Review by Sunetra Chakravati,7/23/2015 3:58:13 PM
Look and feel
Ease of use
Great camera specs | mid-range price point | Robust body | HTC Boomsound
Phablet size maybe off-putting to some | Not too many colour options available | Battery under-par for the size
HTC are best known for the award-winning unibody sporting flagship series that has won more than one award at the Mobile Choice Consumer Awards over the years while the Desire series is their mid-range proposition.
In terms of looks, they couldnt be more different from one another, while the One series is all about brushed metal, this one is all plastic. And yet the Desire range leaves its mark in the fiercely fought over mid-range market for packing brilliant features at a price that doesn't compete with your monthly mortgage payments.
HTC have kept with the unibody styling in the plastic body by mastering a process of injecting colour in, which keeps both the shades well demarcated. The result is, in the case of our review handset, a brilliant white polycarbonate body with a bright blue trim- very rightly named ‘Santorini’ reminiscent of the Greek village with blue domed white washed buildings.
Other colour options available are equally whimsically titled and equally covetable: grey with a plan shade of grey, white with orange and plain white. Very often, white plastic phones are associated with looking cheap but the white on the Desire 820 is almost luminous giving it the bragging rights that you would be proud of.
The massive 5.5-inch screen is high definition but at 720 x 1280 pixels, it doesn't pack the best resolution in its class. With a 269ppi density, it will not be quite the immersive experience you would get from a Honor 6+ (£300) which tips the scales with a 400ppi density but given that you will probably be streaming content during your morning commute, an immersive experience will anyway be almost impossible to achieve irrespective of which handset you buy!
The primary camera is 13MP and has all the usual functionality that we have come to expect from HTC handsets. Expect toggles to adjust ISO, depth of field, mode, as well as the ability to add filters. It also comes with a photo booth function, basically renamed the burst mode functionality and a split camera capture (using both cameras at the same time which leads to your picture stitched to the one that you are clicking).
The selfie camera is a slightly strange one at first sight. You will notice pores, lines and blemishes that will make you want to run out to get some age-defying cream while cranking up the beautify tool to the max. But what the camera actually does is display a lower resolution picture (a RAW image) and when you click the picture, you realise that you don’t need to spend money just yet because the picture is as clear as is to be expected from a 5MP camera.
The Desire 820 has octa-core CPUs, specifically four 1.5 GHz and four 1.0 GHz ones and this coupled with the 2GB RAM makes it a pretty robust proposition for the price bracket. Our review model came with 16GB of on-board storage but you can expand storage upto 128GB via a microSD card.
The only area where HTC have fallen down on their proposition is with the battery on the phone. 2600mAH isn't terrible when you remember that the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge has a battery with the same capacity but the problem here is that the phone is a phablet and a HD display on that massive a size burns through battery at a blistering pace.
Our review sample did ok but not as well as a LG G3 (same size) usually does.
HTC are slowly making the mid-range area their own. Perched slightly on the top end of the mid-range tier, the phones, although plastic have a very strong design sensibility and have some really good features. However, with the Desire 820, the battery should have been better and given the price, it should ideally already have been on Android 5.0 and not running KitKat.
But we were sold on the looks, the screen and the superior camera capabilities and are sure consumers will be too- especially because in that price range, it isnt always about the design or the looks of the phone but rather a 'pile them high sell them cheap' attitude.
Size: 157.7 x 78.7 x 7.7 mm
Display: 5.5” HD
Processor: Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 615
Camera 13MP and 8MP
Other features: HTC Sense 6 overlay, Boom Sound
Operating System: Android 4.4.4
Resolution: 720 x 1280 pixels
Storage: 16GB expandable to 128GB