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HTC Desire 530 review

 Review: April 2016  
 

Rating: 3 stars

In a nutshell: The HTC Desire 530 would make an excellent entry-level Android phone. Unfortunately, it's been priced at around 150 sim free, which is far too expensive for a phone of this type. If the price drops, it will become a good choice, thanks to its nice styling, good 5 inch screen, generous 16GB of memory, and decent cameras.

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£130.97
HTC Desire 530
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Design & looks

The HTC Desire 530 is an entry-level phone that's been dressed up as a mid-range model. The phone will be an ideal size for most people, with a large 5-inch screen, but compact enough to slip into a pocket. It's neither particularly slim nor lightweight, but average for a phone with a screen of this size, so you get exactly what you expect from the Desire 530.

The phone is all plastic, of course, but it's been nicely styled by HTC, with speaker grilles above and below the screen, and a soft-touch back that's easy to grip.

HTC has definitely paid more attention to the design of the Desire 530 than many manufacturers do to their cheaper phones. "Make a splash!" announces the company excitedly, before quickly adding don't, because the Desire 530 isn't waterproof. But it's obviousy intended to add a bit of colour and style to your life. The colour comes mainly from the red power button on the edge of the phone, although you can mix things up a little with a two-tone snap-on protective case. A free lanyard strap is included, just to make sure you don't drop the phone in anything wet.

The big 5-inch screen looks good for an entry-level product. Its Super LCD technology eliminates the air gap between the display and the outer glass, cutting back on reflections, and giving brightness and contrast a welcome boost. With a HD resolution and 294ppi pixel density, it's a good screen for a phone at this price.

Audio is perhaps better than average, thanks to a bass-boosting amp.

Android Marshmallow plus HTC Sense

The Desire 530 runs Android 6 with the latest HTC Sense user interface mods. HTC Sense includes personalisable themes, and the Blinkfeed news and social media aggregator.

Android and HTC Sense are steadily becoming more refined and usable with each release, and it's good to find the latest versions here on an entry-level product. That puts the Desire 530 ahead of many low-cost rivals.

Snapdragon 210

The Snapdragon 210 processor is a clear giveaway that this is an entry-level phone, not a mid-range model. It's a quadcore processor, but with a clock speed of just 1.1Ghz, it's far from being fast.

The Snapdragon 210 was developed by Qualcomm to compete in emerging markets, on phones costing between $50 and $75, so it's a bit cheeky of HTC to use it in a phone costing around £150 sim free!

Despite having 1.5GB of RAM available, the Snapdragon 210 is really at its upper limit trying to handle a HD display, 1080p video capture, and the other features in this phone, so don't expect too much from it.

We're pleased that the built-in storage is 16GB. This gives the user just under 10GB of storage for apps, music, videos and other data, which ought to be enough for most users. You can add a microSD card to store data if you need more.

8 megapixel camera

The Desire 530 comes with a "correct" 8 megapixel camera with BSI sensor, autofocus, and HDR mode. With 1080p video capture, it's got just what you'd expect from a mid-range smartphone.

The 5 megapixel front camera supports auto and voice selfies, to make sure you get that perfect shot of yourself.

Connectivity

The phone supports 4G networks, and also handles Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, USB, and incudes a 3.5mm audio jack.

Battery life

The low-spec processor and Super LCD display aren't so heavy on power use, but even so the small 2200mAh battery included in the Desire 530 isn't particularly generous. It will give you a maximum of 10 hours of intensive use, but heavy users should expect to recharge the phone every night.

Conclusion - could do better

The HTC Desire 530 is a good entry-level phone that has been over-optimistically priced by HTC. Selling at £150 off-contract, it's severely over-priced at the time of launch. That's a shame, because the phone is nicely-styled, and has a great mix of features for an entry-level product. If the price falls to £100, or £10 per month on contract, it'll be an excellent choice. But while the price remains high, shop around, and check out the Samsung Galaxy J5, Galaxy A3 or the Huawei P8 Lite.


HTC Desire 530 features include:

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HTC Desire 530
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£9.99
HTC Desire 530 Nano SIM - Te ...
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HTC Desire 530 SIM-Free Smar ...
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HTC Desire 530 user reviews

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Reviewed by Melanie from Wales on 14th Nov 2016
I found this phone to be as good as my Samsung J3. In fact the camera was a little better and the display richer. No difference whatsoever in speed. Deserves more than 3 stars. Wiĺl definitely buy an htc again.
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