HTC Desire LTE (Virgin Mobile)

Date Mon, May 19 2014

It’s been three months since I bought this phone, which conveniently showed up on Valentine’s Day. I had been waiting for a good deal on the Virgin Mobile site, and I bought it at $160 — the cheapest it has been. It’s dipped down to $180 a few times since Virgin Mobile released it last fall, but I don’t think it has been that cheap since. However, the base price has dropped on Amazon from $280 to $223.99.

HTC's Desire 4G on Virgin Mobile is sleek

HTC’s Desire 4G on Virgin Mobile is sleek

Form Factor

The HTC Desire is quite sleek in my opinion. It’s more similar to the HTC One and HTC’s other flagship phones. There’s a drilled grill in front, and the LED light is located behind this. It does make it a little more difficult to see at a glance, but this isn’t a deal-breaker.

HTC continues to place the power button on the top of the device and the volume buttons to the side, but the headphone jack is now on the top and the USB/charging port is on the bottom, which is a better location than on the side. The port is a very tight fit, even three months after I purchased it.

The HTC Desire is larger than my previous phone, the One V, with a 4.5-inch display, but it’s not so unwieldy that I can’t use it with my small hands. This is important. Although I liked the form factor, I went ahead and bought a dual-layer case for my phone to protect it. I suggest you do the same.

Hardware

Let’s starting with the process — a 1.4 GHz dual-core processor. It’s fast. With the amount of RAM, performance of this phone has been fantastic. I don’t have to constantly close programs, and lag is rarely an issue even when playing games.

Of course, this is one of the first non-Samsung 4G phones that Virgin Mobile carries, and you have plenty of options when it comes to mobile network. Use 3G or 4g or a mix of both. There’s a utility that looks for the best network available. I was surprised to learn that I can pick up 4G here as Sprint doesn’t officially have LTE here; however, 4G and the optimization utility suck up battery like crazy.

Given the larger screen size and how much I use this phone, I’m happy with the 2100 mAH battery lasting all day. HTC has added the battery saver once more. I sorely missed it with my One V.

There are two front-facing speakers which works well for talking on speaker phone and listening to music. The quality is better than most cell phones and doesn’t sound as tinny as you’d expect. I was pleasantly surprised.

The most disappointing part of this phone might be the camera, which is just 5 megapixels — the same as my past three phones. I definitely want an upgrade with my next phone. However, software updates allow me to more easily take a photo with one hand, and I enjoy the new filters. The quality of photos isn’t great in low light, but if you simply want to upload photos to Facebook like I do, it’s better than nothing. HTC has added a panoramic option that works pretty well, and there’s also HTC Zoe. I haven’t had the opportunity to use it because I need a better SD card. I you record videos, you can do so as a full 1080P.

Speaking of storage, the Desire comes with 16 gigabytes of space, so I no longer have to worry about running out of room. It’s smaller than some other options, but I don’t store music on my phone. Plus, there’s a full gig of RAM, so I am finally able to use all the apps that weren’t compatible or didn’t run well on my previous phone. I rarely clear out my cache or close apps running in the background, and the phone is quite zippy. I’ve noticed some lag with the keyboard in the last couple weeks, but that may be Kii.

The Desire also has a front-facing camera. It’s lower quality than the main camera, of course, but it suffices to take selfies and video chat.

Software

The HTC Desire comes with Android 4,2, JellyBean. It also comes with an updated version of Sense. Both are the best options I’ve used yet. I’m bummed that I haven’t yet received the update to Kitkat, which was been confirmed since January.

I swapped out Sense for Smart Launcher, but widgets on the lock screen and the expanded status bar updates are convenient time savers. There’s an updated multitasking screen, as many Google apps as you can shake a fist at (and many more via Google Play or Amazon App Store). HTC also has added or updated a few things, including HTC Blinkfeed.

HTC has built in backup service via Dropbox, so I’ve been using that. It backsup all my apps every morning.

Not only did Virgin Mobile keep the FM radio unlocked, but you have two choices when it comes to apps: HTC’s FM radio and Sprint’s Next Radio. They’re both digital radio apps with the exact same functions. I prefer FM radio, but it’s all personal preference.

I am a bit bummed that the emoticons are not standard Android emoticons but ugly yellow ones. However, this is the only reason I would have to root, and it’s not a big deal. The phone does support the Emoji font.

The Desire is my favorite phone to date. I’m still in the honeymoon period. I practically ignore my 3DS since I bought my phone, and it’s a capable device as a much more affordable price than you normally get. This mid-range phone performs far better than any phone I’ve owned to date, and I expect to have a happy relationship with it for some time.

It’s absolutely work its if the price drops beneath $200. Keep your eyes on Amazon and Virgin Mobile for a sale!

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