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HTC Desire 816 Review

HTC Desire 816 8.5

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Call quality

HTC Desire 816 Review
Plain old phone calls made with the HTC Desire 816 are of acceptable quality, although we were expecting them to sound better. The earpiece produces natural and undistorted voice tones, but the sound is a bit muffled and lacking in volume. The phone's microphone, in contrast, performs really well. On the other side of the line, our voice sounds clear, loud, and natural.

Battery life

Inside the HTC Desire 816 is packed a non-removable battery with a capacity of 2600mAh, which is decent given the smartphone's class and size. According to the manufacturer, the phone should be capable of delivering up to 21 hours of 3G talk time and should last for over a month if left on stand-by. We ran our custom battery benchmark on it and got a pretty good result of 6 hours 11 minutes, which puts the Desire 816 in the same category with the Galaxy Note 3 and Note 2 phablets. All in all, you should be able to get at least a day of intensive action, or a couple of days of light to heavy use without reaching for a charger.

Like the HTC One (M8) flagship, the Desire 816 comes with a so-called Extreme Power Saving mode, which is meant to be used in emergencies – in cases when you're very low on juice, and a charger is not around. In a nutshell, it shuts down all but the phone's basic connectivity features, reduces the screen's brightness, and switches to a lightweight user interface, thus providing hours of extra stand-by time even if the phone is down to its last 10% of juice.

Battery life

We measure battery life by running a custom web-script, designed to replicate the power consumption of typical real-life usage. All devices that go through the test have their displays set at 200-nit brightness.

Higher is better
HTC Desire 816
6h 11 min (Average)
Samsung Galaxy Note 3
6h 8 min (Average)
Sony Xperia Z2
8h 10 min (Excellent)
6h 48 min (Average)
View all


Well, what do you know: the HTC Desire 816 is an admirable mid-range smartphone, especially knowing that it can be bought for under $400 in markets where it is available. We don't find anything wrong with it given its price range, so guys, if you're on the looks for an inexpensive phablet, this here is one you should check out.

The HTC Desire 816 strikes a good value for money ratio with its solid build quality, large 720p display, and its snappy UI performance. On top of that, you may be surprised by the results produced by its 13MP main camera, while the 5MP front-facing one will leave you very satisfied with your selfies. And seriously, how many smartphones of this price range can offer you a set of front-facing speakers?

Processing power, however, is one of the things that the HTC Desire 816 could have had more of. On one hand, its quad-core Snapdragon 400 SoC has no troubles pushes the UI around, but not all of those demanding video games would run smoothly on it.

In case you don't think that the HTC Desire 816 is the right smartphone for you, feel free to try the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Neo. Samsung's offering delivers an eye-catchy Super AMOLED display of 5.5 inches and a very capable hexa-core Exynos SoC, but it is also likely to carry a higher price tag at your local retailer. Or take the Sony Xperia T2 Ultra for a spin. The phone is, again, slightly more expensive off-contract than the Desire 816, but in return you get a larger screen and a bigger battery with outstanding longevity.

Software information for the reviewed unit: Android 4.4.2, Software number 1.23.401.1, Sense 6.0


  • Very large display
  • Snappy UI performance
  • Stylish Sense 6.0 interface
  • Front-facing stereo speakers
  • Camera takes good photos
  • Good value for money
  • Above average battery life


  • Heavy video games may be choppy
  • A bit large given the screen size
  • Earpiece quality could have been better
  • Only 4.2GB of user-available built-in storage makes using a microSD card mandatory
PhoneArena rating:
8.5 Excellent
User rating:
9.2 18 Reviews

  • Options

posted on 29 May 2014, 03:10 4

1. ihavenoname (Posts: 1693; Member since: 18 Aug 2013)

Great phone, hopely it sells well.

posted on 29 May 2014, 10:10

14. GTR722 (Posts: 268; Member since: 20 Oct 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.

posted on 29 May 2014, 03:36 1

2. Anshulonweb (Posts: 434; Member since: 07 Feb 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......

posted on 07 Jun 2014, 22:07

24. Canaan (Posts: 346; Member since: 25 May 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.

posted on 29 May 2014, 03:39 1

3. najib1312 (Posts: 154; Member since: 08 May 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!!

posted on 29 May 2014, 04:25 1

4. bornatalebi (Posts: 2; Member since: 05 May 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

posted on 29 May 2014, 04:33 2

5. pyradark (Posts: 882; Member since: 10 Jun 2012)

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

posted on 29 May 2014, 04:48 3

7. UglyFrank (Posts: 1930; Member since: 23 Jan 2014)

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

posted on 29 May 2014, 13:48 2

15. Kamehameha (Posts: 44; Member since: 21 Apr 2014)

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

posted on 01 Jun 2014, 19:19

20. TheGenius (Posts: 339; Member since: 06 Mar 2014)

But ots also 170.000 tomans costly

posted on 02 Jun 2014, 04:45

21. Kamehameha (Posts: 44; Member since: 21 Apr 2014)

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

posted on 29 May 2014, 04:45 2

6. waqarzec (Posts: 64; Member since: 09 May 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

posted on 29 May 2014, 04:55

8. maccess (Posts: 742; Member since: 16 Jan 2013)

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

posted on 29 May 2014, 05:53 1

9. craigy72 (banned) (Posts: 41; Member since: 16 Apr 2014)

Good review -

posted on 29 May 2014, 07:03

10. Epicness1o1 (Posts: 280; Member since: 30 May 2013)

I think a M7 is a better deal

posted on 29 May 2014, 07:46

11. farhad_per (banned) (Posts: 128; Member since: 26 Mar 2014)

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

posted on 29 May 2014, 07:48 2

12. tiara6918 (Posts: 2110; Member since: 26 Apr 2012)

Best mid range of its class

posted on 29 May 2014, 09:17

13. jai11 (Posts: 1; Member since: 29 May 2014)

does it have gorilla glass?

posted on 30 May 2014, 00:24

17. Mpkninja (Posts: 3; Member since: 15 Mar 2013)

No gorilla glass :S

posted on 29 May 2014, 18:14

16. Neo_Huang (Posts: 1067; Member since: 06 Dec 2013)

BTW the T2 Ultra does not have higher resolution.

posted on 30 May 2014, 03:32 1

18. brasstax (Posts: 392; Member since: 16 Apr 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.

posted on 30 May 2014, 08:36

19. ahhxd717 (Posts: 332; Member since: 08 Dec 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

posted on 07 Jun 2014, 22:10

25. Canaan (Posts: 346; Member since: 25 May 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.

posted on 09 Sep 2014, 04:04

26. ARITRA (Posts: 45; Member since: 07 Dec 2011)

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

posted on 03 Jun 2014, 00:07

22. Tito73 (Posts: 15; Member since: 11 Sep 2012)

Moto x best form factor ever!

posted on 03 Jun 2014, 00:22

23. Tito73 (Posts: 15; Member since: 11 Sep 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,....

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HTC Desire 816

HTC Desire 816

OS: Android 5.0 4.4.2
view full specs
Display5.5 inches, 720 x 1280 pixels (267 ppi) S-LCD 2
Camera13 megapixels
Qualcomm Snapdragon 400, Quad-core, 1600 MHz, ARM Cortex-A7 processor
1.5 GB RAM
Size6.17 x 3.10 x 0.31 inches
(156.6 x 78.7 x 7.99 mm)
5.82 oz  (165 g)

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