The HTC Desire 816 has been in our offices for a few days now, and we have had a good chance to get hands on with some gaming tests, running a selection of fairly demanding mobile game titles such as Anomaly 2, Dead Trigger 2, Real Racing 3, Front-line Commando D-Day, NBA 2K13, and Ashphalt 8. Let’s how see the new mid-range 5.5 inch phablet from HTC performs.
Yesterday we published the benchmark scores for the HTC Desire 816 and Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor; the results prove conclusively that the 400 platform, despite being a quad-core ARM v7 offering, it is still quite some way behind its premium grade cousins, the Snapdragon 800 and 801. But how would these results be borne out in terms of gaming performance?
I think in reality, the Desire 816 is a great mobile gaming device in some ways, and not so great in others, and the processor performance is only one part of the full picture. The device sports fewer pixels than today’s high-end handsets which have a considerably larger 1080p pixel count deal with compared to the 720p screen on the Desire 816. Fewer pixels means less process overhead and higher frame-rates. The 720p display looks great in video games, and the Snapdragon 400 actually does a great job of making the game-play smooth, fast and fun. The screen looks good too, with decent viewing angles that allow for some wild racing action.
The other great thing about the HTC Desire 816, is its audio system, which is really not far from the experience we have with the HTC One and One M8. the speakers are simply awesome and go a long way to turning the device in a veritable handheld Android gaming console. Gun fire sounds are clear, explosions are booming and there is some volume to be had too. A lot of teenagers could annoy a lot of people with this device.
The one area where the HTC Desire 816 really falls down from a gamers perspective, is when it comes to internal storage space. Android 4.4. and above will not allow you to install apps on your microSD, so users are now more reliant on decent internal storage capacity than ever before. Unfortunately it seems HTC did not get the email, and instead decided to equip the HTC Desire 816 with a meager 8GB, almost half of which will be occupied by Android itself.
We could not physically install all six games used in testing at the same time. Six games? OK, so they are quite large games, (Anomaly2 needs 1.5GB!), but this is still unacceptable. It is my opinion that any mid-range device should have at least 16GB of internal storage, especially now that the microSD card is out of bounds for app installs.
The HTC Desire has a great screen at a fantastic size for gamers, a good enough processor by far, and the best audio you find on any mid-range phablet. If not for the paltry storage, it would indeed be the affordable gamers phablet of choice. What a shame…