HTC Desire 816 review

HTC recommends you gloss regularly

HTC Desire 816 review
HTC is bigging up the plastic fantastic

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For a mid-range device the cameras on the HTC Desire 816 are positively tasty. There's a 13MP main shooter with an LED flash and a 5MP front-facing camera for video calls and high quality selfies. Both cameras are capable of capturing full HD 1080p video.

HTC Desire 816 review

It's fairly quick to start up and you can go from a standing start to snapping a shot in three seconds. That sounds good, but consider that the lack of a hardware button shortcut means that you'll have to wake the phone and then tap to fire the camera app up, and that definitely diminishes your chances of catching those spontaneous moments.

On the plus side you can set the volume buttons to take shots or zoom in and out when you are within the camera app.

HTC Desire 816 review

It's easy to use the camera and the automatic settings seem to get good results. If lighting conditions are ideal then you get good, detailed photos.

But if it is too dark noise is very quick to creep in; too bright and everything melts together. It also takes a lot longer than three seconds to decide where to focus and snap a shot when the light is limited.

If you want to dig around in the settings then you can select a suitable scene mode, tweak the ISO settings, apply filters, and there are a few other bits and pieces, including a handy self-timer.

HTC Desire 816 review

The options on board here are scaled down compared to the flagship One M8. There's no Zoe camera, Dual capture, or Pan 360, however, there is a Zoe app in the app drawer which says 'Coming soon' and directs you to the Play Store.

An idea of when 'soon' is would be nice (HTC has said "summer"), but it's good to know that the option to capture these wee scenes, instead of taking a bucket load of photos, is on the way.

HTC Desire 816 review

If you love selfies then HTC is the company for you. Switch to the front-facing camera, which HTC calls Selfie, and you can start a three second countdown to your perfect pout.

There are also a bunch of options to apply effects, frames, and filters to make you look beautiful.

The video app is straightforward to use and gets HD results as advertised. It also has a 60fps Fast HD and a Slow Motion option, which are fun to play with, but noticeably poorer quality.

The gallery app is nicely done. You can review your photos and videos in a timeline, in albums, or by location.

There's also a highlights section that automatically creates a kind of video reel of your photos and videos with camera pans and music. It's a bit gimmicky, but you might get a kick out of it.