Hands-on Review: HTC ONE E9+ in Malaysia

HTC One E9+
HTC One E9+
HTC One E9+

HTC One E9+ has been launched in Malaysia on 30 July 2015, priced under RM2K and available in shining gold colour. Check out my hands-on first impression and phone specifications.

If you cannot afford HTC One M flagship series (HTC One M9+ in 2015), then the HTC One E series is the affordable choice with similar specifications.

E9+ has similar flagship design as HTC One M9+. The golden metal frame gives it a luxury feel. The non-removable back cover is not metal nor glass, but a plastic with a smooth touch.

HTC One E9+ 20MP camera
HTC One E9+ 20MP camera

The 20 mega pixel rear camera bulge with golden ring is standing out from the smooth surface at the very top of the phone.

At the front, you get the 5.5-inch 2K WQHD (1440×2560 pixel) display, dual front-facing speakers with HTC Boom Sound, and HTC UltraPixel front camera.

Both rear 20MP camera and UltraPixel front camera are using the same camera sensor as HTC One M9+.

The volume rocker and the power button is at the right side. Don’t need to stretch your finger to reach the power button.

Dual SIM & microSD card slots are under a long cap at the left side of the phone.

HTC One E9+ dual SIM and microSD card slots
HTC One E9+ dual SIM and microSD card slots

HTC E9+ is 4G Dual SIM Dual Active, you can use both nano SIM cards at the same time. Also, you do not need to sacrifice an SIM slot to install microSD memory card. This is good!

Inside the beautiful design, the HTC One E9+ is packed with latest MediaTek’s flagship processor — Helio X10 64-bit 2GHz octa core processor, 3GB RAM and 32GB storage, supports microSD memory card up to 2TB (if you have one). It runs Android 5.0 Lollipop with HTC Sense 7.

HTC One E9+ gold sepia and classic rose gold
HTC One E9+ gold sepia and classic rose gold

HTC One E9+ price in Malaysia is RM1,899. Available in Gold Sepia and Classic Rose Gold colour.

“Our newest HTC One E series builds on the momentum of the flagship phones with sophistication and style,” said Faisal Siddiqui, President, HTC South Asia and India. “The HTC One E9+ continues to buuilld on HTC’s innovation and design, with very good features that is sure to delight our customers.”

For more information, please visit http://www.htc.com/sea

HTC One E9+ photo gallery

Thought

Overall, I am impressed by HTC One E9+ design and build. It is sleek and elegant with a luxury feel (GOLD!). It has smooth performance during my hands-on period. I will need to do a detail phone review to reveal its real life daily performance.

I think RM1900 for a like-flagship smartphone is expensive. We have many choices under RM1500 in the market now… What do you think?

This is #HTC E9+ in #LiewCF hand. Nice build, though not metal. RM1,899 in Malaysia.

A photo posted by Liew Cheon-Fong (@liewcf) on

HTC Butterfly 2: HTC Delivers Yet another Beautiful Butterfly

HTC Butterfly 2
Models with HTC Butterfly 2
Models with HTC Butterfly 2

HTC Malaysia launched Butterfly 2 that promises to deliver best-in-class experience in a stylist, iconic Japanese minimalistic design.

The splashing launch by the poolside at Tropicana Golf Club was an appropriate venue to demonstrate the water resistant Smartphone with Jonathan Putra picking up a call right after falling into the pool to Ben Jern Loh taking photos of the goldfishes underwater.

Let’s dive into the key features of this new beauty.

13MP Duo Camera

The HTC Butterfly 2 is built with the latest HTC Sense 6 experience, HTC Duo Camera and an intuitive Motion Launch advanced sensor.

It claims to bring a new dimension of mobile imaging by combining Japan’s first Smartphone with a Duo Camera that features a 13MP camera, a dual flash and Full 1080p HD Video Recording to produce fantastic videos. This is good news for all you wannabe shorties filmmakers who can’t invest in a professional camcorder. The 5MP front-facing camera also ensures that your selfies always look the best.

HTC Sense 6

Moving on to the HTC Sense 6 experience, it simply means that the product has sixth sense. Not the spooky M Night Shayamalan type but intuition from its built-in motion sensors.

