Specs summary


The HTC Desire 816's screen is 5.5 inches with 720 x 1280 pixels resolution.


There is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 Quad core 1.6 GHz processor (CPU).


The phone runs on the Android 4.4.2 KitKat (Update Available: 5.0 Lollipop) operating system (OS).

13+ MP

You can take photos or capture video with the phone's onboard 13+ megapixel camera.

There is also a secondary front facing camera with 5+ megapixels resolution.

8 GB

Internal memory is 8 GB. An external, MicroSD, MicroSDHC (up to 128 GB) expansion slot is available for increased storage capacity.


The phone is powered by a Lithium Polymer (Li-Pol), 2600 mAh battery. HTC's performance ratings are 30.7 days standby time, 1260 minutes (2G), 1260 minutes (3G), 708 minutes Wi-Fi surfing.

With its stylish polycarbonate build, powerful chipset and surprisingly capable camera, the HTC Desire 816 offers plenty of value at a midrange price.

- Dragan Petric , Brighthand 

Overall, this is a fantastic phone and although it’s being pushed as a midrange offering I never felt that way about this phone during my time using it.

- Lanh Nguyen , Android Authority 

Reviews summary

Based on 21 reviews

What's good  

  • Smooth performance
  • Good color reproduction and viewing angles
  • Decent battery life

What's bad  

  • Camera takes too long to focus
  • Poor low light image quality
  • Not for one-handed use

HTC has dubbed the Desire 816 their "flagship mid-range" to emphasize its competitiveness in the over-saturated budget market. Marketing to the middle of the market means that HTC had to cut costs in several places. Most noticeably is the switch to an all plastic body. Instead of opting for a unibody construction, HTC offers two-tone plastic build: glossy for the back cover and matte for the side and front of the phone. Experts did notice a slight bit of flex to the device when under pressure, but overall they had no issues with the construction.

Measuring in at 6.2 x 3.1 x 0.3 inches, the Desire 816 falls into the phablet category, though it is far from the largest one available on the market. Thanks to the matte plastic sides, critics were able to grip the phone easily with one hand though they needed two hands to actually operate it.

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The 5.5 inch, 720p display makes up the majority of the phones large size. While technically HD, the 267ppi pixel density isn't as sharp as the HTC One Mini and reviewers noticed the difference in sharpness when they compared it to 1080p screens. TechRadar points out though, "If you're coming from an older phone…this is going to look sharp and expansive." On the whole though, experts were impressed with the display as it provided accurate colors, good black levels and decent viewing angles.

Powered by a 1.6GHz quad-core processor and 1.5GB of RAM, the Desire 816 isn't necessarily the fastest phone around, but it performed well enough for reviewers. They were able to perform basic tasks such as browsing the web, watching videos and looking at photos with too many issues. Trusted Reviews states, "…it's the ideal amount of power needed for the Desire 816 to cope with most tasks." Experts describe the battery life as average lasting around a day of moderate usage and 9 hours in battery draining tests. Other features include LTE connectivity, 8GB of internal storage and a microSD slot expandable to 128GB.

Perhaps the biggest disappointment for reviewers was the 13MP rear camera. In good lighting, they were able to get good, detailed photos. Problems arose once they tried taking low light pictures. Not only did they experience issues with noise and poor color balance, the camera also took longer than three seconds to focus and take a picture in low light environments. Video quality was also subpar as it produced juddery and blurry footage.

For the price point, experts have very few issues with the HTC Desier 816. Engadget states, "In general, the Desire 816 came out as the most ideal choice among similarly specced Android phablets…" Gizmag adds, "…the Desire 816 is a perfectly capable phablet at a very reasonable price."

Reviews (7.7/10 Avg. rating)


A decent phablet with a cheap data plan

from PCWorld
If you can live with the camera and a few other shortcomings, the Desire 816 fares well as a budget phone for game and media junkies. For $300, it can stand in for both a smartphone and a tablet, and the service comes cheap on Virgin Mobile, whose $35 plan gets you 300 minutes, unlimited text and 2.5 GB of high-speed data. (An alternative plan for the same price includes unlimited minutes and 250 MB of data.) It could be the only device you need, even though it’s far from being the best one you can get... Full review
HTC Source

Mid-range smartphone with a premium touch

from HTC Source

The HTC Desire 816 is one of the most interesting mid-range devices we’ve used this year. The phone is priced extremely low, yet it offer an experience that’s worthy of a $450 price tag. No, the phone isn’t perfect. We wish the camera was better and HTC should have used a matte polycarbonate finish on the back since we detest the sight of fingerprints on our phones, but the phone’s performance, size and battery life make it a joy to use.

