Feature Set Summary for HTC Desire 500
A bright display with good contrast, an excellent camera with neat software and its the first HTC Desire to have Blinkfeed.
Style and handling summary for HTC Desire 500
HTC have done a good job on the design front because the smartphone looks more expensive than it is. The plastic design feels solid and sturdy, but ultimately it is plastic after-all.
Battery power summary for HTC Desire 500
Perfectly acceptable, with the average user getting a solid days battery life from a single charge. But some will be left a little underwhelmed.
Performance summary for HTC Desire 500
For a smartphone in this range performance is admirable; it feels snappy around the operating system and has no trouble with multimedia playback or gaming.
User friendliness summary for HTC Desire 500
Android Jelly Bean (4.1.2) and HTC Sense are a great combination, with the latter arguably even improving the intuitiveness of Google's platform.
HTC Desire 500 Review Scoring Summary
|Style & Handling|
Pros: A good looking device with more than enough power and you get the excellent HTC Sense interface. The camera is also pretty decent, while the display is bright and has good contrast.
Cons: Just 4GB of memory and the inbuilt speaker isn't up to much. A higher resolution display and better battery life would have been appreciated. No 4G or NFC.
Verdict: For a smartphone costing £199 the HTC Desire 500 delivers a lot. Those looking for a mid-range smartphone won't be disappointed, but the lack of a 720p holds it back slightly.
Full Review and Specification for the HTC Desire 500
The mid-range smartphone market has become increasingly crowded over the last couple of years with a plethora of devices from a multitude of manufacturers being released. HTC are now trying to muscle in on the market with their latest creation, the HTC Desire 500 - which is available for £199 SIM-free. But does it have what it takes to stand out from the crowd?
Hey Good Looking
For a smartphone costing under £200 the HTC Desire 500 is a remarkably good looking device, which is available in both Black and White. Sure it doesn't match the stunning HTC One, but it looks a more premium than its price thanks to its imitation metallic band and grilled speaker.
When picking up the smartphone the plastic design looses some of its sheen, but it still feels sturdy and well-made - it's at least equally as well made as Samsung's Galaxy S4. It's a little on the chunky side at 9.99mm, but it's pretty light at 123g and we liked how the 4.3 inch device felt in our hands.
One thing that does take some getting used to is locating the volume buttons with your fingers, because they've been incorporated into the metallic band - but you'll get there. And the first time you take off the back cover to insert the SIM-card it'll feel like your going to snap it.
Power and Performance
HTC's Desire 500 has a quad-core 1.2 GHz processor and 1GB of RAM, which pales in comparison to the Galaxy Note 3's quad-core chip and 3GB of RAM. But for under £200 it delivers excellent performance, with the smartphone feeling snappy around the operating system and remaining responsive at all times.
Multimedia playback was also no problem, and it also proved to have no issues with the selection of mobile games we tested. For the average user the HTC Desire 500 delivers more than enough power with benchmarks showing it's almost twice as fast the iPhone 4S and it easily beats out many of its dual-core Android rivals.
Battery life is decent with the smartphones 1800mAh battery delivering a solid days use for the average user. It stands up well against higher-priced smartphones, but we've come to expect better battery life from mid-range devices.
Initially, it's a disappoint to learn that the 4.3 inch display only runs at a WVGA resolution (480 x 800 pixels) because we've come to expect 720p HD displays even on mid-range devices. And the omission results in the device having a pixels-per-inch rating of just 217.
However, as soon as turned-on the display the smartphone exceeded our expectations. For a mid-range device the display is excellent; it's very bright, offers excellent contrast and has good colour reproduction.
The addition of a 720p display still would have brought that extra level of sharpness and led to the HTC Desire 500 delivering a 'best-in-class' experience. But even as it is most users will be thrilled with its display.
Snaps and Videos
The camera is normally something that gets sacrificed on mid-range marvels, with 5 mega-pixel snappers seemingly the standard offering - but the HTC Desire 500 is breaking the mould because it has an 8 mega-pixel snapper.
Its 8MP lens with f/2.0 aperture and back-illuminated sensor providing sharp shots with excellent contrast, colour and brightness. Sure, it's not going to rival the HTC One's 4 Ultrapixel Lens - but it's a very solid camera nonetheless.
You also get some great software included which is somewhat reminiscent of the HTC Zoe. You can take those wide-angle shots with 'Sweep Panorama', 'Multi-Shot Burst Mode' and it even has a 'HDR Mode'.
You also bag a neat feature called 'Automatic Video Highlights' which automatically creates a 30-second snapshot of your video that can be overlayed with music and then shared on social networks.
Even though the Desire 500 can't display 720p video, its 8 mega-pixel snapper can record HD 720p video. Video recording is perfectly acceptable, but we found that close-up videos recorded display a noticeable amount of noise and cameras' zoom is single-step. The front-facing 1.6MP camera proved perfectly adequate for video calling.
HTC Sense is widely accepted to be one of the few custom user-interfaces that improves the stock Android experience. It's intuitive to use and brings with it a number of excellent features, including Blinkfeed which is pre-loaded onto the Desire 500 - for the first time on a Desire handset.
The clever feature delivers a constant stream of updates to your devices home-screen, including social networks, news feeds and more. It can easily be customised with over 10,000 news feeds to choose from.
The HTC Desire 500 also comes with 'Beats Audio' technology, but it's slightly misleading because it only works when you connect headphones. The reason becomes quickly clear when you try to playback music from the sub-standard in-built speakers - but plugging in your favourite set of cans delivers a much better experience.
For under £200 the HTC Desire 500 delivers a great amount. It's a good looking device which delivers better performance and has an improved camera than many of its rivals. The display is bright and has good contrast, but we would have preferred a 720p resolution.
Battery life could also have been slightly better, the built-in speaker is poor and 4GB of on-board memory is pretty measly - thankfully it can be expanded using microSD cards (up to 64GB).
Overall, the HTC Desire 500 is a great entry into the crowded mid-range smartphone market - with HTC Sense and Blinkfeed being its most significant unique selling points.
HTC Desire 500 Specification
Dimensions : 131.8 x 66.9 x 9.9mm
Screen size: 4.3 inch WVGA display
Screen Resolution: 800*480 pixels
Pixels Per Inch (PPI) : 217
Processor: Quad-core 1.2 Ghz processor
Battery capacity : 1800 mAH battery
Onboard Memory: 4GB (microSD support)
Camera : 8 mega-pixel camera (1.6 mega-pixel front-facing)
Operating system: Android Jelly Bean (4.1.2) with HTC Sense and Blinkfeed
Ultrafast / 3G / 4G LTE : Yes/Yes/No
Bluetooth / NFC : Yes/No
Colours : Black Or White
Launch Date: Available Now
Price : £199