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HTC Desire 820 Smartphone Review

Daniel Schmidt, Tanja Hinum (translated by Bernie Pechlaner), 02/11/2015

Pumped up. With the Desire 820, HTC introduces the more powerful successor to the Desire 816. Although equipped with a 64-bit capable Snapdragon 615 processor, the smartphone still runs the older Google Android 4.4.4 KitKat and features a slimmer build as well as a lower price price point.

For the original German review, see here.

The HTC Desire 820 is the successor to the Desire 816, which was, according to our review last year, quite a decent middle-class smartphone. The build quality was without fault and the display very good as well - only the camera could've used improvement and the internal flash storage was pretty meager. The Taiwanese manufacturer increased the storage from 8 GB to 16 GB and improved the cameras as well: the front camera now features 8 MB; the rear-facing camera remains at 13 MP. The Snapdragon 615 is 64-bit capable, although the OS still only supports 32-bit CPUs. A pleasant surprise for the consumer is the fact that HTC adjusted the MSRP downwards: while the Desire 816 still retails for 380 Euro (~$430), the review smartphone sells for only 329 Euro (~$370).

Competitors are the Huawei Ascend G7 (250 Euro / ~$280), Sony Xperia T3 (229 Euro / ~$260), Nokia Lumia 830 (285 Euro / ~$322) and the Wiko HighwayTest Wiko Highway Smartphone (290 Euro / ~$328), but also older high-end smartphones like the Acer Liquid S2 (285 Euro / ~$322).

Wie wir testen - Gehäuse

Case

The Desire 820 is available in several different colors.
The Desire 820 is available in several different colors.

The Desire 820 doesn't differ much from the predecessor, although HTC introduced a few design changes. First of all, the number of available colors has been increased substantially. The new smartphone is a tad slimmer, but also a little longer. The weight has been reduced by 10 g down to 155 g, which means that the Desire 820 is fairly light given its size.

The phone is pretty sturdy overall, although we were able to twist the case a little and induce creaking sounds in the process. The phone doesn't handle pressure very well though, as even moderate finger presses on the narrow display bezel produced distortions on the panel. The gaps between the transition areas are acceptable, but the glass covering the display wasn't embedded flush in our sample and the upper left corner protruded slightly.

The battery is permanently integrated and can't be swapped out. The MicroSD card slot shares a cover with the SIM card slot.

Connections

The HTC Desire 820 features a Micro-USB 2.0 interface which serves double-duty and is used for charging as well as data transfer. The port supports OTG, so flash drives and external input devices can be connected as well. MHL is not supported, so users wanting to mirror the smartphone's content to TVs or monitors need to utilize network streaming using the DLNA protocol. Other methods are not supported.

The card slot supports MicroSD cards with a capacity of up to 128 GB.

Top: microphone, audio
Top: microphone, audio
Left side: Nano-SIM- and MicroSD slots
Left side: Nano-SIM- and MicroSD slots
Bottom: Micro-USB 2.0
Bottom: Micro-USB 2.0
Right side: volume control, power switch
Right side: volume control, power switch

Software

Although the Desire 820 is equipped with a 64-bit processor, the phone still utilizes Google Android 4.4.4 KitKat with HTC's own Sense 6 interface running on top. A few additional HTC apps are installed as well; for details on these titles please check the reviews of the HTC Desire Eye and HTC One M8.

According to HTC, an update to Google Android 5.0 Lollipop is planned as well, but an exact date wasn't available at  the time of writing.

Communication & GPS 

The WLAN module supports the IEEE 802.11 standards a/b/g/n. The newest standard ac is not supported, but that's not that surprising considering the class of phone. Both 2.4 Ghz and 5.0 GHz are supported; the reception strength is excellent and we still had stable and reasonably fast connections 20 meters from the router.

To allow mobile communications, the smartphone supports both HSPA+ (max. 42 MBit/s) and LTE (max. 150 MBit/s) with all common frequency bands available.

NFC and Bluetooth 4.0 are on board as well. When we used Bluetooth to connect an external speaker, the connection remained stable and we didn't encounter any interruptions even with an interior wall between the sending unit and the receiver. HD video streaming over WLAN with external sound output was also possible without any stutters.

GPS test inside a building
GPS test inside a building
GPS test outdoors
GPS test outdoors

The HTC Desire 820 locks onto satellites quickly even when inside. Outdoors, a reliable connection was established more less instantaneously. The smartphone offers GPS as well as Glonass support.

Compared to the bike-specific Garmin Edge 500, the accuracy does suffer a little. Especially under difficult circumstances, like when the user is moving through the woods or when the streets are narrow, the deviations are fairly noticeable. Overall, the difference is about four percent, which is certainly still within acceptable parameters.

HTC Desire 820
HTC Desire 820
HTC Desire 820
HTC Desire 820
HTC Desire 820
HTC Desire 820
Garmin Edge 500
Garmin Edge 500
Garmin Edge 500
Garmin Edge 500
Garmin Edge 500
Garmin Edge 500

Telephone & Speech Quality

Just like the predecessor, the HTC Desire 820 offers good speech quality. We were able to understand our conversation partner on the other end very well, although our voice sounded a little bit more muffled to the person on the other end.

