This latest entry in the bottom-end of the crowded smart phone market features a bright 3.2-inch screen and a low price point but the HTC Explorer only barely earns the designation “smart phone.” At least, that’s what seasoned smart phone users would think. But HTC hasn’t designed the Explorer for them, it’s actually designed this Android-enabled phone for people who’ve never owned a smart phone in their lives and are only just now getting into the world of “apps,” Facebook and web browsing with their cellular.
Perhaps this is why HTC isn’t going to release the Explorer in the US, where they already have more smart phones than they have smart people? Whether that’s the case or not, the Explorer runs the latest version of Android – the 2.3.5 Gingerbread and contains a 3-megapixel camera. It is kind enough to use words instead of symbols for commands like email forward and send so there’s little confusion for the tech-challenged user who may have no clue what they’re doing otherwise. So yes, this is the right phone for Grandma.
One of the Explorer’s best features is that even though it’s designed to be used mostly as a Wi-Fi device, it offers a dashboard function to show how much data a user has utilised on their monthly plan, great for those keeping close track. It also covers talk time and minutes so there’s no surprise when the bill arrives.
Thankfully, the HTC Explorer will run the 250,000 Android Apps that are on the market but it only has a 600MhZ single-core processor with 512MB of RAM so don’t expect the lightning speed of the top-of-the-line. Web browsing isn’t going to be as fast as high-end phones either but again, that’s not really what this phone is for. It’s made for the occasional web surfer who doesn’t need all the bells-and-whistles. Emailing features will work fine and if you get into a pinch, looking for directions or searching for the weather reports can be accomplished – but at these slower speeds, your patience will be tested.
The HVGA (480 x 320) display is bright but just barely viewable for YouTube video and web browsing. The HTC-sense touch screen is a little frustrating given how small the screen size is and a “drawer” feature to open only the latest notification from specific apps doesn’t really work as well as it’s supposed to. But again, this isn’t what this phone was designed for: it’s really the least that you need to navigate in our increasingly evolving smart phone world.
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