HTC’s debut entry into mid-budget Android phones, which happened with the Wildfire drew mixed reactions and didn’t really hit the mark. Thereafter, they launched the Wildfire S, but the phone seemed like a minor update and it was priced a bit high, which failed to strike a chord with its targeted audience. Now, HTC has come up with the Explorer, which does seem to balance out between pricing and features. So is it third time lucky for HTC? Read on to find out.
Comes in a range of colours
Design and Build Quality
The HTC Explorer is available in a range of back panel colours and looks like a miniature Sensation, except it’s got a 3.2-inch screen size with a resolution of 320 x 480 pixels. It comes in an all-black casing with the four standard Android buttons on the bezel underneath the screen. The back has a smooth matte surface, but it does attract a lot of fingerprints. The camera and the HTC logo are housed on a brushed aluminium design. The phone weighs 108 grams, and it feels incredibly light and fits snugly into your hand, thanks to its cutesy design.
The power button and 3.5mm jack are located at the top, while the volume rocker switch is on the left. The only other connectivity option is a microUSB port. There is no back cover for the phone, instead the entire outer shell of the phone is detachable. The phone looks classy just like the Evo 3D and HTC has done well with the design and build of the Explorer.
The phone runs on a 600 MHz processor with an Adreno 200 GPU. Our initial thoughts on this phone was that it would be sluggish and slow, like Motorola’s Fire and the Fire XT, but that definitely wasn’t the case with the Explorer. It’s quick, zippy and doesn’t lag. Navigating through the menus is fast and the phone didn’t hang, at all. HTC deserves praise for that because they’ve managed to put HTC Sense on a slow processor without compromising on efficiency.
HTC Sense 3.5
The phone runs on HTC’s latest Sense 3.5 UI, which is an improvement over the earlier Sense 3.0 version. The home screen widgets now show up like drawers and clicking each icon will slide open a window that will show the last update from that particular application. So, your last message or last image can be viewed by simply tapping the appropriate icon.
HTC has updated the People tab with more social network integration. It comes with a threading feature that neatly shows all e-mails, call history and Facebook updates from that particular contact. HTC has also included a new ‘ice breaker’ feature that shows your contact’s Facebook status when they call you, acting as an ice breaker of sorts. We put the phone through a few synthetic tests and AnTuTu gave us a benchmark score of 2099 and the improvement from the Wildfire is quite visible (which has a score of 509). The Multi-Thread test gave the phone an MFLOPS score of 10.019, while it got a score of 4.914 in the single thread test.
The media player is quite basic and consists of the standard options and widgets. HTC has included SRS WOW enhancements, and the equaliser settings include a range of presets along with bass booster, treble booster and vocal booster settings. The phone supports the XviD, MP4,H.264, H.263 and WMV formats out of the box, but you’ll need a third party app if you want playback for more formats. Also, it’s a 600 Mhz processor, so don’t expect it to play 720p videos. 480p videos, however, work just fine. Besides the music and video player, the phone also comes with an FM radio. The speakers are loud enough, but the handset we received for review did not come with any headset, so we couldn’t review media playback via headphones.
The media player
The phone comes with Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n with hotspot capabilities, Bluetooth 3.0 with A2DP and EDR, and 3G with HSDPA speeds of 7.2 Mbps and HSUPA speeds of 384 kbps. The external memory can be expanded up to 32GB, and it’s located right under the cover, so it’s hot swappable, as well. For navigation purposes, there’s GPS with A-GPS support and Google Maps. That pretty much covers your basic connectivity options.
Updated 19 May, 2013, 1:20 pm IST
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