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printed November 24, 2014
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Review: HTC Wildfire S

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Disappointingly, the Wildfire S uses an older version of HTC's Sense software on top of Android 2.3 Gingerbread. This older version (2.1) of Sense is still highly capable, but lacks some of the best new features to come from HTC in recent months (such as the awesome lock screen short cuts).

Sense 2.1 includes support for up to seven home screen panels, and most of them are preloaded with T-Mobile and/or HTC software and widgets. The central screen has the awesome HTC clock/weather widget along with shortcuts to essential apps such as the browser and messaging. There's a dock at the bottom of all seven home screen panels that includes access to the main app menu, the phone, and HTC's customization tools.

On the customization side, the Wildfire S lets you create different Scenes (profiles) and Skins (visual appearance). The Scenes are great for customizing the phone's home screens based on what type of activity you are pursuing (weekend, workday, business trip, etc.).

The main application menu is the same as it has always been, though it includes the ability to be viewed in list mode, sorted alphabetically, or sorted via last date used/installed.

The biggest benefit of Sense 2.1, aside from the easily customized home screens, are the little touches sprinkled throughout the Android interface that make the phone feel easier or more natural. For example, Sense 2.1 makes is a snap to sort the apps in the main menu with a slider tool along the bottom of the screen.

Performance is good, but not great. With a 600MHz processor powering the Wildfire S, it could be slow at screen transitions and opening applications at times. It's not nearly as slow as some of the earliest Android devices, but it was noticeable.

 

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