The Desire 600 is one of the first devices from HTC to sport the same design philosophy that we've seen in its much acclaimed flagship phone, the HTC One. It's affordable, when compared to the One and comes with dual-SIM functionality, targeting a different user group. Of course, it doesn't boast of premium materials, high-end hardware and premium features, but as far as the software is concerned, it does come with all the bells and whistles offered by modern Android smartphones. So, is the Desire 600 a good buy? We try to find out in our review.
The HTC Desire 600 comes in two colour variants, Black and White/ Silver. We got the White/ Silver coloured variant as our review unit, and we must say that it looks pretty different from the other rectangular slabs available in the market thanks to the unique colour scheme.
The front of the phone features a 4.5-inch display panel surrounded by a Black bezel, which is encapsulated by a frame that sports a brushed aluminium finish with Red accents on the edges. The phone also sports two front speakers, similar to the HTC One. The two capacitive touch buttons for Back and Home sit below the display with the HTC branding in between, while the 1.6-megapixel front camera is located above the display. A notification LED is buried within the top speaker grill.
The Volume rocker key is located at the right hand side, while the Power/ Screen lock key sits at the top along with the 3.5mm headset jack. Both these keys are made of plastic and are White in colour. The Micro-USB port sits at the bottom. There are no keys or ports on the left-hand side.
The back of the phone comprises of a White-coloured removable plastic cover that sports a glossy finish. The HTC branding is etched in Silver at the middle, while the 8-megapixel camera lens is located towards the upper half with the LED flash. The lens and the flash are surrounded by a rectangular enclosure that features Silver coloured stripes. The back is prone to scratches though the glossy finish helps in concealing them. The phone doesn't feel very premium due to the glossy plastics but the quality of plastics used is better compared to Samsung phones.
Removing the cover reveals an all-Red interior. Even the battery is Red in colour. The two Micro-SIM card slots and the microSD card slot are located above the battery compartment. All of these can be accessed without the need to remove the battery. However, you'll need to restart the phone if you insert a new SIM card.
The HTC Desire 600 features a 4.5-inch Super LCD2 qHD panel that sports a resolution of 540x960 pixels and pixel density of 245ppi. We were a bit disappointed that HTC has not equipped the phone with at least a 720p display, especially considering the phone's price.
Having said that, we found the display to be decent enough, and observed that graphics and text appeared sharp. This also has to do with the display not being very large, resulting in better pixel density. The viewing angles also looked good. The screen is not very reflective and sunlight visibility was good. Colours appeared to be vibrant and blacks looked deep.
The HTC Desire 600 runs Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean, which is not the latest version of the OS considering that Google has announced Android 4.3, recently. As with other recent HTC Android phones, the phone comes with Sense 5, HTC's own UI layer that runs on top of Android. The new version of Sense was first seen on the HTC One.
While some people prefer stock Android over any kind of skinning, we feel that the Sense is one of the better skinning solutions. Skinning in Sense 5 is minimal compared to previous versions, and icons have been toned down, and appear flat.
The highlight of the Sense 5 UI is a home screen feed that the company likes to call Blink Feed. You can select 'topics and services' for the Blink Feed and it will push updates from them on the home screen. You can also select categories of interests. It also lets you select services such as Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, LinkedIn and Plurk, configure your account and receive updates on the Blink Feed.Updates are in the form of tiles that can be tapped to offer full text or videos. One can also share the update via social networks and email.
The phone offers Blink Feed as the default home screen with time and weather information on top but you can easily select any other home screen as the default one. One can add up to 5 home screens including Blink Feed as well as reduce the number of home screens to even one though that screen has to be the Blink Feed screen.
The default clock and weather information displays have been toned down to a flat minimalist white over black design, though the conventional flip clocks and analog clocks are also available as widgets. The weather and clock info is also present in the menu/app launcher tray.
One can navigate the phone through the capacitive touch buttons for going to the Home screen and for going Back. HTC has got rid of the third Menu plus App Switcher button. The Home button on long press takes you to Google Now and on double tap takes you to the app switcher. You can change the double-tap speed of the Home button through settings.
We did miss the presence of the third button, especially since there's no button in the middle on the phone. It takes some time getting used to the new arrangement, if you've been using any other Android phone for a significant amount of time
HTC has also changed the app switcher UI with a flat app preview grid for up to 6 apps replacing the previous 3D UI. Apps can be dismissed by pushing preview windows out of the screen.
The HTC Desire 600 offers more or less the same software features that we've seen on the HTC One. For a detailed look, please read our HTC One review.
Just like the HTC One, the Desire 600 also allows you to restore, transfer and import content from your previous device. The phone supports restoring content through iPhone backups and during our use we discovered that iPhone contacts can be imported even via Bluetooth.
The Desire 600 doesn't include a TV Remote app that was present on the HTC One as the phone doesn't come with an IR Blaster. It also doesn't offer a Kid mode to enable selective access to some apps for kids unlike the HTC One.
The HTC Desire 600 sports an 8-megapixel rear camera lens which comes with auto focus and an LED flash. The phone also includes a dedicated HTC ImageChip for quick processing of images and has Smart Flash, that offers a five-level flash that is automatically set based on the distance to the subject.