The Motion Launch allows you to just swipe the Smartphone to active the device; Auto Answer allows you to answer a call by putting the Smartphone to your ear without touching the screen and a double tap turns the lock screen on and off. Even my 16-month old son could use this Smartphone. I think this brings “user friendliness” to a whole new level.

Water resistant & dustproof and more

HTC Butterfly 2 is water resistatant
HTC Butterfly 2 is water resistatant

The Butterfly 2 is water resistant and dustproof at IPX5, IPX7 (International Protection Marking which means the device has water protection up to certain immersion) but you do not have to close the ports as it intuitively does it.

It also has anti-stain finishing on the Canvas White model. So lovers of all things white don’t have to handle this Smartphone with a glove or bring a microfiber cloth to wipe it every other minute.

For those of you who don’t like to lug a power bank around, HTC brings you good news as the Butterfly 2 boasts of an Extreme power saving mode that makes your battery last even longer.

It also boost of the latest HTC BoomSound Technology to create an immersive, powerful and crystal clear sound with rich bass through to treble.

HTC Butterfly 2 VS. One M8

HTC Butterfly 2
HTC Butterfly 2

Some of you may be wondering, what’s the difference between the One M8 and Butterfly 2 as the specifications are rather similar, albeit a slighter faster CPU and water resistance features?

Well, it’s all about meeting customers’ needs and HTC is reaching out to the lifestyle, youth and female market. Rest assured that this was not an overnight decision as their marketing research showed that more than fifty percent of the overall Butterfly series were bought by females, as shared by Wayne Tang, Product Marketing Manager at HTC South Asia.

Buyers of gadgets are no longer your typical male geeks or professionals but everyday people, which include mummies who carry their Smartphones more than their credit cards with them everywhere they go.

The buying power for gadgets is moving to the gentler side and HTC acknowledges this fact by providing a lifestyle Smartphone to suit the masses and female needs. One M8 is HTC’s flagship Smartphone for executives and those who prefer metallic finish. So there’s a clear distinction between the two Smartphones.

If you’re looking for a stylish Android Smartphone with polycarbonate finishing and don’t mind forking out more for the dual camera, Sense UI, and water resistance features, this is the Smartphone for you.

HTC Butterfly 2 specifications

HTC Butterfly 2 design
HTC Butterfly 2 design
  • CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 2.5GHz Quad-core
  • OS: Android with HTC Sense
  • SIM card type: Nano SIM
  • Memory: 16GB storage, 2GB RAM, support microSD memory card up to 128GB
  • Size: 1145.4 x 70.2 x 9.99mm
  • Weight: 151 g
  • Display: 5.0 inch, Full HD 1080p
  • Network: 2G/3G/4G LTE
  • Connectivity: NFC, Bluetooth 4.0, WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, DLNA, MHL and HDMI via micro USB port
  • Sound: HTC BoomSound Dual frontal stereo speakers with build-in amplifiers
  • Camera: 13MP F/2.0 28mm Duo camera with secondary camera to capture depth information. 5MP front camera
  • Battery: 2700 mAh Li-polymer battery (embedded)
  • Durability: Water resistant: IPX5, IPX7; Dustproof IP5X
  • Price: RM 2299

Price & Availability

The HTC Butterfly 2 is available in Canvas White and Rouge Red at a suggested retail price of RM2,299 at HTC authorized retailers. Refer below for the full specifications.

Event photos

[box type=”note”]This article is written by Geek Mommy, who tries to makes sense of the tech world for the less techie while managing a household, a part-time job & keeping a toddler busy. [/box]

Photos credit: HTC Malaysia

HTC One (M8) Review: Best Android Smartphone 2014 with Little Glitches

HTC One M8 review banner

HTC One M8 review banner

HTC One (M8) is HTC flagship smartphone in 2014, the successor of HTC One (M7). It was launched in Malaysia in May 2014.

The new Android smartphone inherits the award-winning metal unibody design, improved HTC BoomSound speakers, added new Duo Camera technology and HTC Sense 6.

