“The HTC Desire 828 comes as the brand’s first Desire smartphone to boast optical image stabilisation”
Justifying its former tagline as much as it could, HTC has quietly marked and maintained its eminence in the smartphone market by launching some brilliant smartphone like the pioneer in the One series dubbed HTC One and its sequel the HTC One M8 (review). Later on, the Chinese phonemaker continued to make additions in its portfolio, and including new offerings in its Desire range of smartphones as well. The bloodline has now trickled down to the new HTC Desire 828, which is exactly what we just got our hands on, and here are our first impressions.
The HTC Desire 828 stands out in the army of metal-clad soldiers as it sports a plastic body. The white frame has been accentuated with rose gold chamfered trims, which run alongside the edges. The curved spines of the HTC Desire 828 and the rounded corners add to the ergonomic design of the handset.
Up front, you get a large 5.5-inch display flanked by the signature dual front-firing speakers on the top and bottom. The grille on the top hides the earpiece and the sensors as well, so the only other thing you will se above the display is the secondary camera sensor. Similarly, the grille on the bottom also carries the primary microphone.
The volume rocker and the power button find their way to the right spine. The buttons are flat, instead of protruding and add to the design by not breaking the continuity of the trims. On the opposite edge, there’s a plastic flap which can be opened and slid away to reveal two nano-SIM trays and a microSD card slot. The top edge is home to an audio jack, while the bottom edge houses the microUSB port.
The back panel looks pleasing to the eyes with its pearl white finish and has been minimally accessorised with the primary camera module on the top left corner. The camera comes encircled by a metallic golden rim, which is a welcome embellishment. Towards the centre, you will find pronounced HTC branding on the same rose gold finish as on the trims.
Despite being a phablet, the HTC Desire 828 fits snugly in the hands due to its sleek frame and light weight body. While you’re not likely to reach any corners, handling the device with one hand is easy. The overall design of the device is surely attractive as well.
The HTC Desire 828's screen sports full HD resolution and hence looks sharp. The screen brightness was adequate indoors, and the sunlight legibility is decent. Extreme viewing angles result in bluish purple tints to appear on the screen. Talking of tints, the colours on the display look vibrant. The screen on the Desire 828 is pretty responsive to touch as well.
The screen is not the only thing that responds fast when it comes to the HTC Desire 828, since our brief usage on the device felt just as snappy, all credits to the octa-core MediaTek 6753 processor clocked at 1.5GHz and mated to 2GB of RAM, which sounds comparatively low, considering there are now smartphones in the budget segment which boast 3GB of RAM. However, we’d like to reserve our final say till we review the device. There’s a Mali T720 GPU to aid the graphics.
Out of the 16GB built-in storage, you get about 9GB for your use. The microSD slot can accept cards of up to 200GB capacity so you can expand the storage accordingly.
The Desire 828 runs Android Lollipop v5.1 with HTC’s Sense UI v7.0 on top and consequently, the phone comes with the signature Sense features. A dedicated homesreen on the extreme left, called BlinkFeed keeps you updated about your social networks and news. There are the brand’s own apps like Car, Zoe, Kid Mode, Scribble and Power To Give. However, there are some new additions as well. Inspired by other Chinese smartphones, HTC has added an app called Themes to let you change the look and feel of your device. Another app called One Gallery lets you view your pictures and videos saved online. Although, it’s not an cloud storage app so the phone doesn’t upload content. You will also find some preloaded third party apps on the Desire 828, such as Facebook, Clean Master, POLARIS Office 5 and all apps from Google.
Other software features include an option to switch from Sense Home launcher to Easy mode. A bunch of Motion Launch gestures have been included as well, which comprise of standard actions like double tapping to wake up the phone, swiping left to launch the widget panel and swiping right to access the BlinkFeed. The phone sports HTC BoomSound tech with Dolby Audio and you can choose between music mode and theater mode, while the headset is plugged in.
The smartphone can shoot stills at a resolution of 13 megapixels and comes aided by an LED flash. The device is the brand’s first in the Desire lineup to boast optical image stabilisation. The front camera is rated at 4MP and comes with a large sensor, thanks to the brand’s Ultrapixel technology. The Desire 828’s default camera app is pretty loaded however, the interface is simple to use.
To switch between primary and secondary camera, there’s a button right below the virtual shutter key. The option comprises other effects and modes as well, like Panorama, Photo Booth, Split Capture and Bokeh. But to keep the interface clean and minimal, you can choose which of these you’d like as a shortcut. There are a bunch of other modes like Night, HDR and Macro to shoot in along with video shooting modes like Slow motion and Fast HD. The camera settings are standard giving you control over the exposure, white balance, saturation and contrast. There’s an option to save a mirror image of what you capture as well. The shooters look capable, but we can only say how well they actually perform after testing them in different lighting conditions.
The HTC Desire 828 comes backed by a 2,800mAh battery, which should last you a day. Apart from a standard Power Saving mode the phone comes with an Extreme power saving mode to extend battery life. The connectivity options on the phone include Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, Wi-Fi Direct, A-GPS and GLONASS.
As of now, we don't have an inkling of the HTC Desire 828 pricing. The brand says the pricing details would be available around the time of market availability, which should be around the middle of December, so it'd be hard for us to get a sense of the competitive landscape at this time. As we await the details, the phone will be going through our review gauntlet, so we should have the full picture when the price is out.