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HTC Desire C review

  • HTC Desire C
  • HTC Desire C
  • HTC Desire C
  • HTC Desire C
  • HTC Desire C
  • HTC Desire C
  • HTC Desire C sample shots
  • HTC Desire C sample shots


A classy design and Android 4, but the screen and processor disappoint

Review Date: 12 Mar 2014

Price when reviewed: £150

Buy it now for: £77
(see more store prices)


Reviewed By: Seth Barton

Our Rating 3 stars out of 5

User Rating 4 stars out of 5

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Looking back at the HTC Desire C from two years ago it's amazing how far budget Android handsets have come in that time. At the time the HTC Desire C was nothing very special admittedly, with its sluggish single-core processor, 512MB of RAM and a terrible 480x320 screen resolution.

Even with Android 4.0 it seems pretty much unusable by modern standards, in the old version of the SunSpider benchmark it scored a risible 6,778ms, that's around five times slower than typical budget handsets today and around 10x slower than the top-end flagship phones. It can't run modern 3D games smoothly, or even at all.

The camera had no flash and there's only 4GB of storage available. At least the small 3.5in screen means that the battery lasted a respectable ten hours, about the only place where it does live up to the standards of modern handsets.

If you've come to this review thinking of picking up a HTC Desire C for cheap, or second-hand, our advice would be don't do it. It's not up to running today's versions of apps like Google Maps, where it slows to a crawl. Things have come on so far, so quickly, so find the extra money and get a Motorola Moto G, which is far, far better in every respect.


HTC currently makes some of the most desirable-looking handsets around, notably all three smartphones in its One range - the HTC One X, HTC One S and HTC One V are all stunners. It wasn't a surprise then when the less expensive HTC Desire C followed the trend, though we were impressed to find Android 4.0 running on it.

HTC Desire C
It looks pretty smart for a budget smartphone

At £150 on pay-as-you-go, the Desire C is a budget handset, though still a step up in price from the real cheap end of the market, and it looks it. The back plate, has a silky smooth finish. This blends almost seamlessly with the silver screen surround, and HTC is obviously trying to mimic to polycarbonate unibody designs seen in its more expensive models - and with some success.

HTC Desire C
It's smooth finish and rounded edges makes the Desire C a pleasure to hold

The Desire brand was once used as HTC's flagship, but those days are certainly gone now. The Desire C uses only a single-core processor and that only runs at a timid 600MHz. It has 512MB of RAM and only 4GB of internal storage. This makes browsing pretty sluggish and many games run at a crawl, as does Google Maps.

There's little in the way of extras either, with no HDMI output and no flash for the five-megapixel camera. None of these are a disaster on a budget handset, but a big disappointment is the measly 320x480 screen resolution. This makes everything on the 3.5in screen look soft at best, and blurry at worst. Small text, which would be readable on many handsets, is rendered an undecipherable mush. The screen isn't particularly bright either and colours don't look as vibrant as we'd like.

HTC Desire C
With the SIM and microSD slots tucked inside, there's little to see except the USB port

The three touch-sensitive buttons below the screen hint at the Desire C's saving grace. This is the first budget smartphone we've seen to come with Google's current operating system: Android 4.0. This is a huge plus over other models, with everything running smoother than it has any right to with such a slow processor. Android 4.0 provides numerous extras, such as easier application switching, and the option to jump straight from the lock screen to common apps, such as the camera.

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