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Android smartphones Reviews
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HTC Desire 500 review: a great mid-range smartphone with impressive specs and performance

£199 inc VAT

Manufacturer: HTC

Our Rating: We rate this 4 out of 5

The HTC Desire 500 is a mid-range Android smartphone with a powerful quad-core processor, desirable specs and clean good looks. Read our HTC Desire 500 review to find out more.

HTC Desire 500 review

The HTC Desire 500 is an excellent option if you’re in the market for a mid-range smartphone. It looks great, has excellent specs and a very reasonable price tag. Read our HTC Desire 500 review to find out if it is it the best mid-range smartphone available to buy right now. (See also: The 15 best phones you can buy in 2013)

HTC Desire 500 review: Design and build quality

The HTC Desire is one of the best looking smartphones available right now. Measuring it at 131.8 x 66.9 x 9.9mm, it’s about the perfect size in terms of fitting your hand and weighing just 123g it’s not a brick either.

The phone itself is made from a pretty solid plastic that sports a highly polished finish. One downside to the design is the thickness of the bezel surrounding the screen, this isn’t ideal, but it is to be expected/forgiven on a mid-range smartphone.

The HTC Desire 500 also features a large speaker at the top of the phone, which gives you the impression that it will kick out good sound; sadly it doesn’t offer any real audio advancement compared to other smartphones.

HTC Desire 500 review: Hardware

For a mid-range smartphone, the HTC Desire 500 offers the best set of specs you can hope for. The Qualcomm quad-core Snapdragon processor is a real plus point, and its partnership with the 1GB of onboard RAM is reflected in the nippiness of the Desire 500 when flicking around the home screen and opening/closing apps.

The Benchmark scores didn’t really reflect the good performance of the phone though. In the GFXBench 2.5 Egypt HD test it scored 1346 @ 12 fps; in the Sunspider JavaScript test it scored 1089.0ms; Geekbench 2 1205; and Geekbench 3 scored 826 (multi-core). These are not impressive scores.

The Desire 500’s storage is a bit of a mixed bag. The 4GB of internal storage isn’t really big enough to store all the apps you might want – especially if you have apps such as Spotify where you download additional files within the app. The phone goes some way to redeeming itself with the inclusion of a microSD card slot, that enables you to boost the storage by up to 64GB.

HTC Desire 500

HTC Desire 500 review: Camera

The onboard cameras offer ample quality too. The 1.3Mp front-facing camera is more than good enough for Skype conversations and for taking sad selfies, while the rear-facing 8Mp daddy – complete with LED flash – will take snaps and videos with more than enough quality for a smartphone.

Here is a sample image and video taken from our review sample of the HTC Desire 500

HTC Desire 500 review: Software

HTC takes its software very seriously – it is a manufacturer that is very much of the opinion that its customers want as much of HTC’s software design and features on the smartphones as possible, and the Desire 500 is no different, as it comes with HTC Sense 5.0 presinstalled.

One of the other more in your face pieces of bloatware here is the HTC BlinkFeed – this is in essence a newsfeed consisting of images and text that automatically updates on your home screen. It’s a feature that looks stylish, but it’s not necessarily something that every smartphone user wants shoved in their face when they unlock their device.

The Desire 500 comes running Android 2.1.1 Jelly Bean, which means it is a little out of date in pure OS terms, as KitKat is in the process of being rolled out and even the latest version of Jelly Bean is now at 4.2.3.

HTC Desire 500 review: Battery

We didn’t get chance to run our standard battery test for the HTC, but from our time using the device we can report that there is nothing noticeable about the 1800Mah battery. It will get you through a day of normal usage with no real drama, but if you are hammering texts and Facebook on the device for any considerable length of time, then it will drain away quickly.

There is a handy battery saving mode built in to the HTC Desire 500, that will conserve the battery by limiting the handset’s access to data and toning down the screen brightness and CPU usage – we found that this was effective when switched on.

HTC Desire 500 Expert Verdict »

Total storage : 4 GB, available capacity varies
Processor: Qualcomm quad-core 1.2GHz Snapdraggon
RAM: 1GB
Primary camera: 8Mp with LED flash
Secondary camera: 1.3Mp
Bluetooth® 4.0 with aptX™ enabled
Wi-Fi®: IEEE 802.11 b/g/n
DLNA® for wirelessly streaming media from the phone to a compatible TV or computer
Battery capacity : 1800 mAh
Size:131.8 x 66.9 x 9.9mm
Weigh:123g
  • Build Quality: We give this item 8 of 10 for build quality
  • Features: We give this item 8 of 10 for features
  • Value for Money: We give this item 9 of 10 for value for money
  • Performance: We give this item 7 of 10 for performance
  • Overall: We give this item 8 of 10 overall

The HTC Desire 500 is a great-looking device, with tons of unique software and solid mid-range smartphone specs on board. It's hard to find any real weaknesses with the phone, including its reasonable £199 price tag. To sum up, it's simply a very good mid-range Android smartphone.


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