The HTC Desire 510 is an entry-level smartphone aimed at users who want to save a few pennies. You can find it on Amazon for about $100 unlocked and off-contract. Cricket will give you the Desire 510 free right now, after a $75 mail-in-rebate. There a quite a few decent phones that won’t set you back $600, so is the HTC Desire 510 the one you should choose? Let’s take a closer look and then I’ll let you decide.
The Desire 510 is pretty unassuming. It’s a black slab with the HTC logo towards the bottom of the phone. The back is matte plastic and while it doesn’t feel cheap, it’s not impressive either. The plastic on the back isn’t glossy, but it does pick up fingerprints relatively easily. The phone is easy to hold. It has a 4.7-inch display and isn’t a big phone by today’s standards. The edges are rounded, as are the corners. The volume rocker is on the right side. The power button and headset jack are on top. The charging port is off center on the bottom of the phone. The left side is bare. The front of the phone has the microphone, light and proximity sensors, earpiece, and the front-facing camera. The back of the phone just has the rear-facing camera and the speaker. The Desire 510 doesn’t have a flash, not that you should be using one to take photos with your smartphone camera anyway.
Hardware and Performance
The Desire 510 is quick and doesn’t have any struggles keeping up with web browsing, watching videos, or playing games. It’s powered by a Snapdragon 400 chipset, with 1GB of RAM. The unlocked GSM version is running on the 64-bit Snapdragon 810, but I demoed a unit from Cricket, here in the U.S. It doesn’t have much in the way of pixels to push because the display is low resolution. We’ll get into the display later. This leaves the CPU free to handle everything else you want to do. Opening apps, going into and out of settings menus, even the camera is quick and snappy. This is one of the highlights of this smartphone. It may not score well in benchmarks, but who cares? Real world use is fast.
This smartphone ships with 8GB of internal storage and has a microSD card slot that will let you expand that if you want, up to an additional 64GB. It supports 4G LTE speeds on Cricket, while the GSM version supports HSPA+ 42 Mbps. Either way, you’re cellular data speeds should be plenty fast. I had no issues on Cricket’s network in and around central Virginia. Call quality was also perfectly fine, although the earpiece is a little quieter that I would have liked. The speaker on the back is also somewhat quiet and distorts when you turn the volume all the way up. It works fine for ringtones, but it doesn’t sound great.
The HTC Desire 510 has a 2100 mAh battery. It took me between 3-4 hours to get a full charge with the 1A wall charger that HTC gives you. With the display being so dim and the display resolution being so low, you’d think the phone would last forever. Standby time is better than most, with the phone easily lasting several days in standby. I was able to get about 6 hours of screen-on time. You shouldn’t have any issues getting through a normal day’s use with the Desire 510.
The display is the weakest area of the Desire 510, by far. The display is 4.7-inches, but the resolution comes in at just 480 x 854. That’s FWVGA, if you’re counting, and gives the phone a measly 208 ppi. The colors look very dim and the screen is hard to look at for long periods of time. It’s not a very bright display, making it that much harder to use, especially outside. The viewing angles are poor as well. This phone has other strong points and the cost is really low so it’s not all bad. The display is really rough, though.
HTC Sense 6.0 ships on this phone. Sense has come a long, long way. It’s fast and snappy. It’s not bloated. The extra apps and features are actually helpful. BlinkFeed is HTC’s take on a newsfeed, and it’s really useful. The Desire 510 supports Zoe, although I didn’t use that much. HTC’s other apps like Weather, Stocks, and Backup are all included here too. The Desire 510 even supports DotView cases if you’re into those. The HTC One isn’t the only phone that gets to have fun with DotView.
Cricket loads three apps on the phone as well. My Cricket lets you manage your account, Wi-Fi helps you find free WiFi hotspots when you’re out and about, and Visual Voicemail provides you with visual voicemail service. These apps add extra functionality for Cricket customers and they are unobtrusive if you decide not to use them.
The 5-megapixel shooter on the back of the Desire 510 is a camera. It takes photos. That’s about the best I can say for the cameras performance. The camera is fixed focused; it doesn’t have auto-focus. That makes it difficult to get a decent shot in any kind of lighting. Photos are washed out and noisey. For about $100, you have to make compromises somewhere. The camera and the display are the two areas where HTC cut costs with this phone.
For all of that, the camera software is actually great. It doesn’t turn out good images, but HTC’s camera software is fast, easy to use, and offers a lot of features. The camera hardware is what is lacking on this smartphone. The camera does shoot video in 1080p at 60fps and in Slow Motion, though. Here are a couple of sample shots.
The HTC Desire 510 on Cricket is a decent budget smartphone that will work for you if you don’t want to spend more than $100 on a device. It’s easy to hold and use, and Sense 6 is speedy on top of the workhorse Snapdragon 400 CPU. It’s sturdy and should hold up well over time. Unfortunately, the camera and the display are pretty poor. That’s the trade-off that HTC has made in order to keep the price down. Overall, the Desire 510 should provide a good user experience, and it’s certainly inexpensive. HTC has details on the Desire 510 on their website, and Cricket has it on their website here.