I had a chance to loan an HTC One (M8) for a few weeks and used as my primary phone. The phone has now been returned and here is my 2,700 words comprehensive HTC One M8 review.

HTC One (M8) Design

I have a bias toward metal phone body. I like the cool, hard, strong metal touch. You deserved to have a phone build with good tough material after spending so much to buy it, anyway.

HTC One M8 smartphone back
HTC One M8 smartphone back

HTC One (M8) does not disappointed me a bit. 90% of the phone is metal. The review unit I received is Gunmetal Gray. It looks classy and manly.

The phone is slim and lightweight (160g), though 90% is metal. The 5-inch curved body has no sharp edges. It is comfortable to hold with one hand but impossible to type with one hand.

At the front, the most eye catching thing is the HTC’s signature front-facing stereo speaker grills at the metal frame. Next to the top speaker is the 5MP front facing camera and sensor.

A HTC logo located above the bottom speaker. It is not a button. The whole black bar has no function. I guess HTC purposely use the design to increase the phone’s size to fit in more components. The design make M8 becomes taller than other 5-inch smartphone.

At the top right hand side is microSD memory card slot, which opened with a pin. HTC One M8 supports microSD card up to 128 GB. Next to the card slot is the volume buttons, which only stick out a little bit but easy to press.

HTC One (M8) microSD and nano SIM slots
HTC One (M8) microSD and nano SIM slots

The opposite side is the nano SIM card slot. Nano SIM card size is smaller than the already small Micro SIM card. You may need to do SIM card replacement at your telco service center. Your telco may charge you for SIM card replacement. I was told it is RM10 for Maxis but I got mine free of charge.

The micro USB port and headset jack is at the bottom of the phone. I like headset jack at the bottom because it feels more natural. But the micro USB port is close to the headset jack, you get messy wires if you plug in earphones and USB port at the same time.

HTC One (M8) bottom
HTC One (M8) bottom

Like previous HTC One phones, HTC still stubbornly place the power/sleep button at the top of the phone. It is difficult to reach with one hand without moving grip. Apparently, HTC tries to solve the problem using new software feature — Motion Launch gestures (read more about it later).

The first thing you will notice at the M8’s back is the new Duo Camera. Above the HTC UltraPixel camera (4MP) is a smaller secondary camera that capture depth information so that you can add special effects to your pictures. M8 has 2 different colour LED flash for taking more natural photos with flash fired.

The non-removable metal back cover is smooth and the brushed pattern looks stylist. It has an emboss HTC logo at the center. 2 black stripes at top and bottom, so that wireless signal can pass through the metal body.

While the metal back does not attract finger prints, it could become slippery after some time, especially noticeable in horizontal mode. It is not a big issue, a simple wipe on your T-shirt will solve it.

Or, you can buy new HTC Dot View phone case (no review) to protect M8, whilst displaying notifications and interactions in dot-matrix style.

HTC One (M8) photo gallery

Full HD Display

HTC One M8 display is Full HD 1920×1080 pixels. It is sharp and bright, plus wide viewing angle. The text and pictures are beautiful.

Watching Full HD videos on M8 is a pleasure. The 16:9 aspect ratio display gives you full screen, no black border view.

I have a feeling that image on M8 has been enhanced. Photos look better on the phone than after transferred to computer.

The touch screen display is sensitive and responsive. Sometimes I feel that it activates even before my finger touch the screen! A little too sensitive? Fret not, I had no issue with it.

HTC BoomSound

HTC One (M8) BoomSound speaker
HTC One (M8) BoomSound speaker

HTC One M8, as you have expecting, has the signature dual front-facing BoomSound speakers with build-in amplifiers. M8 speakers is 25% louder (max output 95 dB) than previous generation, offer “richer & punchier sound across all spectrum”.

I can’t comment how does it compare with previous HTC One editions. But I can tell you that the sound is great.

The sound is loud and clear, balance bass and treble. No burst at high volume. I played kids music for my baby and the music filled the whole room, like it was playing back using expensive portable speaker.

By the way, BoomSound cannot be turned off and you do not get equalizer setting.

“HTC One (M8) has the best smartphone speakers.” you can quote me this.

