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Available as Sim Only/Pay as you go for around £250. Also available on contracts from £10/month.
I currently own the HTC Desire, and just over 12 months into my 24 month contract I can honestly say it doesn't feel outdated at all. In fact, I'd be quite happy to keep hold of the Desire well after my contract is up.
I've kept the phone protected using a fairly solid but flexible silicone case that cost a few quid from Amazon, and tried my best to keep the screen scratch free (made easier by the non-scratch screen surface) and so far, touch wood, there's hardly a mark on it!
The most important details are:
*Large, bright and colourful (480x800 resolution) 3.7" screen.
*Feels comfortable in the hand, being only 12mm thick, 120mm long and 60mm wide, weighing 135g including the battery. My silicone case adds a bit onto those dimensions, but also makes it less prone to slipping out of the hand.
*The Desire is powered by a 1ghz processor and runs with 512mb ROM and 576mb RAM to store internal programs and apps.
*Originally shipped with version 2.1 of its Android operating system, nicknamed 'éclair', but the most recent update is 2.2, nicknamed 'froyo', short for frozen yoghurt! Most new Android pads and tablet style systems are shipping with version 2.3 - named gingerbread, (see the theme yet?!) which is optimised for these larger devices.
*A competent 5mp camera is included (not fantastic in dark conditions however!)
**What I like**
In particular, I love the bright colourful screen. The Desire comes with HTC Sense, which is basically the operating system (display, style and themes). This is very customisable and just seems to flow, as you are presented with 7 scrollable 'homescreens' in which you can place apps, programs and widgets where you like.
The phone also contains a piece of software called Android Market, the equivalent of the Apple 'App Store'. However, the Android version has a much greater degree of free apps available, most of which are better than the ones you have to pay for! Android market has nowhere near the quantity as the app store, but as the program code is open source, anyone can make and publish an app for Android and the number of apps is rising every day.
Android devices running software version 2.2 (Like the Desire!) and above also have the added benefit of being able to download and use Google Navigation for FREE! Having used this navigation software on a few journeys, it beats the likes of Navman, Garmin and Tom Tom hands down. Very smooth scrolling display with all the information you'd need, displayed in a very clear way.
The Desire is also 'rootable'. This basically means you can install new ROM files and updated radio files which can improve the phones performance, add new features and get access to official ROM's before they're made available to the general public. This is only really recommended for more advanced users.
**What I don't like**
Battery life. As with all smartphones, the Desire stinks on battery life and really needs to be charged every night presuming you've had a decent play with it during the day. This is normal, but a minor annoyance nonetheless. You can do such things as turn screen brightness down, turn off wireless network and Bluetooth access when you are not planning on using them and don't use 'live' moving backgrounds in themes to preserve battery life.
I'm nit picking now because I really like the phone, but the camera is next to useless in dark conditions. You get a lot of noise on dark pictures and although the LED flash is a step up from the HTC Hero phone, it's still pretty useless and should not be used for any picture that's going to be important. I have a proper digital camera I use for photos ;)
There have been a few new versions of the Desire since I got this phone, which shows just how good this base model is.
The Desire HD is a touch heavier, has a bigger 4.3" screen, an 8mp camera and has more internal memory, although it uses the same processor as the Desire.
The Desire S is more similar to the Desire with similar dimensions and screen size but with increased internal memory, 720p HD camcorder facility and a few redesign touches.
Of course, the Iphone 3/4 and Samsung Galaxy S and Galaxy S II are slightly more expensive, and slightly more powerful alternatives...but I'm very happy with the choice I made, especially on an excellent £10/month contract with unlimited texts and data, and 100 minutes!