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HTC Desire 820 hands-on and first impressions

HTC took the wraps off of its latest addition to the Desire family. Today, we went hands-on with the HTC Desire 820! Here are our first impressions.
By
September 4, 2014

HTC has the One series and the Butterfly series as is high-end smartphones, but everything else, from the low-end to the mid-range, comes with the Desire moniker. Following the success of the HTC Desire 816, that was released only six months ago,  its successor, and the latest addition to the Desire lineup, was unveiled at an HTC press event earlier today. Now we get to go hands-on, and give you our first impressions about the HTC Desire 820!

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HTC is one of those companies that rarely receives complaints as far as the design aspect of their devices go, and that should continue with the Desire 820 as well. Retaining its polycarbonate shell from Desire 816, the Desire 820 now comes with a unique “multi-tone unibody” design, that improves the strength and tolerance of the device, while allowing you to stand out with a choice of colored accents around the button layout, the rear camera, and the front of the device. Also returning are the now signature BoomSound front-facing speakers.

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Almost every color variant of the device comes with a glossy plastic back that will be prone to fingerprints and smudges, except for the Tuxedo Grey version, that comes with a matte finish. It may not be the premium design and build quality of the HTC One (M8), but the colorful two-tone design of the Desire 820 looks really good too.

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You get a 5.5-inch IPS LCD display with a 720p resolution, so it may not boast the highest resolution and pixel density out there, but still offers good color reproduction, great brightness, and excellent viewing angles, and should be perfect for anyone looking for a good big screen experience on a mid-range device.

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Of course, the big news with the Desire 820 is what is under the hood. It features an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 with 64-bit support and big.LITTLE architecture, and backed by the Adreno 405 GPU, and 2 GB of RAM. The big.LITTLE architecture means that there is a set of four ARM Cortex A-53 cores running at 1.5 GHz for more intense tasks, along with a set of four Cortex A-53 cores clocked at 1 GHz for processes that don’t require as much power, with the switching between the two allowing for battery efficiency. 64-bit support will go a long way in keeping things snappy, and without draining the battery as much. Of course, these performance improvements will be noticeable once the Desire 820 is upgraded to Android L later this year. 

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You get 16 GB of internal storage, which is further expandable via microSD card. A slew of connectivity options are available, and the Desire 820 is also a Cat 4 LTE device, which means that speeds up to 150 Mbps are supported, of course, as long your network offers that kind of speed. You get a 2,600 mAh non-removable battery, that should offer decent battery life with all the power saving features it comes with, but we’ll have to wait for the full review to draw any conclusions.

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The 13 MP rear camera with a f 2.2 aperture, that is similar to what the Desire 816 featured, should allow for decent image quality and good performance in low-light situations. Even more interesting is the 8 MP front-facing camera which should be fantastic for all you selfie lovers out there. There are also a bunch of different modes and features to help you get the most out of your selfie game.

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As far as the software experience is concerned, it is identical to what you get with all current HTC smartphones, with the Desire 820 running Android 4.4.2 Kitkat, with HTC Sense 6 on top.

So there you have it – our first impressions about the HTC Desire 820! This is another wonderful addition to the Desire lineup, in a category that HTC calls “premium mid-range.” The colorful elements of the design, and the focus on the selfie, means that the Desire 820 will appeal to an younger audience, and the inclusion of a 64-bit processor makes the device future-proof, a term that HTC used quite often during the press event. If HTC can manage to get the pricing right, the Desire 820, like its predecessor, should do really well.

What do you think about the HTC Desire 820? Let us know in the comments section below!