The Best Entry Level Phones – November 2012 (Part 2) - HTC Desire C

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Can the HTC Desire C match the specifications and performance of its group test rivals? Let’s find out...

Flash-less camera

The only product in the group to not provide a flash for the camera, not that it would make a big difference to the overall quality which was not the best it has to be said

Design touches

The HTC Desire C was certainly one of the best built handsets in the group. The white smooth finish at the back is also a nice touch, giving the handset a premium feel.

Description: HTC Desire C

600Mhz processor

While the phone did not provide an ultra-smooth experience it could at least run the majority of apps that we launched. It only suffered from a games point of view when there was lots of on-screen content

Recent app button

HTC has brought the recent app button - a core feature of Android ICS tablets to the table and provided a dual functionality to boot. By long pressing the button, it works like an Android Menu button

Being a HTC device, we had no problems finding this handset on all of the major networks. The price is relatively low but on balance we still felt that you were paying more for the name rather than the specs that were on offer.

The Desire C certainly emanates the same trademark build quality we have come to expect from the manufacturer and it was definitely one of the best built handsets in the group. The sturdy feel is also matched by a lovely smooth white finish at the back which also displays the phone’s Beats Audio logo - a feature that is normally found on the high end phones to enhance audio playback when a pair of your favourite headphones are plugged in.

Our only gripe was that you needed to remove the back cover to access the micro SD card slot, but it’s good to see the feature included to boost the already respectable internal storage.

When powering up the device we were pleasantly surprised, not only by the fast boot time, but also by the inclusion of the latest Sense Ul and Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0.3 OS. Additionally, HTC has included a dual function on the recent app button at the base of the screen, so if you long press it this will act as the

Android Menu button of old, with the short press showing your recent apps. You will also find plenty of apps preloaded to get you started, such as Polaris Office for creating Office documents.

Description: HTC Desire C

However, when compared to the Samsung, swiping between screens, manipulating web content and loading of applications did eventually start to highlight the phone’s low-end processor, with a certain level of lag evident. The 3.5 inch screen itself also lacked the vibrancy of the Sony, but it was still better than the Motorola, and on screen colours had a natural tone to proceedings during video playback.

Also, despite the lower CPU, the smartphone still managed to stream content from YouTube and run graphic heavy games like R Type and Dead Trigger, albeit with traces of slowdown when there was more on screen action. Unfortunately, the simple point and shoot five megapixel camera was less effective, with the majority of shots looking muddy or suffering from overexposure. The video recording audio pickup also had a minor distortion issue.

Battery life was below average from a video playback point of view and a daily charge would be essential if you play a lot of games.

Head to head


Compared to the Sony it had a more robust build quality and we liked the smooth white finish at the back of the handset. In some ways the design quality justifies the higher asking price. The position of the micro SD card was less desirable, though.


Available on all the major networks, but If you go outside 02 you have to pay a slight premium. 02’s $16-a-month top-up provides you with either 500MB of data and 300 texts a month, or 75 minutes, 500 texts and 100MB of data.

For a 600Mhz CPU it did manage to run most of the apps we tested. The 5-MP camera wasn’t great, but it was boosted by the Sense Ul, ICS and a respectable range of bundled apps, Including Its Beats Audio technology for headphone playback.

Battery life

We ran the phone with the backlight on max and the Wi-Fi enabled to get a worst case scenario and it drained to 55% from a full charge compared to the Samsung’s 74%. Expect dally charges!


Available on all the major networks, the Desire C comes with a solid build, ICS and a nice selection of bundled apps


Price: $224

More information:

Technical specs

·         Operating system: Android 4.0.3

·         Processor: Qualcomm MSM7227A Snapdragon, 600 MHz Cortex-A5 CPU, Adreno 200 GPU

·         Memory: 512MB RAM, 4GB storage (upgradeable via SD), 25GB Dropbox for 2 years

·         Dimensions: 107.2 x 60.6 x 12.3 mm

·         Weight: 100g

·         Display: 3.5”, 320 x 480 pixels

·         Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 3.0, GPS, HSDPA, 14.4Mbps; HSUPA, 5.76 Mbps

·         Camera: 5-MP rear (no flash), No front camera, VGA video recording


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