The HTC Desire 820 is equipped with a 5.5-inch 720p display. It is nothing spectacular by today's standards, but is nonetheless, a solid choice for a mid-range smartphone.
With its 267ppi it falls just a little short of what's become known as Retina-grade pixel density (300+ppi).
As already mentioned the panel is identical to that found in its predecessor - the Desire 816 and is consequently plagued by much the same problems.
While the panel does use IPS technology and hence offers excellent side viewing angles, the edges on the screen elements looks a little jagged under close observation.
Bet perhaps the biggest concern is the poor brightness. The phone doesn't come off as exceptionally bright, but this is more or less compensated by the good contrast, which definitely improves outside visibility.
|Display test||50% brightness||100% brightness|
|Black, cd/m2||White, cd/m2||Black, cd/m2||White, cd/m2|
Looking at the specs sheet, we can't help but notice that although the Desire 820 borrows the display from the 816, the lack of screen protection has been addressed and the handset is equipped with Gorilla Glass 3. What good is a quality screen that is all scratched-up. HTC definitely deserves credit for improved attention in this department.
The added protective layer seems to be have led to a slight increase in reflectivity as the blacks on the Desire 820 apper a bit brighter than on the Desire 816. On the other hand maximum brigtness seems to show a slight improvement, boosting the whites and consequently, the contrast.
The HTC Desire 820 is equipped with a rather modest 2,600 mAh battery. It is also absolutely identical to the one found in the Desire 816, but surprisingly enough, while the Desire 816 scored quite favorably at 64h, this is not exactly true for the phone at hand.
Our tests showed an oddly low 49h endurance rating and may we remind that this is a mixed result from fairly favorable conditions. We had the display set to 50% brightness and frankly, this made it too dim to be comfortably used outdoors even on an overcast day.
Still the numbers speak loud and clear and the Desire 820 will not be winning any endurance races any time soon. The question remains as to why this anomaly exists.
The two devices seem similar enough for the scores to match up, but seeing as this is not the case, we can perhaps point a finger towards the new octa-core Snapdragon 615 processors or, if not that, software issues that need some tweaking.
The possibility of a faulty test unit is also there, but it seems very unlikely. You can check out our battery testing procedure in detail.
There are also two separate power-saving modes implemented in Sense UI 6 that could potentially help better the battery life.
Power Saving dims the screen and slows the CPU down, while the Extreme Power Saving mode does away with multitasking and background tasks altogether and switches the UI to a very simple version, meant for only the most basic of tasks.
While this is extremely useful to have and could potentially get you out of a tight situation, the two modes are for emergency use only and therefore had no place in out measurements.
The HTC Desire 820 comes in two versions - single and dual SIM. The device uses only nanoSIM cards, despite the ample room, but it is far from the only offender in this department.
The on-board modem itself offers quad-band 2G/EDGE support, along with 3G HSPA+ (max 42Mbps downlink) and 4G LTE (up to 150 Mbps). The LTE connectivity covers different bands depending on the region - FDD Band 1,3,7,8 / TD-LTE Band 38,39,40,41.
Keep in mind that, as expected, the second SIM slot is only 2G/ 2.5G - GSM/GPRS/EDGE enabled. The built-in Dual network manager also allows the manual selection of the mode of each slot, so you can change which slot will be 3G-enabled from the UI without having to physically rearrange the cards.
As far as local connectivity goes, the Desire 820 is equipped with Wi-Fi a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0 with the aptX audio codec as well as DLNA. Naturally, a GPS module (with GLONASS support) is present.
HTC's website does not disclose anything in regard to NFC functionality, but we are happy to report that our unit does have this functionality onboard. It might be a regional option, as was with the Desire 816, so be sure to check before you buy a unit.
By the way, the HTC Mini+, a phone-shaped Bluetooth headset is compatible with the Desire 820 so you can keep the large phablet in your bag and still accept calls and control the music player. Speaking of that, the Bluetooth-enabled HTC BoomBass cube can pair wirelessly with the stereo speakers on the phablet for even better sonic experience.
Finally, HTC Media Link HD adds DLNA support to TVs that don't have it natively.