HTC’s Desire series is best known for its budget-friendly prices and playful designs. Now the company is pushing into new territory with two stylish Desire smartphones offering solid hardware at competitive prices.
The HTC Desire 10 Lifestyle launches this month for £249 in the U.K. and under €300 in other European countries. The Desire 10 Pro is set to hit the market in November; we don’t know the price but it’s somewhere between the Lifestyle and the flagship HTC 10. Neither phone will be available in the U.S.
Both smartphones sport a distinguished design that HTC says is inspired by the Art Deco movement. They feature geometric accent lines accented in gold and mono-colored plastic frames with a soft touch treatment that almost feels like ceramic in your hands. In my meeting, a company representative joked that the new Desire phones look like they’re dressed up in blazers, particularly the Stone Black and Royal blue versions. You can also opt for a slightly less serious option in Polar White or Valentine Tux (a very light shade of blue).
The Desire 10 Pro and Desire 10 Lifestyle look very similar, but there are a few clear differences. Only the Pro packs a fingerprint reader in back. It also adds a laser autofocus module below the rear camera, while the Lifestyle includes a metal loop for attaching a lanyard on the bottom edge (HTC says that’s a popular option in Asia). The Lifestyle is also slightly larger overall, offering thicker bezels with the same 5.5-inch screen size.
There are plenty of spec differences as well. The HTC Desire 10 Pro packs a 1080p display, a 20-megapixel rear camera, a 13-megapixel front-facing camera, a MediaTek octa-core processor, a 3,000mAh battery, 24-bit Hi-Res audio, up to 4GB of RAM, and up to 64GB of expandable storage. The Desire 10 Lifestyle is a little less impressive with a 720p display, a quad-core Snapdragon 400 chip, a 2,700mAh battery, up to 3GB of RAM, and up to 32GB of storage. However, the Lifestyle does offer HTC’s BoomSound Hi-Fi Edition speakers, which the Pro can’t match due to its MediaTek processor.
HTC says this is the biggest leap forward for the Desire series since the brand first launched. The company has done a great job pushing its mid-range series into flagship-striking distance. However, the company will need to do even better if it wants to compete directly with true budget-friendly flagship phones like the Axon 7 or OnePlus 3. For now, the Desire brand still represents excellent entry and mid-level devices, and there’s nothing wrong with that.