HTC in with a $199 4G phone on Optus

Entry-level and mid-range are the new hot areas for phones, because you shouldn’t need to spend up a fortune to get high-class tech, and HTC is hoping to grab some attention with its own take on something sitting in between the segments.

This one isn’t quite budget because it’s a little over that sort of pricing, and it’s also not quite mid-range either, with HTC’s Desire range brought back to life with the arrival of the 520.


For this smartphone, HTC is teaming up with Optus to deliver Android 5.1 “Lollipop” for a $199 price point, bringing with it a quad-core 1.1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, 1GB RAM, 8GB storage, and a microSD card slot for upgrading the storage inside the phone.

There will also be a 4.5 inch display running the old school resolution of 854×480, and support for 4G LTE, meaning high-speed mobile downloads are within reach on this phone, as are colourful photos on the go, with an 8 megapixel camera on the back complete with a flash, while the front grand a 2 megapixel selfie shooter.

Now that's new: a flash on the HTC budget model.
Now that’s new: a flash on the HTC budget model.

“We continue to refine our products by taking advantage of the latest technology,” said Ben Hodgson, Country Manager for HTC in Australia and New Zealand.

“By combining our most recent advances with the reliable and superfast Optus 4G Plus network, we are bringing blazing internet speeds to more people than ever before. Coupled with the freedom and flexibility of expandable storage and an affordable retail price of $199, the HTC Desire 520 is the perfect entry level mobile media device.”

While we haven’t played with the phone for ourselves, comparing it to one of last year’s HTC models, it does feel like the company isn’t progressing all that far from last year in regards to this category and value.

Case in point: in December of 2014, HTC and Telstra teamed up for a $179 prepaid phone offering a very similar set of specs under a similar again screen, though with a lower set of camera specs (5 megapixel back without flash, 0.3 megapixel up front).


That phone was the Desire 510 (above), and looking at it compared to this new model — the Desire 520 — it doesn’t feel like HTC has progressed very far, except of course to upgrade the operating system while dropping the processor back, migrating from a mid-range Snapdragon 410 on the 510 to a positively low-end Snapdragon 210 on this new one.

As such, it’s hard to see the $199 Desire 520 as amazing value even before we get our reviewer mitts on it.

HTC's Desire 520
HTC’s Desire 520

We hope we’re proven wrong, that said, and this could be a great phone if you’re looking to go with an Optus prepaid with a name you trust, but going on specs alone and what else is out there, we’d probably advise to look around before settling.