Time for the review of the HTC Desire 820

Update 9 September 2016 :

htc crack

The HTC Desire 820’s screen got a crack yesterday.

Probably car keys to be blamed as both were in the same pocket.

Read detailed post here : http://www.yashvinblogs.com/htc-desire-820-screen-crack/

The problem with my HTC One M7

Before going into the review, let me provide more details missing from my previous post. A batch of M7, probably the first ones produced, had a factory defect which affected the camera’s performance in low light conditions. This rendered the camera practically useless not only at night but also, when there was not enough light to illuminate what I wanted to shoot. To fix this problem, a hardware replacement of the faulty chip was required. This move was probably not justified, taking into consideration that the model was 2 years old and since then, two other devices of the same family, the M8 and the new M9 were released in the market.

Examples of the pink tint on pictures shot in low light :

pink camera defect

pink tint HTC One

Covered by a 2 year warranty which was ending in December 2015, I finally decided to get in touch with the official distributor (Maurisystem) some weeks ago. Being aware of this problem, they informed me that they will propose an exchange deal with another brand new mobile of the same current value of my device. As part of this exchange deal, they offered me the HTC Desire 820, worth around Rs 17, 000. If I had to sell my HTC One (M7), I would probably have to let it go for a market value of around Rs8,000 and perhaps even less, because of the pink camera defect. So, I found the deal pretty decent but I also had the option of having another smart phone but I should add the difference. If I had not to raise an infant, I would have definitely threw some more cash into new technologies.

Ah, it is amazing how new responsibilities can change your life… and your wants.

Introducing the HTC Desire 820

desire front

Released in November 2014, the HTC Desire 820 is an octa-core device with 4 processors running at 1.5Ghz and another set of 4 processors running at 1.0 Ghz. That’s a hell lot of processing power along with 2GB of RAM for a mid-range smart-phone but I don’t think that you are on my blog looking for a technical review.

For most of us, the huge 5.5 inches screen, protected with Corning Gorilla Glass 3 (Update Sep 2016 – It doesn’t seem that the device has Corning Gorilla Glass 3), will definitely be the first thing you will notice except if you have some eyesight problems. And of course, the weight – 155grams. Pretty light for a device of this size. While still looking at the front façade of the device, the set of holes at the top and bottom edge can be intriguing too. That’s HTC new BoomSound experience, powered by two stereo speakers. While both cameras can shoot 1080p videos, the selfie camera can shoot 8MP pictures and the striking large camera lens at the back can take pictures of 13 MP. Coming to the build of the phone, it is made up plastic, just like other devices in the HTC Desire family. However, the case comes in a dual-tone body with only two openings: One for the charger and another large one giving access to the slots for the nano-SIM and microSD memory card. Sadly, no replaceable battery in this model too.

desire software

Coming to the software, the HTC Desire 820 is currently running on Android 4.4.4 along with HTC Sense 6. Being an improved version of the HTC Desire 816, the Desire 820 is expected to get Android Lollipop too and this should allow the phone to run its 64 bits architecture at its best. Performance wise, I did not notice any lags while playing with the phone. So, nothing to complain so far but only time will tell, especially with the expected Lollipop update.

Camera

Selfie

desire selfieDSLR

Moving from the HTC One’s 2.1 MP camera to a 8MP camera does reveal quite a lot of details when you take a selfie. So, you can expect my daily selfies to be drastically improved, especially in terms of light and probably, in the number of pores on my face. Fortunately, my skin is as soft as that of a baby. Kidding 😉

desire selfie comparison

However, the front camera of the Desire 820 is not as wide as that of the M7 as you can see in the unedited pictures above. What does this mean? The picture shot by the Desire 820 (right) is automatically zoomed, like if you brought the camera nearer to your face despite that for both pictures, the smartphones have been held at the same distance.

Main camera

desire camera

With so many mega-pixels, the HTC Desire 820 is able to shoot pictures of a resolution of 4160 x 3120 pixels. Some of you might probably remember my post about mega-pixels. These large resolution pictures are very useful when you need to zoom into a specific part of the picture. For the social networking addicts, this can be very handy when you need to crop someone out of the landscape so that you can use the picture as profile picture!

While the quality of the image is not that bad, I miss the M7 when I compare both cameras. Without an optical image stabilisation like that of the HTC One, the Desire 820 is more prone to missed or blurred shots. From what I read, the Desire 820 does not have gyroscopic sensors, which are in fact needed to provide this optical stabilisation in the cameras. There’s sure an image stabilisation mode in the camera’s software but nothing can replace optical stabilisation. It’s exactly like comparing optical zoom VS digital zoom (Read my post here).