Front-facing camera
Front-facing camera

Cameras

The front-facing camera has been improved and now offers a resolution of up to 8 MP (3264 x 2448 pixels, 4:3). The resulting photos are sharp, although there is a slight tendency towards overexposure and the colors could be a bit more saturated as well. Changing from the webcam to dual-focus mode or to the main camera is easily accomplished with a swiping gesture.

The main (rear-facing) camera still features a resolution of up to 13 MP and offers quality in line with the predecessor. The dynamic range lacks somewhat and the photos are slightly overexposed, which in turn sometimes results in washed-out details and obscured contours at times. Nonetheless: the camera produces usable results.

Both cameras can record Full-HD vidoes (1920 x 1080 pixels). The quality is about average - especially the front-facing camera can't handle backlight very well. The main camera is better here and also records stereo sound. Occasionally we encountered stutters while panning.

Image Comparison

Choose a scene and navigate within the first image. One click changes the position on touchscreens. One click on the zoomed-in image opens the original in a new window. The first image shows the scaled photograph of the test device.

Scene 1Scene 2Scene 3

Accessories

Included in the box are the modular power adapter rated at 5 watts (5V, 1 amp), a headset, and an USB cable.

HTC also offers optional accessories like a better headset and external speakers. The Dot View Cover (40 Euro / ~$45) is compatible as well.

Warranty

In Germany, the smartphone is covered against defects for a 24-month period; warranty extensions of any kind are not offered.

Input & Operation

The capacitive touchscreen theoretically recognizes up to ten input simultaneously. According to our findings, that's not quite true: if the user touches the screen with more than two fingers at the same time, only two inputs are recognized. When we then added one finger at a time, we were able to reach the maximum of ten inputs. Normally, this is not an issue, unless of course the application supports more than two simultaneous inputs. The touch surface allows fingers to glide easily and the Desire 820 reacts quickly and accurately to user inputs.

The virtual keyboard is identical to various other HTC phones. Swiping gestures can be used if so desired and spelling suggestions are offered as well. We found the layout to be a little confusing at first, but it honestly doesn't take that long to get used to it. We had to change the keyboard layout to QWERTZ for our German review sample, since the smartphone defaults to QWERTY even with the correct country selected. The physical buttons offer very short travel and crisp operation.

Portrait mode (message)
Portrait mode (message)
Portrait mode (browser)
Portrait mode (browser)
Landscape mode (browser)
Landscape mode (browser)

Display

The display of the Desire 820 is very good indeed.
The display of the Desire 820 is very good indeed.

The HTC Desire 820 features a 5.5-inch display with a resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels, an aspect ratio of 16:9 and a pixel density of 267 PPI. Identifying individual pixels is quite difficult and requires a keen eye.

The maximum brightness has been improved as well: while the predecessor reached 444 cd/m² (87 %), the new model tops out at 548 cd/m² - a very good result when compared to the competitors. Only the Sony Xperia T3 (max. 532 cd/m², 89 %) comes close. The brightness distribution is excellent at 91 %. With the background set to black, we did notices some backlight bleeding at the edge of the panel.

548
cd/m²
532
cd/m²
499
cd/m²
537
cd/m²
541
cd/m²
525
cd/m²
524
cd/m²
539
cd/m²
534
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 548 cd/m² Average: 531 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 91 %
Center on Battery: 541 cd/m²
Contrast: 1082:1 (Black: 0.5 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 5.85 | 0.4-29.43 Ø6.3
ΔE Greyscale 4.71 | 0.64-98 Ø6.5
Gamma: 2.42
HTC Desire 820
Adreno 405, 615 MSM8939, 16 GB eMMC Flash
Huawei Ascend G7
Adreno 306, 410 MSM8916, 16 GB eMMC Flash
Wiko Highway
Mali-450 MP4, MT6592, 16 GB iNAND Flash
Sony Xperia T3
Adreno 305, 400 MSM8928, 8 GB SSD
Nokia Lumia 830
Adreno 305, 400 MSM8926, 16 GB eMMC Flash
Screen
-22%
-9%
-21%
-6%
Brightness middle
541
446
-18%
376
-30%
521
-4%
440
-19%
Brightness
531
451
-15%
376
-29%
504
-5%
421
-21%
Brightness Distribution
91
91
0%
88
-3%
89
-2%
87
-4%
Black Level *
0.5
0.73
-46%
0.47
6%
0.77
-54%
0.77
-54%
Contrast
1082
611
-44%
800
-26%
677
-37%
571
-47%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
5.85
5.72
2%
6.07
-4%
5.73
2%
2.6
56%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
4.71
6.16
-31%
3.6
24%
6.83
-45%
2.64
44%
Gamma
2.42 91%
2.19 100%
2.35 94%
3.46 64%
2.32 95%
CCT
7591 86%
7699 84%
6985 93%
8370 78%
6686 97%

* ... smaller is better

The black value is comparatively pretty decent as well at only 0.50 cd/m², which results in an excellent contrast ratio of 1082:1. Only the Wiko Highway (0.47 cd/m², 800:1) is slightly better, although its contrast ratio is lower since the brightness is lower as well. All the other phones in our comparison feature higher values around 0.7 cd/m².

As far as the color accuracy is concerned, the Desire 820 performs similar to the competing smartphones, although the Lumia 830 displays colors even more accurately. The color green has the highest deviation (dE 10); the other colors fare better. The graylevels also show a slight shift towards green and blue, which in turn leads to a very minor bluish cast. During normal operation this is not noticeable, however.

