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HTC Desire 816: A Budget HTC One?

After a series of financial setbacks, HTC has announced that it’s jumping into the more profitable mid-range smartphone segment with its all-new Desire 816. The handset, which will launch in China in March and the rest of the world in April, offers a similar design to HTC's One, with a few important changes. 

At 5.5 inches, the Desire 816 is larger than the 4.7-inch One, though it sports a lower resolution 1280 x 720 display compared to the One’s 1920 x 1280 screen. The Desire’s chassis is also made of a glossy plastic similar to the iPhone 5c, as opposed to the One’s all-aluminum frame.

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Though a step down in terms of build materials, the Desire still offers the same sleek looks as the One with a few alterations including new on-screen Android buttons. The Desire also gets the One’s front-mounted BoomSound speakers, though they don’t have the mesh cover found on the One, instead using a series of circular holes.

Measuring 6.1 x 3.1 x 0.31 inches and weighing 5.8 ounces, the Desire 816 is a bit taller and lighter than Samsung’s 6.0 x 3.1 x 0.33-inch, 5.9-ounce Galaxy Note 3. That handset, however, sports a larger 5.7-inch, 1080p display. Inside, the Desire 816 gets a 1.6-GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor with 1.5GB of RAM and 8GB of onboard storage. That’s a drop from the Snapdragon 600 CPU, 2GB of RAM and 32GB of storage offered by the One.

That puts the Desire 816 in the same performance category as LG’s recently announced 4.7-inch G2 mini, which also packs a Qualcomm 400 chip and includes 1.5GB of RAM and 8GB of memory. Around back the Desire gets a 13-megapixel camera rather than the Ultrapixel shooter used by the One. Up front, however, you get a 5-megapixel camera, which should prove invaluable for users who can’t go without posting a selfies to Facebook or Twitter for more than five minutes.

HTC hasn’t said if the Desire 816 will come to the US, but it has already proven wiling enough to take risks on product releases in The States with its HTC One Mini and Maxx. And if the Desire 816 can ape enough of the One’s capabilities, it could help improve HTC’s fortunes tremendously.