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Product Listing
HTC Desire 816 - A Midrange 'Flagship'
By PY Ho - 26 May 2014
Launch SRP: S$498

Camera, Performance Benchmarks & Conclusion


The Desire 816 has a 13-megapixel rear camera with BSI sensor and an aperture of f/2.2. Taking into account the price point and proposition as a midrange device, the Desire 816 outclasses most devices of its category in this department. Here are some photos that we've taken under normal lighting and low light conditions:

Test shot under normal light.

A photo taken at night using the Auto Mode.

We did find it strange that the Desire 816 took better images in Auto mode than Night Mode in low light conditions. In the comparisons below, you can clearly see the top left corner of the photo taken in Auto Mode showing more details.

It's interesting that the Desire 816 captures better images in Auto Mode than Night Mode in this comparison.

For consumers who love taking selfies, the Desire 816 should come in handy as the front-facing camera has a 5-megapixel sensor and a wide angle lens with f/2.8 aperture. As seen in the photo taken below, its performance is quite decent and definitely better than the 1 or 2-megapixel shooter on most competing phones. In terms of video recording, the Desire 816 is capable of 720p video capture on both cameras. It's also worth mentioning that you can readjust the focus during video recording.

Pikachu taking a selca under low-light; front camera performs well too!


Performance Benchmarks

The HTC Desire 816 is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 quad-core 1.6GHz processor and 1.5GB RAM. We will be comparing the Desire 816 against the ASUS Fonepad 6, Huawei Ascend Mate, and Samsung Galaxy Mega with LTE. We also included the LG G Pro 2 to see where the Desire 816 stands against a recent flagship phablet.

HTC Desire 816 vs. The Competition
  HTC Desire 816 ASUS Fonepad Note 6 Huawei Ascend Mate Samsung Galaxy Mega with LTE LG G Pro 2
  HTC Desire 816 ASUS Fonepad Note 6 Huawei Ascend Mate Samsung Galaxy Mega with LTE LG G Pro 2
Launch SRP
  • From S$498
  • From S$638
  • From S$798
  • From S$828
Operating system
  • Android 4.4 KitKat with HTC Sense 6
  • Android 4.2 Jelly Bean
  • Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean
  • Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean
  • Android 4.4 KitKat
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 quad-core 1.6GHz
  • Intel Atom Z2580 (2.0GHz, dual-core)
  • Hi-Silicon K3V2 quad-core 1.5GHz
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 dual-core 1.7GHz
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 quad-core 2.26GHz
Built-in Memory
  • 1.5GB RAM
  • 2GB RAM
  • 1GB RAM
  • 1.5GB RAM
  • 3GB RAM
  • 5.5-inch / 1,280 x 720 pixels
  • 6-inch / 1,920 x 1,080 resolution / Super IPS+
  • Powered by PowerVR SGX544MP2 graphics core
  • 6.1-inch / 1,280 x 720 resolution / HD IPS+ with Corning Gorilla glass
  • 6.3-inch / 1280 x 720 pixels / Super Clear LCD
  • 5.9-inch / 1,920 x 1,080 pixels / IPS
  • Rear: 13-megapixel rear with BSI sensor and f/2.2
  • Front: 5-megapixel with wide angle lens and BSI sensor
  • Rear: 8MP / Autofocus
  • Front: 1.2MP, 1080p recording
  • Rear: 8-megapixels, autofocus with HDR
  • Front: 1-megapixel
  • 8-megapixel
  • Secondary: 1.9-megapixel
  • Rear: 13-megapixel with optical image stabilization plus
  • Front: 2.1-megapixel
  • Bluetooth 4.0 with aptX enabled, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, NFC, DLNA
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 3.0+EDR
  • Wi-Fi, Bluetooth v4.0 LE EDR, DLNA, Wi-Fi Direct, Wi-Fi hotspot
  • WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0 (BLE), USB 2.0 H/S, GPS + GLONASS, NFC, LTE
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.0 Smart Ready, NFC, SlimPort, USB
Storage Type
  • 8GB internal storage
  • microSD support up to 128GB
  • 16/32GB internal storage
  • microSD card (up to 64GB)
  • 8GB internal storage
  • microSD support up to 32GB
  • 16GB internal
  • microSD support up to 64GB
  • 32GB internal storage
  • microSD support up to 64GB
  • 2,600mAh
  • 3,200mAh
  • 4,050mAh
  • 3,200mAh
  • 3,200mAh
  • 156.6 x 78.7 x 7.99mm
  • 164.8 x 88.8 x 10.3mm
  • 163.5 x 85.7 x 9.9mm
  • 167.6 x 88 x 8.0mm
  • 157.9 x 81.9 x 8.3mm
  • 165g
  • 210g
  • 198g
  • 199g
  • 172g


