Design: The phone has nice rounded edges and the back cover and battery are removable. The 5-inch display size means the phone is slightly difficult to handle with one hand. The plastic back cover is extremely glossy and is a real smudge magnet. The phone weighs 160 grams and is 9.7 mm thick. The 5 MP camera, like any other HTC, is at the centre of the phone on its rear side. The phone comes in full black and full white variants and the glossy finish makes it a little tricky to hold onto with one hand. Also illuminating the back and home touch buttons would certainly help us use the phone better for those late night texts rather than depending on the tactile feedback.
Screen: The 5-inch screen has a 540 x 960 pixel resolution with a 220 pixel density. Its colour tone and contrast ratio makes for good viewing and the display quality is impressive for its price point. The screen is good for viewing videos and the pictures also appear quite vivid. The Moto G has an HD display and pips the 516 in this aspect.
Performance: The phone is powered by a 1.2GHz quad-core processor paired with Adreno 305 GPU. The 1 GB of RAM though falls short of the other phones in the price bracket. The phone handles all your regular apps quite smoothly but can show a hint of lag when using some data-hogging apps in tandem.
Software: The 516 comes with the outdated Android 4.2. It seems HTC takes time to tweak its Sense user interface for Kitkat. The drop down notification menu and the trademark up-down app drawer enables you to handle the 5 inch device with one hand.
Camera: The 5 MP snapper is
decent and takes some crisp pictures under the right lighting conditions. The 2 MP front camera is one of the best in its class and will make selfie fanatics very happy. The preset filters and camera settings might seem a bit complex for the average user at first (it allows you to set the ISO and also reduce wavelet noise) but they allow you to get the perfect snap. The camera supports 720p video recording as well.
Storage: The Desire 516 comes with a 4 GB internal storage that can be expanded to 32 GB using a micro SD card. It does fall short of its competitors in this aspect as most of them come with 8 GB of internal storage.
Battery: The phone is packed with a 1950 mAh user removable battery, for a phone of this size I did expect HTC to offer a little bigger juice pack. The battery lasts a tad more than half a day while on 3G and Wi-Fi.
Verdict: The HTC Desire 516 is a competitor and will remain one as it falls short of other phones in its league. A less powerful battery, an outdated operating system, slower processor, non HD screen and a lower internal storage are the points that HTC should revisit to get a real winner.
* Display: 5 inch LCD display, 540 x 960
* Processor: Quad core 1200 MHz processor
* Operating system: Android v4.2.2 (Jelly Bean)
* Camera: 5 MP primary; 2 MP secondary
* SIM type: Dual SIM, 3G, Wi-Fi
* Storage: 4 GB internal memory, expandable up to 32 GB
* RAM: 1 GB RAM
* Battery: 1950 mAh, Li-Ion battery
* Estimated street price: R13,302