HTC Desire C -- Cute little budget smartphone
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HTC Desire C — Cute little budget smartphone

HTC Desire & Desire CI still own the original HTC Desire..a top of the line smartphone that punched way above its weight..I still have it happily running Ice Cream Sandwich. The Desire C inherits little of that that proud legacy. That is however, not to say that this little phone isn’t special in its own way.

HTC Desire C

When you open the now standard HTC environmentally friendly box you will be struck by the size of the Desire C. It is cute and tiny if a little bit least compared to the One series of phones. The phone is all plastic..the single piece back wraps all the way around to the screen..the whole package weighs a mere 100 grams and like all HTC phones feels solid and well built.

The Desire C is a compact 107.2 x 60.6 x 12.3 mm that  feels really good in my small hands. It houses  an average  320 x 480 pixels 3.5″ screen ..that results in a OK 165ppi pixel density. The screen brightness is fine for indoor use but struggles in bright sunlight and the viewing angle is surprisingly narrow.

The design mirrors more the One series than the original Desire..the front is clean with three capacitive buttons and a single row of pinpricks for the speaker. The back of rubberized plastic features the HTC Logo in the centre..a red circle around the camera..setting off the Beats Audio logo at the bottom..which by the way hasn’t impressed me on any phone..I don’t own a Beats headset..maybe that makes a difference. Speaking of sound there is also a small circular speaker that puts out surprisingly loud and clear audio.

Under the hood..which by the way is all red..there is a 600 MHz single-core Qualcomm S1 processor.. definitely previous generation, the One series sports S4 processors..with a satisfactory 512Mb of RAM and 4Gb of onboard storage. There is also a Micro-SD slot that will accommodate up to 32GB. The battery is a relatively puny 1,230mAh but the Desire C puts little demand on it so I was easily able to go two days of moderate usage on a single charge.

Surprisingly there is no front facing camera..not that I have ever used mine other than for testing..The rear facing camera comes with reasonable specs 5 MP, 2592 x 1944 pixels. The camera app looks like the one on the One series with pretty much the same features..

But don’t be fooled this is not that camera. Still photos in good light are OK for snapshots but lack dynamic range and there is no won’t be able to leave your point and shoot behind.

Desire C Camera shot

The video camera shoots VGA video at 640×480, which although fine for most, we found the result a a bit noisy and suffered from artifacts on fast panning.

HTC has loaded the Desire C with Android 4.0.3 Ice Cream Sandwich with a lite version of Sense 4.0..the only budget phone to come stock with this state of the art OS. HTC has tweaked the OS so that it performs well on the 600MHz CPU. Transitions and effects have been removed so the phone seems a little choppier than the One series phones with the same OS..that is mostly illusion,  it is fairly snappy and looks really good. You pay for the low powered processor with somewhat sluggish opening of apps and slow rendering of web pages.

I may appear to have been tough on this cute little phone as I look at it from the point of view of someone who uses a top of the line HTC One S but, if you are thinking of upgrading from a feature phone..or less and don’t want to spend a lot of money this is probably  the best entry-level Android phone you can buy today. The HTC Desire C is low priced , but doesn’t skimp on features. Sure, the screen isn’t top of the line, and the camera is so so, but ignoring that, the Desire C is great value for money as a first smartphone.

HTC Desire C

Currently available from Virgin Mobile for $0 on SuperTab and from $0 from SaskTel on a three year plan and $30 from Fido on a two year plan. The HTC Desire C can be purchased outright for as low as $100 which makes it attractive as a spare phone for travel.


Bob Benedetti

Former RCAF Fighter Pilot Bob worked for CTV Montreal as a Reporter, Producer and Executive producer for 35 years retiring in 2004. Bob started reporting on personal technology in 1995 at CTV and continues today at Home Technology Montreal

1 Comment
  • NovumT

    I agree, for the price, it is a very decent phone.


    September 1, 2012 at 5:01 am Reply

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