HTC's latest smartphone fails to stand out from its fellow budget competitors. In fact, its specifications read very much like a typical entry-level smartphone.
Take the dual SIM support (it is in the name lest you miss it) and the 3G-only connectivity.
Even the 1,280 x 720-pixel IPS screen and its lack of an anti-fingerprint coating are standard for budget smartphones.
Internal storage, too, is limited at just 4GB, so you will need to supplement it with a microSD card (up to 32GB).
The phone bears some similarities to the flagship HTC One (M8), but it is wholly plastic instead of aluminium.
The dual front-facing speakers of the M8 are not found here. Overall, it is a solid but unremarkable device.
The front and the sides are matte grey, but the glossy removable back cover quickly becomes icky with fingerprints.
Remove this cover to insert your SIM and microSD cards, or swop its 2,000mAh battery with a spare one. One of the two SIM slots is of the standard variety; the other is a micro-SIM one.
Perhaps the Desire's best feature is the HTC Sense 6 interface running on top of Android 4.2 Jelly Bean. Unlike LG or Samsung, HTC has not remade the Android interface in its own image.
Instead, the top feature is BlinkFeed, which lets you view social media and news updates on the home screen, like in Live Tiles in Windows Phone.
This budget phone lacks the fancy UltraPixel camera found in the flagship M8. Its camera is not the fastest shooter I have used, but it is competent enough.
A cool bonus: Any photo and video you take automatically becomes part of a video montage, complete with a soundtrack, thanks to a feature called Video Highlights.
A MediaTek octa-core chip, popular with budget and mid-tier phone makers, powers the Desire. But having more cores does not guarantee performance. This processor may score well in performance benchmarks, but there were occasional moments of lag in games such as Angry Birds Epic.
This lag was also evident when scrolling through a webpage in Chrome.
The battery should see you through an average day at work. In Digital Life's video playback test, it lasted 6hr 38min.
At $298, the odds are against this HTC phone winning more than a sliver of the local budget smartphone pie. Both Asus and Xiaomi offer comparable and cheaper phones. Xiaomi's Redmi is hard to beat at $169. Meanwhile, the $239 Nokia Lumia 635 has 4G support.
HTC's Sense user interface is the best thing about this budget phone. The price, however, leaves much to be desired.
Processor: 1.4GHz MediaTek MT6592 octa-core processor
Display: 5-inch LCD, 1,280 x 720 pixels
Operating system: Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean
Camera: 8-megapixel (rear), 2-megapixel (front)
Value for money: 2/5
Battery life: 3/5
This article was first published on July 30, 2014.
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