HTC Desire 816 Review

HTC Desire 816 Review
HTC Desire 816 Review
HTC Desire 816 Review
HTC Desire 816 Review
HTC Desire 816 Review
Introduction


Until recently, one could easily figure out whether a given Android smartphone was a low-end, a mid-range, or a high-end device solely by having its size into consideration. The bigger the phone, the higher its rank was in the Android ecosystem. Things, however, have changed a bit over the past couple of years or so. Mid-range handsets of phablet caliber have started popping up already, and HTC is one of the newcomers to the party.

Meet the HTC Desire 816. Described by its maker as a “flagship mid-range” phone, it strikes a great balance between price and features with its generous 5.5-inch display, quad-core processor, and 13MP camera. At the same time, goodies borrowed straight from the company's flagship, the HTC One (M8), are making an appearance in HTC's phablet, including the gorgeous Sense 6.0 interface and the awesome pair of front-facing BoomSound speakers. All of this can be yours for around $400 off-contract, which seems like a pretty sweet deal. Or is it?

Design

A plastic device at its core, but with a solid, reassuring feel to it.

HTC has taken a minimalist approach when designing the Desire 816. With its straight lines, subtle curves, and flat front and back sides, the handset is both a pleasure to hold an admire. Sure, it is a plastic-made phone in essence, but it feels solid, sturdy, and reliable. The trim around the sides has a matte finish and an almost rubbery-like feel to it, which provides plenty of friction for a surprisingly comfortable grip. On the downside, the glossy plastic back of the phone attracts a certain dose of finger smudge, but a quick wipe with a soft piece of cloth is enough to get rid of it. i

Of note is also the considerable physical size of the HTC Desire 816. Measuring 6.17 by 3.10 inches (156.6 by 78.7 centimeters), it is difficult to operate single-handedly and to carry in a pair of jeans' side pocket. Moreover, it is a rather tall handset, presumably to accommodate the pair of BoomSound speakers. Yup, the 816 offers stereo front-facing speakers, just like the HTC One (M8), but we'll save our comment on their quality for later.

The power and volume keys on the HTC Desire 816 are positioned on its left side. These can be hard to reach unless one resorts to their second hand in order to operate them. Furthermore, the keys lack in feedback and travel. Virtual on-screen buttons are used for navigating through the software's interface. These, at least, are easier to reach by the user's thumb. On the right side of the HTC Desire 816 reside the microSD and Nano SIM card slots. These are protected by a flap that rests flush with the handset's side, thus not disrupting the design's seamless lines.


HTC Desire 816

HTC Desire 816

Dimensions

6.17 x 3.1 x 0.31 inches

156.6 x 78.7 x 7.99 mm

Weight

5.82 oz (165 g)

Samsung Galaxy Note 3

Samsung Galaxy Note 3

Dimensions

5.95 x 3.12 x 0.33 inches

151.2 x 79.2 x 8.3 mm

Weight

5.93 oz (168 g)

Sony Xperia Z2

Sony Xperia Z2

Dimensions

5.78 x 2.89 x 0.32 inches

146.8 x 73.3 x 8.2 mm

Weight

5.75 oz (163 g)

LG G2

LG G2

Dimensions

5.45 x 2.79 x 0.35 inches

138.5 x 70.9 x 8.9 mm

Weight

5.04 oz (143 g)

HTC Desire 816

HTC Desire 816

Dimensions

6.17 x 3.1 x 0.31 inches

156.6 x 78.7 x 7.99 mm

Weight

5.82 oz (165 g)

Samsung Galaxy Note 3

Samsung Galaxy Note 3

Dimensions

5.95 x 3.12 x 0.33 inches

151.2 x 79.2 x 8.3 mm

Weight

5.93 oz (168 g)

Sony Xperia Z2

Sony Xperia Z2

Dimensions

5.78 x 2.89 x 0.32 inches

146.8 x 73.3 x 8.2 mm

Weight

5.75 oz (163 g)

LG G2

LG G2

Dimensions

5.45 x 2.79 x 0.35 inches

138.5 x 70.9 x 8.9 mm

Weight

5.04 oz (143 g)

To see the phones in real size or compare them with other models, visit our Visual Phone Size Comparison page



Display

Plentiful real estate with satisfactory resolution make for an overall likeable display.

The massive LCD display is one of the HTC Desire 816's key selling points. It measures 5.5 inches in diagonal, which puts the handset in the trendy phablet category. Some potential buyers, however, might find its pixel count a tad disappointing – the panel has a resolution of 720 by 1280 pixels, producing a PPI figure of 267 pixels per inch. On one hand, this is clearly not the sharpest smartphone display in existence as the 400 ppi barrier has long been shattered. But on the other hand, we find its resolution perfectly acceptable given the Desire 816's class. We can comfortably browse our favorite internet sites and read articles after zooming a bit on them. Watching videos and photos, as well as playing games, are also pleasurable experiences thanks to the screen's generous size.

As far as color reproduction goes, we're mostly satisfied with what our eyes see. However, the Desire 816's screen has a color temperature of 7404 Kelvins, which is a bit off from the reference figure of 6500 K. Whites have a slightly cold tone as a result, although the deviations are tolerable. Primary colors come pretty close to their reference points, as our measurements confirm. Colors do not exhibit any significant under- or oversaturation.

Using the HTC Desire 816 under broad daylight is possible thanks to its decent brightness output of 389 nits. Things, however, get a bit hard to see if light is reflected straight at the user. On top of that, the display's surface can easily get covered in fingerprints, which could potentially hinder its outdoor usability. The screen's minimum brightness of 12 nits is okay. Having this figure in mind, the user's eyes should not be subjected to too much strain while the phone is used at night.



