[IFA 2014] HTC announces Desire 820, a powerful 64-bit smartphone

When the iPhone 5s launched one week shy of a year ago, Apple unveiled what was the first 64-bit smartphone processor, the Apple A7. Most reviewers praised it, for it meant a huge boost in performance, evidenced by the extremely in-depth Anandtech review. The first Android device to wear the 64-bit badge of honour was the Desire 510, but it was quite daft. Its processor was a measly 1.2 GHz Snapdragon 410, with 1 GB of RAM and a 4.7-inch 854 x 480 pixels display. What’s more, Android L wasn’t (and isn’t) out, so you couldn’t even unlock the 64-bit goodness.

Now, however, 64-bit on Android is very attractive, all thanks to HTC’s new arrival, the Desire 820.

As Nicholas noted in his review, the predecessor of the 820, the Desire 816 was decidedly a mid-range device, but it was a fantastic one at that. Now, HTC has upgraded it with a beefy processor that is also 64-bit. In one word, this device is powerful, and if Apple’s jump in performance by switching to 64-bit is to be expected, we can see the 820 slug it out in terms of power with the flagships easily.

HTC-Desire-820_Tangerine-White.0It ships with an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 processor, with 4 cores running at 1.5 GHz and another 4 running at 1.0 GHz. While the story of Android is much more different than the undoubtedly leaner iOS, Android L support of the 64-bit platform should give us a large boost out of mid-range power territory. It even comes with 2 GB of RAM.

Moving onto other specifications though, and you begin to see a little bit of mid-range blood seep through. It has a 5.5 inch, 720p LCD display and 16 GB of storage which is augmented by a micro-SD card slot. But there’s another surprise.

PHOTO CREDIT: THE VERGE
PHOTO CREDIT: THE VERGE

It’s rear camera, 13 MP is decent, but HTC seems intent on capturing the selfie market and has crammed 8 MP into the front-facing camera. While that is certainly a large amount of pixels, we all know by now that higher pixels does not always equate to better images – something that HTC tried to convince us of just earlier this year with the 4 MP UltraPixel module in the HTC One (M8).

If you think that’s all HTC is doing to entice selfie-fanatics, then you’re wrong. Akin to LG, HTC is including a Live Makeup mode in the Desire 820 where you can preview and adjust the amount of skin softening you want for your selfie. Weird, huh?

PHOTO CREDIT: THE VERGE
PHOTO CREDIT: THE VERGE

As for the design, HTC has adorned the 820 with a really distinctive and eye-catching look. Similar to the One (E8), it has a unibody polycarbonate shell treated with what HTC describes as its double shot color technology for two-tone colour, and twin BoomSound speakers grace the front of the device. Not only that, HTC is also expanding the Dot View cases to the Desire 820, which is a major plus.

The Desire 820 will be available worldwide, starting end of September. It’ll be available in Marble White, Tuxedo Grey, Santorini White, Milky-way Grey, Tangerine White, Saffron Grey, Flamingo Grey, Blue Mist, and Monarch Orange (did I mention grey?). All but Tuxedo Grey are glossy colours, with the aforementioned being matte for a slightly demure look.

As of now, pricing in all regions except Germany is unconfirmed, where it will be selling for €399 (S$660) off-contract. What do you think of the Desire 820? Relegated to mid-range or powerful enough for the upper echelons?

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