HTC’s aluminum One series may get most of the attention, but the company’s also been pumping out solid plastic Desire handsets for years. This week we got a look at its new plastic lineup, which includes the “flagship” Desire 626 along with a couple of cheaper options.
Calling a plastic phone with midrange specs a flagship device may seem like a stretch, but the Desire 626 just might pull it off. HTC’s clearly put a ton of effort into the design, and as a result it feels great—not too light but not too heavy either—with a smooth, airtight build.
HTC is also offering slightly different designs for each carrier. Verizon and AT&T both get pretty straightforward white matte, but with different highlights to help tell them apart. The best looking model may be Cricket’s beautiful powder blue variant. On the other end of the spectrum is T-Mobile’s red and gray design, which comes off as gaudy and features a glossy plastic back panel that’s sure to pick up your fingerprints.
When it comes to hardware, the Desire 626 is definitely a midrange device. On AT&T and Verizon it packs a 5-inch 720p display, a quad-core Snapdragon 210 processor, an 8-megapixel rear camera, a 5-megapixel front-facing camera, a 2000mAh battery, 1.5GB of RAM, 16GB storage with microSD support, and LTE. Meanwhile, the Desire 626s (headed to T-Mobile, MetroPCS, Cricket, Sprint, Boost Mobile, Virgin Mobile and TracFone) offers the same specs except for a weaker 2-megapixel camera in front and just 8GB of storage onboard. Both versions run Android 5.1 Lollipop along with the latest version of HTC Sense, and everything seems to zip along just fine.
The Desire 626 and 626s obviously can’t compete with HTC’s own One M9 or other flagship phones but, for what it is, this is an impressive device. Whether that makes it a flagship in its own right is up for debate, but if you’re looking for a budget handset this is a solid option.
The Desire 520 and 526 are pretty straightforward phones, sporting simple black matte plastic with low-end specs and the price to match (HTC wouldn’t specify exactly how much any of these devices would cost). They feel fine in the hand, but there’s nothing particularly special about either model. This is the smartphone as a commodity.
The Desire 520 is headed to Cricket with a 4.5-inch FWVGA display, a Snapdragon 210 chip, an 8-megapixel rear camera, a 2-megapixel front-facing shooter, a 2000mAh battery, 1GB of RAM, 8GB of expandable storage and LTE support. It runs Android 5.1 Lollipop along with HTC Sense. The Desire 526 will be available on Verizon with slightly better specs (a 4.7-inch qHD display and 1.5GB of RAM) but the same basic setup.
Like we said, these two are nothing to write home about. Still, the combination of a cheap price tag and LTE is pretty nice.
HTC’s new Desire lineup is set to get a staggered launch starting this week and continuing over the next few months. Pricing should vary depending on carrier with plenty of discounts and deals as we head into the holiday season later this year. HTC says it should have review units soon, so hopefully we’ll be able to spend some quality time with these plastic phones before too long.