As with other Android devices from the company, HTC integrates its own Camera app, that allows users to select different scene settings (among Normal, Landscape, Portrait, Backlight, Night, Text and Macro) for still captures; switch between HDR, Sweep Panorama and Anti-shake modes, and choose the slow motion video mode. It also allows users to put a self timer (ranging from 2 to 10 seconds), select the resolution, video quality, review duration, image adjustments (for exposure, contrast, saturation and sharpness), ISO and White Balance settings. One can also choose to disable Continuous Shooting or restrict it to 20 frames.
In addition to these, there are other options related to face and smile detection, geo-tagging, shutter sound and a grid interface. Interestingly, the camera app also offers lenses for adding effects like Sepia, Negative, Vintage, amongst others, even before one clicks a picture. Just like the HTC Butterfly, and HTC One, the Desire 600 also has a sightseeing mode, which simply means that if you lock the phone in the camera app, you'd find it open when you press the same key again (no need to unlock the screen.)
The phone doesn't include the HTC Zoe mode seen on the HTC One.
The phone takes good quality images in daylight and the amount of detail captured by the camera lens is worth a mention. Colour reproduction was pretty accurate. We did face issues trying to focus specially while taking close up shots of objects and noticed a very minor lag between pressing the shutter and the phone actually capturing an image but the quality of photos compensated for these shortcomings.
However, images taken indoors in artificial light were a bit soft and even grainy to a certain extent.
The BSI sensor does help in capturing images in low light situations but images shot in low-light with the night mode on had a high amount of noise. Also, images of light sources like lamps taken in the dark with night mode, appear to be scattered and distorted.
The camera can record video up to 720p resolution and we found the quality of the videos captured to be good.
The 1.6-megapixel camera also takes decent images and is suitable for self clicks and video chats.
Performance/ Battery Life
The HTC Desire 600 is powered by a 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 200 quad-core processor with 1GB RAM, and an Adreno 203 chip for processing graphics. The phone had 8GB of internal storage, which is expandable up to 64GB through microSD cards.
Judging purely by the hardware specifications, the Desire 600 is anything but a high-end device. The phone features the same SoC that we've seen on the Karbonn Titanium S5, which costs around Rs. 10,000 less.
The overall experience of navigation through the interface was good and we did not experience much lag while launching apps, playing games or switching between apps. Having said that, we noticed that scrolling was not smooth while using some apps including Facebook and Twitter.
While we were able to play games such as Asphalt 7 on the phone without any issues, we noticed some problems with simple ones like Subway Surfers that stuttered occasionally. Web browsing was smooth, though.
The HTC Desire 600 offers Chrome in addition to the default browser. The default browser also allows users to turn on Adobe flash for viewing Flash content. It also offers a reader mode for reading text heavy web pages.
Unfortunately, we were not able to play full-HD videos on the phone. The front speakers on the phone deliver decent quality sound at high volume levels but it's not comparable with the HTC One's speakers. The phone also supports Beats audio, not just with headphones but also with the use of the front speakers. The quality of sound output is good and even ringtones sound melodious.
Call quality was great and the phone is able to latch on to cellular networks even in weak signal areas.
The phone offers dual-SIM functionality with support for one 3G (WCDMA) SIM and a GSM (non-3G SIM). It offers active standby, which implies that if you're on a call on one SIM and get another call on the other one, you'll be notified of the call and the calling party will get a 'call waiting' indication.
The phone also offers FM Radio and comes with NFC functionality for transferring content with other NFC-enabled phones. It also supports the DLNA protocol for wirelessly streaming media from the phone to a compatible TV or computer.
The HTC Desire 600 comes with an 1860mAh battery, and in our usage, it lasted us a full day. We charged the phone in the morning (at around 9 am), and with medium to heavy usage, including 1-1.5 hours of phone calls, two e-mail accounts with push notifications, playing some music, Twitter notifications and WhatsApp chats, the phone lasted a good 11-12 hours. It's worth pointing out that we had turned off Wi-Fi and auto-brightness, and the phone was hooked to a 3G network with the screen brightness at the highest level. Altering these settings might help in running the phone for a longer duration, depending on your usage pattern.
The HTC Desire 600 is one of the very few smartphones in this price segment that offer dual-SIM connectivity. While the phone offers a good package incorporating good build quality and a great feature set, at Rs. 27,000, it's a bit overpriced in our opinion, considering the mid-range hardware specifications. A number of phones from Indian OEMs including the likes of Zen, Karbonn and Micromax offer dual-SIM phones with similar specifications, barring a few misses (most are powered by Mediatek processors and come with 4GB of internal storage).
However, the HTC Desire 600 comes with the backing of a global brand, so in terms of factors like after sales service and durability of the device, we'd recommend it over the Indian counterparts. In case you're looking for a phone that has a giant screen, the Samsung Galaxy Mega 5.8 is also a good bet. It costs less but offers a good set of features and dual-SIM functionally.
You'd be better off waiting for the dual-SIM version of the HTC One, if budget is not a concern, and you need a premium dual-SIM device.
Overall, we feel that the HTC Desire 600 would have been an excellent buy had it been priced around Rs. 20,000.
Price: Rs. 26,990
HTC Desire 600: In pictures