HTC Desire 820s Review – Feel The Power Of Midrange

HTC Desire 820s ReviewYeah! Feel it! Whom need a high end phone when you can get this kind of performance at less than half the price of a flagship phone. The price which is only going to come down further. HTC Desire 820s is both a very big upgrade in terms of performance and downgrade in terms of software when compared to the original 820 though. If you don’t know what i am talking about, read on.


Looks like a big white piece of glossy plastic from a far. But when you pick it up, you can feel its solid build quality. And despite of all that power underneath. It’s still very light-weight. It weighs only 155 grams and is 7.74 mm thick. Basically if you have ever hold a Desire 820 or 820q in hands, it is exactly like that. And it does have a notification LED.


HTC Desire 820s comes with 5.5 inch LCD display of HD resolution. With very good viewing angles. Although it’s neither mentioned on the box nor on the website but i am guessing it is an IPS display. And just like that is not mentioned anywhere, it is also not mentioned anywhere that this phone has Gorilla Glass 3. But since it is the same exact body as Desire 820 which does have Gorilla Glass. I guess it’s safe to assume that this phone does too. It also have decent overall brightness and colour reproduction.


This phone doesn’t come with HTC Sense so as a side effect of that it also doesn’t come with its camera app. And if you think there is no difference believe me there is. The original HTC Desire 820 on the other hand does have all the Sense camera features, which gives it a slight edge over this 820s.

HTC Desire 820s has the default Android camera UI and features. On the name of selfie features all it has is that default “face beauty mode”. While 820 have a lot of dedicated editing features built in. So it’s kind of a bad thing for ‘selfie’ lovers or people that like to ‘edit’ or ‘touch up’ their photos a lot.

That doesn’t make its camera quality bad though. Since it has the same 13MP camera with BSI sensor and 8MP front camera. So, the hardware is still there. Image quality is very good in almost all lighting conditions, thanks to its BSI sensor. It picks up fairly natural colours and details and doesn’t overdo things in post processing. End photo looks pretty real life like.

But due to lack of all the front camera features, you might not like to look at your own face if it’s captured by the front camera of this phone. The quality is not bad, the problem is it is too real and too true. Which is actually what people don’t want in a selfie or in life. Quite ironic. And on top of everything front camera is not that bright by default as it doesn’t have BSI sensor there. Rest of the camera features includes 1080p video recording from both cameras, quality is not that good though since it only shoots in 3GP format. Touch to focus, auto focus. Simultaneous video and photo capture is there too.


All that power and it still can’t play a 4K video at full speed. But then again, companies gotta left something for the real high end chipsets don’t they. Anyway apart from that this phone is multimedia powerhouse. Powerhouse because it can play almost any format that you can put on it since it is Android and also because of quality. Music quality through both, its two external speakers and in ear earphones/headphones is very good. And HTC is not officially calling the two speakers in front of this phone boom sound speakers. But they are. It doesn’t matter what they call them or don’t call them, nothing could change the fact that they are very good external speakers.


Now this is ‘downgrade’ that i was talking about. This phone even though available at around the same price as original 820 still doesn’t come with full HTC Sense UI. It instead comes with somewhat default Android skin similar to what you see in most budget Android phones. So, that’s something you might not like. I didn’t, but all the raw power that this phone has made it up for me. If you look beyond the cosmetic changes though, you’ll see that OS is completely lag free and buttery smooth all thanks to its new and very powerful chipset.

It comes with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of internal memory out of which, you’ll get around 12GB free. It is expandable via micro SD card. And here’s the best part about its memory, since it comes with Android 4.4.4 KitKat it has a little different memory management than 4.4.2 you can actually put/install games on memory card on this phone and it also has move to sd feature.


The price to performance ratio of this phone is kind of hard to gauge. Since its price varies a lot. But the most common price i found it selling was around 23,000 Rupees or approx $370. Now, that we have settled on the price, lets talk about performance. This phone is one of the fastest if not the fastest phone available around this price range. It was only beaten by One Plus One in only Antutu. But then in Vellamo it beat One Plus One with a healthy margin. So i guess it’s a tie. One Plus One runs on a high end Snapdragon chipset though. While this 820s runs on a new Mediatek chipset named as MT6752. Which is not a high-end chipset but still gives high-end performance. Another thing, try to find One Plus One in a store near you… You can’t. While this phone about as powerful or even more in some cases is available easily in local stores or online.

