HTC Desire 600 Dual SIM User Review

*This device is a loaned review unit from HTC Malaysia*

Just a couple of days ago, I posted my review of another dual SIM Android smartphone, Samsung Galaxy Grand Duos. Today, I want to introduce you to another dual SIM Android smartphone – the HTC Desire 600 Dual SIM.

See Also : Samsung Galaxy Grand Duos User Review

With more and more dual SIM smartphones hitting the market, the slew of dual SIM devices tend to be targeting the mid range market here in Malaysia.

Just to refresh your memory again, there are mutliple reasons why one would consider looking at a dual SIM smartphone – whether you’re keeping a work and personal phone numbers separate, different SIM for different telco plans and rates or as a traveler for your original SIM and a local SIM to avoid exorbitant roaming charges.

Of course, this is not an exhaustive list of reasons for wanting a dual SIM phone. Whatever your reason is, you’ll be happy to know that dual SIM phones are no longer inferior devices. Although aiming at mid level market, this HTC Desire 600 is no mediocre device. It packs the latest Android OS and great hardware to boot.

After using the HTC Desire 600 Dual SIM for a couple of weeks, here’s my in depth user review of the phone.

 

Hardware Overview

HTC Desire 600 Dual SIM - Polar White
HTC Desire 600 Dual SIM

In case you missed an earlier post when I shared with you HTC Malaysia’s announcement of the availability of the HTC Desire 600 Dual SIM, read about it again here.

See Also : HTC Desire 600 Dual SIM and HTC Desire 200 Launched in Malaysia

The HTC Desire 600 Dual SIM is a 4.5″ screen Android smartphone with Dual SIM capability but doesn’t skimp on power, performance and design. Here’s a quick specifications overview of the HTC Desire 600 Dual SIM:-

  • 4.5″ Super LCD2 display (540 X 960)(245 ppi)
  • 1.2 GHz quad core Snapdragon 200 processor
  • 8 GB internal storage (microSD up to 64 GB) + 1 GB RAM
  • Powered by latest Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean OS (with new HTC Sense 5)
  • 8 megapixel rear camera, 1.6 megapixel front facing camera (720p video)
  • 9.26 mm thin, weighing only 130 grams
  • 1,860 mAH removable battery (11.1 hours 3G talktime)
  • Connectivity : WiFi, HSPA+, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC, DLNA
  • Available in Polar White and Stealth Black colours

Some of the highlighted “killer features” of the HTC Desire 600 Dual SIM includes:-

  • Dual SIM – Dual SIM Dual Standby allows both SIMs to be active simultaneously to make/receive calls and SMS
  • Quad Core processor – Blazing fast speed and performance powering 2 SIM usage, visual display and multi-tasking.
  • HTC BlinkFeed – As seen in flagship HTC One, one tiled based interface for all your news feed, social and app updates.
  • Video Highlight – Automatically create 30 seconds videos taken from your camera using available templates and themes, without complicated video editing process.
  • HTC BoomSound – Dual front facing speakers like with HTC One, giving you loud and clear sounds with built in amplifier powered by Beats Audio technology

For more information, tech specs and features, check out the official HTC SEA’s HTC Desire 600 Dual SIM Product Page at http://www.htc.com/sea/smartphones/htc-desire-600/

Because the unit that I reviewed was a loaned sample unit, I couldn’t show you any images of the unboxing or what’s inside the packaging. Sorry.

HTC Desire 600 Dual SIM - Hardware 1
Perfect size for the hands

Here’s a picture of the HTC Desire 600 Dual SIM in my hands though. At 4.5″ screen, the phone does fit nicely in my hands. I think this size is not too big and not too small, just perfect enough for easy handling and even single hand usage.

The phone has no hard buttons on the front, opting for only capacitive soft button for “Back” and “Home” with the HTC logo in the middle at the bottom. Just like with the flagship HTC One (read my review here) this Desire 600 is equipped with front facing stereo speakers (aka HTC BoomSound) for loud and clear audio.

Build quality wise, the phone is made of plastic polycarbonate with a removable backplate to access your SIM card and microSD slots (more on that later). Although accessible back is great, I’m not really a fan of the flimsy backplate. I wish HTC would use more premium material for the HTC Desire 600 Dual SIM, even though this is more of a mid range device.

HTC Desire 600 Dual SIM - Stealth Black & Polar White
HTC Desire 600 Dual SIM in Stealth Black & Polar White

What I like about the hardware is the little coloured accents. Only available on the Polar White version, you’ll see the front facing speaker grills in red colour. I like these tiny detailing. This colour accent is not available in the Stealth Black version though.

While it’s not entirely clear in images, the phone does have a nice aluminium/metal band finishing around the angled front of the device. This adds a bit more accent other than the red speaker grill, and gives the phone a bit more dimension and somewhat premium-ish feel.