Battery

desire battery

I use my mobile very moderately during week days since being a programmer, I’m always in front of my desktop workstation, hence permanently connected to the internet. So during my day at work, I might only use the mobile to make a few phone calls, nothing more. And probably, shoot a picture of my yummy lunch to share on Facebook. At the end of the day, my battery still has 60-70 % of juice remaining.

Of course, things are different once I reach home or during weekends since I’m constantly connected to wifi, shooting pictures etc. Personally, I haven’t found the battery usage as a problem yet. The 2600mAh non-removable battery has a satisfactory performance overall. btw, I’ll highly advise mobile users to switch to a battery-saving mode if available and whenever possible, except when you are playing games for example. These modes usually restrict the smartphone’s performance to save on the battery.

Comparing the HTC One M7 & the Desire 820

HTC One M7

Being a flagship device, my previous device never let me down (except in low light conditions lol). I simply loved it and I did not plan to change for other device so soon. And if ever I had to, I was already keen to go invest in another HTC One, probably the M8 which was released last year. But however, as I wrote above, the camera defect unfortunately made me change my plans.

The HTC One series and the HTC Desire series are completely different products, in many ways. Let’s quickly see how :

  • Build
    While the first one is made up of a single metal body, the newer 820 is covered by a dual-tone plastic. These days, I’m extremely cautious while handling my device. With a plastic body, the Desire 820 is more prone to damage. However, it should be noted that both devices have Corning Gorilla GlassUpdate Sep 2016 – It doesn’t seem that the HTC Desire 820 has Corning Gorilla Glass 3
  • Display
    HTC One (M7) wins in all aspects of its display, except for the screen size. While the M7 has a 4.7 inches display with 468 pixels per inch and a screeen resolution of 1920×1080, the Desire 820 5.5 inches display has only 267 pixels per inch along with a resolution of 1280×720 only.
  • Camera
    If my M7 did not have that pink camera defect, it would have won the camera comparison too. This also means that owners of HTC One (M7) should be proud of their camera’s performance. As I said earlier, the lack of optical stabilisation is a pretty bad point for the Desire series.
  • Android
    While the M7 has already received the lollipop update (version 5.0.2), the Desire 820 is still stuck on KitKat (version 4.4.4) for the moment but several web sites have confidently announced that the Desire 820 should be upgrading soon for two reasons : Its predecessor, the 816 has officially been included in the list of phones to be upgraded and also, the lollipop update will definitely exploit the 64 bit architecture and provide even better performance.
  • Dimensions and weight
    While the 820 is definitely larger and heavier than the M7, it is however thinner. As compared to the M7, users will need both hands to operate the 820. Fortunately, HTC has moved the power button to the side where it is much easier to lock and unlock the device with only one hand.
  • Performance
    Without any doubt, the 820 is definitely a better performer here with its 8-core infrastructure, as compared to the 4-core of the M7. Being a fairly recent device, the 820 also has newer and improved processors. However, both devices have 2GB of RAM. Interesting point in the Desire 820 : MicroSD card slot to expand the storage capacity.
  • Connectivity
    The Desire 820 has LTE by default as compared to the HTC One (M7), so, I should be able to achieve much higher download speeds in regions where LTE is deployed. Although I practically do not use my NFC tags anymore, even the Desire 820 is equipped with NFC.
  • Sound
    While both devices have stereo speakers, I noticed that the M7’s sound was much enjoyable as compared to the Desire 820. This can probably be explained by the fact that the M7 was equipped with Beats Audio while the 820 has HTC’s new BoomSound.

The final words

desire 820

I loved my HTC One M7 and the one and a half years with the M7 has placed the bar very high. Now just imagine, the HTC One series has 2 more members in the family, the M8 and the most recent one, the M9. Coming back to today’s review, overall, the Desire 820 is a good mid-range device, value for money. However, before finalizing any purchase (applicable to each and every device), make sure than you can hold one for a few minutes to see if it feels good, especially because of the size of the 820. Some users might find it pretty uncomfortable to handle and store such a huge device in your pocket or bag.

HTC Chacha

To end this post, I’ll like to point out that the Desire 820 is the third HTC device I’m using, the first one being the HTC Chacha. This should tell you the amount of trust I put in the brand.

Thank you for reading my blog and stay tuned for more posts!

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  • Ravi Seevarajanovich Chinasamy

    In Mauritius we do lack the big Chinese competitors which would make most if not all the HTC mobile nearly irrelevant. For example, I have the opportunity to be using a ZTE Nubia Z7 and it beats all up to the HTC m9 in every aspects and with a price tag of only 15000 rs. And again the Z9 do compete directly with HTC’s M9.

  • Indeed. Another such brand is OnePlus which offers high performance devices at a relatively low cost.

  • Ravi Seevarajanovich Chinasamy

    Yeah was very much tempted to buy the oneplus one but the Z7’s 2K Screen bought me over! 😛

  • Looks good too.