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HTC's Flashy Desire 530 Comes to U.S.

HTC is betting a unique look, a selfie-friendly front camera and a low price tag will stoke your desire for its latest smartphone. But this millennial-targeted device doesn't have the power to compete with other budget phones.

The HTC Desire 530 is hitting the U.S. this month, complete with flashy "microsplash" paint job, for a fairly aggressive $179 unlocked. You'll also be able to get the phone through either T-Mobile or Verizon. T-Mobile will sell the phone for $160; Verizon hasn't announced pricing.

The plastic Desire 530 features what HTC calls a "microsplash" effect, in which the back of the phone is speckled with dots of paint. Each phone features its own unique pattern, meaning your Desire 530 will look completely different from any other, regardless of whether you opt for the Blue Lagoon, Sprinkle White, or Stratus White model. The white version kind of looks like a phone was attacked by Candy Buttons, and not in a good way.

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HTC is touting the Desire 530's cameras, particularly the 5-megapixel shooter up front. That's a pretty powerful sensor for a front camera — Apple's current iPhones also feature 5-MP front cameras, for example — suggesting that HTC sees snapping selfies as a key focus for the Desire 530. Perhaps that's why the phone maker included Auto and Voice Selfie modes for the front camera that let you take a self-portrait without having to press a button.

The specs on the rear camera are more modest, with just an 8-MP sensor to capture images. But HTC says that the rear camera has a backside-illuminated sensor that increases the amount of light captured when you take a shot. Presumably, that will mean photos that look good even when taken in low light, though we'll have to put the Desire 530's camera to the test to confirm that.

As you might expect from a sub-$200 smartphone, other Desire 530 specs place the phone squarely in the budget category. HTC says the phone is powered by a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor. That's a Snapdragon 210, according to Qualcomm. By comparison, the upcoming $199 Moto G has a much more powerful octa-core Snapdragon 617 CPU.

The Desire 530 also feature HTC's Boomsound technology, which boosts volume without distorting audio. We've found Boomsound to be a welcome addition on other HTC phones.

We look forward to getting our hands on an HTC Desire 530 as well as learning what prices T-Mobile and Verizon will offer their postpaid and prepaid customers for this phone.

Philip Michaels
Philip Michaels is a senior editor at Tom's Guide. He has strong opinions about Apple, the Oakland Athletics and old movies. Follow him at @PhilipMichaels.