Every year CES brings us some really interesting devices. Almost every major manufacturer has got their best in every segment lined up for showcasing at the CES. This time HTC showcased two new devices in the Desire series, the Desire 826 to compete in the mid-range and the Desire 320 as a budget offering. While the Desire 320 is already up for sale in some parts of the world, the Desire 826 will be offered soon. There were rumours about the HTC One success being showcased at the CES but that didn’t happen. Apparently the device is lined up for MWC later this year. HTC Desire 826 is the successor to the Desire 820 though the design is more like Desire Eye than the Desire 820. It is being dubbed as a selfie smartphone but instead of the 13 megapixel camera on eye, this one gets the impressive 4 megapixel ultra pixel camera. We take a closer look at the device to see how good this new Desire is.
The design of the Desire 826 screams HTC even from a distance. But it isn’t simply a scaled up or scaled down version of the HTC One as we saw on devices launched last year. It has a more evolved design which borrows some design cues from the Desire Eye. Like the Eye, the front camera on this new device sits in the middle above the display with the sensors sitting close by. The front is very much HTCish with the branding just below the display. It gets the excellent Boom Sound speakers that you would find on other HTC devices as well but they are hidden nicely beneath the bezels.
Instead of the curved back, it has got a flat back with the branding in middle and it looks really nice. The back is non-removable so you can’t access the battery. The build quality is excellent as you would expect from HTC. The SIM and micro SD slots are on the left of the device and are protected by rubberised cover. The device is available in multiple colours with the sides taking up different colour to add some contrast. Even with the large size, the device is easy to handle due to the slim profile and good weight distribution.
The Desire 826 gets a 5.5 inch display just like the Desire 820 but thankfully they have taken care of the resolution this time. The Desire 820 had a semi HD display and that sort of resolution on such a large display doesn’t translate into very high pixel density. Here they have gone up to 1080p on the same display size giving it a very impressive pixel density making the display very crisp. While they haven’t said anything about the type of display, it appears to be one of the Super LCD3 displays. The viewing angles of the display are superb and it replicates colours very well. Even the contrast ratios are pretty good and you will really love this display for watching videos or browsing web.
The Desire 826 has got the same hardware as the Desire 820. It runs on a Snapdragon 615 chipset by Qualcomm. This is a 64 bit octa core chipset powered by 1.7 GHz with the help of Cortex A53 cores and four cores clocked at 1 GHz. With this there is the Adreno 405 GPU and 2 GB of RAM. It comes with 64 GB of internal storage and support for micro SD cards up to 128 GB. It will come with support for LTE networks though there might be another version without LTE support for some markets. Apart from that you get the usual connectivity options like Wi-Fi a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS and micro USB 2.0. The device is powered by a non removable 2600 mAh lithium polymer battery. There is no word on the battery life yet.
The interface is very much like the previous HTC devices. It runs the HTC Sense UI on top of the android and is very much different from the stock android experience. So different that it takes a while to realise that it is running the Android 5.0.1 lollipop. Like any other HTC device, this device has got HTC’s own version of many stock Google apps. You get a wide range of customisation options to tailor it your liking but still fans of vanilla android will take a while getting used to the device.
Now this is the highlight of the device. Not the primary camera but the secondary one. If you think a 13 megapixel front camera on the HTC Eye was a big deal, this isn’t very different. Instead of the 13 megapixel camera up front, it has got a 4 megapixel ultra pixel camera with a pixel size of 2 µm. this camera has served as the primary camera of some high end HTC devices and is sure to yield some really amazing selfies or front camera videos if you are going to do that. The large pixel size would allow for more light for each pixel on the sensor which in turn will result in better photos even in low light.
They didn’t talk much about the primary camera but it is also a reasonably good 13 megapixel camera. It has got a LED flash to complement it and while they haven’t made big claims about the camera, it is what you would expect it to be. It can record 1080p videos at 30 fps or 720p videos at 60 fps. The front camera can also record full HD videos.
The Desire 826 looks like a promising device. The people at HTC have taken the good out of HTC Desire 820, improved upon it and have created this device. The large full HD display is excellent, the hardware is powerful to handle even some heavy gaming and the front camera is just superb. If they get the pricing right, it could be a success for them.