It's been nearly two weeks since the last post of 2011 and there's a reason for that - for the last few weeks, "real life" has just sort of got in the way. A few of us took a trip to an Irish Celidh (pronounced kay-lee) and sort-of skip-hopped-and danced the New Year in. On returning to Nerd Towers, we eagerly took all our new Xmas gadgets and gizmos round to the Nerd Cupboard to get to work on some new projects (and further advance - I'm not going to say finish - some old ones).
That's when it started to go wrong.
Real life (i.e. work) kicked in and suddenly all the spare nerding time was taken up with other things.
In fact, it's not all that bad; work involves investigating a number of different mobile handsets and writing some software to run on all of them. Some people do this as a hobby. If I were interested in mobile phones, I probably would too (some of the other club members are more enthusiastic about the phones than I and want to help out even though they're not getting paid for it!). But I'm getting paid to play about with some phones and write mobile websites and develop some iPhone and Android apps.
It's a pretty all-consuming task, so some of our earlier projects may have to wait for a week or two until this work is delivered.
Anyway, this leads onto the review of the phones.
The first phone I tried was a HTC Wildfire S
This was my first go with a smartphone. I've seen iPhones around and almost everyone at BuildBrighton has some kind of smartphone but I've never really seen the appeal in them myself. Anyway, putting that initial scepticism aside, I tried to evaluate this phone fairly.
Given it's the first phone I've tried, I was pretty impressed - but then I had nothing to compare it to. It's a nice, smart design. It feels pretty solid and the touch-sensitive screen responds well. I don't know if it's my fat greasy fingers, but the screen does get "smeary" very quickly though. Compared to my regular mobile phone, it is pretty heavy. But then again, this is a miniature computer, not an antique from the 90s.
I found that I manually have to put the phone into airplane mode to disable the wi-fi and bluetooth when I'm not using them, else the battery is flat if left overnight with everything enabled. I'm sure regular smartphone users know all the battery-saving tips already but I'm used to a phone that holds it's charge for up to 5 days at a time, not something that needs plugging in the next morning after using it!
All in all, the HTC Wildfire is a neat, compact smartphone. Probably ideal as a first, starter phone. The 5mp camera takes pretty decent photos and uploads them quickly and easily to my Google account. The 320x480 screen is big enough for most of the apps I tried and the display gives a bright, clear picture, while the black colour(s) are reassuringly dark (not greyed out like a cheap screen). But given I've nothing to compare it to, I don't really whether it's an amazing phone, or just a pretty good one!