HTC Desire 820 vs HTC One (M8): first look


HTC unveiled its new mid-range heavy-hitter at IFA 2014: the Desire 820. The handset is a continuation on the tradition established by the affordable HTC Desire 816 phablet, a device that grabbed the title of HTC’s best selling Desire handset.

The Desire 820 picks up the torch with an equally large-sized 5.5-inch display with a resolution of 720 x 1280 pixels. It’s also inherited a lot of the visual style with the glossy plastic back and dotted speakers. One question remains, though: how does the relatively affordable Desire 820 compare against the flagship HTC One (M8)? Let’s find out.


The HTC Desire 820 is made out of glossy plastic that acts as a fingerprint magnet, but it also looks good, it’s put together solidly and comes in bold and lively colors. The HTC One (M8) on the other hand has a much more high-end feel to it with its curvy metal unibody that fits nice in the palm of your hand. On the plus side, both smartphones feature HTC’s signature BoomSound speakers, so you have fairly spacious top and bottom bezels.

There’s, however, no running around the fact that the Desire 820 is simply a very big smartphone with that 5.5” screen and it’s hard to use single-handedly. The M8 on its part features a 5” 1080 x 1920-pixel full HD that is much more easily manageable with a single hand.


With a large, 5.5” display, one would expect higher resolution, but this is one area where HTC had to cut things short to arrive at the affordable price of the Desire 820. The phone ships with a fairly mediocre resolution of just 720 x 1280 pixels, and pixel density comes in at 267ppi, so you might see a little bit of pixelization here and there. The HTC One (M8) on the other hand sports a 5” 1080 x 1920-pixel screen that is much sharper, with pixel density of 441ppi.

Recommended Stories
Overall, though, the Desire 820 display is definitely decent with nice and vibrant colors, and we’re looking forward to putting to our own color accuracy tests. Needless to say, the M8 being the flagship features a very nice and vivid screen in terms of color representation.


Being Android 4.4 KitKat based and both running HTC’s Sense user interface, the two handsets are very similar in terms of interface. You have the BlinkFeed news aggregator on both devices, the vertically scrolling app drawer, and both run fairly snappy without much of a slowdown.

Processor and Memory

Processor and performance is where things start to get interesting about the Desire 820: it is one of the first smartphones to feature a 64-bit chip. Powering the Desire 820 is the octa-cora Qualcomm Snapdragon 615, a chip featuring eight Cortex A53 cores with clock speeds of up to 1.5GHz. We should note, though, that to get the full benefits of 64-bit processing, users would neet to wait for the Android L that brings the new compliant ART runtime. The amount of RAM is also impressively large for device of this class - 2 gigs are on board.

In comparison, the HTC One (M8) with its Snapdragon 801 system chip should still run faster (and no wonder given its much higher price), but the Desire 820 makes the difference in performance power less pronounced.


Funny thing is that the more affordable HTC Desire 820 actually packs higher-res cameras than the HTC One (M8) on both its front and back: it’s got a whopping 8-megapixel front cam for selfies and a 13-megapixel main, rear shooter. The M8 in comparison has got a 5-megapixel front shooter and a 4-megapixel (or UltraPixel, if you prefer) rear cam. HTC has somewhat improved its UltraPixel camera, however, it remains severely limited by its resolution, and for anything more than just social sharing, it fails to match the other flagships. That’s one reason why we’re looking forward to testing the higher-res camera on the HTC Desire 820.


All in all, the Desire 820 builds up on the successful legacy of the Desire 816, improving it in many places and adding a powerful, 64-bit chip. You won’t see the full benefits of that until the Android L update, though. We also should not forget that the 820 phablet remains a mid-range device - where it has progressed, though, is in narrowing the gap between itself and the M8. It’s a nice budget option for those who prefer bigger displays, but if you want the flagship experience, the M8 still seems like the more viable option.

Video Thumbnail

Recommended Stories

Loading Comments...
FCC OKs Cingular\'s purchase of AT&T Wireless