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HTC Budget Phones: How Unlocked Competition Compares

While the flagship HTC One M9 may not have lived up to expectations, HTC’s Desire phones, which combine premium features and design with affordable prices have thrived. Now, HTC is welcoming four new members to the family with screens ranging from 4.5- to 5-inches. Generally, that's smaller than many of our favorite unlocked phones.

The Desire 626 and 626s are the largest of the bunch featuring 5-inch, 1280 x 720-pixel screens. Each of the new Desire phones runs Android 5.1 and come with 1.1-GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 210 processors and 8-megapixel rear cameras. The 626 being the only one with a 5-MP camera in front. The other three come with 2-MP front cameras.

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The remaining specs for the 626 include 1.5GB of RAM, a 2000mAh battery, 16GB of storage and microSD support for up to 200GB. The Cricket Wireless-exclusive Desire 626s comes with slightly less onboard storage, 8GB, but is otherwise the same. The Verizon-exclusive 526 features a 4.7-inch, 960 x 540-pixel display. The 520 rounds out the new additions with a 4.5-inch, 854 x 480-pixel screen.

The phones will come in a wide variety of colors such Marshmallow White, Marine White, White Birch (apparently those are all different), Gray Lava and more, and available on a multitude of prepaid and traditional carriers such as AT&T, Verizon, Virgin Mobile and MetroPCS.

Unfortunately, pricing info has yet to be revealed. We will have to wait and see how these four stack up against their unlocked brethren, but for now we can say that the our favorite unlocked phone right now is the OnePlus One. It runs Cyanogen 11s, based on Android 4.4, which is an outdated OS compared to HTC's newest phones. It costs just $299.

In terms of specs, the OnePlus One offers more RAM and a more powerful CPU than the Desire 626. Plus the OnePlus phone's front camera is a larger 13-megapixels. But it doesn't offer a microSD card slot. If these new HTC devices are priced even lower (less than $100), something like the HTC Desire 526 would be comparable to the second-generation Moto E and it's 4.5-inch display with 1.2-GHz Snapdragon 410 CPU with 1GB of RAM.   

 Sam Rutherford is a staff writer at Tom’s Guide. Follow him @SamRutherford on Twitter, and Tom’s Guide on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.