HTC Desire 500 review

With a quad-core processor for this price, something's gotta give, right?

HTC Desire 500 review
Can HTC make it at the budget end?

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It is hard to say that the HTC Desire 500 is a phone that has been geared up for media consumption. Let's be clear, it will never rival the likes of the iPhone 5S, or even the cheaper iPhone 5C, as these are both significantly more expensive.

All the current indicators suggest that the lower costs of the device have meant that media has been placed lower on the priorities list. The lower resolution screen and poor internal storage both add up to a device that is more centred around communication.

That said, you can pop in a microSD card to boost the storage by a further 64GB. We wouldn't recommend watching HD movies on the Desire 500, but you can put in a fair whack of music.

Music Player

Music playing is clearly what the HTC Desire 500 has been geared towards, given that it is probably one of the last phones that comes shipping with Beats Audio on board.

Sound quality was never going to rival the HTC One, at least not via the external speakers. Unfortunately, the Beats Audio isn't available through the single rear speaker on the Desire 500.

This means that you won't be blaring out your tunes to all and sundry, making you a far more respected citizen as you sit there with it pumping through your earphones. Again, HTC hasn't provided the same fancy earphones that come with One.

HTC Desire 500 review

Maybe we're being overly harsh comparing the Desire 500 to the One, given that it is shipping at around £300 less, but HTC liked to point out that it brings HTC One features to a lower price point, so the comparison is easier to make.

Despite the lack of Beats, the speaker on the back of the HTC Desire 500 is more than adequate. It is clear and loud, if lacking the same levels of bass that the Dr. Dre technology provides.

One of the key features of the music player is the fact that you can manipulate it through the lock screen. A basic widget pops up, allowing you to pause and skip tracks. This is a god send, as there are devices out there that don't *cough Samsung Galaxy S3 cough*.

In all, the music player isn't the most inspiring of apps, although it comes with the large album art that we have become accustomed to, alongside all the basic buttons.

The HTC music app does also allow you to search the songs you're listening to via SoundHound, as well as updating cover and artist photos through GraceNote (if it can find it), or streaming the music to another device by Bluetooth or Wi-Fi.

As most tracks listened to will be MP3, we don't foresee running into any play back issues. The HTC Desire 500 does support eAAC+, WMA, WAV and FLAC file types, however.

An FM radio is also bundled inside the Desire 500, which can be used when you have some headphones plugged in. In all, it did a decent job of finding different stations, although they weren't always as clear as we would have expected.


When it comes to video, we should mention the screen quality again. It might seem like a bigger problem than it actually is on the Desire 500, but for those that are looking for a device with serious movie playing capabilities, this isn't the one for you.

Perhaps you could use the spare change, though, to go buy a cheapish tablet like the Google Nexus 7.

The screen is actually rather bright, meaning that you won't be too disappointed if the HTC Desire 500 is the only player that you have with you. It is just the resolution that makes the movies seem a little below par.

HTC Desire 500 review

We commented that we thought the auto-brightness was a little low when watching movies on the HTC One, thankfully we didn't feel that this was an issue on the Desire 500.

We foresee the majority of video being watched on the Desire 500 coming from the likes of YouTube, or through videos shared by friends via WhatsApp or Facebook, so we can't knock it too much.

The player does also manage to play a large variety of movies, thanks to its support for the DivX, XviD, MP4, H.263, H.264 and WMV file types.