HTC mobile phone buying guide

A guide to buying a HTC smartphone

HTC has risen from relative obscurity in the consumer market to become one of the world's leading mobile phone manufacturers. Since 2006, the company has sold and marketed its own devices, and is best known for its popular HTC Desire smartphone, which is credited for putting the Android operating system on the map in Australia.

HTC Android phones

HTC is well renowned globally for producing a range of smartphones powered by Google's open-sourced Android operating system. Most of these feature the company's Sense user interface — unlike many other smartphone UIs, this is not just a layer on top of the regular Android interface. Almost every aspect of the Sense interface is upgraded or tweaked, with a huge emphasis on 3D screen transitions, rich and colourful graphics and live widgets that incorporate plenty of eye candy. The Sense UI is a big selling point for HTC, and was developed specifically for the Android platform.

Among the first of HTC's Android smartphones was the HTC Dream, officially the first Google Android phone to be sold in Australia. A slider phone featuring the combination of a capacitive touch screen and a physical, QWERTY keyboard, the Dream was exclusively sold through Optus when it launched in early 2009.

The HTC Magic followed the Dream and was a Vodafone exclusive. It did away with the physical keyboard in favour of a full touchscreen. The HTC Hero, the first handset to feature HTC's Sense UI, and HTC Tattoo also followed, but both of these smartphones were sold outright through retailers like Harvey Norman rather than through traditional telco channels.

It wasn't until the HTC Desire launched that HTC truly became a recognisable brand in Australia. Exclusively available through Telstra in Australia, the Desire is often credited with bringing the Android operating system to the masses. It was backed by a huge marketing campaign by Telstra, and is still currently sold even more than a year after its release. The Desire was so popular it quickly became a recognisable brand in itself — from it spawned the Desire Z, a Vodafone exclusive which added a physical, slide-out QWERTY keyboard, and the Desire HD, another Vodafone exclusive and one of the first phones to feature a 4.3in-sized display.

The successor to the Desire is the Desire S, and it is best described as an evolution of its predecessor. The Desire S is now playing in a more competitive field, and it's no longer the HTC's flagship device that the original Desire was. It now sits more in the mid-to-upper range of the market, alongside similar models like the Incredible S, which is sold exclusively thorough Optus and features a larger 4in screen, and a rubberised-style casing.

HTC's current flagship device is the HTC Sensation, which features a dual-core processor, a 4.3in qHD display and an 8-megapixel camera. The HTC Sensation is sold exclusively though Telstra in Australia.

HTC also produces a number of mid-range and low-end Android smartphones that are targeted towards users on a budget. The best examples include the HTC Legend, an aluminium-clad smartphone with a unique tilted design, the Wildfire and Wildfire S, both sold exclusively through Telstra, and the Aria, a compact Optus exclusive. HTC also sells the Facebook-inspired ChaCha and Salsa smartphones, both of which feature a dedicated Facebook button.

HTC Windows Phone 7 phones

HTC has a rich history partnering with Microsoft, so it's no surprise that the company also manufactures smartphones running the Windows Phone 7 operating system. The Windows Phone 7 platform was redesigned from the ground up by Microsoft in 2010 as an advancement to its clunky predecessor, Windows Mobile 6.5.

HTC currently has three Windows Phone 7 powered smartphone on sale in Australia. The company's flagship device in this range is the HD7, which features a 4.3in display and a built-in kickstand for multimedia. It is sold exclusively through Telstra in Australia. Also sold through Telstra is the HTC 7 Mozart, which features a unibody aluminium design, and an 8-megapixel camera. A similar device sold exclusively through Vodafone is the HTC 7 Trophy— it lacks the unibody aluminium design of the Mozart, but has a slightly larger display.

Pre Windows Phone 7, HTC produced many devices for the older Windows Mobile platform. Amongst the more popular devices were the Touch Diamond in 2008 and the Touch Diamond 2 in 2009, the Touch Pro2, the Snap, and the flagship HD2. The latter was widely considered the best Windows Phone on the market at the time of its release, and was the first Windows device to feature a modified version of HTC's Sense UI.

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Ross Catanzariti

Ross Catanzariti

PC World
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