HTC Desire 610 smartphone

When great companies make poor smartphones

HTC Desire 610
  • HTC Desire 610
  • HTC Desire 610
  • HTC Desire 610
  • Expert Rating

    2.00 / 5


  • Loud speakers
  • Good software
  • 4G


  • Poor quality 8 megapixel camera
  • Unattractive
  • Low resolution screen
  • Little internal storage

Bottom Line

HTC's Desire 610 is dead last on our list of value for money smartphones. Consider the Nokia Lumia 635, Motorola Moto G (4G). Huawei Ascend G6 and Kogan Agora 4G before spending the asking price of this smartphone.

Would you buy this?

  • Price

    $ 312.00 (AUD)

Often we use the word “inexpensive” to describe smartphones that are kind to your wallet. The Desire 610 doesn’t warrant the euphemistic term; this smartphone looks cheap, feels cheap and worst of all, is not that cheap.

Arguably the ugliest HTC ever

Only a couple of iconic details point to the Desire 610 being made by HTC. It has two speakers on the front and an HTC badge, but apart from these consolations, little else hints it has any DNA in common with smartphones such as the One (M8).

Let’s dance no longer: the Desire 610 is an eyesore

Plastic covers most of the smartphone’s body. Don’t expect the refined kind used on the Desire 816. It’s the edging that departs from the norm by donning the kind of texture found on a rubberised case. This tacky material has discounted the appeal of the perforated stereo grilles.

Adding insult to injury is the grave surplus of bezel. The new Desire 610 has approximately twice the bezel of the year old One (M7). This, plus the added real estate needed for the stereo speakers, adds even more fat to the already bulging smartphone.

Let’s dance no longer: the Desire 610 is an eyesore.

Resolution poor screen, Blistering 4G

Turning on the screen doesn’t help the Desire 610 either. The 4.7in display has a low 960x540 resolution. As a result each inch has a limp 234 pixels, and that’s lower than the $179 Motorola Moto E.

Applications and web pages will download in a whisk

Herein lies the problem with the Desire 610. The smartphone is being sold exclusively by Telstra in Australia as it supports the carrier’s 700 MHz 4G network. Unfortunately, the low resolution screen fails to take advantage of the Desire 610’s fast internet by not supporting high definition video; even Youtube videos max at 480p. Applications and web pages will download in a whisk when this smartphone is armed with a Telstra SIM, but the increase in speed does not make up for the 610’s shortcomings.

The low end market is cut-throat competitive: Nokia’s Lumia 635 has a low resolution screen and a 4G modem for $279, while 4G variant of the high-definition Motorola Moto G costs $299.

KitKat with Sense, BYO memory

The Desire 610 runs the current Android 4.4 KitKat overlaid in HTC’s Sense 6 interface. The comprehensive software is arguably the headlining feature of the smartphone as it is reliable, refined and easy to customise.

HTC’s Sense UI comes preloaded with a “Kids Mode” app. The application requires PIN access and boots a separate mode with applications deemed family friendly.

Behind the scenes is a Snapdragon 400 chipset with a 1.2GHz quad-core CPU and 4G modem. Memory is accounted for by 1GB of RAM and 8GB of internal storage

The low capacity battery goes a long way

Fresh from the box HTC’s Desire 610 will hog 4.2GB of memory, which is why Good Gear Guide recommends the purchase of a microSD card. HTC claims the Desire 610 can handle microSD cards up to 128GB.

More often than not the Desire 610 will run without skipping a beat. Push it too hard by running multiple apps simultaneously and it will struggle to chug along.

Connectivity is on par with the budget HTC’s price range. There’s single-band Wi-Fi (802.11n), Bluetooth 4.0. NFC is listed as “optional” on HTC’s website, but it appears to be an option Australian customers can do without.

Powering the smartphone is a 2040 milliamp-hour battery. The low capacity battery goes a long way compliments of the screen and economical hardware. Good Gear Guide found it lasted 26 hours without charge under ordinary everyday use, which includes phones calls, texting, Internet browsing, little YouTube streaming and music playback.

Woeful 8 megapixel camera, Great interface

HTC’s Desire 610 has an 8 megapixel rear camera capable of recording videos in Full HD resolution. The camera has an aperture of f/2.4 and is complemented by a single LED.

SenseUI has an attractive camera interface and the Desire 610 benefits from a fair amount of software modes, with standouts including HDR, sweep panorama and a macro mode.

Photos captured by the rear capture disappoint, even for a smartphone in the Desire 610’s price range. Colour is soft in general and washed out in landscape shots; excessive image noise resulted in a loss of detail in shadows; and, backlighting can result in flaring.

Taken with the Desire 610
Taken with the Desire 610

Read more: Top five budget smartphones money can buy (Part I, 2014)

Taken with the Desire 610
Taken with the Desire 610

Taken with the Desire 610
Taken with the Desire 610

100 per cent crop of the photo above - Taken with the Desire 610
100 per cent crop of the photo above - Taken with the Desire 610

A secondary front camera will snap 1.3 megapixel photos and record videos in high definition.

Final thought

Theoretically there is nothing wrong with the HTC Desire 610. It can make phone calls and its screen displays colour.

BUT the competition is savage in the budget end of the smartphone market and, with phones like Motorola Moto G, Huawei’s Ascend G6, Kogan’s Agora 4G and Nokia’s Lumia 635, it simply cannot compete.

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