HTC may be in financial difficulty, but it’s still churning out decent phones. One of the most recent to hit the market is the Desire 626. It’s a competitively priced, attractive mid-range device. But with the new 3rd-generation Moto G on the market, is it worth buying?
It may not be premium, elegant or luxurious but there’s still something very good-looking about the Desire 626. I really like the contrast between the dark blue casing and the light blue trim around the edges. Because it’s not glossy, and the edges are slightly curved, it feels really good in hand too. If there’s one downside to the matte finish, it’s that it seems to attract fingerprints and palm-grease like it’s going out of fashion. It’s not unibody, so it doesn’t feel as sturdy as some more premium devices, but the phone still feels strong and durable for the most part.
Sadly, despite having the appearance of housing two BoomSound speakers, my model disappointed in that only the bottom set of machined holes covered a loudspeaker. Mono sound in a phone this big really makes the extra space around the screen and bezels seem pointless.
A 5-inch 720p display is pretty commonplace at this price point, and HTC opted to go that route too. If you pump the brightness up, it seems sharp and lively enough at arms length. Bring it close, and you’ll start seeing flaws. Edges of text and objects on screen appear jagged and un-smooth. It’s almost as if someone pumped up the sharpness too much, killing off any subtle curves. Still, it’s not a bad display.
HTC has released several models of the 626 for different markets. Mine featured a quad-core Snapdragon 410 processor and 2GB RAM. For the most part, general day-to-day tasks were handled well. There was some slight stutter and lag here and there, but nothing overly terrible. I could live with the ease it had loading web pages and apps quite easily, although I couldn’t help but think how much better it might be if it was running stock Android 5.1, instead of running HTC’s Sense UI 7 on top.
If there’s one area the phone impressed me, it was battery life. It might only be 2,000mAh, but with a 720 display and a non-flagship processor, it was as efficient as almost any smartphone I’ve used recently. It easily got me to the end of every day, most days with 30-40 percent of its juice left. What’s more, it barely used any battery power at all in standby mode. I wouldn’t be comfortable to say this is a two day battery, but it’s very close.
Like the display, the camera on the back has its good points, but is flawed. Give it plenty of light, and an object that’s not too close and it’ll take nice, sharp colorful images. Take the light down a notch and the Desire 626 starts to panic. It struggles to focus, and pictures come out really grainy and lacking any kind of life or contrast.
Overall, the HTC Desire 626 isn’t perfect. For a 5-inch screened phone, it’s pretty big, but it’s comfortable to hold and pleasant to use. And there’s very little to really complain about. Still, it’s hard not to turn my attention to the newly announced Moto G. And it’d be a hard sell to recommend this to anyone over Motorola’s newest smartphone. Still, if you like HTC’s software, and you love the design, you won’t be disappointed by the 626.
You can grab one unlocked from Amazon for just under $240, or grab a slightly different model from AT&T or Verizon. If you’re still not sure which smartphone to get under $250, you should probably just opt for the Moto G which starts at just $179.