Wednesday, July 18, 2012

HTC Desire C review

3.5 stars
What is it?
A budget android handset from the HTC Desire line.
What's great
The pocket-friendly design, up-to-date operating system and NFC chip, decent battery life.
What's not
The low-res screen and lack of power under the hood.
The bottom line
An attractive, easy-to-use handset that's let down slightly by a sluggish processor.
HTC recently launched its new One series phones, all-singing all-dancing devices that, in the case of the flagship One X, allow you to snap a fashion model while falling through the air at 150 mph. Well, at least according to the TV advert currently doing the rounds. We're not in the habit of carrying out skydiving tests here at MSN Tech & Gadgets, so we can't say for certain.

But despite shifting its focus to the One series models, HTC isn't ready to put the Desire line out to pasture just yet. The name has something advertising types like to call 'market penetration' - i.e. quite a few people have heard of it. And the things they're likely to have heard are likely to be good; the Desire and its brethren all won strong reviews.

Hardly surprising then that HTC have decided to gift the name to their latest offspring, the HTC Desire C. It has something of both the One series and Desire lines in its genes, as evidenced by the micro-drilled speaker holes on the all-white back cover. It's a feature that's common to the One Series phones, though not necessarily the kind of detail you'd expect to find on a budget handset.

In fact, the build quality of the Desire C is pretty good all-round. Its dinky, pebble-like shape sits snuggly in the hand, and at 100g it weighs just enough to stop it feeling overtly cheap and light. Yes, the body is heavy on the plastic, but its the solid kind with minimal amounts of flex around the screen. A word of warning: the back cover tends to mark easily, particularly on the white version. However, the smudges our test model picked up cleaned off easily enough.

A trio of touch-sensitive buttons sit below the 3.5-inch display on the front - back, home and recent apps. As with the rest of the screen they're not quite as responsive as we'd like: it often took us a couple of prods to get the phone to react. In addition, the screen suffers from low-resolution - the unlock ring animation is prone to pixilation, for example - and its small size makes typing on the virtual keyboard something of a chore.

On the plus side, the HTC Desire C comes with the latest versions of both the Android operating system HTC Sense 4.0, so it's bang up to date software-wise. Some neat touches - such as the ability to swipe between your emails in the Gmail app, and flick items out of the notification tray if they are not of interest - are also particularly handy given the small amount of screen real-estate available.

We were a bit disappointed with the processor powering the HTC Desire C. Granted it's a budget handset, so we weren't expecting miracles. But when pitted against the impressive speed of recent low-cost Android handsets like the Huawei G300 and Orange San Francisco II, the HTC Desire C comes up short. BBC iPlayer programmes judder noticeably, and there's an occasional lag when flipping between home screens. Some apps also take a frustratingly long time to load.

The web browser is surprisingly nippy. But the low-res screen means desktop sites are too blurry to read comfortably; the HTC Desire C is really only cut out for mobile web browsing. We liked the inclusion of a recent apps button, which overlays the screen with a list of thumbnail images representing your recent activity. This makes it easy to hop back and forth between the browser and the camera, for example.

You're able to add numerous folders, app shortcuts or resizable widgets to any of the five home screens, which, along with the customisable dock bar and unlock screen, makes this a highly versatile phone. Call quality is a bit of a mixed bag: everything sounded fine our end, but several people we spoke too complained of fluctuating volume levels. As a music player it performs admirably though, with your MP3s placed alongside TuneIn Radio and other music-based apps in the Music Hub. Beats Audio is also included.

The five-megapixel camera is fine for quick snaps for Facebook, but it's often difficult to capture a properly focused picture. Unfortunately, there's no LED flash on-board, and video quality is also quite disappointing when played back on a laptop or TV. We did appreciate the self-timer option for the camera though, and the ability to flit back and forth between the camera and video modes in a single touch is useful.

Overall, the HTC Desire C is a decent budget handset. It runs on the same software as premium models, and the design, although not revolutionary, will certainly appeal to anyone who doesn't want a big screen phone clogging up their handbag or pocket. However, with the impressive Ascend G300 and Sony Xperia U also available for around the same price or less (£100 - £150), the HTC Desire C might struggle to stand out on the shelves.
3.5 stars

Essential info:
Camera: 5 MP, 2592 x 1944 pixels, autofocus
Video: Yes
Display: Capacitive touchscreen, 320 x 480 pixels, 3.5 inches
Dimensions: 107.2 x 60.6 x 12.3 mm
Weight: 100g
Internal Memory: 4 GB storage, 512 MB RAM
Card Slot: microSD, up to 32 GB
Colour: Polar White, Stealth Black, Flamenco Red
Touchscreen: Yes
Audio Playback: 3.5mm headphone jack, loudspeaker, Beats Audio
Operating System: Android 4.0 & HTC Sense 4.0
Processor: 600 MHz
Battery Life: Li-Ion 1230 mAh, up to 6 hours talk time

No comments:

Post a Comment