- Dragan Petric , Brighthand
With its stylish polycarbonate build, powerful chipset and surprisingly capable camera, the HTC Desire 816 offers plenty of value at a midrange price.
- Lanh Nguyen , Android Authority
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.
- Smooth performance
- Good color reproduction and viewing angles
- Decent battery life
- 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.
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
Mid-range smartphone with a premium touch
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
Big, bold screen with super smooth performance at a very competitively priced
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
The best big phone for small budgets
A 5.5in Android smartphone that's cheap, but not cheap enough
A decent big-screen phone without breaking the bank
A mid-range M8 let down by sluggish cameras
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
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
A well-rounded phablet
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
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
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