HTC Desire 600 Dual SIM - Hardware
Hardware overview of HTC Desire 600 Dual SIM

Looking around the hardware of the phone, you’ll notice that HTC has once again placed the Power On/Off button at the top of the device. While this is rather standard for most all of their devices, I much prefer the Power button on the side like what Samsung did. It sems more natural to press a side Power button.

Volume rocker is on the right side of the device, and a lone micro USB port at the bottom. The left side of the device is completely clean of any buttons or ports.

Overall, the hardware of the HTC Desire 600 Dual SIM is good for a mid range device. Its silver and red accents on this Polar White version was a nice touch and certainly gives the impression of a more trendy looking phone at a slim 9.26 mm profile.

Or maybe I’m just a sucker for the red colour accents. *shrug*

 

Software Overview

Menu, Navigation, Browser, Keyboard

HTC Desire 600 Dual SIM - Menu, Navigation, Apps
HTC BlinkFeed homescreen, Menu, Navigation and App Drawer

HTC Desire 600 Dual SIM (uggh, such a long name) runs on Android 4.1 “Jellybean” OS with HTC Sense 5 UI (skin) on top. If I haven’t said it enough, Sense 5 UI is one of my favourite skins for Android smartphones.

Just like the flagship HTC One, the Desire 600 comes with some of the same features such as:-

  • HTC BlinkFeed – Grid based Home screen with updates from your social media, news feeds and article from global and local content
  • HTC BoomSound – Dual front facing stereo speakers, for lound and clear sounds powered by Beats Audio technology
  • Video Highlights – 30 sec Video Highlights of pictures and videos with more editing functions
  • No HTC Ultrapixel camera or HTC Zoe on this device, though

Even with HTC BlinkFeed as the new default homescreen, you still have access to the standard Android homescreen to place your widgets, shortcuts, etc by pressing and holding on any empty screen space from the 5 available homescreens.

See Also : HTC One User Review

The standard Android gestures applies – swipe down from the top to reveal your notifications as well as access your Settings menu. The App Drawer can be organised according to your customisation (folders etc), alphabetically or by most frequently used. You can also toggle between a 3X4 or 4X5 grid size, just like the HTC One.

HTC Desire 600 Dual SIM - Browser, Keyboard
Default browser and on screen keyboard

The default browser syncs with your Google Chrome desktop bookmarks and supports tab browsing, incognito tabs and more.

The default on screen keyboard was not as painful as I remember as well. I think HTC has done a decent job improving on this. Prediction and auto correct do make mistakes from time to time, but generally, it’s a decent typing experience.

HTC Desire 600 Dual SIM - People
HTC People on Sense 5 UI links social media profiles together in one view

One of the features that I like about Sense 5 UI is the integrated People (Contact / Phonebook) profile. It intelligently suggests and helps you link your contact with their social media profiles (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and even WhatsApp).

 

Dual SIM Use

HTC Desire 600 Dual SIM - backplate
Removing the backplate for the HTC Desire 600 Dual SIM

The HTC Desire 600 Dual SIM supports the use of micro SIM cards. Thankfully, I do happen to have 2 active microSIMs with me to test the phone’s dual SIM capabilities.

The removable backplate is accessed through a small indent at the top of the phone. This indent is a little tough to open, even for me with fingernails, but mostly because even after you pry the indent open, it still requires a bit more effort to open the whole backplate completely.

HTC Desire 600 Dual SIM
Removed backplate to access micro SIM, microSD and battery

With the backplate removed, you’ll see the access for both micro SIM slots (SIM 1 on the left, SIM 2 on the top right) as shown in the picture. The slot below the SIM 2 slot is for your micro SD card.

It doesn’t use a tray (like the HTC One) instead using a spring loading mechanism when you slide your micro SIM in, you’ll hear the click of the SIM locking in place. Unluckily for me, the first review unit I received had a problem with the SIM 1 slot. The spring loading was faulty and my microSIM got stuck, took me half an hour of Google-ing solutions to release my micro SIM card.

I brought this up to the PR Agency for HTC Malaysia and they promptly replaced the unit with a new one. Seems, the spring mechanism on the HTC Desire 600 Dual SIM has the problem with this SIM 1 slot. HTC Malaysia noted that it’s mostly the case with cut micro SIM. Which I don’t believe is the case. As you can see in the picture above, my primary SIM 1 is a proper Maxis microSIM and not a cut SIM (although my SIM2 from U Mobile is).

Nevertheless, I want to be able to warn anyone to make sure that you check the micro SIM slot’s spring mechanism properly when you purchase this phone.

