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    Posted January 31, 2014 by
    San Diego, California
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    HTC Desire Android Smartphone From Virgin Mobile USA

    While millions of consumers have purchased iPhones and Samsung Galaxy S series Android phones, they are not affordable for many of us. Virgin Mobile USA, while offering both brands, realized they needed to also offer high-quality, affordable smartphones to their customers.

    I asked Virgin Mobile to provide such a phone for a hands-on review, and they did. It's one of their newest offerings, called the HTC Desire. You may already be familiar with the popular HTC One series.

    There's quite a contrast between the HTC Desire and my own Kyocera Rise phone. Let's look at the main features. Like fashion models, it's slim, light and attention-getting. It uses Android 4.2.2 (Jelly Bean), has a 4.5-inch touchscreen with Gorilla Glass, and weighs in at 4.6 ounces. It's 5.3-inches high, 2.67-inches wide, and 0.39-inch in width.

    The HTC Desire comes with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor featuring dual-core, 1.4 GHz processing. You get 1GB of RAM and a generous 8GB of ROM. A microSD card is not provided for external memory; I installed an 8GB microSD card for testing purposes.

    You get a 5-megapixel auto focus primary camera, and full 1080p HD video, so no need to carry a separate point-and-shoot camera. I shot a sample video using the HTC desire, and it's viewable above.
    Instead of usual tinny sound, you'll enjoy dual front-facing stereo speakers with built-in amps.

    This is a 4G LTE phone. Major cities in the Sprint network offer 4G now; a few places still have only 3G speed, though. Since I have high-speed Wi-Fi at home, I was able to easily test the Wi-Fi capabilities of the phone. It's easy and painless. There are times to use Wi-Fi, like in a 3G zone. And it's great for downloading Google Play Store updates to your apps.

    The phone features stereo Bluetooth 4.0. Battery talk time is 16 hours; standby time up to 7.5 days. Virgin Mobile offers a sign-up to the popular Dropbox. However, I already have an account with its rival, Box.com, where I have 50GB of storage. So I just downloaded the Box app instead.

    Transferring content from an old phone or your PC to your new phone used to be a hassle. That's not the case with the HTC Desire. You can easily transfer contacts, messages, calendar events, music, photos, videos, etc. by using the HTC Transfer Tool, Bluetooth, or direct USB connection.

    I chose the HTC Transfer Tool method: you download the app from Google Play to your old phone. [If your old phone has Android version 2.2 or earlier, you have to use the Bluetooth method.] You connect both phones, select the content you want transferred, and click Start.

    Besides the usual Bluetooth technology, you get NFC (Near Field Communication). You can easily send and receive information to/from another NFC-enabled device. I didn't test this feature. But you simply place the phone back panel close to the other device.

    There are many other features of the HTC Desire. HTC BlinkFeed lets you personalize your home screen with constant updates. NextRadio is an app for FM radio. And Virgin Mobile Feed offers streaming music 24/7 and social content.

    It's quite a phone, and reasonably priced. The HTC Desire, previously priced at $279, is now reduced to $223.99 (plus tax) with free shipping/activation. It comes with Virgin Mobile’s no-contract Beyond Talk plans starting at $35 a month, with unlimited data and messaging.

    On the Virgin Mobile website, the HTC Desire earns a rating of 4.5 stars out of 5. Surf to www.virginmobileusa.com, or call 1-888-322-1122 to order via phone.
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