Color Management (sRGB)
Color Management (sRGB)
Saturation (sRGB)
Saturation (sRGB)
ColorChecker (sRGB)
ColorChecker (sRGB)
Graylevels (sRGB)
Graylevels (sRGB)

The glossy display surface hampers outdoor use a little, but the very bright display and the outstanding contrast make up for it most of the time. Only when exposed to direct sunlight, the reflections can get annoying.

The Desire 820 is usable even in bright environments.
The Desire 820 is usable even in bright environments.
The reflective surface can be annoying at time.
The reflective surface can be annoying at time.

The viewing angle stability of the IPS display is pretty decent. When tilting the display around the horizontal and the vertical axis, the brightness decrease is pretty marginal. At very shallow angles, we notices the IPS glow effect.

Viewing angle stability HTC Desire 820
Viewing angle stability HTC Desire 820

Performance

The HTC Desire 820 is one of the first smartphones equipped with the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 SoC - a 64-bit processor with eight cores. The CPU is not a true octa-core, but contains eight Cortex A53 cores, which are part of two quad-core clusters. To save power, one of the clusters runs at up to 1.54 GHz, the other one at 1.0 GHz - similar to ARM's big.Little concept.

According to our benchmark tests, the performance of the new SoC is is comparable to a Snapdragon 600. Geekbench 3 attests a slightly lower single-core performance, but when all cores are utilized, the Snapdragon 615 ranks between a series 600 and 800-class SoC. The 3DMark Unlimited Physics Test shows a different result, as the review smartphone is not able to keep up with the other SoCs. The MediaTek MT6592 - used in the Wiko Highway - also offers better CPU performance.

The browser performance of the HTC Deisre 820 is also quite decent and only the competing smartphones with more powerful CPUs deliver better performance. Subjectively, the browsing performance is more than adequate and websites load quickly.

Geekbench 3
32 Bit Multi-Core Score (sort by value)
HTC Desire 820
2249 Points ∼7%
HTC Desire 816
1109 Points ∼4% -51%
Wiko Highway
2642 Points ∼8% +17%
Huawei Ascend G7
1411 Points ∼5% -37%
Sony Xperia T3
1345 Points ∼4% -40%
HTC One Max
1965 Points ∼6% -13%
Acer Liquid S2
2539 Points ∼8% +13%
32 Bit Single-Core Score (sort by value)
HTC Desire 820
605 Points ∼13%
HTC Desire 816
338 Points ∼7% -44%
Wiko Highway
506 Points ∼11% -16%
Huawei Ascend G7
476 Points ∼10% -21%
Sony Xperia T3
401 Points ∼9% -34%
HTC One Max
637 Points ∼14% +5%
Acer Liquid S2
872 Points ∼19% +44%
AnTuTu v5 - Total Score (sort by value)
HTC Desire 820
27825 Points ∼35%
Sony Xperia T3
19444 Points ∼24% -30%
Acer Liquid S2
32731 Points ∼41% +18%
3DMark - 1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Physics (sort by value)
HTC Desire 820
8973 Points ∼11%
HTC Desire 816
7913 Points ∼10% -12%
Wiko Highway
11902 Points ∼15% +33%
Huawei Ascend G7
9137 Points ∼12% +2%
Sony Xperia T3
8960 Points ∼11% 0%
HTC One Max
12862 Points ∼16% +43%
Acer Liquid S2
12181 Points ∼15% +36%
Linpack Android / IOS
Multi Thread (sort by value)
HTC Desire 820
317.64 MFLOPS ∼11%
HTC Desire 816
150.059 MFLOPS ∼5% -53%
Wiko Highway
277.412 MFLOPS ∼9% -13%
Nokia Lumia 830
237.668 MFLOPS ∼8% -25%
Sony Xperia T3
249.877 MFLOPS ∼8% -21%
HTC One Max
746.313 MFLOPS ∼25% +135%
Acer Liquid S2
931.86 MFLOPS ∼32% +193%
Single Thread (sort by value)
HTC Desire 820
136.759 MFLOPS ∼13%
HTC Desire 816
67.936 MFLOPS ∼7% -50%
Wiko Highway
142.817 MFLOPS ∼14% +4%
Nokia Lumia 830
59.417 MFLOPS ∼6% -57%
Sony Xperia T3
97.708 MFLOPS ∼10% -29%
HTC One Max
318.758 MFLOPS ∼31% +133%
Acer Liquid S2
404.992 MFLOPS ∼40% +196%
Sunspider - 1.0 Total Score (sort by value)
HTC Desire 820
1127.6 ms * ∼28%
HTC Desire 816
1475.8 ms * ∼37% -31%
Wiko Highway
904.2 ms * ∼22% +20%
Nokia Lumia 830
1237.7 ms * ∼31% -10%
Huawei Ascend G7
1513 ms * ∼38% -34%
Sony Xperia T3
1333 ms * ∼33% -18%
HTC One Max
783.4 ms * ∼19% +31%
Acer Liquid S2
739.4 ms * ∼18% +34%
Mozilla Kraken 1.1 - Total Score (sort by value)
HTC Desire 820
11610 ms * ∼20%
HTC Desire 816
15967.8 ms * ∼27% -38%
Wiko Highway
11338.2 ms * ∼19% +2%
Nokia Lumia 830
27128.5 ms * ∼46% -134%
Huawei Ascend G7
16248 ms * ∼27% -40%
Sony Xperia T3
14507 ms * ∼24% -25%
HTC One Max
13465.9 ms * ∼23% -16%
Acer Liquid S2
7220.4 ms * ∼12% +38%
Octane V2 - Total Score (sort by value)
HTC Desire 820
3417 Points ∼7%
HTC Desire 816
1894 Points ∼4% -45%
Wiko Highway
3085 Points ∼6% -10%
Huawei Ascend G7
1839 Points ∼4% -46%
Sony Xperia T3
2242 Points ∼5% -34%
HTC One Max
1988 Points ∼4% -42%
Acer Liquid S2
3810 Points ∼8% +12%

