HTC preps a big one for the mid-range

The Mobile World Congress expo in Spain each year generally brings about the announcements of each new flagship phone, and so far, Sony and Samsung have been good about that, so where’s HTC in the middle of this?

The Taiwanese maker hasn’t taken the stage with a new flagship at this year’s MWC, instead announcing two new mid-range devices, which the company hopes will give people more reasons to dive into owning a new not-too-expensive handset running with its style of hardware and software design.

Announced at the show in Spain, the Desire 816 takes some of the elements that made the HTC One series admired by reviewers and customers alike, and gives them a much needed change, refreshing the style and adding features that could make many a HTC One owner jealous.

“The HTC Desire 816 marks the beginning of an exciting new era for the mid-tier,” said HTC’s Peter Chou, CEO of the company.

“Incomparably beautiful to look at and hold with the technology and software to match, the HTC Desire 816 challenges everything that people expect from lower cost smartphones. It is bringing genuine choice to the category by delivering stunning design and high-end performance at unbelievable value.”

Modelled in a polycarbonate body, the Desire 816 still features BoomSound stereo speakers on the front, the sound devices sitting at the top and bottom of a 5.5 inch 720p HD screen, 4G LTE connectivity, with a 1.6GHz Snapdragon 400 processor sitting underneath. Storage is set to 8GB running alongside 1.5GB RAM, and a microSD slot means this can be expanded considerably.

Over on the camera side, HTC has moved the position from the centre all the way to the side, providing a 13 megapixel f/2.2 camera on the back, and a 5 megapixel f/2.8 camera on the front, meaning those selfies will be very, very big.

Pricing hasn’t yet been announced for the 816, though HTC is eyeing China first with release, with April being suggested for the rest of the world. Given that it’s a mid-range phone, we don’t expect it to cost more than $500 locally.

Also announced by HTC is one that sits just below the 816, and that’s the Desire 610, a slight change to the 601 which we saw at the end of last year.

The specs are similar between these models, with a quad-core Snapdragon 400 processor being used instead of the dual-core equivalent on the 601, an increase to an 8 megapixel camera, and a bigger screen too, jumping from 4.5 to 4.7 inches.

“Consumer choice should be about selecting the best-in-class features without having to compromise on quality,” said HTC’s Philip Blair.

“The HTC Desire 610 offers an outstanding combination of performance and entertainment at a price that makes it possible for everyone to enjoy an exceptional smartphone experience.”

Like the 816, confirmed pricing or availability isn’t yet known for Australia, though HTC plans to make the Desire 610 available in Europe from May.