Kitkat and HTC Sense 6

HTC One (M8) uses the latest Android 4.4 Kitkat with HTC Sense 6. The user interface is clean and easy to navigate. Many Google apps are pre-installed, but I did not find any useless bloatware.

Turn on HTC Backup

HTC offers a HTC Backup service to do daily back up of your phone’s content and setting to Google Drive or Dropbox, so you can easily restore them on new phone or after factory reset.

HTC Backup
HTC Backup asks to turn on after every app installation/update.

It is a handy feature. But I do not need it for the review unit, thus I did not actiave HTC Backup. Then, it was nagging me non-stop whenever I installed or updated apps, even I ticked “Don’t ask me again” but it simply ignore my decision…

HTC Sync Manager required

Unlike most other Android devices that you can connect to computer as USB storage device, HTC One (M8) was not detected when connecting to Windows 8.1 and OS X.

You are requires to install HTC Sync Manager to transfer media files to computer. The application is good for content synching and management, but slow performance.

For simple file transfer task, I prefer to “drag and drop” in File manager or Android File Transfer app.

BlinkFeed

HTC BlinkFeed has been updated to support more apps and services: Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, fitbit, Instagram, Wechat, Google+, Linkedin, Plurk.

I check BlinkFeed every morning after wake up. I like the idea of summarizing my social network feeds into one app. However, BlinkFeed does not learn your interests and reading habits like my favourite Zite app does (acquired by Flipboard).

If you are a Pocket app user, you can launch the app via BlinkFeed’s menu. No integration, too bad.

Motion Launch

HTC One (M8) includes Motion Launch gestures control to unlock phone in a swipe, launch camera, flip to silence call.

I use the swipe to unlock phone feature a lot, it solves the hard to reach power button problem. You can also double-tap on screen to quickly check time and new notifications.

However, the motion detection is not perfect.

The phone randomly accidentally unlocked while it is in my pocket as if I had swipe to unlock it, random apps were launched without my knowledge. I had been extra careful not to launch any gesture control while holding the phone locked.

The feature is designed to activate only when you pick up the phone. I found that you can still activate them while the phone lie flat on table.

You can launch phone camera immediately by picking up the phone and press down volume button. It is a bit tricky, you must hold the phone straight up. A little bit slanting will not activate the function.

Motion Launch is useful features but more tuning required here.

Duo Camera

HTC One (M8) duo camera
HTC One (M8) duo camera

M8’s primary camera is still the HTC UltraPixel 4MP camera. It has a 1/3″ sensor with 2.0 um pixel size. The lens is f/2.0 28mm.

The smaller camera in the duo camera system is to capture depth information for special effects later. It is activated by default. You will be warned when your finger is blocking it.

You can easily takes clear and sharp images, especially in low light environment. Avoid straight bright light, images may overexposed and colour washed out.

The front camera is 5MP sensor with f/2.0 wide angle lens. I enjoy taking high quality selfie using it.

M8 has two LED Flash with different colours. It helps to take more natural skin tones photos with flash fired, without over-exposed.

4 MegaPixels

Many people believe higher pixel count means better quality, which is wrong. Can’t blame them, because pixel count is easier to understand than picture quality.

The fact is that high resolution camera produces large image files taking up precious phone storage. High resolution image is only useful if you want to print poster or crop image.

4MP gives you 2688×1520 pixels, enough for 8×10″ photo quality prints. More than enough for online photo publishing on facebook, instagram, etc.

Camera app

HTC One M8 camera app
HTC One M8 camera app

The camera app launches in a second and ready for shots. Tap to focus is fast, HTC says the focus time is 300ms. You can use volume button as shutter button or zoom, it is customizable.

The camera interface is simple to use but also have advance features for power users. Beside swipe to swtich front or back camera, you can also tap the “4 circles button” to fast switching camera mode — Selfie, Camera, Dual Capture (picture-in-picture), Video, Pan 360, Zoe camera.

The Selfie mode has default 3 seconds countdown (customizable). It helps to avoid camera blur caused by pressing the shutter button.

HTC One M8 camera manual mode
HTC One M8 camera manual mode

For power users, tap on the “3 square boxes” button will reveal advance settings, such as ISO, EV, white balance, filter, etc. You can even switch to Manual mode for 100% manual settings!