Legend

 
HTC Desire 820 Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 MSM8939, Qualcomm Adreno 405, 16 GB eMMC Flash
 
HTC Desire 816 Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 MSM8928, Qualcomm Adreno 305, 8 GB SSD
 
Wiko Highway Mediatek MT6592, ARM Mali-450 MP4, 16 GB iNAND Flash
 
Nokia Lumia 830 Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 MSM8926, Qualcomm Adreno 305, 16 GB eMMC Flash
 
Huawei Ascend G7 Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 MSM8916, Qualcomm Adreno 306, 16 GB eMMC Flash
 
Sony Xperia T3 Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 MSM8928, Qualcomm Adreno 305, 8 GB SSD
 
HTC One Max Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 APQ8064T, Qualcomm Adreno 320, 16 GB iNAND Flash
 
Acer Liquid S2 Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 MSM8974, Qualcomm Adreno 330, 16 GB eMMC Flash

* ... smaller is better

The integrated Qalcomm Adreno 405 is quite powerful compared to its competitors and outperforms other middle-class solutions like the ARM Mali-450 MP4 by up to 40 % in the 3DMark Unlimited Graphics Test. When running GFXBench 3.0, the Adreno 405 offers substantially better performance and is up to three times faster. Only the Adreno 330, which is used in the Liquid S2, is still superior. The GPU supports all current graphic interfaces like DirectX 11.2 and OpenGL ES 3.1 and is equipped with a H.265-Decoder as well.

