What do you do when you’re HTC and you want to create the perfect blend of price, design, and specs? You build a Desire phone. The company invited us to take an early look at its new HTC Desire 626, and we happily obliged. Join us as we go hands-on!
HTC Desire 626 hands-on gallery
We’re actually taking a look at two phones here: the Desire 626 for postpaid Verizon and AT&T, and the 626S for a variety of prepaid carriers (including Cricket, MetroPCS and Boost Mobile, among others). While they’re externally identical, there are important variations in specs, with the S version taking a reduction in front-facing camera quality from 5MP to 2MP and eliminating NFC and LTE carrier aggregation. In this hands-on we focus on the standard 626 (which is, incidentally, not the same 626 announced for Taiwan back in February).
As for specs, we’re firmly in midrange territory here – but because this is an HTC phone, there are definite high points to that. The construction is HTC Double Shot, with minimal or nonexistent seams between polycarbonate and ABS components, finished in varying custom colors depending on carrier. The display is 5 inches at 720p, the cameras are 8MP and 5MP for primary and selfie, respectively, and there’s 1.5GB of RAM aboard too. Plus there’s MicroSD expansion (up to a theoretical 2TB maximum) to augment the paltry 16GB of storage, there’s support for 4G LTE carrier aggregation, and we’ve also got HTC’s newest build of BlinkFeed riding atop Android 5.1. Just as it does on the One M9, it skips along very smoothly on the Desire 626.
This being a budget phone, here comes the other shoe. The processor driving everything is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 210, hardly the epitome of powerful silicon. The battery is on the smallish side at 2000 mAh. There are no tap-to-wake gestures as in higher-end HTC models. The glossy variant is a magnet for skin oil. And while the 626 looks like it’s got HTC BoomSound, it doesn’t: only the top grill is a speaker. The bottom one is just a fancy mask for the microphone, included for symmetry.
Yep, those are some compromises, all right … but for the right price, do you really care? Like the other Desire devices HTC announced today, the 626 is priced very competitively at “less than $200 unlocked” (the company isn’t giving full pricing details until later on). And with this model, HTC looks to have succeeded in bringing some of the high-end features from the flagship One series to the lower-tier Desire family. As for whether that’s enough to choose this phone over recent entrants from competitors like ASUS and Alcatel OneTouch, well … time will tell. And we’ll find out in a full review coming later in the season. For now, enjoy the hands-on video below.
HTC Desire 626 hands-on video