Special effects

With duo camera system, you can have special effects like Ufocus, Foregrounder, or more fancy special effects like Seasons, Dimension Plus.

Ufocus allows you to refocus any object in picture and create a “deep of field” effect. It makes your picture looks more “professional” with object popup from blur background, as if it was taken using high aperture lens.

However, Ufocus is a hit-and-miss. The effect is cool if the targeted object is distinct from the background.  Most of the time, re-adjusting focus point using Ufocus make the picture looks like amateurs photoshop edit. The blur effect looks fake.

Foregrounder includes 4 interesting effects — sketch, zoom blur, cartoon, colorize.

Seasons is another fun effect to add live sakura, dandelion, maple leaf or snow into a picture. The result can be saved as video or photo with options to add location and date.

Seasons effect is eye-catching for first timer. It is just another fancy feature you would not use more than 3 times.

HTC One M8 duo camera effects
HTC One M8 duo camera effects (click/tap for fullsize image)

Talking about fancy feature, the Dimension Plus is No.1 useless. It creates a fake 3D image which rotate following phone’s orientations.

No, it does not reveal what’s not in the original photo. Stop dreaming!

The 3D effect can only playback on the phone. You can save it as dimension plus file to share with other HTC phone users (HTC One M8 only?).

Gallery app can automatically create short videos with background music with your photos and videos. It is very handy for non-technical person to create professional looking slide shows.

Note: Picture special effects are not applicable for pictures shoot using shooting mode or filters, nor edited pictures. In short, please use AUTO mode only.

HTC One (M8) camera sample photos

Here are some sample photos taken using HTC One (M8), without any filter nor edit. Click/Tap for fullsize image.

Top Performance

HTC One (M8) is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 2.3Ghz quad-core CPU, the fastest processor available now. The phone has 2GB RAM and 16GB storage.

M8 is a 4G LTE phone using Nano SIM. Other connectivity supported are NFC, Bluetooth 4.0, WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2.4 & 5GHz), DLNA, MHL, and Miracast wireless mirroring.

No doubt. M8 is one of the top performance smartphone you can buy today. Every app launch and app switching is faster than a blink.

Playing 3D games on M8 is a pleasure experience. Thanks to its Full HD display, loud front facing stereo speakers, powerful GPU.

HTC One M8 benchmark scores
HTC One M8 benchmark scores

Following are the benchmark scores:

  • AnTuTu Benchmark: 35,007
  • Quadrant: 25,452
  • Futuremark 3DMark: 19,979*
  • Vellamo HTML5: 1812
  • Vellamo Metal: 1306

*HTC One (M8) is delisted by Futuremark because it has not complied with Futuremark benchmark rules.

I would like to highlight a touch screen problem I encountered. Once in a blue moon, the display did not response to my finger touch, regardless tap or swipe. Close apps or restart would solved the issue. In the couple weeks reviewing period, I forced restart the phone once because it did not take touch input.

Good battery life

If you hate to bring power bank or charge smartphone in the middle of the day, you would love M8’s battery life (2600 mAh).

With full charge in the morning, M8 still has battery juice left in the night after 17 hours of usage. Impressive!

HTC One M8 long battery life
HTC One M8 long battery life

I did not need to worry about phone’s battery level nor I need to bring a power bank, because I knew it will last till I was on bed.

In my test, the battery drained 13% after playback 1 hour Youtube video in fullscreen. Fully charged would provide you 7 hours 41 minutes non-stop video playback.

Charging HTC One (M8) from 5% to 80% took 2 hours 5 minutes using the included HTC charger, which was hot after charging phone.

Power saving mode is automatically kick in when it left 15% battery juice. Want to further extend battery life? Switch on the Extreme Power Saving mode. HTC says it delivers 60 hours of extra standby time at 20% power, 30 hours at 10% power and 15 hours at 5% power.

Extreme Power Saving

Extreme Power Saving Mode
Extreme Power Saving Mode

In Extreme Power Saving mode, M8’s CPU clock is slower, screen brightness reduced, vibration feedback and pedometer are off, data connection is on only when screen is on.

