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HTC Desire Malaysian Release First Impression

The HTC Desire now available in Malaysia offers consumers an alternative choice for those yearning for an Android device. So far there’s a growing selection of Android devices in the market but nothing come as close to the Nexus One which isn’t available at Malaysia. As announced at the launch, the HTC Desire is priced at RM1499 with a year data plan contract from Maxis or RM2199 for outright purchase.

For this asking price, the HTC Desire from Maxis is actually quite similar to HTC Legend’s offer from Digi as it also requires RM1499 up front payment. (RM999 Device + RM500 up front usage deposit). Maxis does not require any additional deposit like DiGi, so you just pay for the phone and you can walk away with a brand new Desire.

It should also be noted that Maxis holds the exclusivity for The Desire for a month which after that, we can expect other telcos to bundle the Desire.

On the Desire itself, the handset is sleek and sexy. The device colour is similar to Nexus One and it gave us the familiar feel as well. The only remarkable difference would be the hard buttons and optical trackball at the bottom.

From our experience, the physical buttons with optical trackball is an advantage over Nexus One’s touch buttons and trackball. Touch buttons are very prone to accidental touches and the trackball attracts dirt build up.

The screen is sharp thanks to a higher resolution AMOLED screen of 480×800 pixels, which is similar to the Nexus One. However when compared, it isn’t as bright as the Legend at the highest brightness setting. We think this could be deliberately done for better battery life.

While using the Desire, the performance on HTC Sense wasn’t as smooth as we thought it would be considering it is running on a 1GHz processor. When moving between home screens, it doesn’t feel any smoother compared to a HTC Legend running on a lower 600MHz. Perhaps the true potential for the processor will show if we test out videos which the Legend fared badly. We will try to compare this when we have a unit to test.

Typing input is better on the Desire with bigger keyboard keys than the Legend. When we checked the phone info, the OS version was 2.1 update-1 which is newer than our Legend’s standard 2.1. During the event, the HTC Country Manager didn’t provide us with data on the availability of Android 2.2 update.

What’s our take on this? We think the Desire is a great Android contender in Malaysian market currently. For those who are considering or waiting for Nexus One may consider getting a HTC Desire instead but of course you’ll be missing some features such as noise cancellation and immediate OTA upgrade to Android 2.2.

If this is the phone for you, the HTC Desire is available at all Maxis stores from today onwards. A month later, we would expect other telcos such as DiGi and Celcom to offer the HTC Desire as well and hopefully they can offer more competitive pricing.