The HTC Desire 500 was announced back in August 2013 and was released in September, we had it in for testing a while after that and the review was forgotten amongst others we had lying around, so we are sorry this didn’t come to you sooner.
Design and Ergonomics
The HTC Desire 500 is a slick smartphone and at first glance you will think that the back cover is non-removable. But unlike other HTC smartphones you can actually remove it and you will have to in order to put your SIM card in it.
But first lets talk about the look of the device. The HTC Desire 500 is a good-looking smartphone and it is available in several colors. We had the white and blue version in for testing but there are also the white and red and all black versions available.
The box is a minimalistic as it could be, only having enough space for the device and accessories. Once you take it out of the box, the first thing you will see is the 4.3 inch screen staring back at you. Near the bottom of the front you will find the 3 usual android touch buttons.
On the bottom side of the device you will find the microUSB cable slot, that you will use to charge your device or connect it to your pc. You will also find a pin sized hole that is the microphone.
The left side of the Desire 500 has no buttons whatsoever and all you see is the flawless blue rim on the edge.
On the back you have the 8MP camera along with its flash near the top and on the bottom you have the speaker.
On the right side the flawless blue rim is interrupted by the volume rocker buttons and on the top of the device you will see the lock/power button and the 3.5mm phone jack.
There’s really not much more to look at when it comes to the outside of the device. It is pretty slick and enjoyable to the eyes but it tends to slip easily from your hands after holding it for a while or if it is too hot.
One thing you will notice is that somehow the screen is projected outside the protective plastic case about 2/3 millimeters. This will lead you to automatically assume that if anything is to happen to device, like falling for example, it will definitely hit it first…and we happen to think you’re right. Even though we did not have any issues with the device falling or scratching the screen we are pretty sure that with regular use it will be the first to suffer.
What comes inside the box may you ask, well the usual paraphernalia, warranty disclaimers, user manual, microUSB/USB cable, power adapter and the earphones.
So now to the good part, how to you take the cover off? It is actually pretty simple, just push on the bottom rim and place your other fingers on the middle of the cover in order to bend it and it will come right off. After you take it off you can see and insert the microSIM and microSD cards, and the best thing is that if you need to switch out the battery you can.
The 4.3 inch display has a resolution of 480×800 pixels and 217ppis, which leads to a decent image, with pretty good colors and an irreprehensible viewing angles.
Performance and Software
The HTC Desire 500 comes with Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean, with the well-known HTC UI overlay, Sense UI 5.0.
You won’t find many proprietary apps installed, just the usual from Google and a few more:
- Kid Mode
- TuneIn Radio
- Polaris Office
This is all good for usual users, since the applications most people use are in there already and you won’t have to worry about installing anything, which in the case of this device is good, since you won’t be able to install anything unless you have a microSD card ready.
Since the Desire 500 only has 4GB of space, you will quickly find that most of it is occupied by the Android OS and the preinstalled applications, and the only space you have left for yourself are about 650 MB, that will come in handy when updates for the applications need to be installed.
That is definitely something to take into consideration if you are thinking of acquiring this device.
You will be able to see most of them in the video review, so feel free to check it out.
We wanted to play a few games in it but given we didn’t have a microSD card in hand and given the space restrictions we were only able to play fruit ninja. The device behaved well with fruit ninja and there was no noticeable lag in any part of the game.
The same as to be said in regular use, at no point there was poor performance that would lead us to steer you away from this device.
As we said before the Desire 500 has a rear camera of 8 MP with LED flash, that is capable of taking pictures up to 3264×2448 pixels and is capable of recording videos up to 720p @ 30fps. There is also a secondary frontal camera with 1.6MP.
The Desire 500 rear camera does not do a good job of taking advantage of light conditions as you can see by the quality of the Medium Light photo below. It is almost as dark as most of the Low light photos we have snapped with other devices along the times.
The quality of the video recording in non-perfect lighting conditions is far from perfect as well. The colors will shift from the original ones pretty quickly as you can see from the video below.
The frontal camera is as good as one would expect from a 1.6MP camera. It will satisfy most of the users, whose only intention is to use it during video calls and/or Skype but will greatly disappoint those who are fascinated by the selfie trend that is going around these days.
Connectivity and Battery Life
The Desire 500 has a 1800mAh battery, which one would expect to not last that long, but since the device has also a small screen, it has as stand-by expected life time of 435 hours, and a talk time of up to 12 hours.
When it comes down to connectivity the Desire 500 has the usual suspects, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth v4.0 and a microUSB port. There is no NFC to speak of though and that might be a turn down for many of you given the connectivity options we have nowadays.
All in all the Desire 500 will certainly serve well some part of the Android smartphone market, but it will not be a perfect fit for everyone else. Since it has so little internal memory it will not be a fit for those of us who rely heavily of having many applications installed and keep track of several notes that require storage. Of course this could be settled with an SD card if we could install applications in the card, which some brands do not allow without rooting the device and therefore loosing the warranty.
Some that have used the Desire 500 for longer than what we had it in for testing and they complain that the device usually overheats, since we only could play fruit ninja in it we didn’t notice such thing.
Since the Desire 500 came out in 2013, it was an average device for its time and nowadays you will be better served with one of the Nexus devices or even some of the lower end LG smartphones.
Review by: Cátia Sofia @ Android Emotions