Extreme Power Saving mode only offer 5 basic functions: Phone call, Messages, Mail, Calendar, and Calculator. You will still receive apps notifications but you cannot launch any other app in Extreme Power Saving mode. (Recent apps icon is removed)

In short, your powerful HTC One (M3) becomes a feature phone in Extreme Power Saving mode to extend battery life to the maximum. Chances are you will only use it in case of emergency.

I only used Extreme Power Saving mode once in my loan period (thanks to its long battery life!). It gave me peace of mind that I will still have a working phone in the next few hours even only few percent battery juice left.

Availability

HTC One (M8) in Malaysia is available in Gunmetal Gray and Glacial Silver at a retail recommended price of RM 2,399 (~USD 744), same price as iPhone 5S in Malaysia.

Conclusion

HTC One (M8) is one of the best smartphone you can buy in 2014. It has good phone build, great Full HD  display, long battery life and good cameras. The BoomSound speakers are the best smartphone speakers. Great phone for your on-the-go movie watching.

However, HTC needs to fix the software issues — not serious but would degrade user experience — Motion Control needs tweaking, Duo Camera refocus effect does not really work.

In a nutshell, if you are not into iPhone, buy HTC One (M8) and nobody can say you are wrong. Buy it!

I would like to thank HTC for the opportunity to review HTC One (M8). This is a free product review with honest write-up. Interesting to send your products for review? Get in touch with me.

HTC One MAX Phablet with Fingerprint Scanner Released in Malaysia

HTC One Max

HTC One Max

HTC One Max 5.9-inch phablet has been released in Malaysia. The super-sized Android smartphone has the award winning HTC One design with a new fingerprint scanner at the back.

HTC One Max Features

The phablet is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 quad-core 1.7 GHz processor and 2 GB RAM. 16GB/32GB phone storage, support microSD memory card up to 64GB, plus free 50 GB Google Drive online storage.

HTC One Max’s 5.9-inch Full HD display and dual frontal stereo speakers with build-in amplifiers are great for your on-the-go movie watching.

HTC One Max family: HTC One Max (silver), HTC One (red), HTC One mini (black)
HTC One Max family: HTC One Max (silver), HTC One (red), HTC One mini (black)

The build-in fingerprint scan feature allows you to lock/unlock screen. You can also assign individual finger to quickly launch up to 3 favourite apps.

HTC One Max is a 4G LTE smartphone. It supports NFC, Bluetooth 4.0, WiFi 802.11 a/ac/b/g/n, DLNA, infrared remote control. The micro USB port is MHL enabled to connect to your HDTV via HDMI port.

HTC One Max has the same HTC UltraPixel camera found in HTC One with f/2.0 aperture and 28 mm lens, smart flash. The front camera is 2.1 MP, 88° wide angle lens with full HD video recording.

The 3300 mAh embedded battery provides up to 25 hours of talk time. The optional HTC Power Flip Case gives HTC One Max extra 1200 mAh battery juice and protection.

Price and Availability

HTC One Max is available in Malaysia at all HTC retailers and selected mobile operators at RM2,499 from now onwards.

Thoughts

HTC One Max’s competitors is Samsung GALAXY Note 3. Personally, I prefer HTC One Max’s design, build, display and speakers. If you do not use stylus, then consider HTC One Max as your next phablet.

Too bad that the fingerprint scanner functions is only limited to lock/unlock and launch 3 apps. Would be great if it can login your online accounts (read: password manager).

➤ HTC

HTC Desire 200 Review: Cute, Budget Smartphone with Beats Audio

HTC Desire 200 back with 5MP camera and speaker
LiewCF.com loads in HTC Desire 200 browser
LiewCF.com loads in HTC Desire 200 browser

HTC Desire 200 is HTC budget Android smartphone in 2013. It is small, affordable and features Beats Audio. Read my HTC Desire 200 review here to learn about its performance and features.

