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HTC Desire C review
HTC's new budget phone looks to set the bar at the bottom end

With its £130 price tag and sub-par specifications the HTC Desire C won't be the first choice for the media hungry out there, but that's not to say it won't suffice for the casual user.

HTC has squeezed in Dr Dre's Beats Audio technology to get your tunes pumping and there's also a video player if you fancy watching quick clips on the go.

The inbuilt 4GB of internal storage isn't too shabby for a budget handset, considering the still-popular HTC Explorer only offers a poxy 90MB (of the 512MB supplied) – plus HTC has now teamed up with Dropbox to offer new handset owners 25GB of free cloud storage.

And if that wasn't enough the Desire C also has space for a mircoSD card (up to 32GB) hidden away behind the rubber back plate.

You can easily pop your files onto the Desire C by connecting the handset to your computer with the bundled USB cable and simply dragging and dropping your media of choice onto the phone. Simples.


HTC Desire C review

The Desire C comes with a pre-installed music player, which not only offers you access to the music files you've transferred to the phone or your Dropbox account, but also to third party apps including SoundHound, TuneIn Radio and 7 Digital.

All the main music formats are supported on the Desire C including MP3, eAAC+, WMA and WAV.

The application itself is simply laid out and easy to use – with handy features such as album art updating via Gracenote, playlist generation and queue options.

Of course there's the Dr Dre Beats Audio technology, with can be toggled in the Now Playing menu under sound enhancer.

HTC Desire C review

You'll need a set of headphones plugged in to the Desire C to reap the benefits of this feature, as it's not compatible with the internal speaker in the handset.

The bundled in-ear phones are sadly not the Beats-branded ones we've seen with other handsets, such as the Sensation XE, but the HTC-branded buds are good enough and there's a noticeable improvement once the doctor's wizardry is switched on – with bass given a bigger impact and notes sounding clearer.

There's a homescreen widget if you require instant access to your tunes – which also includes a SoundHound button which will give you more details about the track playing, including the lyrics so you can have a nice old sing song.

If you fancy downloading some new tunes then the 7 Digital app is on board, which gives you a decent selection of songs to choose from, with tracks usually priced around 99p (around $1.50).

HTC Desire C review

It's not the slick interface we're used to from iTunes on the iPhone 4S, but 7 Digital does a good enough job at providing a relatively simple way of purchasing music, plus it's integrated with the Music player, so you can access it easily.

Certainly not a bad musical offering from a budget handset and it puts the likes of the Samsung Galaxy Y and LG Optimus L3 to shame, producing the same quality as handsets such as the One S.


HTC Desire C review

There's a more retro FM radio application included on the HTC Desire C if you like getting your tunes from a more traditional source.

The smartly presented app is easy to use, with channel scan and station preset options available; however you'll need to plug in a set of headphones to use it, as the wire acts as the antenna – although you can opt to play through the inbuilt speaker if you wish.

If you're a radio fan who doesn't want to mess around with an antenna, then head over to the TuneIn Radio app, which is also accessible via the Music app, to choose from a huge range of internet radio stations.


With its 3.5-inch display, offering up a middle of the road 320x480 resolution, the HTC Desire C isn't really here to sell itself on its movie playback prowess.

That said the playback experience isn't as bad as the disappointing showing on the Optimus L3 or Explorer, and we could happily watch YouTube videos on the Desire C.

The curved, rubberised back means the Desire C is comfortable to hold for extended periods of time, although we wouldn't recommend feature-length films as the small screen size doesn't do blockbusters any justice.

HTC Desire C review

There's no dedicated video app as such pre-installed on the Desire C, but Play Movies does make an appearance, providing you with access to Google Play's film rental portal, with titles ranging from 99p (around $1.50) to around £4.50 (around $7), as well as a separate tab for your own videos stored on the handset.

There are a handful of HD offerings, but don't waste your money as the Desire C's 3.5-inch HVGA display won't do them justice.

The built in video player, accessed by heading to the Gallery and selecting a video to play, is a decent offering on a budget handset with the standard play/pause, skip and scrubbing functions, but the Desire C also offers brightness controls and a capture button allowing you to take a screen shot of the currently playing video.

If you fancy sticking your own TV shows or movies onto the Desire C via the microSD card or the internal memory then you'll be pleased to find the handset supports the major formats such as AVI, MP4 and WMV.


The Gallery app is the place to go for all your images and videos. You'll find it's the stock Android offering, with a thumbnail album layout allowing you to view your snaps in a clean and efficient manner.

The gallery is able to pull photos from various locations including Facebook, Flickr and Dropbox if you like to have access to every single one of your snaps in one place.

HTC Desire C review

The Desire C offers some crude photo editing tools as well, with the ability to crop, rotate and add effects to images in the gallery.

The 14 effects include; auto enhance, cinnamon, high contrast, sepia, vintage, twilight and over exposure.