Design & Handling
Along with the Samsung Galaxy Mini 2, the HTC Desire C is one of the few reasonably-sized (i.e. under-4-inch) smartphones on the market right now. Coming in a choice of red, white and black, this well-finished handset dons a carefully rounded body. This level of quality in finishing and design is rare for an entry-level product. The Desire C is so lightweight it can easily go unnoticed in a pocket or handbag.
A rounded body for a good feel in your hands
The version we tested was the white model, and the back of the phone collected smudges and marks almost immediately. Fortunately, you can just rub it with a wet cloth and they to come right off. So nothing major, but it is something that could get tiresome after a while.
At this price, you might as well relinquish all hope of finding a high-end display. Instead, the Desire C has an HVGA screen with 320 x 480 resolution. The Delta E, which determines the accuracy of the screen's colours, is 8. This may beat the Galaxy Mini 2 (dE of 11.6!), but with 3 and below as the target, that's really not saying much. The contrast, however, is in the upper average, with very dark blacks.
The brightness is low and the viewing angles are short—too short. As we've said before, if for budgetary reasons there's no way to put the most advanced display on an entry-level phone, there has to be some kind of middle ground...
Interface & Navigation
It's quite rare for a low-budget (or even mid-range) smartphone to come with Ice Cream Sandwich pre-installed. But the Desire C does. ICS provides this entry-level smartphone with a practical, user-friendly interface.
On top of ICS is HTC's Sense 4.0 overlay. Rich in widgets, shortcuts and services, Sense is made to integrate into Android and give you more options for customising your phone.
An effective interface for managing apps and widgets
FriendStream: aggregates social network updates onto a single page
This only goes to show that ICS can run reasonably well on a processor that's neither new nor powerful (as long, of course, as you accept certain limitations, such as multitasking).
As with HTC's other recent smartphones, in addition to the MicroSD port and 4 GB of RAM, you also get 25 GB of free storage on Dropbox for two years. In other words, you should have plenty of space to store your content.
Unlike many smartphone cameras, the Desire C's doesn't smooth the image for cleaner contours. The rendering is very sharp with lots of detail, but it also contains a good deal of noise, especially in darker areas, and there's no flash. We should also mention that there's a certain amount of moiré as a result of interferences between minute, repetitive details, which causes colour aberrations. But compared with the Galaxy Mini 2, which, frankly, has a mediocre camera function, the Desire C is easily the better of the two. All things considered, it even outperforms the One V.
The video function is nothing to write home about. The rendering is approximate, contains little detail and lacks stabilisation; and the sound is mediocre.
The headphone signal uses Beats Audio, which fortunately doesn't interact much with the system. Our measurements were practically the same with Beats on or off. The player gives good dynamics and low distortion at maximum volume, which is just lower than average. As for the hands-free kit that comes in the box, it's good for a cursory listen, little more.
The web browsing experience is entirely adequate—that is, unless you've already gotten used to a larger, faster smartphone. You often end up zooming in and scrolling through the page to see text clearly, and there are slight moments of latency when a page contains too much content.
With a good day's worth of battery life (including 3G and Wi-Fi, web browsing, social networking, calls, texts, photos and smaller games like Angry Birds), the HTC Desire C is roughly average for today's smartphones. One added advantage is how little time it takes to charge.
- Good finishing
- Photo rendering
- ICS + Sense = good combo
- Short viewing angles
- Video rendering
- White body marks easily
- Multitasking: at your own risk
The Desire C offers a good overall user experience, as budget smartphones go. It tends to slow down when your run more than one task at a time, but it should satisfy the needs of any user who's trying to avoid an over-sized, over-priced, deluxe device.