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Review: HTC Desire for Virgin Mobile

Form Performance Basics Extras Wrap-Up Comments  3  

Screen

HTC had to cut costs somewhere and one place it did so was the screen. The LCD panel measures 4.5 inches across the diagonal, but offers only qHD (960 x 540) resolution. Nope, it's not an HD screen, which is a bit of a bummer. That said, the display is quite good. The smaller size helps the lower resolution look its best. It's only possible to pick out individual pixels if you hold the device mere inches from your eyeballs. Most on-screen elements look clean and sharp. Brightness is good, and I had no trouble using the Desire outside. Viewing angles are good; there's no color shift or brightness change when the phone is tilted side-to-side.

Signal

Virgin Mobile runs its service on Sprint's network. The Desire performed on par with other devices tested on Sprint's network in the metro NYC region. It connected to Sprint's CDMA-based 3G network with no issues. When LTE was available, the Desire found it and connected. The Desire patched through most calls on the first dial and didn't miss any during the review period. The Desire did drop calls in poor coverage areas, though. Data speeds over 3G aren't great, and are only marginally better over LTE. It's worth pointing out that the Desire only supports LTE in the 1900MHz band. Sprint is rolling out LTE in the 800MHz and 2.5GHz bands as well, and uses them for its "Sprint Spark" service. The Desire is not a tri-band LTE device and will not see a performance upgrade in Sprint Spark markets for this reason.

Sound

The Desire is a decent phone for making calls. Quality in the earpiece was good most of the time, though it suffered from interference on occasion. Voices coming through the phone sounded good for the most part, and those with whom I spoke through the Desire said I sounded good as well. Volume in the earpiece could definitely be a bit better. Both the quality and volume performance are the same when calls are pushed to the speakerphone; the quality is mostly good, but I wish the volume were improved. Ringtones and alerts are intensely loud, and the vibrate alert is very strong.

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Battery

The Desire has a 2,200 mAh battery that provides enough juice to get through a regular day. The Desire easily kept a charge between breakfast and bedtime. Usage on LTE didn't appear to impact the battery at all. The Desire often had plenty of power left at the end of the day. Further, it includes HTC's power saver tool, which dials back clock speed on the processor - among other things - to help manage energy consumption. I'd recommend charging once per day. Most people shouldn't run into trouble.

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