That means it brings you the likes of BlinkFeed, and HTC Sense's latest customisations to Android, but it makes a departure from the much-praised aluminium unibody found on the HTC One models.
Instead you have a plastic body that picks up familiar styling; the top profile with the micro-drilled speaker looks a lot like HTC models of 2012, like the HTC One X, S and V. It measures 131.8 x 66.9 x 9.9mm and weighs 123g.
In the hand it lacks that premium feel of the top phones, but it's surprisingly well put together. It might feel a little sticky in the hands on warm days, but there are no creaks as you grip it and we like how HTC has played with the design, integrating the volume controls into that coloured waistband. There's a nice curve to the back, so it sits nicely in the hand.
The display measures 4.3 inches across the diagonal with a resolution of 800 x 480 pixels, which is where the HTC Desire 500 really shows it's entry-level colours. That makes for a pixel density of 216ppi, which will mean it's slightly less adept at displaying those crisp fine images or smaller text on websites. We didn't have enough time to really evaluate how well the display performs, but at first glance it seems typical for this level of device.
There's an 8-megapixel camera on the back of the HTC Desire 500, leaving the 4-megapixel UltraPixel camera to those devices higher up the scale. We didn't get the chance to test the camera, but it comes with HTC's ImageChip, f/2.0 aperture and a 28mm wide angle, so might be pretty good. There's a 1.6-megapixel front-facing camera too.
Video capture is limited to 720p, which is perhaps a little surprising and we suspect restricted to position this phone as entry-level. But you do get HTC's video highlights feature in galleries, something we really like. There's the Beats logo on the rear, but there's no BoomSound speakers on the front, unlike the other models launched this year.
Powering the HTC Desire 500 is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 200 quad-core chipset, clocked at 1.2GHz with 1GB of RAM. Storage is on the light side, with only 4GB internally, and some of that you'll lose for system software. Ultimately, that's going to limit the number of apps you can install - and it might be that those big apps, like some games, won't fit. There is a microSD card slot, however, so you'll be able to expand the storage for things like photos and music.
The device we saw wasn't final software and we didn't have the time to dig too deep, so we'll reserve judgement of how well this phone performs until we get it in for a full review.
The HTC Desire 500 is being listed for £230 SIM free at some retailers, which sounds a little expensive compared with other devices out there, but we're sure it will be available on some low-tier contracts with various networks.