- 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."