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HTC Desire 530 review: HTC’s Moto G rival falls flat

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It was only five years ago that the HTC Desire name was among the top dogs in the world of Android smartphones. But in 2012 HTC took its Desire range out back and introduced it to its younger brother, the HTC One. Since then, the One range has excelled leaving the Desire to take up the mantle of the mid-range handset.

The HTC Desire 530 takes the series even lower: a budget handset costing £120 that competes at the bottom end of the smartphone market with the Moto Es, Honor 4Xs and Wileyfox Swifts of this world. Does the Desire’s impressive heritage shine through in this budget incarnation?

HTC Desire 530: Design

When it comes to design and appearance, the HTC Desire 530 is an HTC product through and through. There’s no mistaking this handset for the iPhone 6s, as with the HTC A9, and a number of clear design cues that have been part of HTC’s DNA since the launch of the HTC One remain.

The corners are gently curved, the screen is bookended by two black bars, one bearing the HTC logo, and flanking these at each end of the phone is a funky-looking seven-pinhole speaker grille. The bezel is about as thick as it is on the ageing HTC One M8, measuring a couple of millimetres on either side, but this isn’t obvious until the screen is switched on.

The back is smooth plastic, and our model arrived in plain black, a far cry from the colourful, dotty designs showcased at MWC. As our colleagues at Expert Reviews mention in their review, the Taiwanese manufacturer made a big thing of its ability to apply colours to the plastic back at varying degrees of pressure for an attractive paint-speckled effect, so it’s baffling we were sent the plain grey-and-black one to look at.

The only splash of colour is the phone’s bright orange plastic power button, but despite that mild disappointment, the HTC Desire 530 is a reasonably attractive handset.

HTC Desire 530: Screen

For the price, the screen is a capable performer. It’s a 5in, 720p display, and while it won’t challenge the top dogs in terms of quality, for a £120 smartphone it does well enough. It reaches a not-particularly-bright 318.67cd/m<sup>2</sup>, but the all-important sRGB coverage hits a decent 87.6%, while contrast reaches a respectable 1,029:1. Those numbers are pretty good considering the price.

How good, though? Well, let’s compare it with its main rivals in the price bracket:

HTC Desire 530

Honor 4X

Moto G

Moto E

Wileyfox Swift

Brightness

319cd/m2

581cd/m2

339cd/m2

362cd/m2

552cd/m2

sRGB gamut

87.6%

79.6%

85.4%

95.2%

79.2%

Contrast

1,029:1

1,240:1

1,061:1

1,010:1

961:1

So next to its peers, it’s a bit dimmer, with above average colour performance and good contrast. Not a bad start.

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