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Review: HTC Desire for Virgin Mobile

Form Performance Basics Extras Wrap-Up Comments  3  

Dec 18, 2013, 8:21 PM   by Eric M. Zeman   @zeman_e

The Desire from HTC is the little smartphone that can and will. It may be a mid-range device, but it puts some high-end hardware to shame. Read Phonescoop.com's full review here.

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Is It Your Type?

The HTC Desire may be one of Virgin Mobile's more expensive Android smartphones, but the extra cash is worth the performance that this compact handset offers. It's a bargain smartphone that looks good, works well, and keeps up with the big boys. If you want the most bang for the buck, look no further. Here's why.


HTC ported elements of the One's design language to the Desire, but it still has its own personality. The Desire's DNA clearly comes from HTC, and that's a good thing. The company has made some of the world's most attractive phones this year. While the Desire doesn't offer the finely-sculpted metal shell of the One, it still belongs in the family tree.

The Desire is formed by a polycarbonate shell that is smooth and covered in a pleasant soft-touch finish. The shell wraps all the way around to the glass of the display, which gives the Desire a solid, seamless skin that feels good against your own. The front of the phone has the signature dual-speaker BoomSound setup that HTC introduced this year, with grills above and below the display. This design isn't as plainly visible as on the One series of devices, but it looks good.

The Desire is a somewhat compact device that fits comfortably everywhere in your life. It's great to hold, slips easily into pockets, and is enjoyable to use across the board. The materials are excellent and the build quality is very good. The Desire is solid and feels well put together.


A 4.5-inch display consumes most of the front face, but there's still a bit of bezel on all four sides. As with the One series, the Desire has only two capacitive buttons below the display: Back and Home. This is one design choice that I continue to disagree with, as it introduces an unnecessary learning curve for those who've grown accustomed to a centered Home button; instead, it's off to the right about an inch. This takes getting used to. The buttons themselves work fine.

There's nothing along the left edge of the phone at all. It's a solid, smooth edge. The volume buttons — two of them — are positioned on the right edge of the phone. The buttons have good profiles and are easy to find, but travel and feedback is very disappointing. The screen lock button, found on the top surface, has a similar profile. It offers much better travel and feedback than the volume buttons. The stereo headphone jack is on top and the microUSB port is on the bottom. There is no dedicated camera button.

Because the rear shell wraps around to form the sides, the shell is a real pain in the rear to remove. I had to break out my knife to pry it loose. The payoff is that you're rewarded with a removable battery, which is an appealing feature for some. The battery must be pulled in order to access the SIM card, but you can swap the memory card without pulling the battery.

With the exception of the mushy volume buttons, the Desire is a quality piece of hardware, especially given its price point.

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Dec 19, 2013, 10:29 AM

HTC's Re-Using of names....

🤭 Is getting pretty terrible. It's annoying, and confusing for customers. "I need a case for an HTC One" "Which One do you have Sir? The One, One S, One V, One X, One XL?"

Now also Desire? Desire HD? Desire 2014?

Gah tired of it.

Dec 19, 2013, 1:15 AM

This review does not leave me full of 'desire'

Thanks for providing an in-depth look at this phone. I have to admit, I was expecting more raving and less qualifiying, since the beginning of review made me think I was going to want to go to VIrgin's site and order one as soon as I finished reading but, by the time I was finished, it left me full of ambivalence. And it definitely made me think I should just maybe hold out for the Moto G (dare I dream Moto X?) and hope that Virgin has it for early '14 release. (What is taking Virgin and Boost so long to give word on those phones? Just yea or nea, pls ... )

Anyway, while you did have a lot of great things to say about the camera and build quality (tho I can't stand mushy keys, volume or otherwise) and gave the display decent marks, I ...

Dec 18, 2013, 9:54 PM

Great Review!

Honestly i was expecting the review of this lower version of the One series, some features might not be on pair and it's normal for a mid-range device but other just excels and that's great! Woul like if there will be a GSM version of it...??
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