If your phone buying decisions are based on the latest and greatest specs, the Desire 816 isn’t for you. But if yo... Full review

What Mobile

Big, bold screen with super smooth performance at a very competitively priced

from What Mobile

When you consider that you get all of these great features for under £300 (or less than £20 per month on a 24 month contract), the Desire 816 is a remarkably attractive device. Of course it won’t satisfy those looking for a flagship handset, but if you want a phone bigger than your budget you won’t find much better.

The camera and build quality are a let down, but sacrifices have to be made somewhere to keep the costs down. It looks the part though, and runs so well that all but the most hardened of tech-heads would probably be none the wiser to its mid-ra... Full review

PC Magazine

The best big phone for small budgets

from PC Magazine
Voracious media consumers will appreciate the expansive display and loud speakers, while performance is in line with the price. And $300 for this much phone is a fantastic deal. If you're looking for something smaller, the Virgin Mobile Supreme has a more manageable 5-inch display and still represents good value at $300, while the even smaller HTC Desire features the same front-facing speaker setup as its larger sibling. For phablet fans on Virgin Mobile, though, the Desire 816 is a top pick and earns our Editors' Choice award... Full review
Tech Advisor

A 5.5in Android smartphone that's cheap, but not cheap enough

from Tech Advisor
Like HTC’s Desire 610, the Desire 816 sits awkwardly between other smartphones in terms of price, with rivals including the OnePlus One, Nokia Lumia 1320 and Nexus 5 among others. If you’re won over by the big screen, you won’t be disappointed if you can pick one up for around £200... Full review

A decent big-screen phone without breaking the bank

from uSwitch
For its price, the Desire 816 is a cracking handset. The screen isn’t as sharp as high-end rivals, and the camera isn’t as impressive. But it’s a very good all-rounder.If you’re looking to go big without spending too much, this is a real rival for your affections... Full review

A mid-range M8 let down by sluggish cameras

from Engadget

HTC deserves some credit for finding a niche space to compete in, and it's done so with some success. In general, the Desire 816 came out as the most ideal choice among similarly specced Android phablets: It has better camera specs, front-facing speakers and a slick UI. It's even a better deal than the One mini 2, which is essentially a slower Desire 816 with a smaller screen, plus a smaller battery, in a metallic chassis -- the part that HTC's charging you the premium for, yet it's not quite the same smooth finish as the M8's.

Of course, the Desire 816 isn't perfect. As on the O... Full review


Powerful, plastic, and not so pricey

from Brighthand

The HTC Desire 816 is a midrange phablet which, despite several obvious shortcomings, leaves the impression of an above-average product. It is an instant leader in the rather barren midrange phablet market, largely due to its harmonious mixture of dependable design and powerful performance, which no other phablet in its price range can match at the moment. Its 13-megapixel rear-facing camera is an equally welcome surprise. Only a low-res display and a battery better suited for a smaller phone can really hold this phone back. If you can stomach those flaws and you want to join the phablet cr... Full review

Digital Versus

A well-rounded phablet

from Digital Versus

The HTC Desire 816 may not be a headline-grabbing phablet but it's a very good handset that's a well-rounded device with no major flaws. In fact, we'd probably even recommend it over the One Max, in spite of the latter's higher-end credentials. The Desire 816 is on par with the Sony Xperia T2 Ultra. Neither model comes with the latest cutting-edge technology, but both have hardware that's perfectly fine for decent day-to-day use. Multimedia content and web browsing can be enjoyed in perfectly good conditions. If you're looking for a phablet at this kind of price, then size is likely to be t... Full review


Looks freakkin gorgeous, it also strikes a pretty good balance between features and pricing

from UnleashThePhones

Wahey! The HTC Desire 816 turned out to be a pretty good mid-range smartphone for that pricetag. There’s solid build quality, a large 720p display, loud front facing stereo speakers, decent performance and a good camera, with a 5 megapixel front facing camera making it perfect for #selfies. There’s not much in this price range that can give you all of that.

To be honest, the only thing I would have improved on the Desire 816, is the quad-core Snapdragon 400 SoC. Sure it’s good enough to handle day-to-day tasks and keeps the UI moving along smoothly, but very dem... Full review

Darn, there are no reviews yet for this phone.

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Manuals / User Guides Helpful Links Carriers Who Offer This Phone

Virgin Mobile

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Full Specs

Release date April 17, 2014
Regions available USA, United Kingdom, Asia, Europe, North America, India, China
850/900/1800/1900 MHz
850/900/2100 MHz
700/2100/800/900 /1800/2600 MHz
SIM Card Nano-SIM
Dual SIM No
Operating System Android 4.4.2 KitKat (Update Available: 5.0 Lollipop)

