HTC Desire 610 review

Great build quality and software for the price - but that's not enough

HTC Desire 610
Great build and some brilliant features, but not quite great value

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Battery life

The 2040mAh battery hidden inside the sealed case of the HTC Desire 610 is just about up to par with other mid range devices but is left a fair way behind by the 20% larger cell inside the LG G2 Mini.

HTC Desire 610 review

Whilst its endurance is not outstanding, like most recent Android devices it should prove sufficient for most, achieving over three hours of screen time and lasting a day of medium-to-heavy usage without too much concern.

Backing up this impression are the results from our standard battery test, which involves playing a video for 90 minutes with the screen, set to a standard brightness - 300 lux. I conducted the test while connected to a reasonably strong WiFi signal with all my accounts syncing as normal.

The Desire 610 had dropped from a full charge to 74%, a decent enough result.

The LG G2 Mini is undoubtedly the star at the price point when it comes to battery endurance: it lost a third less battery in the same test, despite only having 20% more capacity.

Listening to music, playing a few games and browsing the web are handled without concern though, and standby performance (especially when connected to a good WiFi network) is excellent.

It is a little disappointing that HTC could not fit a larger battery in such a bulky body, which would then lead to a longer life between charges.

HTC Desire 610 review

The screen takes a fair toll on battery life as you would expect, but the Snapdragon 400 fitted to the Desire 610 proves its worth once again. One weakness is when signal quality is marginal, the device gets very warm and the battery level drops alarmingly.

HTC have made various power saving modes available on the Desire 610. The power saver mode reduces CPU use, screen brightness and turns of vibration.

It also disabled data connection when the screen is off. Using this mode seems to have a minimal performance impact but equally not much impact on ultimate longevity of the device.

There is also an extreme power saving mode, which only allows certain apps to run as well as doing the same as the normal power saver.

You can set this mode to activate at certain battery levels so you get the most out of the last few percent of the battery's charge.

The essentials

The Desire 610 holds onto strong cellular signal well, but does struggle when signal gets lower with an unusually high drop-off in data speeds under those conditions.

HTC Desire 610 review

When connected to a WiFi network, it exhibits the same problems suggesting that the aerials are not perfectly optimised. Nonetheless, I was satisfied with its general performance.

Despite these minor quibbles, it performs well as a phone. The quality of calls was average but the speaker is loud enough, and using it as a speakerphone is excellent with BoomSound on board.

The contacts app and dialler are simple and quick to use, and the dialler uses T9 prediction to find your contacts. SMS is handled by the standard HTC Messages app that is also very straightforward to work with. Of course, you can change your default SMS app to Hangouts or one of the many other options in the Play Store.

Data speeds over 3G and 4G were as expected although I did find it much slower to switch to a 4G network when I knew it was available. This may be a conservative approach from HTC, aimed at holding onto a strong 3G signal before switching over to a weaker 4G connection.

Getting apps onto the Desire 610 is handled by the Play Store, which is of course pre-installed on the phone. Books, music, TV shows and films are available. Everything works as expected, although reading on the low-resolution screen is a chore.

HTC Desire 610 review

HTC bundles its own music app with the Sense software on the phone with mixed success. It certainly looks nice but can be a little frustrating to use, with some inconsistent behaviours - especially when getting from the now playing screen back to an album view.

It does have a good search facility and will try to find album art and lyrics for songs you have stored on the phone, which is a nice touch.

The Desire 610 offers DLNA out of the box, so if you have an HTC Media Link or another DLNA receiver including many smart TV's you can stream your media wirelessly to that device.

Video playback is handled by the Gallery app and works acceptably. I didn't find any videos that the Desire 610 couldn't play, but the Gallery is optimised for images rather than videos, so things can be a little hard to find.

Casual gaming poses no problems for the Desire 610, but obviously anything more demanding will cause it to struggle. The battery suffers slightly more than expected though even with a casual game of Angry Birds.