HTC has always been known as manufacturer of sturdy, well-made handsets. However, the brand has taken a drop in popularity in recent times. With the launch of the Desire 500 though, HTC aims to change that.
HTC phones have always been designed smartly. The Desire 500 features a matte plastic body that feels really solid. Its dimensions of 131.8 x 66.9 x 9.9mm mean that the phone fits comfortably in your hands and feels good to hold. Also, due to its size, it’s quite light at 123g. The phone comes in three colours – white and red, a white-and-blue one and there is an all-black version. The only physical buttons are the power on/off switch at the top and the volume rocker on the left. A peculiar thing we noticed about the handset is that the screen is not flush against the body. Nothing wrong with that, we just felt the phone would have felt more premium if it hadn’t been that way.
The Desire 500 has a 4.3 inch screen with a resolution of 480×800 and a pixel density of 217ppi. While the specs seem to suggest a screen that wouldn’t catch out eye, we didn’t really feel there was anything lacking with it. It’s quite good actually. The brightness is quite good and colours look vivid and the viewing angles are reasonable. Overall, this screen is above average and would suffice for the moderate user.
Software and Processor
The phone runs on Android 4.1.2 which is slightly behind times, but if you’re not a heavy user of the latest apps, then there’s no need to worry. HTC does a decent job of tidying up Android’s rather utilitarian settings menus into something friendlier and more accessible. The only part we’re not so keen on is the setup, which has rather too many steps to jump through for our liking.
The device features a Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 200 processor, running at 1.2GHz with 1GB RAM. While these may not be the greatest specs in the world, the phone did function very well. We hardly noticed any lag or performance issued related to the processor.
The main camera is an 8MP one on the back with a LED flash and there’s also a 1.6MP one on the front. The main camera has a f/2.0 aperture and a standard 1/3.2 inch sensor. The overall quality of photos is good. We found that the colour balance tends towards blue, not by much, but just enough for you to figure it out. It records video at 720p and you can take a photo while recording a video at the same time. There are numerous filters, too, all of which can be viewed ‘live’ so you can see what they’ll look like.
The battery on the phone is an 1800 mAh battery and it’s a removable one; quite a rarity for a HTC device. It’s accessible through a cover on the back. While the battery isn’t the biggest one out there, we found that it lasted for about a day with moderate use. For a heavy-duty user, the battery life might be considerably less, but with a removable battery, you can always carry a spare.
The phone performed very well in all our tests. We ran various apps, popular games, turned on Wi-Fi and surfed the net and we have no complains about the phone’s performance. Wireless connectivity is well catered for thanks to Wi-Fi (802.11n), GPS/AGPS, Bluetooth 4.0, the latter being an impressive addition at this price. The HTC Desire 500 comes with just 4GB of storage built-in and a microSD card slot for expansion. This is fine for light users, though HTC’s pre-loaded software takes up more space than most. 2.9GB is used up by the OS. Also, the phone supports networks only up to 3G. With 4G making an entry in the new few months, this is something worth pondering over.
Overall, the HTC Desire 500 is a good phone. It has several good features and quite honestly doesn’t have that one huge negative aspect hanging over its head. This is a good phone for people looking for a solid, balanced handset with some options regarding the colour scheme to suit each one’s taste. It has some drawbacks, like an old Android version but overall, the pros far outweigh the cons.
HTC has released yet another handset that possesses good features while retaining HTC’s signature traits – a good processor, a great camera and fantastic audio quality. This is in our opinion a great buy for the average or moderate user.