3DMark
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Physics (sort by value)
HTC Desire 820
Adreno 405, 615 MSM8939, 16 GB eMMC Flash
8973 Points ∼11%
HTC Desire 816
Adreno 305, 400 MSM8928, 8 GB SSD
7913 Points ∼10% -12%
Wiko Highway
Mali-450 MP4, MT6592, 16 GB iNAND Flash
11902 Points ∼15% +33%
Huawei Ascend G7
Adreno 306, 410 MSM8916, 16 GB eMMC Flash
9137 Points ∼12% +2%
Sony Xperia T3
Adreno 305, 400 MSM8928, 8 GB SSD
8960 Points ∼11% 0%
HTC One Max
Adreno 320, 600 APQ8064T, 16 GB iNAND Flash
12862 Points ∼16% +43%
Acer Liquid S2
Adreno 330, 800 MSM8974, 16 GB eMMC Flash
12181 Points ∼15% +36%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Graphics Score (sort by value)
HTC Desire 820
Adreno 405, 615 MSM8939, 16 GB eMMC Flash
9204 Points ∼2%
HTC Desire 816
Adreno 305, 400 MSM8928, 8 GB SSD
4210 Points ∼1% -54%
Wiko Highway
Mali-450 MP4, MT6592, 16 GB iNAND Flash
6397 Points ∼1% -30%
Huawei Ascend G7
Adreno 306, 410 MSM8916, 16 GB eMMC Flash
3896 Points ∼1% -58%
Sony Xperia T3
Adreno 305, 400 MSM8928, 8 GB SSD
4216 Points ∼1% -54%
HTC One Max
Adreno 320, 600 APQ8064T, 16 GB iNAND Flash
10423 Points ∼2% +13%
Acer Liquid S2
Adreno 330, 800 MSM8974, 16 GB eMMC Flash
17112 Points ∼4% +86%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Score (sort by value)
HTC Desire 820
Adreno 405, 615 MSM8939, 16 GB eMMC Flash
9152 Points ∼4%
HTC Desire 816
Adreno 305, 400 MSM8928, 8 GB SSD
4699 Points ∼2% -49%
Wiko Highway
Mali-450 MP4, MT6592, 16 GB iNAND Flash
7130 Points ∼3% -22%
Huawei Ascend G7
Adreno 306, 410 MSM8916, 16 GB eMMC Flash
4465 Points ∼2% -51%
Sony Xperia T3
Adreno 305, 400 MSM8928, 8 GB SSD
4778 Points ∼2% -48%
HTC One Max
Adreno 320, 600 APQ8064T, 16 GB iNAND Flash
10882 Points ∼5% +19%
Acer Liquid S2
Adreno 330, 800 MSM8974, 16 GB eMMC Flash
15700 Points ∼8% +72%
GFXBench 3.0
off screen Manhattan Offscreen OGL (sort by value)
HTC Desire 820
Adreno 405, 615 MSM8939, 16 GB eMMC Flash
5.6 fps ∼1%
HTC Desire 816
Adreno 305, 400 MSM8928, 8 GB SSD
1.6 fps ∼0% -71%
Huawei Ascend G7
Adreno 306, 410 MSM8916, 16 GB eMMC Flash
1.8 fps ∼0% -68%
Sony Xperia T3
Adreno 305, 400 MSM8928, 8 GB SSD
1.2 fps ∼0% -79%
on screen Manhattan Onscreen OGL (sort by value)
HTC Desire 820
Adreno 405, 615 MSM8939, 16 GB eMMC Flash
11.7 fps ∼3%
HTC Desire 816
Adreno 305, 400 MSM8928, 8 GB SSD
3.9 fps ∼1% -67%
Huawei Ascend G7
Adreno 306, 410 MSM8916, 16 GB eMMC Flash
4.1 fps ∼1% -65%
Sony Xperia T3
Adreno 305, 400 MSM8928, 8 GB SSD
4.2 fps ∼1% -64%
GFXBench (DX / GLBenchmark) 2.7
1920x1080 T-Rex HD Offscreen C24Z16 (sort by value)
HTC Desire 820
Adreno 405, 615 MSM8939, 16 GB eMMC Flash
14.9 fps ∼1%
Wiko Highway
Mali-450 MP4, MT6592, 16 GB iNAND Flash
10.6 fps ∼1% -29%
Nokia Lumia 830
Adreno 305, 400 MSM8926, 16 GB eMMC Flash
4.2 fps ∼0% -72%
Huawei Ascend G7
Adreno 306, 410 MSM8916, 16 GB eMMC Flash
5.3 fps ∼0% -64%
HTC One Max
Adreno 320, 600 APQ8064T, 16 GB iNAND Flash
14 fps ∼1% -6%
Acer Liquid S2
Adreno 330, 800 MSM8974, 16 GB eMMC Flash
23 fps ∼1% +54%
T-Rex HD Onscreen C24Z16 (sort by value)
HTC Desire 820
Adreno 405, 615 MSM8939, 16 GB eMMC Flash
25.9 fps ∼6%
Wiko Highway
Mali-450 MP4, MT6592, 16 GB iNAND Flash
9.6 fps ∼2% -63%
Nokia Lumia 830
Adreno 305, 400 MSM8926, 16 GB eMMC Flash
7.2 fps ∼2% -72%
Huawei Ascend G7
Adreno 306, 410 MSM8916, 16 GB eMMC Flash
9.8 fps ∼2% -62%
HTC One Max
Adreno 320, 600 APQ8064T, 16 GB iNAND Flash
14 fps ∼3% -46%
Acer Liquid S2
Adreno 330, 800 MSM8974, 16 GB eMMC Flash
23 fps ∼5% -11%
Basemark X 1.1
High Quality (sort by value)
HTC Desire 820
Adreno 405, 615 MSM8939, 16 GB eMMC Flash
4803 Points ∼11%
HTC Desire 816
Adreno 305, 400 MSM8928, 8 GB SSD
1436 Points ∼3% -70%
Wiko Highway
Mali-450 MP4, MT6592, 16 GB iNAND Flash
3677 Points ∼8% -23%
Sony Xperia T3
Adreno 305, 400 MSM8928, 8 GB SSD
749 Points ∼2% -84%
Acer Liquid S2
Adreno 330, 800 MSM8974, 16 GB eMMC Flash
11443 Points ∼26% +138%
Medium Quality (sort by value)
HTC Desire 820
Adreno 405, 615 MSM8939, 16 GB eMMC Flash
10201 Points ∼23%
HTC Desire 816
Adreno 305, 400 MSM8928, 8 GB SSD
4725 Points ∼11% -54%
Wiko Highway
Mali-450 MP4, MT6592, 16 GB iNAND Flash
9282 Points ∼21% -9%
Sony Xperia T3
Adreno 305, 400 MSM8928, 8 GB SSD
4069 Points ∼9% -60%
Acer Liquid S2
Adreno 330, 800 MSM8974, 16 GB eMMC Flash
21076 Points ∼47% +107%
Smartbench 2012 - Gaming Index (sort by value)
HTC Desire 820
Adreno 405, 615 MSM8939, 16 GB eMMC Flash
3943 points ∼86%
HTC Desire 816
Adreno 305, 400 MSM8928, 8 GB SSD
3198 points ∼70% -19%
Wiko Highway
Mali-450 MP4, MT6592, 16 GB iNAND Flash
2264 points ∼49% -43%
Sony Xperia T3
Adreno 305, 400 MSM8928, 8 GB SSD
3516 points ∼76% -11%
HTC One Max
Adreno 320, 600 APQ8064T, 16 GB iNAND Flash
3585 points ∼78% -9%
Acer Liquid S2
Adreno 330, 800 MSM8974, 16 GB eMMC Flash
4328 points ∼94% +10%

We appreciate it that HTC doubled the flash storage capacity of the phone. Compared to the predecessor, the Desire 820 comes with 16 GB, 9 GB of which are accessible to the user. Users who need more can easily expand the storage with a MicroSD card (up to 128 GB). App2SD is supported as well, so applications can be stored on the SD card.

The flash drive is now faster as well and its performance is slightly above average. The write speed for smaller data blocks is on the weak side, however.

