HTC Desire 626 review
|Review: September 2015|
In a nutshell: The HTC Desire 626 is a very nicely-styled phone. Slim and light weight, with a large 5-inch screen, it's the ideal size for a modern smartphone. The Desire 626 is billed as a mid-range phone, and ticks the right boxes regarding performance and capability, apart from its weak battery life. We feel that it's a good phone, but only if you can buy it for a good price.
Today's best buy: HTC Desire 626 from Tesco Direct (£169.12)
Design & looks
The HTC Desire 626 is an update of the Desire 620. The styling of the 626 is very similar to the 620, except that HTC has addressed our main criticism, which was the high weight and bulkiness of the 620.
The new 626 is a slimline phone, and is surprisingly light in weight, making it a very easy phone to handle, despite its large 5 inch screen. We'll see later though, that this has been achieved by reducing the battery size. It's an embedded non-changeable battery too, thanks to the phone's unibody construction. Oh dear. More on that later.
Broadly speaking, this is a very attractive phone for a mid-range model, with a stylish two-tone design, and it's available in a choice of colours, including Blue and White. We like the edge-to-edge feel of the display, and the neat lines and detailing that lend this phone a premium feel. It's well-built and feels like a robust phone, which is helpful as the smooth plastic finish makes it a relatively easy phone to drop.
Audio quality from the phone's single speaker is average.
The phone's 5 inch display is a good size for a smartphone. It gives plenty of space for videos, games, etc without pushing the size of the phone into the "phablet" territory. This seems to be the size most people are comfortable with. It's a sharp display, having HD resolution, with a pixel density of 294ppi, and with reasonable brightness and contrast.
In most ways then, the Desire 626 is a beautifully-designed phone that gives us just what we want from a mid-range model.
Android Lollipop plus HTC Sense
The Desire 626 runs Android Lollipop 5.1, plus the latest HTC Sense, including BlinkFeed, HTC's news aggregator. It's an excellent combination of the latest Android flavour, plus HTC's light-touch additions, and is an excellent platform for a smartphone.
Like the 620 before it, the Desire 626 uses the Snapdragon 410 processor. This is a 64-bit quadcore processor with a clock speed of 1.2GHz. It has 2GB of RAM available. This is standard for mid-range phones, and even some entry-evel smartphones can match this kind of power. For casual use, we don't anticipate any problems, but this isn't a processor that can handle high-end games or more demanding users. Apps take a while to open, and switching between apps can cause the phone to lag.
The onboard storage is 16GB, which is as much as we can hope for in 2015, and a microSD memory card can be added for additional storage - up to 512MB in fact.
13 megapixel camera
The Desire 626 can hold its own against other mid-range phones with its 13 megapixel autofocus camera, equipped with a BSI sensor for low-light enhancement, plus an LED flash. Video capture is at 1080p HD resolution.
The front-facing 5 megapixel camera also has a BSI sensor and 1080p video recording, and is good for selfies and video chat.
Like most other modern phones, the Desire 626 supports 4G LTE, plus 3G HSPA and 2G networks. It also handles Wi-Fi and Bluetooth wireless connectivity, plus USB and a 3.5mm audio jack.
The Desire 626 comes with a non-removable 2,000 mAh battery, which is too small for a device of this specification and gives us cause for concern. HTC has limited the battery size presumably to make the phone slim and lightweight, but it seems to have moved too far in this direction. A heavy user will struggle to make it through a full day with this battery, and even lighter users will find themselves reaching for the charger more often than they would like.
Conclusion - a nice phone, but under-powered and over-priced.
The HTC Desire 626 looks nice, feels nice, and is great to handle. The 5-inch display, slim design and light weight make it a lovely phone to use. It comes with Android Lollipop, has a decent processor and camera, and is 4G-compatible.
But there are problems here too. The Desire 626 is priced noticeably higher than the previous 620 model, yet adds little. At launch, it's very much over-priced for what it is - a nice but unremarkable mid-range phone. That battery is a significant problem too.
We'd recommend this phone for lighter users, who won't be so troubled by the battery life, and we think that a fair price would be around the £200 mark, or £15 - £17 per month on contract.
As an alternative, consider the Sony Xperia M4 Aqua, which has a more powerful processor, stronger battery life, and costs less.
HTC Desire 626 features include:
- Operating system: Android with HTC Sense
- 13 megapixel rear camera with autofocus, BSI sensor and LED flash plus 1080p HD video recording
- 5 megapixel front camera, BSI sensor, 1080p video recording
- Display: 5 inches, 720 x 1280 pixels
- Internal GPS antenna + GLONASS
- Music player
- Messaging: SMS, MMS, Email, instant messaging
- Sensors: Accelerometer, Proximity sensor, Ambient light sensor, Magnetic sensor
- Connectivity: Wi-Fi b/g/n (2.4 GHz), Bluetooth 4.1 with aptX, micro-USB 2.0, DLNA, HTC Connect, 3.5mm audio jack
- Processor: Quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 410, 1.2GHz x 4, 2GB RAM
- Memory: 16GB plus microSD card slot
- 4G LTE (Bands 3, 7, 8, 20), 3G HSPA (850/900/2100 MHz), Quadband GSM
- Size: 146.9 x 70.9 x 8.19 mm
- Weight: 135g
- Battery: 2000 mAh
- Talktime: 18 hours on 3G
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