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HTC Desire 816 review: Big on features

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By Anupam Saxena

HTC Desire 816 is part of the Taiwanese device maker’s mid-range smartphone lineup. The company is now banking on this very segment to revive its fortunes in addition to riding on the critical acclaim that its flagship phone, One (M8) received. With Desire 816, HTC is perhaps looking at offering a feature-complete, yet affordable, big-screen smartphone to consumers. Does it succeed? We try to find out in our review.

Build & design

HTC Desire 816 essentially follows the same design philosophy as the company’s flagship phone, HTC One, complete with front dual stereo speakers. However, unlike the One’s all-metal chasis, Desire 816 is made of plastic.

Since the phone sports a big, 5.5-inch display, the overall footprint is also larger compared to One. Having said that, it doesn’t look unwieldy like One Max and people with small fingers will also find the phone’s use manageable.

It sports a unibody form factor with rounded corners. Although made of plastic with a glossy finish, the build quality is pretty good and exudes a premium feel. In fact, it reminds us of Apple iPhone 5C.

The display is flanked by dual stereo BoomSound speakers on both sides. The speaker grill fits in a single line, with bigger holes unlike the One’s grill that is spread over four lines. The 5MP front-facing camera lens sits above the display and is prominent.

Just like HTC One (M8), this phone doesn’t sport physical keys at the front and uses on-screen keys for navigation.

The left edge of the phone features the Power/Screen lock and the volume rocker keys that offer decent tactile feedback, while the right side sports a plastic flap that hides two nano-sim card slots and a microSD card slot. We found the positioning of the power button a bit awkward. It’s more towards the top and is on the right side, making it cumbersome to use.

One of the sim card slot supports both CDMA-EVDO and GSM-HSPA sim cards, while the other one supports a GSM-only sim card.

The 3.5mm headset jack sits at the top while the micro-USB port is placed at the bottom edge.

The back of the phone features a 13MP rear camera and LED flash. It sports a glossy finish, but it is designed such that smudges are not easily visible.

Overall, Desire 816 feels durable as HTC has used quality plastic material.

HTC Desire 816 Review
Display

The front of the phone is dominated by a 5.5-inch Super LCD 2 display with a resolution of 720 x 1280pixels. Although, the number of pixels packed are less due to the large size of the display, we did not notice any pixilation and images and text appeared sharp and crisp.

Watching videos and movies is a pleasurable experience thanks to the phone’s big screen. Having said that, a single hand usage becomes a little difficult due to its large form factor.

Viewing angles were also good and colours appeared vivid, though not as vibrant as that on HTC One (M8). Under-sun legibility was good.

Unfortunately, Desire 816’s display doesn’t come with Gorilla Glass protection, so you’ll need a scratch guard, or be careful about protecting it from keys and coins.

HTC Desire 816 Review

Software

HTC Desire 816 comes with Android 4.4.2 KitKat, the latest version of the OS with Sense 6, the new version of HTC’s custom UI, running on top. The software on the phone is very similar to the one on HTC One (M8), HTC’s flagship phone for 2014.

However, unlike One (M8), Desire 816 does not offer support for gestures like ‘double tap to unlock’ and ‘swipe to unlock’ to a home screen/Blinkfeed. The gestures would have made more sense on 816 given its bigger form factor and the awkward placement of the Power/Unlock key.

While the UI looks very different from stock Android, we quite like the Sense 6 interface. It doesn’t look very different from that of the previous version of Sense.

It sports the on-screen navigation keys which hide while playing games and using apps that make use of Android’s new immersive mode. For more on the user interface, you can check out our HTC One (M8) review.

Camera Unlike HTC One (M8), Desire 816 doesn’t feature an UltraPixel camera. Instead, it includes a 13MP BSI sensor with f/2.2 aperture and a 28mm lens.

Unlike HTC One (M8), Desire 816 doesn’t come with HTC ImageChip. This means that features like the Zoe mode are not included and the camera takes extra time to process the image after capturing it.

Images shot with the phone in optimum light looked great. Colour reproduction, exposure and contrast were just right and images looked natural.

