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HTC’s new Desire phones are here to win the hearts of those on a tight budget

HTC may be better known for its flagship One smartphones in the U.S., but it also has a robust mid-range and budget smartphone lineup in the Desire series. The Taiwanese company added a slew of new budget phones to the mix, all of which have premium unibody polycarbonate designs like the high-end Desire Eye.

The Desire 626, Desire 626S, Desire 526, and Desire 520 will be available on a variety of carriers, including T-Mobile, AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and a number of prepaid carriers like Tracfone, Cricket, Boost Mobile, Metro PCS, Virgin Mobile, and more. Here’s the breakdown, from the most high-end new Desire phone, to the least spec-heavy device.

Updated on 09-10-2015 by Williams Pelegrin: Added pricing information for the Desire 520 on Cricket Wireless.

Desire 626 and 626S

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HTC’s Desire 626 and 626S are solid mid-rage phones with a few key differences, based on which carrier is supporting which model. The higher-end Desire 626 will arrive at Verizon and AT&T, while the lower-end 626S will hit T-Mobile, Sprint, and others.

Both versions of the Desire 626 sport a 5.0-inch, HD screen with a 1280 x 720 pixel resolution. Even though the screens aren’t incredibly high-resolution, they look bright and sharp for 720p. Only real sticklers will note the difference, and these are budget phones, so 720p is decent. A Qualcomm Snapdragon 210 quad-core processor powers the 626 along with 1.5GB of RAM — or 1GB of RAM, if you’ve got the 626S.

Related: Check out these 10 great budget phones for $300 or less

The Desire 626 and 6262S run Android 5.1 Lollipop with HTC’s Sense UI on top. Either 8GB (626S) or 16GB (626) of storage is built into the phone, and is expandable via a MicroSD card slot, which is great news for those who like to take pictures. As far as connectivity goes, the Desire 626 and 626S have Bluetooth 4.1, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n (2.4 GHz), and NFC. The 2,000mAh battery should keep the phone running for a very long time — especially with the 720p screen, which isn’t very power hungry at all.

The only other area in which the Desire 626 and 626S show their differences is with the camera. Both sport an 8-megapixel back camera with auto-focus and 720p video recording, but the Desire 626 has a 5-megapixel camera on the front, while the 626S has a 2-megapixel shooter instead.

Depending on the carrier the Desire 626 will arrive in several color combinations, including Marshmallow White, Gray Lava, Blue Lagoon, Marine White, and White. You can see all the color combinations in the picture above.

The Desire 626 will go on sale at AT&T on August 21 for $0 down if you buy it on AT&T Next, or it’ll cost you $1, if you spring for a two-year contract. On Next 24, customers will pay $6.17 per month, with Next 18, they’ll pay $7.71 a month, and with Next 12, they’ll pay $9.25 a month.

T-Mobile started selling the Desire 626S on July 22 for $170 full price, or for $0 down and $7.09 a month for 23 months with one final payment of $6.92. It’ll cost just $80 at MetroPCS, thanks to a rebate offer — you can sign up for information on the carrier’s site. On July 19, Sprint started selling the Desire 626S for $130 on its prepaid plans in the Marshmallow white color option.  It’s not on Sprint’s site yet, but you can see more on HTC’s page.

Desire 526

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HTC’s next Desire phone is even more budget friendly, but also less high-spec than the Desire 626. The Desire 526 has a 4.7 inch, 960 x 540 pixel screen, which is a lot less sharp than 720p. However, for a budget phone, that’s pretty normal, and HTC’s version looks decent enough.

The same Qualcomm Snapdragon 210 quad-core processor and 1.5GB of RAM that powers the Desire 626 powers the Desire 526, though, so you’ll get some good processing power out of this budget device. Unlike most cheap phones, the Desire 526 runs Android 5.1 Lollipop with HTC’s Sense UI on top, which means that even those who need a low-cost device can get the best of Android.

Related: Read our HTC One M9 review

Much like the Desire 626S, the 526 has just 8GB of storage onboard, which can be expanded via a MicroSD card slot. Connectivity is the same on this phone, and the camera setup is an 8-megapixel camera with 720p video recording and a 2-megapixel front-facing camera. A 2,000mAh battery keeps the phone ticking along.

The Desire 526 will be available in Stealth Black for an unspecified price from Verizon.

Desire 520

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HTC’s Desire 520 is the bottom of the barrel of these new budget phones, but it’s still a decent option for those who don’t want to spend much. The 4.5-inch screen has an even lower 854 x 480 resolution, which is much less sharp than the others, but still serviceable.

The same Qualcomm Snapdragon 210 quad-core processor powers the Desire 520, but this time, it’s just 1GB of RAM keeping things moving along. Even so, Android 5.1 Lollipop with HTC Sense means the phone is up to date, and there’s 8GB of storage built in with a MicroSD card for expansion.

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The exact same 8-megapixel camera with 720p video recording and a 2-megapixel front-facing camera setup is on the Desire 520, so you won’t lose camera quality if you buy this one instead of the 526. A 2,000mAh battery keeps the phone powered up.

Cricket Wireless, AT&T’s prepaid subsidiary, announced that it will sell the Desire 520 for $100, though it didn’t mention when exactly the phone will be available for purchase.

That’s all we know about these new HTC Desire phones so far, but stay tuned for more price info and our hands on with the Desire 626S!

Previous Updates:

Updated on 08-18-2015 by Malarie Gokey: Added pricing from AT&T for the Desire 626.

Updated on 07-15-2015 by Malarie Gokey: Added pricing from T-Mobile, MetroPCS, and Sprint for the Desire 626S.