When flagship smartphones today are priced so affordably, many of us have ignored mid-range and entry level smartphones. Despite having companies like Xiaomi making every smartphone makers looking stupid with their superbly low price tag, there’s still one thing that consumers are still after – user experience. For now, let’s ignore about specs and pricing to take a look at HTC’s not-so-entry-level but mid-range smartphone, the Desire 610.

HTC Desire 610 Video Review

A low profile design that is still so attractive

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The Desire family was once the flagship branding of the company before the One, although now it’s name isn’t as flashy as the One and being used for the company’s entry level and mid range phone models, HTC has never compromised build quality and its software experience, which is in the case of the Desire 610. The device doesn’t have a metal body like the One M8, but it does have a high quality plastic body which doesn’t make it feel cheap, at least it only maintains the hyperglazed coating plastic back cover while the front and sides has a matte finishing applied to it.

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In addition, the phone isn’t sexy with a thickness of 9.6mm but that isn’t totally a bad thing, thanks to the matte and rounded sides, the phone feels extremely comfortable to hold on hand and doesn’t slip off your hands esaily.

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The Desire 610 have its own low profile unique design, it also looks simple but you can feel that it has been through some kind of refined engineering process, from its precise rounded corners to its BoomSound speaker grilles, the phone is really attractive if you try paying close attention to its details.

Attractive design meets modest hardware specifications

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We talked about the phone’s design and now its time we look at its hardware specifications, and of course, you shouldn’t be expecting any high performance hardware on a device like this and the list goes like this:-

HTC Desire 610 Hardware Specifications

Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 Quad Core 1.2GHz

RAM/ROM: 1GB/8GB (expandable via MicroSD)

Display: 4.7″ qHD (960×540) LCD

Camera: 8MP BSI (Main), 1.3MP FSI (Front)

Connectivity: WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, BT 4.0 with apt-X, USB OTG

Features: HTC Sense 6, HTC BoomSound

Networks: LTE/DC-HSPA+

Battery: 2040mAh

Most of the hardware above looks fine to us as a mid range device, except for the qHD resolution display which doesn’t looks good in today’s standards. However in real world usage, the display looks decent and it doesn’t feel pixelated as it should, viewing angles and touch response are also acceptable, the display lacks brightness for good outdoor visibility and is a fingerprint magnet.

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HTC’s signature BoomSound speakers and audio enhancement software is also available on the device, though they don’t sound as refined as the One M8’s, they are still the loudest and clearest best pair of loudspeakers that you can find on a mid-range smartphone.

HTC Sense 6 and Android 4.4 KitKat

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Trust us, you rarely find one proper mid range smartphone running on the most recent available version of Android today, theDesire 610 fortunately ships with Android 4.4 KitKat with the company’s Sense 6 launcher running on top. While we were reviewing the HTC One M8 back then, we loved Sense a lot for its snappy and responsive performance; as in the Desire 610’scase, Sense 6 managed to impress us again with its snappy performance without slowing down the device despite running on a lower end hardware, don’t compare it to the One M8, of course.

In the past iteration of HTC Sense, the company always have some major features stripped off its software experience on lower end devices, however in the Desire 610, HTC has retained most of the launcher’s great features like BlinkFeed and the fully featured camera app, Motion Gestures from the One M8 is missing which we don’t really mind. Most notably, HTC hasn’t tone down the visual effects of its default apps, making its user experience consistent across its line of Sense 6 devices.

HTC Sense is the thing that makes us forget everything about the Desire 610’s lower end hardware, coming from a power user perspective, the entire user experience doesn’t make you feel that you are using a mid range hardware, nor does it make the phone inferior to flagship smartphones, you just got to try and hold the phone, play around for some time and you’ll know what we mean over here.

Camera – it will surprise you

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Despite being a mid-range smartphone, the Desire 610 has a pretty impressive 8 Megapixel BSI main shooter that takes still images with good color saturation and detail, we aren’t putting our expectations high this time and the phone manages to impress us. Take a look at the pictures down below and share with us your thoughts.

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We are also satisfied with the front facing shooter, though it isn’t the best that we’ve seen but it doesn’t take grainy selfie shots.

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We believe HTC has included the pair of great sensitive and noise reduction microphones on the Desire 610, because the audio recording quality on our recorded videos sounded refined and focused, video quality is decent as well which you can find out in the clip down below.

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The camera app has Zoe mode stripped off, but it didn’t really affect our imaging experience the app is still fully featured with most essential shooting modes and configurations available, it is also fast and responsive which you’ve got absolutely nothing to worry about.

Benchmarks, Battery Life and Network Quality

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Similar to most Snapdragon 400 devices out there, the Desire 610 doesn’t get high scores in benchmarking apps and despite of that, the phone performs really well in everyday performance, app launch speeds are acceptable and switching between apps is a snap even though the phone only has a mere gigabyte of RAM. Again, you just have to use the phone to be impressed.

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One of the most impressive things that HTC has ever done in its flagship One M8 is improved battery life with the same battery capacity as its predecessor. On the Desire 610, HTC has done an awesome job on the phone’s battery life despite having a miserable 2040mAh battery onboard, we used the phone for a lot of instant messaging, Facebook browsing and Spotify music streaming, all these stuffs squeezes out around 19 hours of usage which gets us easily through a full working day.

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We have never been disappointed with HTC when it comes to network and call quality, the Desire 610 delivers that great competency again, which our callers reported crystal clear call quality that can also be found on the One M8, the phone is also very reliable in both Maxis HSPA+ and LTE networks.

The Desire 610 is almost on par with flagship devices, BUT…

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Seriously, we never perceive the Desire 610 as a mid-range device during our review period, it isn’t as snappy as a Snapdragon 801 powered device but it manages to exceeds our expectations as a fast performing and reliable device despite having some ugly hardware under the hood.

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The phone has impressed us in so many ways – the build quality, user experience, camera, battery life and network quality, even the phone’s low qHD resolution display managed to impress us and we don’t find the need of a 720p display to love the device.

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Unfortunately, the HTC Desire 610 isn’t affordable at the price tag of RM999, which you’ll be able to buy higher end Chinese flagship smartphones that offer much better hardware internals on paper. Despite of that, we highly recommend the Desire 610to anyone who wants a polished and reliable smartphone experience.

Verdict

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The HTC Desire 610 is a mid-range smartphone that sets itself differently from its competitors in hardware design and user experience, it doesn’t have the best hardware internals but offers reliability that many smartphone makers aren’t able to deliver.

The Good

+ Decent build quality

+ BoomSound speakers beats every other smartphones

+ Great BSI main camera

+ Apps ran smoothly despite having 1GB RAM

+ Decent battery life for 2040mAh of juice

+ Screen looks good despite being a qHD resolution

The Bad

– Expensive

– Display is a fingerprint magnet

– Limited 8GB storage

We give the HTC Desire 610 a rating of 4 out of 5 stars.

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