HTC Desire C Review

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If we look at the 10-15K price bracket, HTC has no product offering worth considering right now. As far as Android handsets go, Sony’s Live with Walkman is still the best offering here followed closely by the much older, but still relevant Samsung Galaxy Ace. LG has introduced a new handset for this price bracket, the E612, which looks pretty good on paper. HTC's Wildfire and Wildfire S too were in this price range, but neither of them did very well. So there was opportunity for HTC to swoop in and fill this gap, effectively grabbing some lucrative marketshare in this segment, which is what it hoped to achieve with the Desire C. This budget droid is a slightly beefed up version of the HTC Explorer with Beats Audio thrown into the mix. Let’s see if it’s good enough to take the crown from Sony.

Design and Build
The design and feel of the phone is heavily inspired from the Explorer. The Desire C has the same pebble-shaped rubberized body except for the addition of the chrome strip that sits along the bezel. The phone feels light at just 100g and is very comfortable to hold. The rubber back also adds to the grip, so it won’t easily slip out of your hand. We have the three capacitive buttons in the front and a proximity sensor and ambient light sensor but no front camera.

A handsome looking phone

A handsome looking phone


The microUSB port, volume rocker and power/sleep buttons are placed along the sides along with the 3.5mm headphone jack on the top. The placement of the ports and buttons are quite ergonomic and everything is within reach. In the back we have a 5MP fixed-focus camera and the speaker grill beside it. The Desire C is available in different colour trims, out of which we like the black and red theme the most. The rear panel snaps back to reveal the removable battery, SIM card tray and a microSD card slot. Overall, HTC's done an excellent job with the design and build of the phone.

We were quite surprised to see HTC bundle Android 4.0 along with Sense UI on a phone powered by just a 600MHz CPU. By today’s standards, this is way too underpowered and usually one expects phones that cost around 6-7K to use this kind of CPU. And it’s not like it’s a new one either, HTC has used an older MSM7227A SoC with an even older Adreno 200 GPU. Thanks to the 512MB of RAM, the UI is manageable and while it’s not the best ICS experience, you won’t find yourself tearing your hair out either. With Sense 4.0, you get all of the bundled apps we’ve see in phones like the One S, One V etc.

Sense 4.0 gives you a very familiar experience

Sense 4.0 gives you a very familiar experience


The 3.5-inch screen features a resolution of 320 x 480, which is a bit low so icons and menus are not the sharpest but not too bad either. There is a major colour banding issue, which is very noticeable across most colour backgrounds, especially white and black. We'd have expected HTC to fit a better quality screen for the price tag they've attached to this phone, but sadly they haven’t. Multi-tasking is present as well, with the dedicated task switcher key.

You get the new media player thanks to Sense 4.0, which is a complete overhaul of their previous versions of Sense. We now have TuneIn Radio, SoundHound and 7digital, which are integrated into the default music player. A simple tap fetches you the music info, the option to purchase music, find lyrics and similar artists as well as locate tour dates. A couple of them, including the similar artists and music info proved to be quite useful to get more out of your existing music library. There aren’t any equalizer presets any more - you only have the options to enable or disable Beat Audio. The audio quality is good but for more flexibility in tweaking the sound, we’d recommend something like Poweramp.

Good media playback options

Good media playback options


The stock video player will only playback MP4 and AVI and that too only up to 480p. 720p will playback but with a lot of stutter. The Beats Audio option is available in the stock video player as well. HTC doesn’t bundle the Beats in-ear headphones anymore, so to get the most out of it, we’d recommend a good pair of IEMs.

The Desire C is a quad-band GSM phone; however, it only supports HSDPA 900 and 2100 for 3G. Still, you have support for 14.4Mbps down and 5.76Mbps up which is more than decent. You also have Wi-Fi, Bluetooth v4.0 but no NFC. Thanks to ICS, the stock browser does a good job of rendering webpages but it’s noticeably slower when loading image heavy sites. The images and text in webpages have some noticeable jaggies around them even after zooming in due to the low resolution of the screen.

Keyboard is quite ergonomic to use despite the small screen

Keyboard is quite ergonomic to use despite the small screen


Social networking integration is done well - thanks to Sense - with the dedicated pre-loaded apps as well as Friend Stream that consolidates all your data into one single feed. It also lets you post to multiple sites from the app itself. Google+ Messenger has been included as well. The stock keyboard works well; however, it feels a little cramped in portrait mode. Thankfully, we didn’t encounter any lag while typing on the keyboard and the response is quick.

Misc. Apps
The pre-loaded apps in the Desire C include 7digital – a music buying app, Dropbox – for your cloud needs, Facebook, as well as productivity apps like eBuddy XMS, Polaris Office, Navigation, HTC Hub, Tasks and Teeter.

