The HTC Explorer is aimed at smartphone first-timers, touting an easy-to-use 3.2-inch touchscreen and Android 2.3 (Gingerbread)
Editor's Review of the Explorer
With its straightforward specs and simple design, the HTC Explorer is aimed at first time smartphone users and those who find tech jargon hard to get their head around. Can this Explorer extend HTC's dominance of the budget Android market, or will it fail to impress even smartphone newbies?
Design & Build
The Explorer sees HTC taking a different approach to smartphone design, forgoing its usual boxy unibody style for sleek clean curves and practicality. The phone has a rugged-feeling rubberised texture on the back which means its great for clumsy-fingered kids, and it's teeny dimensions means it'll slot neatly into the skinniest-jean pocket.
With a small handset comes a small screen, and the HTC Explorer sports a 3.2-inch display, with a reasonable 320 x 480 pixel resolution. Of course, it's not the most mind-blowing display we've come across recently, but if you're after a phone for casual gaming and social networking, it certainly manages to get the job done. Our only complaint is browsing the web, which can feel pretty cramped on the pint-sized display.
OS & Interface
The Explorer, as you'd expect, runs on Google's Android 2.3.5 (Gingerbread) software. HTC has dressed this in the latest iteration of its Sense overlay - HTC Sense 3.5 - which has been designed specifically for lesser-specced phones to deliver a simplified user experience.
Sense 3.5 gets rid of the usual curved dock at the bottom of the screen, replacing it with two simplified icons for access to the app tray and dialer. These new shortcut keys are coupled with a single vertical row of four app shortcuts on the left, where you can allocate your most-used apps. The clock and weather widgets have moved to the bottom right corner too, making them much more less in-your-face.
HTC has also updated the People tab with more social network integration. It now comes with a threading feature that shows all e-mails, call history and Facebook updates from that particular contact, and a new feature called "Ice Breaker" brings up your friends' Facebook status when they call you.
Although extremely convenient and easy to get to grips with, the phone's measly 600MHz processor can make navigating the interface fairly slow and laggy. However, this is likely to bother first-time smartphone users, and it stood up to the job when messing with apps.
Multimedia & Storage
Don't go expecting the HTC Explorer to match up to the likes of the Sensation XE when it comes to media, because - quite simply - it doesn't. On the rear of the phone you'll find a standard 3 megapixel camera, lacking in flash and HD video. By no means if this a fantastic camera, but given the phone's target audience, snaps are reasonable enough for uploading to Facebook.
You'll also find the usual Android media player on the HTC Explorer, which HTC has equipped with a bunch of additional features such as SRS WOW enhancement and a bunch of different equaliser settings. This comes paired with an FM radio too, something that more expensive phones still lack.
It may be a cheap phone, but the HTC Explorer arrives equipped with HSDPA speeds of 7.2Mbps and WiFi 802.11 b/g/n connectivity, which makes browsing the web a fairly painless experience. As we mentioned earlier, however, the screen can make media-heavy websites quite awkward to navigate
and text often difficult to read.
So surfing the internet may not be great, but the phone excels when it comes to battery life. Its 1230mAh battery managed around one-and-a-half-day of fairly heavy usage, ideal for fidgety Facebook-addicted teens.
As a handset for people looking to "explore" the smartphone market, the HTC Explorer is an excellent choice. HTC has obviously put a lot of thought into make this phone simple - and although the handset's not heavy on features - its crafted perfectly for its main purpose. Not convinced? Check out the HTC Wildfire S.
HTC Explorer News
Two new HTC Smartphones have today joined T-Mobile‘s already-stellar Android line-up: the HTC Sensation XE and HTC Explorer. Prices for the Sensation XE (pictured), the more high-end of the two handsets, start from £35.75 per month, a tariff which also bags you a fairly-reasonable 900 minutes, 500 texts and 500MB of mobile data. That’s a [...]
It looks like Orange is getting ready to launch the wallet-friendly HTC Explorer, having outed the handset’s PAYG price-tag. Over on the handset’s holding page, Orange has revealed that the Explorer will cost you £149.99 on pay as you go, no doubt when bought with £10 top-up. The network’s also confirmed that it’ll be available [...]
Orange has confirmed that it’ll soon be selling the HTC Explorer, following the news that it’s now available on Three. The Explorer is the latest ‘cheap’ addition to HTC‘s Android line-up, following in the footsteps of the affordable HTC Wildfire and HTC ChaCha. Targeted at first time smartphone users, the Explorer packs a not-too-powerful 600MHz [...]
Three has started selling the cheap and cheerful HTC Explorer, following the phone’s SIM free release earlier this week. Billed as the perfect handset for smartphone newbies, the Explorer comes dressed in a scaled-down version of HTC Sense, and sports a pocket-sized 3.2-inch touchscreen. The customizable handset also arrives packing a reasonable 600MHz processor under [...]
HTC Explorer Specifications
102.8mm x 57.8mm x 12.9mm
Full capacitive touch screen
Type: TFT LCD
Size: 3.2 inches
Resolution: 320 x 480
Interface: HTC Sense 3.5
External: microSD up to 32GB
A-GPS with maps
Up to 14.4 Mbps download speed
Up to 5.76 Mbps upload speed
Wi-Fi: IEEE 802.11 b/g/n
Audio: 3.5mm stereo jack
Data: Standard microUSB
GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900
A2DP for wireless stereo headsets
3.0 megapixel camera
Battery Capacity: 1230 mAh
Talk Time: 460 minutes
Standby Time: 485 hours
Audio supported formats
Playback: MP3, eAAC+, WAV, WMA
Video supported formats
Playback: MP4, H.263, H.264, WMV, xVid