Anyhoo…

HTC Desire 600 Dual SIM - SIM installation
Installation & configuration of micro SIM

When you insert your micro SIM and power on the device for the first time, you’ll get a prompt that you need to “install” the SIM to your phone. Basically, it needs to configure your telco’s network settings to enable you to use both SIMs simultaneously.

HTC Desire 600 Dual SIM - Dual SIM Manager
Dual SIM Manager on Desire 600 Dual SIM

In the “Setting” menu, you’ll see an additional item for “Dual Network Manager” which allows you to adjust some simple settings for your phone. You can choose to rename both SIMs accordingly (SIM1/SIM2, Home/Work, etc), turn on/off the respective SIMs, and select which SIM as your prefered or primary SIM.

HTC Desire 600 Dual SIM - Dual SIM Calls & SMS
Making / receiving calls and SMS for Desire 600 Dual SIM

As mentioned before, HTC Desire 600 Dual SIM is a dual standby dual SIM usage – which means both SIMs are active at the same time. You can make a call on one SIM and still be able to receive calls on another.

In the Phone Dialer mode, after you dial the number, you have a choice to make the call either via SIM 1 (named “Home” in my case) or SIM 2 (named “Work”). In “Phone History” call log, you can see a combined list of calls showing a small icon numbered “1” or “2” indicating which SIM the call was using.

Same for SMS. Once you typed your message, you can click on either button to send the message via SIM 1 (Home) or SIM 2 (Work). In the message conversation, it’s again indicated which SIM was in used by the small icon with numbers.

 

Camera

HTC Desire 600 Dual SIM - 8 megapixel camera
8 megapixel rear camera with LED flash

HTC Desire 600 Dual SIM comes with an 8 megapixel rear camera with LED flash. Unfortunately though, this device doesn’t include the HTC One’s Ultrapixel camera technology for awesome low light photography. Nevertheless, the 8 megapixel shooter does a decent job.

HTC Desire 600 Dual SIM - Camera
Camera app includes some good editing functions

Just like with the HTC One, the Camera app includes some new editing functions. As with the flagship phone, you can choose between simple crop or rotate, or including Effects and Frames ala Instagram, or even some more funky enhancements. Some new editing functions includes skin smoothening, face contour, eye enhancement or brightening and more.

Here are some sample images taken from the Desire 600, unedited and unresized. So, click to view enlarged photo:-

Low light photgraphy is not great with this device. I assume so, since the great “Ultrapixel” camera is not in place. Image quality in general is OK. Front facing camera is also rather disappointing with a lot of noise. You can’t expect too much from this mid range device, but for an 8 megapixel shooter, I wish HTC did a bit more to improve the camsera tech.

 

Battery Life

I managed to use the device as my primary device for work and personal use. As mentioned, my daily device use have been more light to moderate use of late. I split my usage between a smartphone and a tablet these days, adding on to the fact that I am almost always with my laptop at work.

HTC Desire 600 Dual SIM - Battery
(L-R) Light, moderate and heavy usage

 

The HTC Desire 600 Dual SIM managed a healthy 15 – 19 hours of use and can easily last you a full day of battery life before you have to plug it in.

Note : As mentioned with the Samsung Galaxy Grand Duos review here, when you have 2 SIMs active on a dual SIM phone, especially if they’re both operating on different telco networks, it tends to drain your battery a little more since it”s constantly searching for separate signals. So, make sure you’re careful with your usage.

 

Pricing and Availability

HTC Desire 600 Dual SIM

HTC Desire 600 Dual SIM is already available on sale since 8 July 2013 at a Recommended Retail Price (RRP) of RM 1,199 for both Polar White and Stealth Black colours, at selected HTC Malaysia authorised resellers.

HTC Desire 600 Dual SIM - U Mobile
U Mobile – HTC Desire 600 Dual SIM plans HERE

Currently, only U Mobile offers an amazing plan for the HTC Desire 600 Dual SIM from as low as RM 188!!! Check out the plan at http://www.u.com.my/phone-deals/htc-desire600-ultimate

 

Conclusion

There’s definitely a market for dual SIM smartphones. With this HTC Desire 600 Dual SIM, I think HTC made a good device here to cater for the people like me, who might want an inexpensive phone for when I’m traveling and using a local SIM for data, instead of subscribing to a data roaming plan with my Malaysian telco.

At this affordable price tag, I think HTC Desire 600 Dual SIM is a good buy if you’re looking for a mid range and good quality Android smartphone.

Whether you’re thinking of buying it for traveling (work or vacation) or separation of work and personal mobile number, or maximising your spend with different telco plans, I think HTC Desire 600 Dual SIM is one of the better dual SIM in the market today. Good build quality and one of the better Android user experience with Sense 5 UI.

Other than some minor annoyance with mediocre camera and possible micro SIM slot spring issue, I think I might get this as my spare “travel” phone.

 

 

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