BaseMark OS II - Memory (sort by value)
HTC Desire 820
Adreno 405, 615 MSM8939, 16 GB eMMC Flash
416 Points ∼9%
Nokia Lumia 830
Adreno 305, 400 MSM8926, 16 GB eMMC Flash
938 Points ∼20% +125%
Acer Liquid S2
Adreno 330, 800 MSM8974, 16 GB eMMC Flash
369 Points ∼8% -11%
AndroBench 3-5
Random Write 4KB (sort by value)
HTC Desire 820
Adreno 405, 615 MSM8939, 16 GB eMMC Flash
0.75 MB/s ∼0%
HTC Desire 816
Adreno 305, 400 MSM8928, 8 GB SSD
0.78 MB/s ∼0% +4%
Wiko Highway
Mali-450 MP4, MT6592, 16 GB iNAND Flash
1.18 MB/s ∼1% +57%
Huawei Ascend G7
Adreno 306, 410 MSM8916, 16 GB eMMC Flash
1 MB/s ∼1% +33%
Sony Xperia T3
Adreno 305, 400 MSM8928, 8 GB SSD
0.62 MB/s ∼0% -17%
Acer Liquid S2
Adreno 330, 800 MSM8974, 16 GB eMMC Flash
1.4 MB/s ∼1% +87%
Random Read 4KB (sort by value)
HTC Desire 820
Adreno 405, 615 MSM8939, 16 GB eMMC Flash
10.89 MB/s ∼6%
HTC Desire 816
Adreno 305, 400 MSM8928, 8 GB SSD
8.65 MB/s ∼5% -21%
Wiko Highway
Mali-450 MP4, MT6592, 16 GB iNAND Flash
11.26 MB/s ∼7% +3%
Huawei Ascend G7
Adreno 306, 410 MSM8916, 16 GB eMMC Flash
7 MB/s ∼4% -36%
Sony Xperia T3
Adreno 305, 400 MSM8928, 8 GB SSD
14.18 MB/s ∼8% +30%
Acer Liquid S2
Adreno 330, 800 MSM8974, 16 GB eMMC Flash
11.91 MB/s ∼7% +9%
Sequential Write 256KB (sort by value)
HTC Desire 820
Adreno 405, 615 MSM8939, 16 GB eMMC Flash
13.76 MB/s ∼6%
HTC Desire 816
Adreno 305, 400 MSM8928, 8 GB SSD
8.79 MB/s ∼4% -36%
Wiko Highway
Mali-450 MP4, MT6592, 16 GB iNAND Flash
14.97 MB/s ∼7% +9%
Huawei Ascend G7
Adreno 306, 410 MSM8916, 16 GB eMMC Flash
23 MB/s ∼10% +67%
Sony Xperia T3
Adreno 305, 400 MSM8928, 8 GB SSD
11.26 MB/s ∼5% -18%
Acer Liquid S2
Adreno 330, 800 MSM8974, 16 GB eMMC Flash
17.94 MB/s ∼8% +30%
Sequential Read 256KB (sort by value)
HTC Desire 820
Adreno 405, 615 MSM8939, 16 GB eMMC Flash
82.8 MB/s ∼9%
HTC Desire 816
Adreno 305, 400 MSM8928, 8 GB SSD
57.73 MB/s ∼6% -30%
Wiko Highway
Mali-450 MP4, MT6592, 16 GB iNAND Flash
73.93 MB/s ∼8% -11%
Huawei Ascend G7
Adreno 306, 410 MSM8916, 16 GB eMMC Flash
84 MB/s ∼9% +1%
Sony Xperia T3
Adreno 305, 400 MSM8928, 8 GB SSD
123.71 MB/s ∼14% +49%
Acer Liquid S2
Adreno 330, 800 MSM8974, 16 GB eMMC Flash
103.17 MB/s ∼12% +25%
PassMark PerformanceTest Mobile V1 - Disk Tests (sort by value)
HTC Desire 820
Adreno 405, 615 MSM8939, 16 GB eMMC Flash
10729 Points ∼7%
HTC Desire 816
Adreno 305, 400 MSM8928, 8 GB SSD
19788 Points ∼13% +84%
Wiko Highway
Mali-450 MP4, MT6592, 16 GB iNAND Flash
19581 Points ∼13% +83%
Sony Xperia T3
Adreno 305, 400 MSM8928, 8 GB SSD
4739 Points ∼3% -56%
Acer Liquid S2
Adreno 330, 800 MSM8974, 16 GB eMMC Flash
14809 Points ∼10% +38%

Gaming Performance

The integrated graphics unit Qualcomm Adreno 405 is well-suited for gaming and has enough power for most titles from 2014 up to now. The HTC Desire 820 probably benefits from the lower HD resolution, so even more demanding games like Brothers in Arms 3 or Galaxy on Fire 2 are playable at high graphics settings.

The fact that the touchscreen can only handle two simultaneous inputs can be annoying at times. The sensors work without a hitch, however.

Galaxy on Fire 2
Galaxy on Fire 2
Brothers in Arms 3
Brothers in Arms 3

Emissions

Temperature

The performance remains stable even under load (GFXBench 3.0).
The performance remains stable even under load (GFXBench 3.0).

