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HTC Desire 816 Review: First Desire Phablet

Besides the HTC Desire 610, HTC has also announced the bigger Desire 816 which is yet another phablet from HTC. People now a day would like to have a large screen device to save money from buying a phone and a tablet. The HTC Desire 816 is it a good phablet? We'll find out shortly after the break.

HTC Desire 816 official photo

- Dimensions: 156.6 x 78.7 x 7.9 mm
- Weight: 165 g
- Display: 5.5" HD (720 x 1280 pixels) LCD
- Processor: 1.6 GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 400
- RAM: 1.5 GB
- Memory: 8 GB, microSD card slot
- Camera: 13 MP Camera, 1080p video recording, 5 MP front
- Battery: 2,600 mAh
- OS: Android 4.4 KitKat

We wouldn't talk about the design as it looks same as the Desire 610 despite the size of it has increased.

HTC Desire 816 live photos

The camera lens of the Desire 816 has relocated to the top left corner and the power button is now at the left side alongside with volume rocker. The dual front stereo speakers on top and below the display do increase the length of it. Furthermore, the device is also fingerprint magnet, which might annoy some users.

HTC Desire 816 handling

The device is a little too big and slippery, which might be a problem for some users with small hand, though it's only 7.9 mm thin.

The Desire 816 has a 5.5" 720p HD Super LCD 2 display, the display has wide viewing angle and the colors are contrast.

The HTC Desire 816 has a 5.5" display

HD resolution maybe not that good for a 5.5" screen device but things not getting that serious with naked eyes and you need to know there's a price to pay if it's a mid-range device.

Powering the Desire 816 is a 1.6 GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor backed up by Adreno 305 GPU and 1.5 GB of RAM. The Snapdragon 400 SoC supports LTE connectivity and it handles well in day to day usage such as multitasking and playing games.

HTC Desire 816 benchmark results

The Desire 816 scored 9,230 on Quadrant Standard and 21,388 on AnTuTu benchmark, which is higher than the Desire 610 due to faster clocked speed.

The Desire 816 is running on Android 4.4.2 KitKat with Sense 6 UI. Basically the user experience is quite similar to the One (M8) despite it lacks of motion launch feature.

The HTC Desire 816 is running on Android 4.4.2 KitKat with Sense 6 UI

The Sense 6 lockscreen is more polished, swiping up takes you to the last app you used, while swiping to the left or to the right will take you to the homescreen or BlinkFeed respectively.

Lockscreen | BlinkFeed | Homescreen | Apps drawer

HTC Sense 6 is fast, plus the powerful processing power, everything just runs smoothly without any hiccup. HTC BlinkFeed now looks flatter and it follows the colour theme you've set. It aggregates content from social networks and news sources. You can pick interested topics and even search for specific content in BlinkFeed.

Notification area | Quick settings

The notification area and the quick settings power toggles stay unchanged. You can access the quick settings by tapping the upper right corner or through a two finger swipe from the status bar.

And again, we can only say that Sense 6 is fast and responsive, which is one of the best user interface we have used.

Here comes the camera, the Desire 816 has a 13 MP camera, which is more than 12 times of the UltraPixel camera from the One (M8).

The camera interface and modes

With the 13 MP camera, the Desire 816 is able to capture high amount of detail, however the noise level has also increased.

HTC Desire 816 camera samples

We're are quite satisfied on its camera samples but it is not the best for a 13 MP shooter. The colors are accurate and it has pretty nice dynamic range. However don't expect it can performs well in low-light like the One (M8) as it lacks of UltraPixel sensor.

Juicing up the Desire 816 is a 2,600 mAh non-removable battery. The standby time is pretty impressive and it has average use time. If its battery is getting low, you can always activate Extreme Power Saver to let it last longer.

Final words
The HTC Desire 816 is priced at RM 1,199, which is RM 100 cheaper than the Sony Xperia T2 Ultra. We actually prefer it over the Xperia T2 Ultra as it offers better display, camera and user interface.

Sony Xperia T2 Ultra (RM 1,299) | Xiaomi Redmi Note (RM 509)

If you are looking for something with lower price tag, we recommend the Xiaomi Redmi Note. However you need to try your luck and compete with others to grab the device from Xiaomi's official website.

The HTC Desire 816 is a worth supercharged mid-range phablet, it has a good stereo speakers which we really like about it and the user experience is very good.

- Impressive audio quality
- Sense 6 is fast
- Impressive battery life
- Impressive camera

- Plastic body easy gets scratched and fingerprint magnet
- Too big compared to other devices with same screen size

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