HTC Desire C Android phone (preview)

The HTC Desire C includes the Beats Audio profile despite retailing for just $229.

Telstra has long had a healthy stable of pre-paid smartphones and Australia's leading telco has quietly slipped another into its line-up. The HTC Desire C retails for just $229 but features the Beats Audio sound profile, comes with integrated 25GB Dropbox storage and has a 5-megapixel camera.

There are plenty of cheap Android phones on the market, but the most common caveat is a small and cramped display. The HTC Desire C doesn't fall into that category thanks to a decent sized 3.5in screen, the same size as the Apple iPhone 4S. The disadvantage is that the capacitive TFT panel has a fairly low resolution of 320x480 pixels. This gives it a pixels per inch rating of 165ppi and means it won't be able to display the same crisp text as more expensive models. Provided you remember this is a low cost, pre-paid handset, the screen resolution shouldn't necessarily be seen as a black mark against the Desire C.

For $229, the HTC Desire C appears to offer some nice features that you wouldn't normally find on a low cost smartphone. It comes with built-in Dropbox integration and 25GB of free storage, has a 5-megapixel camera and its built-in music player can sync iTunes playlists automatically. The Desire C also includes Beats Audio qualities, a direct result of HTC's partnership with the Beats By Dr. Dre audio company. The Beats Audio profile claims to enhance bass and works in all applications. However, unlike some other HTC smartphones, the Desire C doesn't come bundled with a pair of Beats headphones.

Size and weight should also be mentioned. Tipping the scales at just under 100g, the HTC Desire C is one of the lightest smartphones we've seen this year. At 11.95mm its not the slimmest handset on the market but if you're concerned by the extra large size of the latest flagship Android phones, the compact size of the Desire C is definitely worth a look.

The HTC Desire C runs the 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich version of Google's Android operating system and is skinned with HTC's now familiar Sense UI. While this may be ideal for first time users, we're concerned that the Desire C's 600MHz single-core processor and 512MB of RAM may not be able to provide a smooth and efficient user experience. It remains to be seen whether HTC has scaled back on some of Sense's more fancied animations and graphical UI elements, which in the past have resulted in a sluggish user experience.

The Desire C comes with 4GB of internal memory, which is much more than most other pre-paid Android phones. It also has a microSD card slot for extra storage. A 1230mAh battery should provide a talk time of up to 350 minutes, which means users should get a full days worth of battery life before needing to recharge the phone.

The HTC Desire C is available now through Telstra stores and online for $229 outright.

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Ross Catanzariti

Ross Catanzariti

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