HTC Desire 816 Review

However, the same can’t be said about low-light photos (without the use of night mode) which looked noisy and lacked detail. The camera also offers Panorama and HDR modes.

It is capable of capturing 1080p videos and did not disappoint us in terms of audio and video quality.

Desire 816’s front-camera has a 5MP sensor with f2.0 wide angle lens for taking selfies. It also includes a timer switch and touchup feature for enhanced selfies. The phone clicks good-quality selfies and offers a number of options to eliminate blemishes, fix red eye and whiten skin tone.

Performance

HTC Desire 816 is powered by a 1.6GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 quad-core processor and 1.5GB RAM. Even though it is a mid-range device, the 816 never felt underpowered with the hardware being capable of supporting multitasking and gaming without hiccups.

We did not notice any lag while launching and switching between apps, editing photos, browsing the web, clicking pictures, watching high definition videos, or playing graphics-heavy games.

In synthetic benchmarks, the phone scored 20,623 in Antutu, 12,653 in Quadrant, 1466 in Geekbench 3(Multi-core) and 58.1 in Nenamark 2 benchmark tests.

We were able to play videos of popular file formats without any issues. Additional file formats can be played through third party video player apps. The phone also comes with FM Radio.

HTC Desire 816’s front stereo speakers offer enhanced sound quality in addition to delivering sound that’s much more powerful and clear compared to many phones.

Call quality was excellent and the phone works well even in weak signal areas. We also observed that 816 catches even weak Wi-Fi signals. The phone comes with GPS and A-GPS for navigation and maps, and it was easily able to lock a signal.

HTC Desire 816 Review

It supports Bluetooth 4.0 with aptX codec support. This allows the phone to deliver CD-like sound over Bluetooth (usually, the sound quality deteriorates over Bluetooth). We found that the phone offers good sound quality even when connected to a Bluetooth stereo headset.

But the thing we liked the most about this phone is its battery backup. The phone comes with a 2600mAh battery and will last you more than a day with moderate to high usage including about one to two hours of making calls, playing games, clicking some pictures, listening to music and browsing the web; and about one-and-a-half day if you don’t play games or watch multimedia content.

Just like One (M8), the phone comes with an Extreme power-saving mode, activating which will make the phone’s battery last much longer. The mode restricts background data and offers access to Phone, Messages, Mail, Calendar, and Calculator apps.

Gaming

We were able to play games like Subway Surfers, Riptide GP2 and Asphalt 8(with Visual Quality set to High and Engine at 100%) without encountering any frame drops or freezes. The phone tends to get a little warm after long gaming sessions.

Verdict

Desire 816 is a capable mid-range phone that offers almost all features you’ll care about. If you can’t afford One (M8) but want a similar experience, this is the closest you’ll get by shelling out less than Rs 24,000. All the more better if you’re a fan of big displays.

The phone is well-built, sports a decent display, offers good performance, great battery life and comes with the tag of a premium brand. The enhanced audio quality and multimedia experience is the cherry on the cake.

We have no qualms in recommending the phone over others in the same price range and feel that it is a value for money proposition. If you want an even bigger phone, Sony Xperia T2 Ultra is an option but you’ll need to spend about Rs 1,000 more. However, that phone comes with a slightly inferior chip and an older version of Android.

You can also take a look at Moto X if you’re okay with a smaller screen and want a near-stock Android experience.

 

Canadian News

Joint statement from the Greater Toronto Area & Hamilton Mayors and Chairs

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Ontario Premier Doug Ford, left, and Toronto Mayor John Tory
Ontario Premier Doug Ford, left, and Toronto Mayor John Tory take part in a candlelit vigil to honour the victims of a deadly shooting in Toronto on Wednesday July 25, 2018. Ten-year-old Julianna Kozis of Markham, Ont., and 18-year-old Reese Fallon of Toronto were killed in Sunday's shooting attack, and 13 other people were injured. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

We are united in fighting COVID-19 – protecting our residents and saving lives.

While the measures we have taken to stop the spread of the virus have made a difference, this virus has still taken far too many lives in our communities and continues to threaten the lives of our residents.