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25 Comments

1. ihavenoname

Posts: 1693; Member since: Aug 18, 2013

Great phone, hopely it sells well.

14. GTR722

Posts: 270; Member since: Oct 20, 2012

They need to put this phone in Amazon, unlocked, global. Moto G did that, and it sell like crazy...why more companies dont do that is beyond me.

2. Anshulonweb

Posts: 468; Member since: Feb 07, 2014

I hope the size was little smaller.... it us same size as LG g pro 2 which has 5.9 inch screen.......and I think snapdragon 400 is quite average processor for price range. n..200$ moto g has it......I wish not only htc but sony,LG and Samsung start putting snapdragon 600 in the price range......

24. Canaan

Posts: 351; Member since: May 25, 2014

Perhaps the snapdragon 600 is still expensive? It came out about a year ago and the Samsung Galaxy S4 and HTC One (2013) are equipped with it; I would hardly call those two mid rangers.

3. najib1312

Posts: 155; Member since: May 08, 2013

Current prices in Malaysia: 1) HTC Desire 816 - RM1,150 ~ USD357 2) Sony Xperia T2 Ultra - RM1,030 ~ USD320 3) Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Neo - RM1,120 ~ USD348 Overall, Galaxy Note 3 Neo wins!!

4. bornatalebi

Posts: 2; Member since: May 05, 2014

Current prices in Iran: 1)HTC Desire 816: 1.570.000 Tomans 2)Sony Xperia T2 Ultra: 1.100.000 Tomans 3)Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Neo: 1.400.000 Tomans 4)Xperia Z Ultra: 1.400.000 Tomans

5. pyradark

Posts: 895; Member since: Jun 10, 2012

I rather get T2 Ultra due to its great battery life and camera

7. UglyFrank

Posts: 2190; Member since: Jan 23, 2014

Note 3 Neo has the best processor out of the bunch and S Pen can't be overlooked

15. Kamehameha

Posts: 44; Member since: Apr 21, 2014

I'd choose better speakers over S Pen any day. Both are really good. But speakers are more important.

20. TheGenius

Posts: 339; Member since: Mar 06, 2014

But ots also 170.000 tomans costly

21. Kamehameha

Posts: 44; Member since: Apr 21, 2014

12% price difference is significant, but acceptable given the awesome speakers and their utility whenever you watch anything in your mobile.

6. waqarzec

Posts: 70; Member since: May 09, 2013

hey phonearena why are u always opposite HTC........for one mini 2 u rated it at 8 score and for the top HTC one m8 u gave only 8.8 ...u know what have u done there.....u know except u the gsmarena,phonedog and pocketnow all have rated it with higher blessings.....it's the no1 ......why pa why......why with HTC......and same have u done in the case of HTC desire 816

8. maccess

Posts: 742; Member since: Jan 16, 2013

8.5 seems too good IMO.. for me it's a 7.7..

9. craigy72

Posts: 41; Member since: Apr 16, 2014

Good review -

10. Epicness1o1

Posts: 300; Member since: May 30, 2013

I think a M7 is a better deal

11. farhad_per

Posts: 128; Member since: Mar 26, 2014

Good phone but I definitely prefer Note 3 neo and Grand 2..

12. tiara6918

Posts: 2263; Member since: Apr 26, 2012

Best mid range of its class

13. jai11

Posts: 1; Member since: May 29, 2014

does it have gorilla glass?

17. Mpkninja

Posts: 3; Member since: Mar 15, 2013

No gorilla glass :S

16. Neo_Huang

Posts: 1067; Member since: Dec 06, 2013

BTW the T2 Ultra does not have higher resolution.

18. brasstax

Posts: 539; Member since: Apr 16, 2014

Whats up with "mid range" phones being outfitted with snapdragon 400 socs? With the s801 socs already becoming standard for flagships & s805 socs expected soon, any mid range phone/phablet needs to have the snapdragon 600 soc.

19. ahhxd717

Posts: 332; Member since: Dec 08, 2011

I was wondering why the S600 hasn't been used in more mid-range type phones. I think its still a great processor, especially with the better GPU compared to what's offered in the snapdragon 400 series

25. Canaan

Posts: 351; Member since: May 25, 2014

Just realized I responded to the wrong person further up, but I'll repost what I told him: Perhaps the snapdragon 600 is still expensive? It came out about a year ago and the Samsung Galaxy S4 and HTC One (2013) are equipped with it; I would hardly call those two mid rangers.

26. ARITRA

Posts: 45; Member since: Dec 07, 2011

i heard s600 has been discontinued! but im not sure..

22. Tito73

Posts: 17; Member since: Sep 11, 2012

Moto x best form factor ever!

23. Tito73

Posts: 17; Member since: Sep 11, 2012

But Htc one m8 best phone ever, no way to beat him because is faster, smoother, ...than anyone else, for me 1 problem is jack for headphones under, keys on screen are now ok because flagging hide keys ....you get 5 inch full in browsing, lack of beats audio software stock! Sense 6 just fantastic, I wish was as easy as Samsung to root, install recovery and change rom, I am a bit concerned to go on with modding....thanks Htc, camera is ok but OIS hardware and 8 ultrapixel dualcamera, for what I paid it, was just obligatory! Imo! Last but not least waterproof! Gestures are perfect! Wifi and data signals are really strong 3 to 4 second to lock the signal and keeps it where my old z1, note 2, s2, iphone 5 didn't! My note n8010 is crying, ...kitkat still isn't home,....
Desire 816
  • Display 5.5" 720 x 1280 pixels
  • Camera 13 MP / 5 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 400, Quad-core, 1600 MHz
  • Storage 8 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 2600 mAh(21h 3G talk time)

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