Upon first impression, the HTC Desire 820 is something of an oddball handset, but one that I rather like. It’s a mid-range device but has some of my favorite features from the high end flagship HTC One. It has a 720p resolution, 5.5-inch display, so it’s less sharp than flagship devices but for many people moving from a two year old device, this will have a better, sharper screen. It has 2 GB of RAM and a Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 processor, which is a new generation 64-bit processor consisting of four high performance 1.5 GHz cores paired up to four highly efficient 1.0 GHz cores. This is a powerful processor that ought to have low power consumption and there’s plenty of memory for multitasking. The 820 also comes with 16 GB of internal storage and a MicroSD card slot that can handle a card of at least 128 GB of additional storage. Around the back, there’s a 13 MP rear camera and inside, there’s a non-replaceable 2,600 mAh battery, which in our hands has produced excellent battery life. The Desire 820 also comes with HTC’s BoomSound technology, giving it loud and clear front facing stereo speakers. The device runs Android 4.4 Kit Kat and HTC Sense 6. The reasons why I like the 820 are because it has a brand new, modern chipset combined with a respectable screen, so it’ll give solid battery life and a robust user experience.
For the Chinese market, HTC decided to modify the Desire 820 into the Desire 820s. The main difference between the devices is HTC replaced the Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 processor for the MediaTek MT6752 for the Chinese-bound Desire 820s. This is an octa-core, 64-bit processor clocked at up to 1.7 GHz, so assuming that the processors are comparable clock for clock, it’s a more powerful processor. We won’t know if the 820s has the same battery life or if the octa-core MediaTek processor is thirstier than the Qualcomm chipset, but we do know that the Snapdragon 615 has been optimized for a blend of strong performance and low battery consumption. In other respects, the HTC Desire 820s is identical to the 820.
And the news item here is how massive the demand for the HTC Desire 820s is. HTC posted on Qzone, a social networking site, that pre-orders of the Desire 820s were close to 1.3 million. Given that HTC are making 50,000 units available to online sales, it’s clear that demand for the handset far, far outstrips supply. The ‘phone will sell for 1,799 yuan, a shade under $300, when it’s launched but the first 5,000 buyers will pay just 1,399 yuan, a discount of around $65. Delivery is expected by the end of the month. It’s a lot of handset for not so much cash and HTC are offering a great discount for the lucky first few. It’ll be interesting to see how this supply and demand story unfolds, but if HTC can repeat this success with all of their Chinese launches, this will surely buoy the business going forwards.