Alltel HTC Wildfire

When HTC recently announced that the mid-range Wildfire would be coming to the United States after its run in Europe, we didn't know any of the regional carriers involved. Turns out that Alltel -- what's left of it anyway, was first out the gate with what's been previously codenamed the HTC Bee.

Join us after the break for a mini review of the 3.2-inch HTC Widlfire, available now for $29.99 on two-year contract.

Alltel HTC Wildfire home screens

We could joke about this being a small review for a small phone, but truth is we've seen just about everything before. The wildfire is a 3.2-inch device with an QVGA resolution -- that's 320 pixels by 240 pixels. To put that in perspective, high-end phones are rocking 800 (or 854) x 480 resolutions.

For a mid- (OK, or low-) end device, the build quality is still pretty good, which you'd expect from HTC. The Wildfire is 2.4 inches wide and 4.2 inches tall, and is just shy of a half-inch thick. It feels nice in the hand, though a little plasticy.It has the usual four capacitive buttons, and the same ol' trackpad (which we still like).

Alltel HTC WildfireAlltel HTC Wildfire

There's almost no carrier-added bloatware on the phone -- just an app to help move contacts over. And that's good, because you only have about 150MB of storage leftover after a clean boot. We're seeing 313MB of total RAM, and it's all powered by a 528MHz processor. So a speed demon it is not, but it'll get you through basic tasks. You also have the same HTC Sense we've come to know and love, including Scenes and an FM radio. The only thing missing, really, is live wallpaper.

Alltel HTC WildfireAlltel HTC Wildfire

The Wildfire has a 5-megapixel camera -- a nice surprise for such a device. Pictures appear as good as you'd expect. But you're almost going to feel embarrassed (or should, anyway) if you try to show them to someone on that QVGA screen.

HTC Wildfire and Nexus One

And that screen resolution is where we have to draw the line. It's darn near unusable -- especially when reading text -- which is a shame since we love the idea (believe it or not) of a small, mid-range Android device. And it's been done in the HTC Aria (read our review here) which basically is the same form with a higher screen resolution (320x480) and more powerful 600MHz processor.

All that said, a $30 Android phone? OK, OK, $30 on contract, but still. If you're looking for a very basic Android phone and are on Alltel, it's worth a look.