Mediatek 6752 has octa core Cortex A53 processors clocked at 1.7GHz and Mali T760 GPU. A combination that helped it beat some of the high end devices in benchmarks. Its performs not only in just benchmarks. Its performance is very much visible in gaming. It is made for gaming. Enough said. It could run almost all the games available in play store right now, at highest possible settings. At full speed, without any lagging or stuttering. You can see that in my gaming video. The phones gets a little warm/hot around its chipset area if there’s a lot of stress on GPU.

Here’s my verdict on its price to performance ratio ‘more power/performance than you would ever need available at very affordable price’.


Just like old 820 this 820s is also 4G capable, not that it matters since it is not even widely available in India yet. But if you live in a country where it is, i guess it’s a good thing for you. The top ear piece of this phone is also one of its loud speakers so as a reward of that the call quality is loud, crisp and clear. WiFi is very fast and range is good too. It also has Bluetooth 4.0 oh and it is a dual sim(Nana sim) phone by the way. It also has cast screen.


The battery capacity of this phone is 2600 mAh and HTC is suggesting around 12.1 hours of talk-time on 3G on this phone on a single charge. Which is possible. Only in terms of talk-time though. Its powerful chipset doesn’t help much in terms of battery life. It helps in gaming but then again gaming is also a no no if you want to save your battery life. Realistically you are looking around 7-8 hours or a day of battery life on moderate to minimal use. It does have a power saving mode which could help preserve the battery further.


Buy it. Simple as that.

8 thoughts on “HTC Desire 820s Review – Feel The Power Of Midrange”

  1. Okay , I have a few questions.
    Does this phone, HTC desire 820s heat up as much as the Desire 820?
    And does it really make any difference having a boom sound option in UI?
    Is it worth buying ? Please answer asap 🙂

    1. I will answer both of yours questions here. Regarding frame drops, when the CPU gets too hot it throttles and that is what causes the frame drops but these kind of frame drops are very occasional.

      1. woah, now this is what I call a proper answer by a reviewer 😀 thumbs up (y)

        Okay so few more questions 😀

        HTC sense UI or the default Android interface. Which is better of two? I mean having sense interface helps?

        And out of the two phones which one will you recommend ? Desire 820 or Desire 820s ?

        I understand that games demand a lot of power from the chipset. But what am worried about is, does these phones even heat up while browsing or normally using the phones?

        Is their any photos or video recording difference between the two handsets (820 and 820s) ?

        Mediatek chipsets are known to be one of the cheapest one’s. But why does 820s costs more than the 820.

        1. I prefer default/vanilla/pure/stock Android UI over every custom UI out there. But if you ask between this 820s and original 820’s UI. I would prefer Sense 6.0 UI i.e, 820’s UI.

          All 820s has is a custom homescreen, lockscreen and app drawer that’s it. If you take that away it’s UI seems like straight out of some cheap Chinese phone. Full HTC Sense UI looks much better than ‘half this and half that UI’ which 820s has.

          If you want power more than anything than i would recommend 820s otherwise 820. Oh and by the way 820 is also pretty powerful just not as powerful as 820s. Original 820 is also better in overall software and camera department. Just not better in performance.

          820s only gets hot while gaming otherwise it remains fairly cool. It surprised me, how well it manages that. Again, like i said before the more powerful the CPU & GPU is the more hot it will get. Nobody can do anything about it. Not even the companies that make them. Not, unless they figure out how to to use liquid cooling in smartphones.

          There’s a reason why laptops have fans and some people put liquid cooling in their desktops. In simple words, the more powerful the thing is, the more heat it is going to emit. It’s the basic nature of these things.

          The raw image performance of both the phones is quite similar as they both literally have same camera. It’s just 820 has more post-processing and editing features built in. For camera i would recommend 820 between both the phones.

          Chipset does not determine the price of a phone. Companies do. For example, Samsung Galaxy A5 costs as much as these phones and yet it has a chipset that belongs to 5,000 – 10,000 Rupees price range. So Mediatek chipsets being cheaper than Snapdragon is irrelevant to a phone’s price.

          And it usually goes like this, the more powerful the device is, the more expensive it is. But 820 was launched around the same price. So give 820s a month or two i think they both would be available for around same price unless they decrease original 820’s price even further. I think a little more or less than 20,000 is a fair price for both of them.

