Hands-On: HTC Desire 601 and Accessories
Sep 7, 2013, 6:00 AM by Eric M. Zeman
HTC recently announced the Desire 601, a smartphone that falls into the middle of its range of devices. Here are our thoughts.
The Desire 601 lands at the high end of HTC's dollar-for-value range of devices. If you think of the 601 as an HTC One light, you'll have the right idea. It trades the One's metal frame for a polycarbonate shell, but from a distance you can hardly tell the two apart.
The signature look of the HTC One is of course the large screen and dual speakers above and below it. The Desire 601 has the same frontward appearance: a big screen (though not as pixel-rich) and the dual-speaker set-up. Held side-by-side, the One and the Desire 601 look similar.
The 601 is being offered in at least three shades: red, white, and black. The red and black models have black speakers, while the white model has silver-colored speakers. The sides and back of the 601 are formed by a single polycarbonate shell that wraps around the device. The smooth material feels really nice thanks to its soft-touch finish, and the gently rounded edge let the 601 fit comfortably in your hand. There are no hard edges, seams, ledges, or gaps on which to catch your skin. It feels very nice. It is slim and light, and the 601 will easily slip into most pockets. (Unfortunately, HTC did not allow us to photograph the 601's backside.)
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The 601 has a 4.5-inch qHD screen. HTC used an LCD panel and it looks pretty good. I couldn't see any annoying individual pixels, and it was bright and colorful. It's not quite as sharp as the screen on the One.
HTC placed the volume buttons on the right side of the 601. There are two buttons, not a single toggle. Separating them makes it much easier to tell which is which when not looking at the device. The buttons have a smooth plastic design, sort of like what Nokia has done with some of its Lumia smartphones. The screen lock button, which is placed on the top of the phone, has a similar feel. The volume buttons and screen lock key felt good, but HTC warned us that we were looking at a prototype and not necessarily a final device. The headphone jack is on top and the microUSB port is on the bottom.
Unlike the one, the Desire's rear shell can be removed. Once removed, it is easy to access the battery and SIM card. For those who like to have replaceable batteries, this is a mark in the 601's favor.
The 601 runs HTC Sense 5.0 on top of Android 4.2 Jelly Bean. It operates just the same way as it does on the One and One Mini. That means it includes Blinkfeed, BoomSound, and Beats Audio. The 601 does not have the One's ultrapixel camera. Instead, it dials the camera down to just 5-megapixels, though it does have HTC's image chip to help with picture processing.
The 601 is a solid little phone that many people will like. HTC's Desire range typically hits the U.S. through prepaid carriers. So far, none have said they'll sell the Desire 601.
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