Features are wasted on the fixed-focus camera

Features are wasted on the fixed-focus camera


The camera is the most disappointing feature. While it is a 5MP shooter, HTC in its infinite wisdom, has decided to skip auto-focus, which makes it next to useless. Pictures are blurry and you’ll never be able to get any sort of detail from this sensor. Outdoor shots are somewhat passable but overall, it’s really disappointing. Video recording is present up to VGA resolution. The quality of the video is not the best and there’s a lot of noise that creeps into the video even with plenty of ambient light in the room. Had HTC only added auto-focus to the camera, the quality would have been a lot better.

You'll never get good details without auto-focus

You'll never get good details without auto-focus


Battery Life
The Desire C is fitted with a 1230mAh battery which lasted for 5 hours and 30 minutes in our video drain test. This is pretty average at best and under heavy usage, you find yourself reaching for the charger at the end of the day. With an hour and a half of calls and audio streaming thrown into the mix in our loop tests, the phone lasted for roughly 5 hours. 

HTC has priced the Desire C at a street price of Rs.14,000, which is simply too expensive for what essentially feels like a sub-10K phone. HTC may have increased the screen size but the display seems even worse than the Explorer since the resolution has stayed the same. The two major deal breakers here are the lack-lustre camera and the ancient processor. The silver lining (if you want to call it that) is that you do get Ice Cream Sandwich, which is kind of a big deal for a phone this slow.

I strongly feel HTC has squandered a major opportunity here and the Desire C is not winning any awards for the company. Sony’s Live with Walkman may have a slightly smaller screen, but it’s better than the Desire C in every other area, not to mention a pending update to ICS. HTC could have run away with the market with this phone had it done the homework and put some more thought into the Desire C. I wouldn’t recommend this phone at all right now - perhaps, one day when it falls below the 10K mark and eventually replaces the Explorer.


HTC Desire C makes it easy to connect and plug into fun. Call or message and note how HTC Sense minimizes navigation for simplicity. Quick social upload means go from picture capture to share effortlessly. Continue the fun with rich, authentic sounds brought to you by Beats Audio. Easy to Shoot and Share Be quick to the draw with a 5MP camera where you can capture photo or video. Then seamlessly share with the world with our intuitive upload and share process. Simple to Call and Connect Back to basics as they are meant to be experienced. Call, message, and reach out to those that matter most quickly and efficiently. A 5MP camera with a redesigned, and more intuitive camera application means with HTC Desire C you are always ready to capture a moment. And with deeper social integrations through Facebook , you are just a few taps from sharing that moment with the world. With Dropbox integrated into HTC Sense, you can automatically save all your photos and videos to Dropbox – and access and share all your pictures directly from the Gallery. Dropbox also makes it easy to edit and share files while you are on the go, so you never have to email yourself a document again. To discover all that Dropbox can do, sign-up or log-in to Dropbox on your HTC Desire C and receive 25 GB of Dropbox space free for two years.


Form Factor Bar
Screen Type TFT capacitive touchscreen
Screen Size 3.5 inches
Screen Resolution 320 x 480
Number of Colours 16M


Speed 600 MHz


Internal Memory 4GB, 512MB RAM
Extendable Memory microSD, up to 32GB

Camera Features

Sensor Resolution 5MP
Features Geo-Tagging
Video Recording Yes

General Features

OS Android
Version 4
FM Radio Stereo FM radio with RDS
Bluetooth Features Yes, v3.0 with A2DP
Messaging SMS, MMS, Email, Push Email
GPS Yes, with A-GPS support
USB Connector Yes, MicroUSB 2.0
Available Colours Polar White, Stealth Black, Flamenco Red

Carrier Networks

2G GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900
3G HSDPA 900 / 2100


WiFi 802.11 b/g/n


Dimensions 60.6 x 12.3 x 107.2 mm
Weight 98


Media Player Audio formats: aac, .amr, .ogg, .m4a, .mid, .mp3, .wav, .wma (Windows Media Audio 9)|#|Video formats: 3gp, .3g2, .mp4, .wmv (Windows Media Video 9), .avi (MP4 ASP and MP3)
Alert Tone MP3, WAV
Speakerphone Yes
Audio connector 3.5mm


Type Li-Ion
Capacity 1230

Miscellaneous Features

Built in Applications Google Search|#|Maps|#|Gmail|#|YouTube|#|Calendar|#|Google Talk|#|eBuddy XMS, Polaris Office|#|Navigation|#|HTC Hub|#|Tasks|#|Teeter
Other Features Organizer, Document Viewer/Editor, Voice Memo/Dial, Predictive Text Input

After Sales Service

Warranty Period 1 Year


Warranty Period 1 Year

Published Date: Aug 04, 2012 09:44 am | Updated Date: Aug 04, 2012 09:44 am