7.7/10
Informr score
The HTC Desire 816 currently has an Informr score of 7.7 out of 10. This score is based on our evaluation of 21 sources including reviews from users and the web's most trusted critics.

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.

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."


Operating system
Android
Processor
1.6 GHz
Screen Size
5.5"
Camera
13+ MP


What the Critics Are Saying...


Beta News

I’m won over by the HTC Desire 816. There is plenty of call for mid-priced, large-screened handsets, and I’m a fan of the likes of the Samsung Galaxy Mega and Huawei Ascend P7, both of which are a fair bit more expensive than the Desire 816. If you are looking for a large, mid-priced phone, the Desi...

- Sandra Vogel, Beta News
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....

- Jared Newman, PCWorld
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 pol...

- Nick Gray, HTC Source
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...

- Callum Tennent, What Mobile
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 represen...

- Eugene Kim, PC Magazine


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Quick view

Screen Size
5.5"

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

Processor
1.6 GHz

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

OS

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

Camera
13+ MP

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

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

Storage
8 GB

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

Battery
2600mAh

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

Desire 816 Specs

Overview
Release date April 17, 2014
Regions available USA, United Kingdom
Mobile / Cellular Data
4G/LTE
Networks
GSM:
850/900/1800/1900 MHz
UMTS:
850/900/2100 MHz
LTE:
700/2100/800/900 /1800/2600 MHz
Data:
GPRS, EDGE, HSUPA, HSPA+, LTE
SIM card size
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 Storage 8 GB
RAM 1536 MB
ROM No
GPS Type A-GPS
Hearing Aid Compatible No
TTY/TDD No
Noise Cancellation No
SAR Unknown
Languages English
Manufacturer Warranty 1 Year
Accessories Included AC Charger, Manual, Standard Battery
Power & battery
Battery Type Lithium Polymer (Li-Pol)
Battery Capacity 2600 mAh
Removable Battery No
Wireless Charging No
Fast Charging No
Video Playback Time Up to: 634 minutes
Internet Use (Wi-Fi) Up to: 708 minutes
Internet Use (Celluar) Unknown
Talk Time Up to: 1260 minutes
Standby Time Up to: 30.7 days
Physical Characteristics
Design type Bar
Multi-Use Smart Phone / PDA Yes
Material Plastic
Colors White, Black, Green, Red, Gray, Indigo, Yellow, Pink
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
Water Resistant / Waterproof Unknown
Rugged design No
IP Rating 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
Secondary Display No
Sensors Ambient Light, Proximity, Motion / Accelerometer, Digital Compass
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 Browser Yes
Email Client Yes
Email Protocols POP3, IMAP, SMTP, Microsoft Exchange
Additional Email Features Gmail
Messaging SMS, MMS, Google Talk
Push-to-talk (PTT) No
Connectivity
USB Micro-USB 2.0
USB OTG Support No
Infrared No
Bluetooth 4.0
Bluetooth Profiles A2DP, AVRCP, OPP/FTP, HFP, HSP
Bluetooth Audio Codecs SBC, aptX
WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
WiFi Encryption No
Mobile Hotspot Yes
WiMAX No
Memory Expansion Slot Yes
Expansion Slot Info MicroSD, MicroSDHC (up to 128 GB)
PC Synchronization Yes
TV Out No
DLNA Support Yes
NFC Yes
Data Tethering Compatibility Yes
Java Applications No
Brew Applications No
ECML / Digital Wallet Yes
Camera
Main Camera
Aperture
Unknown
Resolution
13+ megapixels
Multi-camera
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
3GP / 3GPP, 3G2 / 3GPP2, MPEG-4, WMV, AVI
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 AAC, MIDI, MP3, M4A, OGG, WMA, WAV
Radio Yes (FM)
Video Playback Yes
Video Playback Formats 3GP / 3GPP, 3G2 / 3GPP2, AVI, MPEG-4, WMV
Streaming Video Yes
External Speakers Yes
Headset Jack 3.5mm
Custom Ringtones Yes
Vibration Alert Yes
Downloadable Ringtones Yes
Ringer ID Yes
Haptic Feedback Vibration Yes
Speakerphone Yes
Apps
To-Do / Task List Yes
Calendar Yes
World Clock Yes
Alarm Yes
Stop Watch Yes
Timer Yes
Calculator Yes
Currency Converter No
Weather Yes
Stocks No
Maps Yes
NotePad Yes
Voice Memos / Recorder Yes
Games Downloadable
Apps Downloadable
Included Software / Apps -
More
Additional comments

Also available in a dual-SIM model.

Related Links Quick Start Guide (PDF)
Manual (PDF)
HTC Desire 816 Reviews
Where to buy HTC Desire 816
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