The HTC Desire series included a lot of my favorite smartphones, and the HTC Desire HD with an aluminum unibody body was the first smartphone I’ve reviewed. The design of those first Desire smartphones was amazing. Therefore, I expected a lot from the new HTC Desire 530.
Unboxing & Initial Setup
Design & Build Quality
I’m a little disappointed with the design of the HTC Desire 530. Unlike my previous Desire smartphones, this one features a plastic chassis with ugly speaker arrangement and huge bezels around the display. It looks really cheap as compared to the old HTC One M7 released a few years ago.
As the exterior is made of plastic, the Desire 530 is extremely lightweight and easy to manage with one hand. This is an important advantage if you find current smartphones too big and heavy. The back panel also looks more interesting with the colorful micro splash finish, and you even have lanyard holes on the lower left corner.
The power button and volume control are placed on the right side while the SIM card tray and microSD card slot are hidden on the left side.
Interface & User Experience
If you’ve used an HTC One smartphone, you will get used to the Desire 530 in no time since it also runs Sense UI on top of Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow. Unfortunately, the performance of the phone is underwhelming. Either when you install a new app, launch an app or play a game, you will easily see how slow this phone is. This is understandable because this is a budget phone which uses the low-end Snapdragon 210 SoC. The processor was released in 2014 and used on some entry-level smartphones only. You will have the Adreno 304 GPU, Bluetooth 4.1, 802.11n WiFi, 4G LTE, and QuickCharge 2.0.
The Antutu benchmark showed a score of 23,844 for this phone, that means it is even slower than the 4-year-old HTC One M7.
The phone has an internal storage of just 16GB but the available storage is less than 10GB, so you’d better insert a microSD card to expand the storage.
The display seems to be a good one according to the spec sheet, this is a 5-inch super-LCD display with the resolution of 1280x 720 pixels. However, it actually looks very dull in real-life usage. It is not bright and vibrant enough when using under bright sunlight. Besides, the viewing angle is just terrible, you will hardly see anything when viewing at an angle. This is useful to protect your privacy but also makes your multimedia experience less enjoyable.
As I expected, the signal reception of the Desire 530 is quite good since the case is made of plastic and it doesn’t block signal like aluminum phones. The voice quality is great and I have no interruption at all. Noticeably, the phone supports Cat 4 LTE with the download speed of up to 150 Mbps.
The HTC phone features an 8MP sensor with ƒ/2.4 aperture but this seems like a low-quality one. It can’t capture details of the scene and the images can be easily blown out. The video recording capability is not better as it supports 720p videos only. There is no optical image stabilization and the autofocus feature is not fast and accurate enough. Check out some sample photos and videos captured from the camera.
The phone is powered by a 2000-mAh battery and it is not drained out as fast as flagships out there. I can easily use it for over a day without charging and when I use it less often, it could even last more than 3 days. You also have some power saving modes to extend the battery life even further.
A full charge of the battery takes just around 1 hour and 20 minutes.
- Lightweight and comfortable to use with one hand
- Expandable storage
- Clean Sense UI
- 4G LTE support
- Good battery life
- Plastic chassis
- Disappointing performance
- Low-quality camera
The HTC Desire 530 smartphone targets a low-entry market but the price tag of $179 for the unlocked version is still quite expensive. I’d only recommend the phone if you can find it on sale for lower than $100.