HTC’s mid-range flagship packs a gigantic screen into a more affordable handset

If HTC is to stage a financial recovery, it’ll need more than just a compelling high-end smartphone. So as the company seeks to navigate back into the black for more than a quarter at a time, it’s pursuing two major growth markets with increasing vigor — the mid-range space in general, and China in particular. And the first handset to arrive under this new mid-range strategy is the Desire 816, the new head of the HTC Desire family.

It’s a massive 5.5-inch phone that looks a little like a cross between an HTC One and an iPhone 5c, and it’s a device aimed squarely at China, where it went on sale shortly after its Mobile World Congress debut. Even the name invokes the number eight’s status as the luckiest number in Chinese culture — an eight, followed by eight doubled. It’s no accident that this phone is very specifically branded as Desire eight-sixteen, not eight-one-six.

But clearly HTC thinks there’s an appetite for a big-screened handset at a lower price point outside of Asia, as the Desire 816 will shortly be arriving on European shores, complete with support for local LTE networks. So how does it shape up? And how much of the premium user experience of the HTC One is intact in this self-styled “mid-range flagship?” Join us after the break to find out.

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