HTC Desire 816 Review: Even A Plastic Bodied Smartphone Can Be Delicious

Over the past few months, there has been a surge of international smartphone players here in India. Shipments of large-screen smart phones, 5-inch and above, reached their highest ever level, all thanks to the coming of age "phablets".

Taiwan-based companies are accelerating their investments in emerging markets, and India is a prime target because of its young population, growing middle class, and improving internet penetration.

HTC Desire 816 Hands on Review

To date, major Taiwanese technology companies, including HTC, have pursued a conservative business strategy and operating model in India, focused on delivering their existing offerings to the premium segments of the market. But not anymore, as those firms have finally understood that there is an immense potential in the mid-end segment, especially under Rs. 25,000.

To gain acceptance in this segment, HTC recently introduced the Desire 816 at a price point of Rs. 24,000. In fact the handset has become so popular that it is available for a much higher price via online shopping websites.

HTC Desire 816 Hands on Review

Without spending much on marketing and advertisement, the HTC Desire 816 has been portrayed as the best mid-range phone not only in India, but in China too. The 5.5-inch Desire 816 is being promoted as a high-end phone, just like the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, but the former device is priced way less compared to the latter handset. Despite its plastic made build, the Desire 816 will surely catch your attention. So what makes the Desire 816 so popular in India? If you are hunting for a large screen phone with limited budget, this phone could be your ideal choice. We've tried to find your answers with our detail review of the HTC Desire 816. Take a deep look!

HTC Desire 816 Hands on Review

What's inside the box?

HTC Desire 816 (handset)

USB cable cum charger

HTC Desire 816 - Form Factor, Design, Display and Operating system

"Understated" may not be an appropriate word to describe the HTC Desire 816. For a huge phone, like the Desire 816, HTC has maturely handled the designing part. Despite being made out of plastic, the device has a charismatic personality. A plastic-made handset with no metallic frame could be so fascinating and intriguing. This is how a phone should be crafted.

HTC Desire 816 Hands on Review

The HTC Desire 816 is very much inspired by the previous generation HTC One (M7). Instead of opting for an aluminum crafted casing, the makers intelligently used a glossy polycarbonate plastic build with non-removable back cover. With a matte finish around the sides, the handset looks ultra glamorous, which is surely a positive trait.

HTC Desire 816 Hands on Review

Unlike the Samsung Galaxy Mega 5.8 that has an understated look, the Desire 816's design will inspire you. The latter handset is very easy to hold on, plus it doesn't feel cheap. That is obviously one positive quality you'd find us repeating again and again in our detailed review. When we first started using the handset, for a brief period of time, our experience to carry around the device in the front pockets on a pair of Jeans, wasn't that pleasing. With continuous usage, the Desire 816 isn't as bad to carry around on a daily basis. At 8mm thick, the phone may not break any records in the slimmest phone category, but it is definitely a worthy device.

HTC Desire 816 Hands on Review

However, in between, we've found some flaws in the design department. For instance, there is no provision in front of a user if he is trying to take a picture using the phone's 13MP camera. Our point is simple - there has to be a dedicated camera button. Secondly, getting the Nano SIM in place was not less than a night mare. And it took several attempts before we finally managed to insert a nano-SIM card.

HTC Desire 816 Hands on Review

Talking about the Desire 816's 5.5-inch display, the large screen isn't that graceful when compared to other handsets in the same league. The 5.5-inch screen is huge and a pixel density of 267ppi is O.K. We assume the screen resolution should match that of the Motorola Moto G and the Samsung Galaxy Grand 2.

HTC Desire 816 Hands on Review

The Desire 816's screen is just apt for watching live shows on YouTube or play games, but brightness level hardly match up to likes of the HTC One (M7) or the latest Gionee Elife S5.5. Notably, the screen is responsive, and the touch sensitivity is also not bad at all.

HTC Desire 816 Hands on Review

The Desire 816 runs on Android 4.4.2 Kitkat with HTC's much improved Sense 6.0 UI. Well, to be honest, there is hardly anything new about the latest version of Sense 6.0. Yes indeed, the Android operating system is super crisp, but the same cannot be said about Sense 6.0. Even apps are largely the same you'd find on the HTC One (M8), including HTC Apps, Parent Dashboard, HTC Backup and 7 digital.

Recommended: HTC Desire 816 Now on Sale in India at Rs 24,450: Top 6 Worthy Online Deals

HTC Desire 816 Hands on Review

Additionally, the phone's software keys have replaced the hardware buttons. It sounds good, but we still appreciate the old three-way capacitive keys. The much improved BlinkFeed has been hyped unnecessary. Of course we are not denying its usage, and most importantly convenience. It combines your social feeds, news, regular updates into single feed.

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