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HTC Desire 500 review

An affordable quad-core Android phone let down by poor timing
Tue Jan 14 2014, 08:33

Product HTC Desire 500
Specifications 4.3in 480x800 resolution 217ppi touchscreen display, quad-core 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 200 processor, 1GB RAM, 4GB internal storage upgradable to 64GB via microSD card, 8MP rear-facing camera with autofocus and LED flash, 1.6MP front camera, 2G/2.5G GSM/GPRS/EDGE 900/1800/1900 MHz, 3G/3.5G UMTS/HSPA 900/2100 MHz with HSDPA up to 7.2 Mbps, removable 1,800mAh Li-polymer battery, Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean mobile operating system, 132x67x9.9mm, 123g
Price £199

FOR THE PAST FEW YEARS technology companies have been working to bring smartphones to the masses, releasing a steady stream of semi-affordable handsets. But these affordable smartphones have generally featured poor internal components and offered terrible performance.

HTC's Desire 500 is a clear move to fix this problem, offering quad-core performance while costing just £199. However, as it was released alongside the similarly affordable and slightly higher specified Motorola Moto G, it's reasonable to ask if the Desire 500 is too little too late from the Taiwanese firm.

HTC Desire 500 three quarter

Design and build
Visually the Desire 500 looks quite nice. The white model we reviewed had a smooth, slightly curved single-piece polycarbonate chassis that neatly connected to its red metal sides. The Desire 500 was also very comfortable in the hand, with its 132x67x9.9mm dimensions and 123g weight making it suitably ergonomic and easy to hold.

We were also fairly pleased with the Desire 500's build quality. Despite it being a little prone to picking up dirt marks and fingerprints, the Desire 500 seems robustly built and we're fairly certain that it could survive the odd accidental drop or bump.

We were slightly less enamoured with the HTC Desire 500's 4.3in 480x800 resolution 217ppi display, mainly because the display doesn't match the 4.5in 1280x720 resolution 329ppi screen seen on the even cheaper £135 Moto G. This is a shame, as if we had reviewed the Desire 500 even a few weeks ago, the 217ppi display would have been above average for its price point.

Being fair to the HTC Desire 500, though, the screen is quite usable, features decent brightness and colour balance, and offers users reasonable viewing angles. Our only real qualm with the display is that it's slightly reflective and on a few rare occasions could pick up stray light, rendering the screen all but unreadable.

Next: Operating system and software, performance.


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