HTC Middle East sent me one of their mid-range mobile phone; the HTC Desire 820, for a quick review. They lent it to me for only 15 days which was barely enough to try it out and come back with my findings. For a detailed list of specs, GSMArena has all the technical details of the HTC Desire 820 phone.

The TL;DR review;

HTC Desire 820 is a stylish plastic mobile phone with a 5.5″ screen, a looker, sleek, light, runs on a 64 bit CPU yet it’s not very fast, with a battery that needs less than three hours to be fully charged and costs under $300.

Unboxing the HTC Desire 820

The HTC Desire 820 comes in 9 colors. Our review unit was in the orange color. Nothing extra comes in the box, as you have your usual charger, USB cable, and the headset.

Box contents of the HTC Desire 820

Box contents of the HTC Desire 820

The HTC Desire 820 has a 7.7 Mm of thickness

The HTC Desire 820 has a 7.7 Mm of thickness

 

When you hold the phone in your hand, you can’t but notice its plastic feel and touch. despite its relatively big size, it’s easy to hold the phone with one hand and operate it flawlessly. The power-on button has moved to the right hand side of the phone, as expected in this category of phablets.

The HTC Desire 820 can carry 2 Nano SIM cards and one Micro SD card.

The HTC Desire 820 can carry 2 Nano SIM cards and one Micro SD card.

 

HTC Desire 820 can be considered a light phone (weighing 155 grams). It tried to be thin as well, but stopped at 7.7 millimeters of thickness.

The Volume and Power keys on the HTC Desire 820 phone

The Volume and Power keys on the HTC Desire 820 phone

The phone supports dual SIM cards, but my version of the phone had a single Nano SIM only and so I can not comment on its performance while 2 SIM cards are operating.

Screen

The screen is noticeably long, at 5.5″ in size. That size makes it perfect for watching video clips on HD setting. The screen quality is amazing, shinning in direct sunlight to remain visible, while tones it down at night automatically with smart sensitivity.

I enjoyed watching HD videos on the 720 x 1280 pixels screen, and the sound was amazing, coming from the two speakers on both sides of the screen. While disabling the WiFi and Data Connection, I managed to play 100 minutes of HD clips which drained only 30% from the battery, which is not bad, taken that this is a thin phone nevertheless.

Applications

The phone runs on Android KitKat (4.4.4) with a fairly execution speed. Personally, I doubt the HTC Desire 820 would get the option to be upgraded to Android 5 (Lollypop). If that ever happens, I’m quite confident the phone would struggle to deliver the same performance it does with KitKat.

That verdict is based on the many other reviews that complained of Android 5 being heavy on resources and slowing down the current set of mobile phones CPUs, even the 64-bit ones like the Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 that runs the HTC Desire 820.

The HTC Desire 820 is plagued with loads of bloatware, still HTC managed to add this nifty app that allowed me to transfer all my data from my old phone to the Desire 820 over Bluetooth connection. Few minutes passed till I had a copy of all my contacts, photos, etc running on the new phone. Nice feature that all Android phones should have.

Another unpleasant surprise with the HTC Desire 820 was that it had no apps ready. Only one page was there, and I had to add icons for my frequently used apps.

The Camera

Same story different phone. On Day light, the camera will impress you. In night time, it will let you down, even in the Auto mode, although if you tweak the Night shots settings, you will get better results.

Auto Mode - Daylight shot

Auto Mode – Daylight shot

Zero Zoom setting

Zero Zoom setting

Full Zoom setting

Full Zoom setting

 

The following set of photos will show you the zoom capability of the read camera, and the quality of the night-shots.

Auto Mode - Night time shot

Auto Mode – Night time shot

Auto Mode - Night time shot - Full Zoom

Auto Mode – Night time shot – Full Zoom

Night Mode - Night time shot - Full Zoom

Night Mode – Night time shot – Full Zoom

 

Frankly speaking, I did not have enough time to thoroughly test all the settings of the camera. Something I deeply regret.

Battery

If you search online for users’ review on the HTC Desire 820, you will read all praise, apart from the battery, which falls short to impress when you enable the data connection and start using it.

But, all of that changes when you switch off Data and WiFi connections, but would you buy a 4G phone to do just that?

On the other hand, charging 50% of the battery required 80 minutes. A full charge hovered around 2.5 hours, give or take.

One can hope the future will carry new software updates that will address this concern.

HTC Desire 820 Final Verdict

Looking to buy a second phone? Look no further, this is it.

Pros: light, slim, phablet, 4G/LTE, Dual Nano SIM
Cons: battery, no Lollypop