Compare Android Smartphones

Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 Quad core 1.6 GHz
Internal Flash Memory
8 GB
Digital compass Yes
FlightMode Yes
Hearing Aid Compatible No
Noise Cancellation No
SAR Unknown
Languages English
Manufacturer Warranty 1 Year
Accessories Included AC Charger, Manual, Standard Battery
Power & Battery
Type Lithium Polymer (Li-Pol), 2600 mAh
Removable Battery No
Wireless Charging No
Fast Charging No
Video Playback Time 634 minutes
Wi-Fi Surfing Time 708 minutes
3G Surfing Time Unknown
4G Surfing Time Unknown
Talk Time Up to:
1260 minutes (2G)
1260 minutes (3G)
Standby Time Up to: 30.7 days
Physical Characteristics
Design Type Bar
Multi-Use Smart Phone / PDA Yes
Material Plastic
Colors Black, Gray, Green, Indigo, Pink, Red, White, Yellow
Dimensions [H x W x D] 15.7 x 7.9 x 0.8 cm
(6.2 x 3.1 x 0.3 in)
Weight 165 grams
(5.8 ounces)
Water Resistant / Waterproof Unknown
Rugged Design No
IP Rating No
Antenna Type Internal
Changeable Faceplates No
Display / Screen
Type Color
Technology S-LCD
Colors 16.7 million
Resolution 720 x 1280 pixels
Pixel Density 267 pixels
Size 5.5 inches
3D No
Secondary Display No
Sensors Ambient Light, Proximity, Motion / Accelerometer
Graphics Yes
Themes Yes
Backlit Illumination Yes
Zoom / Magnification Yes
Screen Orientation Lock Yes
Multi Touch Yes
Fingerprint-Resistant Coating No
Additional Display Features Capacitive touch screen
Input / Navigation
Sleep / Wake Key Yes
Home Key No
Mute Key No
Input Type Touchscreen
Navigation Type Touchscreen
Predictive Text Entry Yes
Physical Keyboard No
Voicemail Key No
Any Key Answer No
Voice Commands Yes
Keypad / Screen Lock Yes
External Volume Control Yes
External Media Playback Controls No
Fingerprint Sensor No
Call Management
Wi-Fi Calling Unknown
Voice over LTE (VoLTE) Unknown
Contact List Capacity Depends on system memory
Multiple Numbers Per Contact Email address, Other fields
Contact Groups Yes
Auto Answer No
Voice Activated Dialing Yes
Photo Caller ID Yes
Web / Email / Messaging
Web Browsing Type HTML, HTML 5
Browser Google Android
Javascript Yes
Flash No
Email Yes
Email Protocols POP3, IMAP, SMTP, Microsoft Exchange
Additional Email Features Gmail
Messaging Services SMS, MMS, IM (Google Talk)
Push-to-talk (PTT) No
USB Micro-USB 2.0
USB OTG Support No
Infrared No
Bluetooth 4.0
Bluetooth Profiles A2DP, AVRCP, OPP/FTP, HFP, HSP
WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
WiFi Encryption No
Mobile Hotspot Yes
Expansion Slots Yes
Expansion Slots Info MicroSD, MicroSDHC (up to 128 GB)
PC Synchronization Yes
TV-out No
DLNA Support Yes
UMA Support No
Data Tethering Compatibility Yes
Java Applications No
Brew Applications No
ECML / Digital Wallet Yes
PictBridge No
Main Camera  
Aperture Unknown
Resolution 13+ megapixels
Dual Lens No
Zoom Yes
Flash Yes (LED)
Additional Rear Camera Info Auto focus, Effects, Face detection, Geotagging, ISO, Multi-shot, Panorama, Smile detection, HDR, Exposure value
Video Recording Formats MPEG-4
Video Recording Parameters Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels)
Front Camera  
Resolution 5+ megapixels
Zoom No
Additional Front Camera Info No
Video Recording Parameters Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels)
Audio / Video
Audio Playback Yes
Audio Formats MIDI, MP3, AAC, WMA, WAV, M4A, OGG
Radio Yes (FM)
Video Playback Yes
Video Playback Formats 3GP / 3GPP, 3G2 / 3GPP2, MPEG-4, WMV, AVI
Mobile TV No
Streaming Video Yes
External Speakers Yes
Headset Jack 3.5mm
Custom Ringtones Yes
Vibration Alert Yes
Downloadable Ringtones Yes
Ringtone Composer No
Ringer ID Yes
Haptic Feedback Vibration Yes
Speakerphone Yes
To-Do / Task List Yes
Calendar Yes
World Clock Yes
Alarm Yes
Stopwatch Yes
Timer Yes
Calculator Yes
Currency Converter No
Document Viewer No
Weather Yes
Stocks No
Maps Yes
Notepad Yes
Voice Memos / Recorder Yes
Games Downloadable
Apps Downloadable
Included Software / Apps No
Additional Comments Also available in a dual-SIM model.
Related Links Quick Start Guide (PDF)
HTC Desire 816 Manual (PDF)
HTC Desire 816 Reviews
Where to buy HTC Desire 816
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