HTC Explorer budget smartphone
The Android for noobs
Review The latest from startlingly prolific smart phone manufacturer HTC won’t be top of the list for mobile aficionados. It’s a basic entry-level Android with middling specs though these are still probably a cut above its bog-standard price. But for smartphone newbies, what it offers may prove to be more than enough.
Raising the bar for entry-level mobiles: HTC's Explorer
It’s a compact little number with rounded edges and a casing of soft, rubberised plastic – not quite the ruggedised exterior you might have expected from the outdoorsy name, more kind of cute and cuddly. For this Explorer isn't really intended as a guide to the great outdoors, but an entry to the brave new world of the mobile internet.
The sensitive 3.2in touch screen offers a perfectly adequate 320 x 480 pixels – it's fine for surfing the web and even viewing movies won't cause too much eyestrain, though it's obviously well behind the best in the field.
You can add whatever shortcuts and widgets you like to each of the seven home screens, and all the usuals you’d expect on more expensive HTCs are here, including the FriendStream social networking coordinator.
Homescreen and contacts
The central home screen also now features a selection of five programmable shortcuts ranged down the side, as well as soft keys for all apps and, lest we forget, the phone. Call quality is fine too, so there’s clearly no need to compromise on basic phone duties.
HTC has gone out of its way to make things easier for new Android users. The icons in the messaging app come with written explanations, for instance, rather than expecting you to figure out what the symbols for compose and forward mean.
Next page: Low power, long life
Can I be first
To mention the ZTE Blade/San Francisco that I will be sticking with for just a bit longer. I am not sure that this new phone would offer much in the way of improvement for an substantial extra cost.
90Mb is too little free space
I cant believe anyone would launch a new Android with just 90Mb user space. Even knowing how to send apps to SD that's a low limit but how many of the users this is targeted at will know how? Especially with so many apps that need root to force over to SD and monsters chewing 5-10Mb or more of precious space each. 1st time Google Maps updates that's 6Mb burnt (the current slim line version - used to be 12Mb+). This has disappointment written all over it.
Or is this just a cunning plan to hook users then catch the early upgrade when they suddenly can't install any more apps a few months down the line?
Also worth noting that the ZTE Blade is over a year old now, has been replaced and even back in it's hayday was under a hundred quid.
Stock software was utter tripe tho, not saying that the HTC won't suffer the same problems with pre-installed bloatware, but at least the ZTE is well and truely hacked so there are many options for new ROMS.
I was just going to mention the Blade too... The same CPU, better screen, better camera (at least on the 5MP version), lower price - why would anyone choose this one over it?
@Paul Shirley (90Mb is too little free space)
This reminds me when places like Currys and PC World were selling Vista PCs with 512Mb of RAM.
Its poor specs and performance like this which mars the Android system.