After a careful consideration and evaluation on whether I go for Blackberry bold 9300 or HTC Explorer, I finally decided to take the later. The only edge Blackberry has against HTC is its BBM service and since only few of my friends use Blackberry and there are other several multi-platform messaging service available in applications stores or markets, I scratched the option of having BBM on my phone. Also, I am hearing that RIM (Blackberry OS developer) is considering options of making BBM be available on other platforms like Android and iOS, though its a paid app.
December 23, 2011 when I first hold of my HTC Explorer and I was really impressed with its user interface. A phone that runs on Android 2.3.5 (Gingerbread) allows me create my own wifi hotspot, a very interesting feature of the OS. HTC Sense, a feature exclusive only for HTC phones, allows me to connect to Facebook and view my friends’ status with its simple and cute widget with easy status update and check-in. One thing that is very nice about HTC Sense is that, my updates always get my friends attention since these always go to Facebook top stories page. HTC Sense also sync with your location and the weather in the area making it a perfect buddy for travelers. The constant update of your location won’t get you lost in rural areas and the weather update and forecast assist you on deciding which activities suit your day.
HTC Peep, on the other hand, allows me to view my friends’ streams on twitter and update my tweets easily. Good thing is, you can also opt to receive notifications every time someone mentions you on their tweets or even on every tweets of the individuals you follow. That will always depend on your settings.
HTC Sync allows you to sync your phone contacts with your Facebook, Twitter, and Google contacts in which you have the option to select which photo will you choose to appear for a certain contact on your phonebook. But be careful, do not auto-sync all you contacts because this will consume your 150MB internal storage (only 90MB is available for you to use). Sync your contacts only once, this is enough to link your phone contacts with their respective emails and twitter and Facebook accounts. Once done, disable syncing with your contacts by going to Settings >> Accounts & Sync and below Manage Account, click the account and un-tick Sync Contacts. Learn from me. When I auto-sync my contacts, these consume nearly 70MB of memory because of the more than a thousand contacts I have in twitter and Facebook. I have to delete all these to free memory and redo it again. Good news for me is that I have a backup of my phone contacts in my memory card. Remember, always have a backup, your excitement may make you forget that you are doing too much.
Because of the low storage available, you have to constantly check your storage usage and clean temporary file to make more space. You have an option to set a notification for this, the default is set at 15MB availability. Though you can install apps to SD card, always remember that these apps also consume part of your internal memory. I do not recommend you installing Facebook and Twitter for Android because aside from being system apps in which these cannot be moved to SD card, these also consume much of your internal memory. I recommend using HTC Sense and HTC peep to access, use, and update you Facebook and Twitter accounts respectively. HTC Sense is pre-installed while HTC Peep is available for download at HTC HUB, an Android Market like app where you can find HTC exclusive system apps, themes, tones and many more. HTC Hub is also a pre-installed on HTC explorer.
The internet is faster when connected to HSDPA, and to stay connected on 3G/HSDPA network, you must set your network connection to always use WCDMA but please take note that this consume more battery power. Globe’s Powersurf 499 which give you 1GB of available bandwidth and is consumable for a month is a perfect data plan for the phone. Dolphin Browser HD is a must have app but always check the memory usage. Clean history and temporary files constantly. You also have an option to cache to SD card wherein the browser will save temporary files to your memory card. The memory card you can use for the device is up to 32GB.
The 3.15MP camera is not bad. Accidentally, I was able to capture my phone screen through the camera twice. And yes, I found out that it is one of its feature, screenshot capture, which is available only for Android 2.3.4 or higher. To capture your current phone’s screen, press power button first then immediately press the home button, this will save the phones current screenshot in your gallery. The Navigator, a GPS-enabled app, can assist you in looking your desired location.
You also have an option to download files but make sure you do have an application to open these files, Adobe Reader, for example, is required for you to view downloaded PDFs. I have a free Adobe Reader app installed on my phone so that I do not need to print my plane itineraries, instead, all I have to do is show my phone.
I also recommend ColorNote, to where you can save your quick notes and references such as bank accounts and many others with security and Audio Manager or Gallery Lock, to hide photos and videos you do not want others to see.
On the design part, it’s sleek and simple. The rubber-like back cover is changeable to which you can choose variety of colors. The original HTC softkeys still impresses me. The 3.2-inch screen gives me an excellent view on every website I visit and a perfect access to the virtual keyboard when typing.
In general, the phone performance is excellent and I can say this is a perfect buddy for me. Quietly brilliant, indeed. But, I still wish that there is an option for me to upgrade the RAM. Dear HTC, please hear me. You also need a power backup especially when you’re mobile data push is always on. The 20+ emails, some tweet mentions and facebook updates, and 2 to 4-hour browsing at WCDMA connection consumes my battery in less than a day. I do not know what will happen if you add an hour or two of playing games.
Calling features also are exemplary wherein the phone sends a message directly to your caller once you are unable to attend the call or if you are busy. Just reject the call. When you lose your phone, visit HTCSense.com and login using your HTC Sense account then have your phone ring, lock, or erase data.
Please the the complete specifications here.