HTC Desire 626

HTC's Desire line has always been a quality mid-range experience, but as that space continues to welcome new players the new 626 has some interesting competition.

Talking about the top of the line is fun, but this year has been huge for the mid range. HTC has been rocking the affordable smartphone for a while now with the Desire line, though it was mostly over in Europe and Asia until now. These phones are middle of the road, and are more feasible for purchase outright. The latest in this lineup is the HTC Desire 626, complete with an unlocked price tag that competes with what is quickly becoming a crowded segment.

Here's our hands on.

The HTC Desire 626 is definitely a pretty phone, insofar as design goes. It isn't huge, which is a big deal with my smaller hands. It also has a great feel in my hand, it's a smooth plastic case but doesn't feel slippery at all. The rear camera and flash bulge slightly from the back, which could be a concern if you drop or otherwise abuse your phone.

It's neither clunky nor heavy in your hands, thanks to the plastic and rounded corners.

There are a few color options to choose from with black, white, blue, and brown. Each color also has a contrast with the stripe that runs the length of the phones side. The buttons blend into the sides, being easier to find by touch than by sight. The HTC branding is on a bar on the front of the phone as well as smack in the middle of the back of the Desire 626. It tricks you with two speaker grills — one above the display, and one below it, though only one of them has a speaker.

It's neither clunky nor heavy in your hands, thanks to the plastic and rounded corners. Thankfully that plastic cover doesn't pick up a ton of dirt, dust or smudges. The phone stays in one piece, offering a rigid flap for your microSD card and SIM card instead of giving you access to the battery as well.

You get a 5-inch display with only 720p resolution with this model. The screen isn't amazing, but given the price it isn't much of a surprise either. The screen can definitely get the job done, but it comes with some washed out colors in sunlight and some weird over sharpening of photos and video to compensate for the lower resolution.

The 626 includes 8MP rear camera, and a 5MP front facing camera. Both of them are decent in daylight, and fit the mid range accessibility of the HTC Desire 626. Pictures from the rear camera were a little weak on autofocus but got better quickly with tap to focus. Pictures outside in full daylight come out nicely, but they tend toward graininess when you're dealing with shade or low light. HTC's out of the box options to tweak and edit pictures right from your gallery remains a welcomed addition to the camera experience.

It ships with Android 5.1 with HTC Sense 7, and surprisingly the Snapdragon 210 onboard has enough power to drive the experience without immediate performance issues. If you're familiar with Sense 7, you know exactly what to expect here. BlinkFeed, Themes, the recommendations widget, and HTC's keyboard are all ready to go on this phone. What you will miss, if you've used a higher end HTC phone, is access to things like double-tap to wake or a remote control app. No IR sensor means no TV control.

It's not uncommon for this phone to have 35 percent battery remaining at the end of the day.

There are a few buttons and ports to be found with the HTC Desire 626. The bottom of the phone is where you'll find your charging port, which is handy for anyone who likes to use their phone while it is plugged in. The right side has a volume bar near the top, and just under that a rather small power button. The top of the phone is where you'll find your audio jack. On the left near the top is a small pop out panel. You'll find your sim card slot, along with an SD card slot that claims support up to 200 GB.

Lower specs means you don't need nearly as big a battery to get through a whole day, which is good because the 2,000 mAh battery in this phone does exactly that based on my usage. It's not uncommon for this phone to have 35 percent remaining at the end of the day for me, even with constant use throughout.

HTC Desire 626 back

Overall The HTC Desire 626 is a decent mid-range phone. It's got fantastic battery life, and a sturdy comfortable size compared to some of the larger phones on the market today. It is definitely a smartphone to consider if you're looking for something affordable, rather than something powerful. The display and camera can leave a little bit to be desired, but you are getting what you pay for with a $200 price tag.