The surface temperatures of the HTC Desire 820 top out at 30.6 °C during idle and increase to a maximum of 41.7 °C under load. This means that the new smartphone is not only a lot warmer than the predecessor HTC Desire 816 Smartphone Review(34.5 °C maximum), but also runs hotter than most of the competitors. Among the phones in our comparison, the Huawei Ascend G7 (35.1 °C maximum) remains the coolest; the Sony Xperia T3 (46 °C maximum) gets warmer still. None of the observed temperatures are a reason for concern, however.

The stress test - we use the battery-portion of the GFXBench 3.0 benchmark - ran without any problems. Here, the T-Rex test is run thirty times in a row. In addition to monitoring the battery, the test checks the frame rate as well. We discovered no issues: the frame rate remained stable at all times.

Max. Load
 40.3 °C
105 F
35.2 °C
95 F
33.4 °C
92 F
 
 41.7 °C
107 F
36.2 °C
97 F
35.7 °C
96 F
 
 39 °C
102 F
35.6 °C
96 F
32.1 °C
90 F
 
Maximum: 41.7 °C = 107 F
Average: 36.6 °C = 98 F
30.3 °C
87 F
32.7 °C
91 F
37.3 °C
99 F
30.2 °C
86 F
33 °C
91 F
39.4 °C
103 F
30.4 °C
87 F
34.5 °C
94 F
36.9 °C
98 F
Maximum: 39.4 °C = 103 F
Average: 33.9 °C = 93 F
Power Supply (max.)  44 °C = 111 F | Room Temperature 21 °C = 70 F | Voltcraft IR-350

Speakers

The stereo speakers of the HTC Desire 820 are located to the left and right of the display when the phone is held in landscape mode. The sound is pretty decent with good mids and bass considering the size of the speakers. The bass does rattle the the plastic case, however. The highs could be improved, as they are quite subdued at higher volume settings. We also noticed a minor amount of background hiss at maximum volume level.

Energy Management

Power Consumption

The phone has a slightly higher-than-normal power draw during idle at a maximum of 3.5 watts. Under load, we measured up to 5.6 watts, which is pretty high compared to the competition. Only the Wiko Highway requires almost as much (maximum of 5.2 watts).

Considering the power draw, the power adapter (5 watts) does not have a lot of margin build in. It takes about 2 hours and 48 minutes for the phone to fully charge.

Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0 / 0.1 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 0.4 / 2.8 / 3.5 Watt
Load midlight 5.9 / 6.5 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Voltcraft VC 870

Battery Life

The non-removable supplies 2600 mAh and therefore has a fairly large capacity. Since the power consumption is high, the battery life under load is only about average. The maximum run time of over 17 hours is quite decent.

In order to be able to compare the results in a more concise manner, we reduce the display brightness to 150 cd/m² and use our WLAN browsing-test. Here, the smartphone lasted for over 8 hours, which is decent enough, although some competing phones still last longer: the Lumia 830, for example, ran for over 12 hours before shutting down. Only the Wiko Highway has a shorter batter life with 6 hours and 42 minutes.

Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
17h 14min
WiFi Surfing
8h 10min
Big Buck Bunny H.264 1080p
8h 13min
Load (maximum brightness)
2h 51min
HTC Desire 820
Adreno 405, 615 MSM8939, 16 GB eMMC Flash
Nokia Lumia 830
Adreno 305, 400 MSM8926, 16 GB eMMC Flash
Wiko Highway
Mali-450 MP4, MT6592, 16 GB iNAND Flash
Huawei Ascend G7
Adreno 306, 410 MSM8916, 16 GB eMMC Flash
Sony Xperia T3
Adreno 305, 400 MSM8928, 8 GB SSD
Battery Runtime
35%
-28%
67%
4%
Reader / Idle
1034
1808
75%
1169
13%
H.264
493
577
17%
WiFi
490
721
47%
402
-18%
703
43%
634
29%
Load
171
174
2%
106
-38%
326
91%
118
-31%

Verdict

In review: HTC Desire 820
In review: HTC Desire 820

The HTC Desire 820 is a logical progression and the successor to the Desire 816. As such, it does its job well: the smartphone comes equipped with an outstanding display, a speedy CPU and usable cameras. The SoC delivers the same performance regardless of the load level and is based on a 64-bit design, which might be an advantage once a corresponding Android update has been released.

The touchscreen of our review smartphone could only recognize two inputs at a time, which can potentially lead to spelling errors when typing a message quickly. It's possible that HTC will remedy this problem with an update in the near future. We would also like it if it was easier to establish communication with other devices: Wireless Display support, for example, would be a nice feature to have. Considering the price point, ac WLAN should probably be on board as well. Overall, the HTC Desire 820 is definitely worth looking at.

