Hereís the HTC Desire 510. Itís a new entry-level-ish phone with LTE from HTC that costs $180 Canadian off-contract.
Currently, the under $200 market in Canada requires you to make a choice. You basically have to choose between having a high definition display or having LTE. You canít have both unless youíre willing to spend another $50.
The problem with this is that both high def screens and LTE are awesome features. If a phone were Ice cream, a HD display would be chocolate sauce while LTE would be peanuts - itís not a choice you want to have to make.
When you have LTE, apps download faster, webpages pop up more quickly, and in general, you do less waiting. On the other hand, high definition displays are usually nicer to look at. Thereís no blockiness or jagged edges to distract you.
So where does the Desire fit in? It has LTE which is great and a 854x480 display which isnít so great. Letís check it out:
|Carrier||Pricing as of 11/4/14||Term|
|Virgin Mobile Canada||$149.99||outright|
|Virgin Mobile Canada||$0||contract|
|Virgin Mobile US||$99.99 (on sale for $79.99)||outright|
What about the Nokia Lumia 635?
The first competitor that pops into my head is actually a Windows Phone. The Nokia Lumia 635 also has a 4.7Ē 854x480 display, 8GB of storage a 5 megapixel camera and LTE.
If you can look past the fact that it comes with Windows Phone, the 635 has a better camera and a much better screen.
While the 635 also has a low resolution display, it has nice colours and respectable viewing angles. I can live with a low resolution display if it looks nice but unfortunately, thatís not the Desireís.
Ditto for the camera, the 635ís camera is only 5 megapixels but it actually takes pretty decent photos for a budget shooter.
Thatís really the choice you have to make between these 2; if you can deal with Windows Phone and itís somewhat boring app ecosystem, youíll be rewarded with a better camera and display.
What about the 2013 Moto G?
When it comes to budget phones with a HD display, last yearís Moto G (not to be confused with THIS yearís Moto G which Iím currently reviewing) is the poster child for an affordable phone that doesnít suck.
When it was announced, people were awestruck that Moto managed to stuff a high definition display into a phone at itís price point.
That said, with 5Ē fast becoming the new standard, itís 4.5Ē display is starting to feels really cramped. Donít forget that the Moto Gís uses on-screen buttons which effectively shrinks the display further.
To be honest, while the Moto G is nice and sharp, itís small screen has kept it from aging well.
That said, while the Desireís display is a smidge larger at 4.7Ē, overall the display is pretty awful. I suppose it looks good enough straight-on but if youíre not directly in front it has all sorts of colour and contrast shift. It also uses on-screen buttons which shrinks the effective size of the screen.
You do get a MicroSD slot with the Desire which is one of the Moto Gís biggest omissions - at least on the 8GB HSPA variant.
Still, the Moto G is considerably cheaper than the Desire - Iíve seen it go for as low as $110 Canadian and itís even cheaper south of the border.
Unless you can find the Desire on a big discount, the choice is easy here, pick up the Moto G.
What about the Alcatel Pop Icon?
The Pop Icon has a large 5Ē display plus hardware menu buttons so itís quite a bit larger than the 510ís 4.7Ē display.
Unlike pretty much every other phone on the market, the Pop has a matte display which is really great indoors because itís much less reflective. The problem is that itís almost impossible to see when youíre outdoors which explains why every other phone on the market has a glossy display.
That one feature alone is why Iíd avoid the Pop Icon and choose the Desire.
Aside from LTE, the Desire pulls head in the processor department with a beefier Snapdragon 400 SoC vs the more humble Snapdragon 200 in the Pop Icon plus the HTC also comes with 8GB of storage vs 4GB on the Pop Icon.
What about the ZTE Grand X?
The Grand X which is available from Bell and different from the Grand X available in the US, pulls ahead with a nice-for-this-segment 5Ē, 1280x720 high definition display that also has separate menu buttons.
The Desire has a faster processor (Snapdragon 400 vs 200), more storage (8GB vs 4GB) a newer version of Android (4.4 vs 4.3) and of course, LTE.
In a way, the Desire looks better on paper but the larger 5Ē high definition display is a really nice feature.
Having only 4GB of storage isnít that practical because many apps will only install in the built-in storage.
As for the Android 4.3 vs 4.4 issue, I donít think itís that big a deal. The difference between 4.3 and 4.4 isnít that big. The bigger question is if either of these phones will receive updates. ZTE doesnít really have a history in Canada but I will say that if they chose to launch with 4.3 when 4.4 is currently available that says a lot about how many updates it will probably receive.
With the Desire, itís a little trickier; HTC keeps their flagship devices updated but Iím not sure how they are with their midrange and entry level devices.
This is a tough choice, the ZTE has a nice big display but it also only comes with 4GB of storage. The Desire has a faster processor and LTE but an ugly screen.
What about the Blu Studio 5.0C HD?
Finally, we have the Blu Studio 5.0C HD. The only phone Iím comparing that doesnít come with a Qualcomm processor. In terms of power, the Mediatek SoC in the Blu ranks somewhere between a Qualcomm Snapdragon 200 and 400 so itís a little slower than the Desireís, at least in terms of graphics performance.
The Bluís has the following features going for it: dual SIM, support for HSPA 850/1700/1900 (works on all HSPA carriers in Canada and I think the US), a better camera and 5Ē high definition display that looks much nicer than the Desireís.
With the Desire you get LTE, 8GB of storage (vs 4GB) and stronger RF performance.
If you can find a Blu and get a deal on it, Iíd pick that over the HTC.