Sunspider JavaScript

SunSpider JavaScript helps measure the browsing performance of a device when processing JavaScript. It not only takes into consideration the underlying hardware performance, but also assesses how optimized a particular platform is at delivering a high-speed web browsing experience. The Desire 816 ranked closely behind the Fonepad Note 6.



Quadrant evaluates a device's CPU, memory, I/O and 3D graphics performances. The Desire 816 had a healthy lead over the competition with a score of 12,984, which is about 86% higher than the Galaxy Mega with LTE. 


3DMark 2013

Originally developed as a PC benchmarking tool, 3DMark is now expanded to support multiple platforms including Android OS. The Ice Storm benchmark is designed for smartphones and tablets.

For an in-depth understanding of 3DMark for Android, do head over to our article, "3DMark - Android Device GPU Performance Review." In a nutshell, 3DMark now consists of three test sections:

  • 3DMark Ice Storm is an OpenGL ES 2.0 benchmark test that uses fixed off-screen rendering at 720p then scales the output to fit the native display resolution of your device. Ice Storm includes two graphics tests designed to stress the GPU performance of your device and a physics test to stress its CPU performance.
  • 3DMark Ice Storm Extreme raises the off-screen rendering resolution to 1080p and uses higher quality textures and post-processing effects to create a more demanding load for the latest smartphones and tablets.
  • 3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited is used to make chip-to-chip comparisons of different chipsets, CPUs and GPUs, without vertical sync, display resolution scaling and other operating system factors affecting the result.

For this review, we will focus on the scores of the Ice Storm Unlimited. The Desire 816 was outperformed by the Fonepad Note 6, but maintained a healthy margin over the Ascend Mate and Galaxy Mega with LTE.

During day-to-day usage, the HTC Desire 816 felt snappy; the user interaction felt fluid, transitions between screens were fast, and launching applications were relatively quick as well.


Battery Performance

Our standard battery test for mobile phones includes the following parameters:

• Looping a 800 x 480-pixel video with screen brightness and volume at 100%

• Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity turned on

• Constant data streaming through email and Twitter

The Desire 816 lasted 8 hours and 5 minutes, which is slightly over 30 minutes shorter than the Ascend Mate. Taking into account its smaller battery capacity (sadly, non-removable too) and 5.5-inch 720p display, we would say that this is actually quite a good showing. For comparison's sake, the Desire 816 lasted almost as long as the 5-inch HTC One (M8).

It also registered the lowest power consumption rate as it has the smallest display among the phablets compared. As noted in our review of the One (M8), HTC seems to have finally addressed the power management issues that plagued its previous generations of devices.



We measure the portability of a device by calculating its battery life to (weight x volume) ratio. As the slimmest and lightest device in this comparison, the Desire 816 obviously clinched the top spot in our Portability Index. Its good battery mileage also played a part. 



The Desire 816 is more than just a midrange phone as it is very well executed on a number of fronts. While it lacks the premium design and build quality of the One (M8), the Desire 816 still shines as a very well-built smartphone. Software-wise, it runs on the latest Sense 6 interface sans the Motion Launch Gestures and fanciful imaging effects, which is actually not a bad thing. The Desire 816 also delivers a solid mid-pack performance in benchmarks and actual usage.

Available soon at a retail price of S$498, the Desire 816 is a solid recommendation for anyone who is looking for a phablet without breaking his or her bank. However, there are serious contenders in the market such as the Huawei Honor 3X and Xiaomi Redmi Note. Both the Honor 3X and Redmi Note are powered by octa-core processors, have larger batteries, and are priced cheaper than the Desire 816.

  • Design 8
  • Features 7.5
  • User-Friendliness 8
  • Performance 8
  • Value 7.5
The Good
5.5-inch screen
Generally snappy performance
Good audio quality
Support 4G LTE connectivity
The Bad
Non-removable battery
Glossy polycarbonate back attracts fingerprints
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