          Here’s the funny thing, a phone’s battery is usually around 5 volts/1.5 ampere. It doesn’t even have enough power to explode and do any meaningful damage on its own. On battery power, while playing games it could only get hot. Not explode. DC(Direct Current) just doesn’t have that much power.

          Now, if you deliberately short circuit it or temper with it in any way or keep it connected to power supply for longer than supposed to or there’s a manufacturing defect in it or all of the above or if the device has even more abnormalities then obviously it’s gonna explode. Nobody could prevent a ‘freak’ accident anyway.

          There’s also a special case scenario, suppose the phone has a very powerful processor which is not optimized properly then what would happen is, it will draw more power at faster rate than it is supposed to and that will ultimately over heat and fry the whole chip. It happens if and only if the CPU fails to do its task and does not throttle properly at the right time. It still won’t explode. Just over heat.

          Then again the software/apps/activities running in the background could also be the cause of this. Android is like the most insecure platform out there and very prone to catch malware easily. And on top of that there’s no shortage of people that will click on any thing for free games or will install anything for free recharge. There are so many variables, but it is a different topic altogether.

          For now, just get this. A properly maintained phone could never explode. Ever. Especially not while playing games on battery power.

          And i can’t make that video as i don’t have the original 820 anymore.

          1. Well, hats off to you man 🙂 you are seriously doing a great job out there. And these in depth replies you give to my queries are seriously commendable.

            Well I got everything now. Finally its decided am going for the 820 only 🙂 Thanks for helping me out with this 😀

            And yes , I know battery is not going to explode on its own 😀

            But what most people are emphasizing on the heating issue was something I was worried about. As in regarding normal usage and stuff if phone is getting heated then its a problem.

            Anyways, Thanks a ton again.
            Keep up the good work 🙂
            Super Like… 🙂

  2. hi jay, first up a big thank you for the good samartian act that you are doing – helping non-geeks like me understand technology. never thought picking a right phone can be such a tough call. All i needed is a hassle-free phone with a ‘great camera’ in the range of 20-25K. But the choices are so mind boggling that i am totally lost. So thought will seek your advice. here is a shortlist of phones I’ve made after a bit research, want to know your recommendation on the same:

    Oneplus One: (sand dust 64Gb) – INR 21998
    everything looks great from specs to performance to storage but the main thing i’m looking for the camera – reviews say the pictures come dull and muddy.

    HTC Desire 820S: (miky way grey 16 GB) – INR 18,699
    i love the look and design and color, even the specs seem good. But again not sure on the camera and the UI bit you mentioned in your review. Is 820 better?

    MOTO X (2nd Gen): (black leather, 16 GB) – INR 21999
    everything seems perfect, but i don’t know anyone in my circle who has used it or
    what is the camera and overall experience actually like. reviews complain about the fragility of screen even on a minor fall? not sure if to take the risk.

    Samsung A5 : ( Gold, 16GB) – INR 20,500
    Seems to be the safest bet, Is readily available at every outlet. Have tested the display and camera quality, seems satisfactory.

    really want to know your recommendation. thanks once again.


    1. That budget is the sweet spot. Lots of good phones available in it. I would like to add one more phone to that list, Sony Xperia C4. It is good in both gaming and camera performance.

      Regarding OPO, well Oneplus Two just got launched and is available under your budget with better specs so go for that one if you want to go with Oneplus.

      In software and camera department HTC Desire 820 is much better than HTC Desire 820S. But 820 falls short in performance especially gaming performance. If you combine 820 and 820S you will get something like Xperia C4. So instead of those two i would recommend Xperia C4.

      Moto X has the same processor as OPO so performance is not a problem. I can’t comment on its camera quality since i have not used it myself. And for that processor it has a pretty small battery, it comes with only 2300 mAh battery which could be a little problematic if you want long battery life.

      If you want to go with Samsung then go for Galaxy A7 not Galaxy A5 at least you will get a decent processor.

      1. Jay, you are a saviour.

        can’t thank enough for the quick reply.
        will check out xperia c4 today at a retail outlet.
        as much as i’d like to wait for Oneplus two, the wait is long and i need to pick a device urgently. Again a big thank you for the advice.
        might bug you, once i’ve narrowed the list to final two.
        regards, moonwards.

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