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HTC Desire C review

Can this small, rubber clad phone climb head and shoulders above its competition?

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

Our Verdict

A step up from the handsets it's replacing the HTC Desire C is a decent budget-handset, although you may want to look elsewhere if you want more bang for your buck.


  • Attractive design
  • ICS & Sense 4.0
  • Beats Audio
  • Easy to use


  • Slow and sluggish
  • screen unresponsive at times
  • poor account integration

The HTC Desire C may be the end of an era for low-end handsets from the Taiwanese firm, as it has recently come out and said that it's not doing "cheap, cheap phones" anymore.

Perhaps slightly confusingly named for those who are aware of HTC's back catalogue of handsets, the Desire C actually usurps the Wildfire S at the bottom of range – instead of filling the higher-end remit of the Desire handsets of old.

As the Desire C does prop up the rest of HTC's handset range it's no surprise that it can be picked up from £130 (around $200) on PAYG, or for free on contracts starting at £13 per month for two years.

HTC Desire C review

This puts the HTC Desire C on a par with the BlackBerry Curve 9320, but slightly more expensive than its other rivals – the LG Optimus L3, Samsung Galaxy Y, Huawei Ascend G300 and the slightly older, but still popular HTC Explorer.

In terms of specs the Desire C is similar to its predecessor, the Wildfire S, with the same 600MHz processor and 512MB of RAM running the show.

HTC Desire C review

The screen gets a slight boost on the Desire C, growing from 3.2 to 3.5-inches, although it still keeps the HVGA (320x480) resolution of the Wildfire S.

Compare this to the 4-inch display on the £40 cheaper Huawei Ascend G300 and you may feel a little bit cheated, but it's still bigger than the Optimus L3, Galaxy Y and Curve 9320.

One place where HTC has hit the nail on the head with the Desire C is in the design.

HTC Desire C review

It's a great looking handset, with its dinky rubberised curved chassis moulding perfectly into our palm, making us go a little misty eyed as we consider the resemblance to the Motorola PEBL.

The plastic rubber case means the Desire C is easy to grip, with no risk of it slipping out of our sweaty grasp and the construction is the same, solid HTC build quality we've seen on the more expensive One X and One S.

HTC Desire C review

It's a little bigger than the Wildfire S, measuring 107.2 x 60.6 x 12.3 mm, but HTC has managed to make the Desire C 5g lighter than its predecessor, weighing in at a meagre 100g.

Below the HVGA display are three capacitive buttons, back, home and multitasking, which tell us the HTC Desire C is running Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, the latest version of Google's operating system.

HTC Desire C review

Flip the Desire C over and you're greeted with a centralised 5MP camera, with a speaker to one side, but there's no flash present here.

Move your eyes down and you'll notice the Beats Audio logo at the bottom of the handset, reminding you that although the Desire C is sub-£150 phone, Dr Dre has applied his mad musical skills to this handset too.

HTC Desire C review

There's just two physical buttons on the HTC Desire C, a volume rocker switch on the right hand side and a power/lock key on top, which sits opposite a 3.5mm headphone jack.

Finally on the left hand side there's a microUSB slot to connect the Desire C to a computer or charger.

HTC Desire C review

Tuck your fingernail behind the power lock key and you'll be able to easily peel off the back cover, exposing the colourful innards of the Desire C.

There's a microSD slot to one side – allowing you to build on the 4GB of internal storage, and if you pop the 1,230mAh battery out you'll be able to access the SIM card slot – no microSIM business here folks.

Completing the connectivity cocktail is Wi-Fi b/g/n and Bluetooth 4.0, but there's no NFC technology present – something the Curve 9320 can boast about among the competition.