HTC Desire 200 Specs

Let’s have a glance of HTC Desire 200 specs:

  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon S1, Single-core 1GHz
  • OS: Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich)
  • Storage: 4GB (support microSD card up to 32GB)
  • RAM: 512MB
  • Display: 3.5-inch HVGA (320 x 480 pixels)
  • Connectivity: 3.5 mm stereo audio jack, Bluetooth 4.0, WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
  • Camera: 5MP F2.8 rear camera with fixed focus, VGA video recording. No front camera
  • Battery: 1230 mAh removable & rechargeable Li-ion battery
  • Size: 107.7 x 60.8 x 11.9mm
  • Weight: 100g

Price: RM499 (~USD157) in Malaysia

Design

HTC Desire 200 back with 5MP camera and speaker
HTC Desire 200 back with 5MP camera and speaker

“Aiyer~ So CUTE!” was my cousin-in-law’s first impression when she saw the HTC Desire 200 review unit.

Admittedly, white HTC Desire 200 looks adorable. It looks like a soap with rounded corners and patterned back cover.

There are cosmetic only speaker holes pattern at the top of front panel. Desire 200 speaker is located at the back, next to the 5MP camera.

Under the 3.5-inch display are the 3 capacitive keys – back, home, recent apps – with no backlit.

microUSB port is at the left size, volume buttons at the right side. At the top is power button and audio jack.

The display is only 3.5-inch with 320 x 480 pixels. The glass is smudges magnet and becomes oily in a short time (no, I did not eat fries).

Desire 200’s small resolution is not enough for some apps and websites to display correctly. Virtual keyboard blocks half of your view when typing.

Photo gallery

Features

HTC Desire 200 has general specs as other budget smartphones. The unique feature make it stand out from the crowd is the Beats Audio – a audio system to enhance music output.

Beats Audio only activate on Desire 200 when you plug in headphones. You do not get Beats Audio via the phone’s small speaker that has weak and blur sound output.

A pair of in-ear headset is included in HTC Desire 200 package. In my Desire 200 test, the Beats Audio enhanced music is very good quality.

By the way, you also receive 25GB DropBox cloud storage for 2 years after activation on Desire 200.

Performance

Single-core 1GHz processor and 512MB RAM are the minimum specs for today’s smartphone. HTC Desire 200 capable to run most of your Android apps but you better do not expect too much.

In my testing, it runs most apps okay. Apps crashed sometimes, example: video does not play in Facebook app; page scrolling is sluggish.

Desire 200 has total 4GB storage, only about 2GB usable free storage – divided into 1GB internal memory (for apps) and 0.95GB phone memory (for media).

Still, many apps requires SD card to be installed, though there’s free space in Phone memory. It can’t even save screenshots on phone memory.

I ran a few benchmark tests to give you an idea about Desire 200 performance:

  • Antutu: 3,846
  • Quadrant: 1,971
  • Vellamo HTML5: 760
  • Vellamo Metal: 325

I think these are the lowest scored I ever tested. Well, at least it completed the benchmark tests. For comparison, S CSL Switch MARS Mi450 (1.2GHz dual core CPU, RM699) scored 6,615 in my review.

For battery test, I ran YouTube video for an hour and check the battery drain level. Desire 200 battery drain 20% for playing 1 hour video in full screen with auto brightness setting.

Camera test

Here are some photos taken by HTC Desire 200 5MP fixed focus camera with no edit no resize (click/tap for full size images).

You notice that the photos are blur and high noises for indoor (low light). Outdoor photo is better – correct colours and keeps details.

If you haven’t notice yet, HTC Desire 200 does not have front camera for selfie.

Conclusion

Pro:

  • simple and cute design
  • Beats Audio

Con:

  • poor performance
  • poor speaker
  • small and low resolution display
  • requires microSD card for apps to work

HTC Desire 200 is small and cute, plus Beats Audio, but I do not recommend it. Buy Desire 200 if you like its size and want Beats Audio smartphone at RM500. With similar price range (RM500–600), you can find better smartphone with better specs.

What do you think about HTC Desire 200? What do you like/dislike about it? Which smartphones would you recommend at the same price range?

➤ HTC

I would like to thank HTC for the opportunity to review HTC Desire 200. This is a free product review with honest write-up. Interesting to submit your products for review? Get in touch with me.

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