HTC's 'flagship mid-range' Desire 816 packs a large display, decent cameras and LTE (hands-on)

That HTC "Desire 8" you've been seeing lately? It's finally unveiled as the Desire 816, a "flagship mid-range" phone that promises to be competitively priced, while also offering LTE (for EMEA and Asia) and HSPA+ (up to 42 Mbps). This pretty phablet comes with a large 5.5-inch 720p display, a 1.6GHz quad-core Snapdragon 400 SoC, 1.5GB of RAM, 8GB of internal storage (capacity may vary), microSD expansion of up to a staggering 128GB and a fixed 2,600mAh battery. You'll get a decent multimedia experience courtesy of the BoomSound frontal stereo speakers (with dedicated amplifiers), along with the 13-megapixel f/2.2 main camera (with Zoe mode in HTC Sense 5.5 UI) plus the 5-megapixel f/2.8 selfie camera. These are all tucked inside a 7.99mm-thick, 165g body, which is pretty good for the size.

Interestingly, this will be the first HTC phone to take a nano-SIM, which may be able to lure a few iPhone 5c users. Ultimately, it's all about the price, and we should know very soon given the China launch next month (likely March 18th), followed by a global launch in April.

Update: We now have some hands-on photos. Enjoy!

Fortunately, we were able to have a few brief moments with the device. The more we play with it, the more we're impressed with the overall design. It's constructed with unibody polycarbonate, and it's quite comfortable to hold, even at its 5.5-inch size. Interestingly, HTC opted for a shiny backside while its sides have a matte finish. Another nice touch to the phone's design is, interestingly enough, in the side buttons; the power and volume buttons are located on the left side of the device, and the side of each button has a shiny beveled finish that adds a little extra bit of elegance.

Brad Molen contributed to this post.