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Hands-On: HTC Desire 510 for Cricket Wireless

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Sep 10, 2014, 1:00 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Cricket today committed to selling the HTC Desire 510 in the U.S. This entry-level smartphone from HTC offers the company's best features in an affordable package. Here are our first thoughts.

HTC has filled out its device portfolio this year with several attractive options. While the One (M8) sits at the top, it has added the One Mini 2, the Desire 820, and now the Desire 510. Though the 510 sits at the bottom of HTC's lineup, it is a solid offering that's highly competitive with other handsets in its price range.

The Desire 510 borrows heavily from its more-expensive stablemates. Its lineage is unmistakable. It is an HTC smartphone through and through. It has clean lines, a polycarbonate frame, and design elements that are lifted directly from the One. For example, the grill for the earpiece resembles the drilled-out BoomSound speakers on HTC's higher-end phones. It may perhaps border on being plain, but it has just the right amount of class to make it appealing.

The phone has a great feel in the hand. It is compact thanks to its smaller display, and HTC did a great job smoothing out the edges and making it feel comfortable to hold and use. The polycarbonate shell that forms the outer surfaces has a feint soft-touch feel to it that lends just the smallest amount of grip. It is lightweight, the materials are solid, and the phone is put together well. It will easily slip into pockets and can be used one-handed with ease.

Desire 510  

The 4.7-inch FWVGA screen is good for a device that costs just $150. It certainly doesn't compare to HTC's full HD displays, but the resolution is aided by the smaller footprint of the screen itself. Pixels are evident, but not annoying. It is plenty bright and colorful.

There are no buttons on the left side of the phone. Only the volume toggle adorns the right edge. It has a low profile, making it a bit harder to find and use, and travel and feedback were somewhat mushy. There is no camera button. The screen lock button is on the top. It has a better profile than the volume toggle, and better action as well. The USB port is on the bottom, while the headphone jack is on the top.

I had not trouble removing the 510's back panel. It is somewhat thin, but manages to avoid feeling cheap or flimsy. The battery and slots for memory and SIM cards are found underneath.

The phone runs Sense 6.0 with Android 4.4 KitKat. The UI is identical to that of HTC's other Android phones, which means you have BlinkFeed, access to Zoes, and more. It ran well on the units available on-hand from Cricket. I didn't see any bugginess or other problems.

In sum, the 510 is a great deal for $150. It is classy, clean, and offers a lot phone for the dollar.

About the author, Eric M. Zeman:

Eric has been covering the mobile telecommunications industry for 17 years at various print and online publications. He studied at Rutgers Newark and University of Kentucky, and has a degree in writing. He likes playing guitar, attending concerts, listening to music, and driving sports cars.


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