HTC Desire 501 review: Much to be desired

HTC has not been doing great when it comes to the smartphone market in recent times. Except the HTC One, there are not too many HTC handsets in the market that have fared well. The HTC Desire 501 was launched sometime back and we have, for you, the full review of this device. With a hefty 16,900 price tag (MRP), is the HTC Desire 500 worth investing? Lets find out.


HTC Desire 501 Specs:

  • 4.3 inch display
  • 800 x 480 pixels resolution
  • 1.15 GHz dual core NovaThor U8520 processor
  • 1 GB RAM
  • 8 GB internal memory
  • 8 MP primary camera
  • 2.1 MP front facing camera
  • Google Android v4.1 Jelly Bean
  • 2100 mAh battery

What’s in the box


The HTC Desire 501 retails with the usual stuff – a headset, a USB charger and a data cable. The box, though is packaged impressively.

Design and Hardware


In terms of design, the HTC Desire 501 seems premium as soon as you get the first experience with it. The device sits pretty with its unique rear and comes with smooth edges along with a screen that is smooth as silk.


The back of the handset curves in around the edges making the handset easy to hold and use. If you are bored of white, black and silver usually available in smartphones, this will be a refreshing change.


The front is mostly covered by glass that kind of rises a bit above the frame, making the handset stylish yet fragile.




There are three capacitive buttons located under the display, a volume rocker on the right and a power button on the top. The front has a well-design metallic theme when it comes to the buttons.


This theme is continued with a circle around the camera. The back of the handset is unmistakable plastic but yet it is smooth and easy to hold. There is HTC branding in silver in the middle, an 8-megapixel snapper at the top along with LED Flash and a speaker at the bottom.


The 3.5 mm audio jack is located at the top of the handset, while a MicroUSB slot is located at  the bottom.

The design is pretty cool, but we do have concerns about the durability of this device.



The HTC Desire 501 comes with a 4.3-inch 480p display. Although the resolution of the device is not too high, yet it seems pretty good, because of the display density and optimization. The display is the high point of the device. It is pretty sharp yet has a certain softness to it, which is generally lacking in smartphones nowadays.

Another thing about the display is that is sunlight visibility is disappointing. But that is the only qualm we have with it.

User Interface


The HTC Desire 501 takes you back to 2011 with its UI. It comes with a  seemingly ancient Android 4.1.


The UI is mostly stock Android and does not have too much of  HTC software, which is good thing. The device does one weird thing though, once in a while its graphics get messed up although once you restart the device, it is back to normal. This might just be a glitch with our review handset, or maybe a persistent issue.


There are many pre-installed apps on the device, along with Google apps such as Play Music and Plays Books.

There is something left to be desired when it comes to Android iteration on the HTC Desire 501.



The HTC Desire 501 comes with a 1.15-GHz processor and 1 GB RAM, which is a little less than expected. But considering that its runs Android 4.1, the performance is okay, since it isn’t loaded with too much. Upon playing some third-party games, the handset becomes a tad slow, which is definitely an issue.

Battery performance

The handset comes with a 2100 mAh battery, which is sufficient, but if you turn the brightness to full, the handset depletes it pretty soon. You might have to keep the power saver on much more than you desire on this handset. We would rate the battery as average.


The camera has some good stuff on offer, daylight shots are pretty great – the level of clarity is superb. But as soon as you shift to night or low-light conditions, the camera performance declines ostensibly.



The camera app is not stock Android and has an easy-to-use interface.



Camera zoom works well


Normal Mode


HDR Mode


Indoor shot (using flash)




Night Mode

We took some pictures in daylight, night and low-light and you can notice the radical difference between them. The clarity in daylight is marred by what happens in night shots. The video capture has the same ailments, sadly.


The connectivity with the HTC Desire 501 was average. The Wi-Fi connectivity could have been a tad better though.


The HTC Desire 501 scores big in the style department. At the first look, it might impress and endear itself to you. But the internals are a whole different story. If you do not use your phone for heavy usage and use it for showing off, take your pick at it. Otherwise, the handset doesn’t justify its price tag.


  • Smooth  screen
  • Easy-to-use form factor
  • Cool graphics


  • Camera fails in low-light
  • Slight lags
  • Average battery life
  • Expensive price tag