HTC’s latest mid-range phone is the Desire 820 — an oversized 4G Android device with a big screen and big speakers for around half the price of the HTC One M9 hero handset. But is it a bargain?
SCREEN & CHASSIS
Unlike the higher-end One range, the Desire 820 has an all-plastic body. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, as it’s well made and solidly built. Plastic also helps keep the overall weight down and its neat curves and relative slimness at 8mm mean it should slip easily into the pocket, despite its size. It does seem overly long but that’s because its BoomSound speakers are both on the front, top and bottom, stretching it beyond its usual length, but they do sound good.
The 5.5-inch screen offers a standard HD resolution of 1,280×720 pixels (276ppi), which is relatively decent, even if it doesn’t quite have the high-resolution ‘pop’ or vibrancy of colour that you’ll find on the very best models.
SOFTWARE & PROCESSOR
There’s no Android 5.0 Lollipop just yet, although an update is due for later this year, and that’s expected to bring 64-bit performance with it too. In the meantime it’s running 4.4.4 KitKat, which is the next-best thing, but is starting to feel a little bit behind the curve. Still, you probably won’t notice too much of a difference on account of the Sense 6 user interface which HTC likes to brand its handsets with.
The processor is an impressively efficient octa-core model with four cores clocked at 1.5GHz and another four at 1GHz. Backed by 2GB RAM that’s a pretty good line-up for a mid-range handset and sure enough it delivered a reasonable performance, opening apps quickly and handling multiple apps without difficulty, even HD games like Real Racing 3. Our standard AnTuTu benchmark test gave it a score of 27,715, which puts it solidly in mid place, though well behind powerhouses like the HTC One M9 and the Google Nexus 6.
The 13-megapixel camera comes with autofocus, HDR and LED flash, plus HTC’s Eye UI, so it’s nice and easy to find your way around and switch between modes. Picture quality is good overall, with a fair amount of detail, though colours can seem a little washed out and flat on occasion. There’s also an 8-megapixel camera on the front, which is a healthy quota of pixels for a selfie shooter, and there’s a Split Capture mode which lets you take snaps using both cameras at the same time.
For storing your pics and vids there’s a decent 16GB of memory on board but you can add up to 128GB via microSD card.
Battery life was a disappointment, considering the size of the handset. At 2,600mAh it’s a fair size but there’s a lot of screen to power and we found we barely got a day’s worth of steady use out of it.
The HTC Desire 820 is a big, but mostly capable handset, with a splendid screen, great accompanying speakers, plus a decent — if unspectacular processor. For the price, the 820’s cameras also boast a good neumber of megapixels. However, for a similar price you could get yourself an LG G3 or a OnePlus One, both of which offer superior screens plus higher specs and more premium builds.
- Google Android 4.4.4 KitKat
- Octa-core (4x 1.5GHz, 4x 1GHz)Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 64-bit
- Memory slot
- 5.5in, 1280x720pixels
- Wi-Fi a/b/g/n,Bluetooth 4.0
- microUSB, 3.5mm headphonejack
- 13 megapixel, LED flash,autofocus; 8 megapixel front-facing camera
- Video playback
- 3gp, .3g2, .mp4,.mkv, .wmv, .avi
- Audio playback
- aac, .amr, .ogg,.m4a, .mid, .mp3, .wav, .flac, .wma