno 200 GPU are paired up well to run games on the phone. You can find a 3.15 MP camera at the backside of the phone which comes with autofocus but unfortunately it does not have flash. You are going get superb snaps if they are taken in good light conditions. In poor light conditions, the camera miserably fails to take a good snap. A quick-access camera button is missing in the phone. The touch screen is used as a shutter button which results in a lot of fuzzy snaps. Granted, the HTC Explorer camera offers a wide array of options such as ISO, auto enhance, geo tagging and myriad shooting preferences.
Unfortunately the phone does not come incorporated with PC Sync software. But if you have a Google account, you can simply sign in and all the data gets automatically synced. Google Contacts basically does the job for you. Where the budget smartphone excels is the Android™ phone sync your contacts with Google contacts directly so you need not to update your data every time. The Android™ marketplace is real huge with almost 300,000 apps stored for downloading. And many of these apps are free apps. Some of these apps are pay-and-download in iOS devices as well. This is one of the reasons for keeping this product ahead of Apple iPhone 4S.
To wrap up, the call features of the phone are just fine and the voice quality is pretty clear at both ends. But take this one; the phone’s battery longevity does not live up to the expectation. But considering the overall performance, the HTC Explorer deal is worth-grabbing this winter.
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