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When My Samsung Galaxy decided to pack up mid way through a 24 month contract I decided that rather than splash out on another extremely expensive phone I would look for something that could satisfy what I was looking for whilst being within a decent price range. A few of my close friends had the HTC Wildfire S and it came highly recommended, although I trust their judgement completely I wanted to read a few more reviews to see what the general view of the phone was. The reviews were pretty good and so I decided to go for it.
Firstly the cost, I have had a look in various places and it seems the price range for this particular phone is anywhere between £120 and £200 it's a case of looking around and finding the best deal at the time. I personally paid £140 around 5 - 6 months ago.
In contrast to some of the other phones which come packaged in great huge boxes this comes in a box not much bigger than the phone which I was happy about, firstly because it saves on unnecessary cardboard and filler and secondly because it is much easier to store with it being so small. Inside the box is the phone itself, a cable which is used for both connecting to the PC and as a charger lead. The plug for charging comes in 3 parts, the prongs which go into the wall a sort of smooth curved appearance, it easily slides in and you turn clockwise to click into place. As of yet I have never had to take these parts apart but for the purpose of this review I tried it and it is extremely simple to do should it be required. The final step for charging the phone is to connect the USB lead which attaches to the USB plug and slots in and out easily. When putting the phone on for the initial charge It was easy enough to slide the charger into the bottom left hand side of the phone. I was initially very surprised at how little time was needed to charge the phone, it took in the region of around 2 hours to be fully completed from 0% - 100% which is excellent I feel.
Onto the phone itself, it is smaller than some of the more expensive models such as iPhones, HTC Sensation etc. I find it's the perfect size for a small handbag, fits easily in my pocket and it's easy enough to hold in one hand.
The phones boots up very easily by pressing the long thin silver button on the top edge at the right hand side of the phone. I find that it switches on and is ready for use within a few seconds which I think is an excellent feature. There is a regular unlock screen because this is a touchscreen phone, all that is required is for the finger to hold the bar and swipe it down the bottom of the screen. There is the additional choice of choosing either an unlock password or an unlock pattern which is basically a screen with 9 spots and you can choose a pattern of 4+ dots. It has to be said however that if incorrectly entered after 5 attempts you're required to wait 30 seconds before retrying. After 10 the phone locks completely and can only be unlocked with the google email and password linked to the account. It is worth setting this up as soon as you get the phone to avoid trying to find a solution to unlock which there is but it took me an age to find it on google!
After unlocking the screen you are presented with the standard 4 screens which hold various items on each. These are easily customisable and if you desire you can remove all items from the pages and have only the 1 main screen which is how I chose to have the phone.
The home screen can be customised with a regular wallpaper, live wallpaper or a personal photo. It is very easy to change this by pressing the touch screen button for the menu and choosing wallpaper. It literally takes seconds to change which is so much easier than previous phones I have had. There are hundreds of app's that can be accessed via the app market already installed on the phone for clocks, alarms, home screens and much much more so it is fully customisable.
The menu has the ability to have either individual icons or they can be categorised by customisable folders such as the iPhone if that's what you would like. There is a tab for recent app's used and for running programmes that kills all the tasks currently being used. Each application is easily accessed by simply pressing the icon.
Another feature of the phone I enjoy is the fact that all contacts can be synced up with facebook accounts, google+ accounts, email accounts etc so when you click on a contact you can instantly see phone numbers, emails, social networks etc which I personally think is a really good thing. With having this feature you can choose to import numbers from facebook to your phone if they aren't on your sim card which makes it a lot easier to transfer data. The same option is also available if you have saved your contacts to an email address which makes it much easier to import them rather than doing it as adding each and every number individually!
So far I have found the phone to be incredibly sturdy, my 3 year old has launched it in tantrums, dropped it multiple times, it has been hit off many surfaces and it still has nothing but very light minor scratches on the screen. This has all been minus a cover or screen protector so I feel that this is an excellent phone to have around young children. The screen is very responsive to touch and the level of responsiveness can be changed according to yourself. A further feature of this phone that is sometimes hit and miss with other phones is that both text, alarm and incoming call tones are changable from the menu.
It is extremely easy to text and call from this phone as well as email, facebook, browse the internet, check your online banking and so much more. The in call volume I find is great but you can lower or raise the level with the push buttons on the right hand side of the phone.
The operating system is android which I personally prefer, there is a lot of scope for customisation, multiple app's available free or paid.
I like that this phone is so easy to use, it is sturdy, looks very sleek and with the colour variety would suit both males and females. Personally I think for the price this is a budget smartphone that goes above and beyond what you would expect.
However of course there are flaws, I am happy that these are not large in number! The main problem I have had with this phone is that after around 4 months the screen during certain actions has become unresponsive. Whilst on a call I cannot actively end it and I have to hang on like a gooseberry waiting for the other person to end the call which is extremely frustrating. Also within a call I cannot use the keypad easily which makes life difficult when you try to pay a bill through an automated system and it just can't be done. The responsiveness of the screen also comes into question when trying to unlock the screen. I have been told (not by a professional) that it could be a bug in the system because the screen is fine at any other use, apparently this can be solved by reformatting the phone but I couldn't say how to do it .
Apart from the 1 flaw this has I am exceptionally pleased with this phone, it was a bit of a gamble as to the budget I had whether it would be good enough and give me all the features I was used to using on my phone but I have been pleasantly surprised to find out it has given me that and more and for less than half the price of my original phone! I would highly recommend this phone to anyone who is looking for a smartphone for less.