HTC Explorer


A cheap new smartphone

Are you someone who isn’t into smartphones all that much, but is curious to experience one for a couple of weeks or months? Then HTC’s Explorer might be what you have been looking for. This device is so named because it is exactly that: a tool for exploring the world of a smartphone and what makes it so fascinating to people. Since it’s one of the cheapest products of its kind today and experts place it in the “easy to use” category, the Explorer will most certainly gather quite a following. Allows us to give you more information on this smartphone in the following review.

Different colors available

The HTC Explorer is a small smartphone if we are to compare it to the Samsung Galaxy Nexus or some of the other HTC devices and looks like a clone of the company’s Sensation model. On the back it has a rugged-feeling rubberized texture and the body is made of plastic and is available in the following colors: black and dark blue. If you want more, then you should know that the product comes with purple, orange or white covers that can be swapped between them to create unique looks. The rear couldn’t be removed that easily, at least that’s what we saw before starting to test the smartphone in question. But in general the product was sturdy and not easy to scratch or

QWERTY keyboard

The size of the touchscreen – 3.2″ – will leave some of you disappointed, because it translates into a poor web surfing experience. But if you’re not into using the Internet on a daily basis, the size of the screen will suffice. The resolution is 320 x 480 pixels; because of that, text quality was pretty average at first look. Below the screen we found the standard touch-sensitive buttons for Home, Menu, Back and Search functions and the camera lens sat on the back. In terms of weight and dimensions, the HTC Explore ships with 3.8 ounces and 4.05″ x 2.25″ x 0.51″.

As for keyboard, there’s the QWERTY one which is more responsive and easy to use in the landscape rather than the portrait mode; and it sports the auto correct feature, a big advantage for anyone. Because the screen is on the small size, typing will at first feel rather uncomfortable, but it shouldn’t be a problem after a while.

Android 2.3.5 Gingerbread OS

The operating system that HTC decided to install on this smartphone is Android 2.3.5 Gingerbread and the interface is the user-friendly and now very popular Sense 3.5. Something new brought by the UI is the fact that it let us, during our test, quickly access any four functions we wanted directly from the lock screen, an option which came in very handy. The Explorer smartphone is pre-installed with the usual 7 customizable home screens. The interface, however, had issues when rendering animations and it turned out to be somewhat slower when opening certain applications.

3-megapixel camera

The HTC Explorer has a built-in 3-megapixel camera which comes with basic photo editing tools and delivers average-looking pictures.

The connectivity feature is covered by Wi-Fi, the main option on the HTC Explorer. If the user has Wi-Fi at home, she or he will only have to connect the smartphone to her or his network to start using the World Wide Web. The battery didn’t manage to last more than a day.

Review conclusion

Performance-wise, the device had clear call quality both when we talked to someone and received calls. Overall, at the end of the test done for this review, the HTC Explorer fares great when it comes to build quality and interface.

Technical specifications

Device statusAvailable. Release date 2011, October
Official anounced2011, September
General specifications2G NetworkGSM 850 MHZ / 900 MHZ / 1800 MHZ / 1900 MHZ
3G NetworkHSDPA 900 MHz / 2100 MHz
ScreenTypeTFT-LCD capacitive touch screen, 256K Available Colours
Dimensions320 x 480 pixels, 3.2 inches (~180 ppi pixel density)
SoundAlert characteristicsVibration, MP3, WAV ringtones
3.5mm jackIncluded
SRS surround sound enhancement
HTC Sense UI v3.5
Proximity Light sensor for auto shut down
Touch-sensitive controls
Accelerometer Light sensor for UI auto-rotate
MemoryPhone bookPractically unlimited entries and fields, Photocall
Internal90 MB Data storage, 512 MB ROM, 512 MB RAM
Memory card slotmicroSD card, up to 32GB,
Call recordsPractically unlimited
EDGEUp to 236.8 kbps
DataGPRSUp to 80 kbps
WLANWi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Wi-Fi hotspot
3GHSDPA 14.4 Mbps, HSUPA 5.76 Mbps
Infrared portNot included
BluetoothIncluded, v3.0 with A2DP, EDR
USBIncluded, microUSB v2.0
FeaturesGeo-tagging, face detection
SecondaryNot included
PROCESSOR600MHz Scorpion PROCESSOR, Qulacomm MSM7227 chipset
FeaturesOSAndroid OS, v2.3 (Gingerbread)
MessagingSMS(threaded view), MMS, Email, Push Email, IM
RadioStereo FM radio with RDS
Internet BrowserHTML
Camera specificationsPrimary camera3.15 MP, 2048×1536 pixels, autofocus
GPSIncluded, with A-GPS support
JavaIncluded, via Java MIDP emulator
SNS included
XviD/MP4/H.264/H.263/WMV player
Google Search, Maps, Gmail
YouTube, Google Talk, Picasa included
MP3/eAAC+/WAV/WMA player
Digital compass
Voice memo
Predictive text input
Time management organizer
Available ColoursActive Black, Active Navy, Metallic Black, Metallic Navy
Stand-by timeUp to 485 h (2G) / Up to 445 h (3G)
Estimated talk timeUp to 7 h 40 min (2G) / Up to 7 h 33 min (3G)
BatteryStandard battery, Li-Ion 1230 mAh
DimensionsExternal dimensions102.8 x 57.2 x 12.9 mm
Total weight108 g