- Barry de la Rosa , Expert Reviews
HTC's Wildfire S is a capable budget phone, but its limited storage space could be frustrating and it's currently not particularly good value on contract.
The HTC Wildfire S was released in May of 2011 to replace its popular predecessor, the Wildfire. The phone received some minor tweaking in its overall appearance, and the new version is slightly thinner and lighter than its previous incarnation, but not by much.
The major improvements the Wildfire S offers over the previous generation are in the hardware and software departments. The Wildfire S boasts an improved, higher-resolution 320 x 480 TFT capacitive touchscreen and an upgrade to Android 2.3.3 (Gingerbread). However, unlike most phones running the Gingerbread system, the Wildfire S does not have a secondary front-facing camera to take advantage of the operating system's new video conferencing capabilities.
The phone's internal hardware underwent a few changes as well. The WiFi 802.11n standard was added to the Wildfire S for faster performance on home and business networks, and its Bluetooth capabilities were updated from 2.1 to 3.0. The phone also got a small boost in available RAM to 512 MB and a slightly faster 600 MHz processor.
Other than these changes, most everything else remained unchanged in the Wildfire's new incarnation. The phone still sports its 5 megapixel digital camera with autofocus capabilities and LED flash, though its video capture capability has improved to 720 x 480 over its predecessor's maximum of 352 x 288. The Wildfire S also includes the microSD memory card expansion slot, the stereo FM tuner, and GPS navigation capabilities that were present in the original Wildfire.
Overall, the added features may make the phone more attractive to a new buyer. If you're an original Wildfire owner, the Wildfire S probably doesn't offer enough new pizzazz to entice you to spend the money on an upgrade, even if you're happy to be out-of-contract.
Need to know: HTC Wildfire S
1. One of the smallest and lightest full-featured smartphones available on the market. (The Good)
2. Even with the improvements made to the screen, the overall resolution and display quality on the Wildfire S are still not quite on par with most other smartphones available. (The Bad)
3. Doesn't offer much in terms of internal flash storage and relies completely on external memory cards. The included 2 GB card isn't nearly sufficient for most users. (The Bad)
4. The lack of a front-facing camera means that no video conferencing, one of Android 2.3's primary benefits. (The Bad)