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In Review: HTC Desire 820. Test model courtesy of cyberport.de
In Review: HTC Desire 820. Test model courtesy of cyberport.de

Specifications

HTC Desire 820 (Desire Series)
Graphics adapter
Qualcomm Adreno 405, Memory: 550 MHz, H.265-Decoder, OpenGL ES 3.1, DirectX 11.2
Memory
2048 MB 
Display
5.5 inch 16:9, 1280 x 720 pixel, Capacitive touchscree, 10 multitouch points, IPS, glossy: yes
Storage
16 GB eMMC Flash, 16 GB 
, 8.96 GB free
Connections
1 USB 2.0, Audio Connections: Audio combo-jack, Card Reader: MicroSD up to 128 GB (SD, SDHC, SDXC), Sensors: Acceleration sensor, proximity sensor, ambient light sensor, digital compass, NFC, GPS, Glonass, DLNA, HTC Connect
Networking
802.11a/b/g/n (a/b/g/n), Bluetooth 4.0, GSM/GPRS/EDGE (850, 900, 1800 and 1900 MHz), UMTS/HSPA+ (850, 900 and 2100 MHz), LTE Cat. 4 (bands 3, 7, 8 and 20), head SAR: 0.373 W/kg, body SAR: 0.323 W/kg
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 7.74 x 157.7 x 78.74 ( = 0.3 x 6.21 x 3.1 in)
Battery
Lithium-Polymer, 2600 mAh, Talk time 3G (according to manufacturer): 17.8 h, Standby 3G (according to manufacturer): 455 h
Operating System
Android 4.4 KitKat
Camera
Webcam: 8 MP, main camera: 13 MP (both with BSI sensor, 1080p video)
Additional features
Speakers: Stereo speakers, Keyboard: Virtual keyboard, Power adapter, USB cable, headset, HTC Dot View, HTC Backup, Power To Give, HTC Guide, HTC Sense 6, 24 Months Warranty
Weight
155 g ( = 5.47 oz / 0.34 pounds), Power Supply: 58 g ( = 2.05 oz / 0.13 pounds)
Price
329 Euro

 

The display measures 5.5 inches with a resolution of 720p.
The display measures 5.5 inches with a resolution of 720p.
The front camera features a generous resolution of 8 MP.
The front camera features a generous resolution of 8 MP.
The speakers sound good.
The speakers sound good.
The back cover is susceptible to fingerprints.
The back cover is susceptible to fingerprints.
The camera and its LED flash.
The camera and its LED flash.
Located next to the MicroSD there's room for a Nano SIM card. The second SIM card slot is locked.
Located next to the MicroSD there's room for a Nano SIM card. The second SIM card slot is locked.
Android 4.4.4 and HTC Sense 6.0.
Android 4.4.4 and HTC Sense 6.0.
8.96 GB are available to the user.
8.96 GB are available to the user.
CPU-Z
CPU-Z
CPU-Z
CPU-Z
CPU-Z
CPU-Z
Basemark X 1.1
Basemark X 1.1
Epic Citadel (Ultra High Quality)
Epic Citadel (Ultra High Quality)
Anomaliy 2 Benchmark (High Quality)
Anomaliy 2 Benchmark (High Quality)
3DMark
3DMark
Browsermark 2.1
Browsermark 2.1
Peacekeeper
Peacekeeper
WebXPRT 2013
WebXPRT 2013
Vellamo 3.1
Vellamo 3.1
Basemark OS II
Basemark OS II
AnTuTu v5.5
AnTuTu v5.5
AndEBench Pro crashed when we tried to run it.
AndEBench Pro crashed when we tried to run it.

Similar Smartphones

Similar devices from a different Manufacturer

Devices from a different Manufacturer and/or with a different CPU

ZTE Axon 7 Mini Smartphone Review
Adreno 405, Snapdragon 617 MSM8952
BlackBerry DTEK50 Smartphone Review
Adreno 405, Snapdragon 617 MSM8952
Lenovo Moto G4 Smartphone Review
Adreno 405, Snapdragon 617 MSM8952

Links

  • Manufacturer's Information

Price Comparison

Pros

+Powerful 64-bit CPU
+Good graphics processor
+Very good WLAN reception
+Storage expandable
+Low radiation levels
 

Cons

-Touchscreen only recognizes two simultaneous inputs
-No wireless display
-No ac WiFi

Shortcut

What we like

With its sleek curves and the contrasty display, the Desire 820 is certainly an appealing smartphone.

What we'd like to see

Wireless Display support and ac WLAN would be nice.

What surprises us

The touchscreens acts a bit weird and only recognizes more than two inputs if they are made one after the other. 

The competition

Sony Xperia T3, Huawei Ascend G7, Test Wiko Highway SmartphoneWiko Highway, Nokia Lumia 830 and Asus Zenfone 5.

Rating

HTC Desire 820 - 01/22/2015 v4(old)
Daniel Schmidt

Chassis
78%
Keyboard
70 / 75 → 93%
Pointing Device
79%
Connectivity
44 / 60 → 73%
Weight
92%
Battery
91%
Display
83%
Games Performance
58 / 63 → 92%
Application Performance
40 / 70 → 57%
Temperature
88%
Noise
100%
Audio
70 / 91 → 77%
Camera
66%
Average
74%
82%
Smartphone - Weighted Average
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Archive of our own reviews > HTC Desire 820 Smartphone Review
Daniel Schmidt, 2015-02-11 (Update: 2018-05-15)
Bernhard Pechlaner
Bernhard Pechlaner - Review Editor
Ended up in the IT sector in the 90s more or less accidentally and have remained in the industry (as a sysadmin) ever since. Always been interested in laptops - first purchase was - if memory serves correctly - a Toshiba Satellite T2115CS with DX4-75 processor, 4 MB of RAM and 350 MB hard disk drive (and Windows 3.1). To this day, laptops appeal to me - much to the chagrin of my wife, who doesn’t seem understand why we need 5-10 of them at any given time ;-).