|Style & Handling|
|+ Decent battery||- Disappointing screen|
|+ 4G support||- Poor camera|
|+ Fairly powerful||- Only 8GB of storage|
Verdict: The HTC Desire 510 is almost a great affordable 4G phone, but the camera is poor and the screen could be a lot better.
The number of 4G-ready entry-level smartphones has ballooned in the last year or so and you can add one more to the list with the HTC Desire 510. Its SIM free price tag of around £150 puts it above the very cheapest 4G phones like the £100 EE Kestrel, but it’s still highly affordable.
A low price doesn’t always translate to good value though, as corners are often cut to keep the price down. So read on to see where the Desire 510 excels and where it doesn’t.
At 4.7 inches we’d say the HTC Desire 510 is just about the perfect size for the average user. As much as 5-inch plus displays seem to be in vogue they’ve reached the point where one-handed use can be awkward for many people, but unless you’ve got tiny hands that shouldn’t be the case with the 4.7-inch Desire 510.
And while it’s not massive it’s also far from small, especially for a budget handset. So it’s a good size, but at 480 x 854 it’s not such a good resolution. The Desire 510 has a pixel density of 208 pixels per inch, which while not the worst we’ve seen is far from great.
It’s perfectly useable but we couldn’t help but wish it was a little bit sharper, especially as even the bargain-bucket Moto E has a higher pixel density.
Like most budget handsets the HTC Desire 510 has a plain plastic build but it’s far from ugly, with rounded edges and a curved back that makes it comfortable to hold.
At 139.9 x 69.8 x 9.99mm and 158g it’s fairly chunky and weighty, but not enough to really detract from the overall quality and while the bezels are on the large size they’re not hideously so.
There’s little in the way of defining features, just an HTC logo in the middle of the otherwise plain back, with the camera lens above it and speaker below, while on the front there’s another logo below the screen and a speaker above. It’s worth noting that unlike on most HTC handsets these aren’t BoomSound speakers and you don’t get stereo sound.
Compared to higher end HTC’s it doesn’t look great, with no metal and not even a two-tone colour scheme like the HTC Desire Eye, but it looks better than a lot of low end handsets.
The HTC Desire 510 has a 1.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 400 processor and 1GB of RAM, which seems to have become fairly standard on low end smartphones but is enough for it to deliver solid performance.
That’s helped no end by HTC’s slick Sense interface and though it could be better yet with Android 5.0, it at least runs Android 4.4.2, which is fairly well optimised for low end hardware.
As ever at this sort of price you shouldn’t expect to get great performance from high end games like Real Racing 3, but for more causal games and most other tasks it gets the job done.
The addition of 4G is always appreciated too. For many people that will be one of its main selling points and it gives it a big boost if you’re likely to use it much when away from Wi-Fi.
The camera is one of the more disappointing aspects of the HTC Desire 510. At 5 megapixels it’s okay for the money, but with phones increasingly pushing the megapixel count up that’s no longer great even for a £150 phone and the lack of a flash doesn’t help.
It can still take reasonable photos assuming the light is good, but don’t expect reams of detail. On the plus side it does have a full-featured camera app, with various modes and settings, allowing you to tweak the likes of ISO and EV, add filters and change scene modes.
It can also shoot video in 1080p and while the results aren’t special they’re good enough if you just want to shoot a short clip for social media.
The front facing camera isn’t particularly good, being limited to 0.3 megapixels. Anything you shoot on it will be very low in detail, so it’s not much use.
There aren’t many standout features on the HTC Desire 510, other than its price tag and its 4G support. But you do get the software features of HTC Sense, the highlight of which is BlinkFeed, which is basically like Flipboard and fills one of your homescreens with a constantly updated feed of news, entertainment and social media updates. It looks good and works well.
If you plan to put your phone in a case then you might also be interested in knowing that the HTC Desire 510 supports HTC’s Dot View cases, allowing you to view the time and alerts on the lock screen while keeping it covered by a case.
This is possible by virtue of the Dot View case having grills in it, coupled with a Dot View mode on the device which makes text and images appear in a way that lets you view them through the case. It’s a neat trick and a worthwhile investment if you pick a Desire 510 up.
The battery in the HTC Desire 510 is 2100mAh, which is quoted for up to 646 hours of standby time or 17 hours of talk time. That’s a reasonable size for a low end phone and it has a more than reasonable lifespan, staying juiced for around a day and a half with moderate use.
Plus you can extend that further by making use of the built in Extreme Power Saving Mode, which reduces CPU usage, limits app activity and more.
There’s only 8GB of built in storage which is a bit of a shame as that won’t really go far in this day and age, where a single game or movie can potentially come in at almost 1GB. But the good news is it also has a microSD card slot with support for cards of up to 128GB, so you can massively expand its storage. Connectivity options include 3G, 4G, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0.
The HTC Desire 510 is a decent low price 4G smartphone. It doesn’t really excel in any area but nor does it completely fail at anything. There’s a decent amount of power under the hood, the battery life is respectable, storage is quite limited but expandable, the camera is weak but far from useless and the design is plain but doesn’t look cheap.
Its biggest failing is the screen, which is slightly below average for a £150 phone, but even then it’s far from terrible and comes in at a good size. All that with 4G on top and while it doesn’t really stand out it’s also hard to ignore.
If you can live without 4G there are far better phones for the money, such as the Motorola Moto G. There are also cheaper phones and phones which do one or two things better than this, but in most cases they’ll do other things worse. So as a solid, affordable all-rounder with 4G support the HTC Desire 510 is a good option.
HTC Desire 510 Review SpecificationDimensions : 139.9 x 69.8 x 9.99mm Weight: 158 grams Screen size: 4.7”(854 x 480) Screen Resolution: 854 x 480 display resolution Pixels Per Inch (PPI): 208 Processor: 1.2GHz Quad core application processor RAM: 1 GB On-board Memory: 8GB (microSD card support) Camera: 5MP (rear) (VGA front-facing) Operating system: Android 4.4.2 3G / 4G LTE: Yes/ Yes Bluetooth / NFC : Yes/ No Battery capacity: 2100mAh Colours: Vanilla White, Dark Grey, Deep Navy Blue, Jet Black Launch Date: Out Now Price: £150