At the same time, there is no denying the devastating impact of COVID-19 on the economy. Jobs have been lost, many businesses have closed or are at risk of closure, and many families are worried about their financial future.

We’ve been hit hard but that’s why it is so important that we keep moving forward and come back as strong as possible.

Today, the GTHA Mayors and Chairs met to discuss the impacts of COVID-19 on the region and how our municipalities can work together on the economic restart and recovery.

We know the Toronto Census Metropolitan Area alone is projected to lose 355,000 jobs and 28% of GDP along with $894 million in lost wages and $3.7 billion in revenue losses for businesses. This will be felt right across the GTHA but it also threatens the provincial and national economies.

A strong recovery right here in the GTHA is crucial to healing the economic damage done by COVID-19 and helping the families and businesses all governments have been working to protect throughout this emergency.

Ontario’s economy and Canada’s economy need the GTHA to come back stronger than ever when the restart begins.

We are determined to deliver this recovery and we agreed today that the GTHA municipalities will be working together to successfully and smoothly reopen our vital regional economy when the time comes.

We also discussed how we can in a consistent way achieve significant, necessary financial support from the other governments to help mitigate the impact of COVID-19 and protect our ability to contribute to the recovery. A strong recovery needs strong cities and regional governments.

We have agreed we will work together to share information about our respective financial positions and explore together measures we can advocate to the other governments which will help to ensure the financial stability of local and regional governments in the GTHA.

Our child care and recreation programs help parents get back to work.

Our emergency services keep people safe.

Our transit systems get people to work and home safely.

Our major infrastructure projects – often built in conjunction with the other governments – will help kick-start the recovery and create countless jobs.

Our economic development activities attract jobs and investment.

We built a strong and vibrant GTHA and we know that we will need to come back even stronger and as quickly as we can in order to keep Canada’s economy going.

With the cooperation and support of the provincial and federal governments, we are ready to rise to this challenge.”

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Canadian News

Four People Charged in Mississauga Pedestrian Fail to Remain Fatality

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Investigators from the Major Collision Bureau have charged four people in Mississauga’s most recent fatal fail to remain collision.

On Thursday, February 15, 2018, at approximately 8:40 p.m., the victim, a 61 year-old female from Mississauga, was struck by a south bound vehicle as she was crossing Mavis Road in the area of Knotty Pine Grove in the City of Mississauga. The vehicle did not remain and the victim, having suffered major injuries, was pronounced dead at the scene.

On Saturday, February 17, 2018 shortly before 7:00 p.m., Satchithanantha VAITHILINGAM, a 60 year-old male from Brampton, and the driver believed to be responsible in this incident, surrendered to police at 22 Division. Satchithanantha VAITHILINGAM has since been charged with Fail to Remain Cause Death.

Hivissa SATCHITHANANTHAN, a 25 year old female from Brampton, Shajeetha SATCHITHANANTHAN a 28 year-old female from Brampton and Gowtham SATKUNARAJAH a 28 year-old male from Brampton have each been charged with Accessory After the Fact in relation to this incident.

Satchithanantha VAITHILINGAM will answer to his charge on March 12, 2018. Hivissa SATCHITHANANTHAN, Shajeetha SATCHITHANANTHAN andGowtham SATKUNARAJAH will answer to their charges on Monday March 26, 2018 at the Ontario Court of Justice in Brampton

Anyone who may have witnessed the collision, have dashboard video footage of the incident or who may have any information regarding this incident is asked to contact investigators with the Major Collision Bureau at (905) 453-2121, ext. 3710. Information may also be left anonymously by calling Peel Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477), or by visiting www.peelcrimestoppers.ca or by sending a text message to CRIMES (274637) with the word ‘PEEL’ and then your tip.

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Canadian News

Justin Trudeau in India: Hug missing! Mounting pressure?

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The much publicized and anticipated visit of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to India was marred with questions. The questions were centered on the kind of welcome he would be given in the Sikh dominated state of Punjab. Also the famous hug by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was being anticipated. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau finally made his much-touted visit to India. He landed on the Indira Gandhi Airport, New Delhi only to be received by Gajendra Singh Shekhawat not even a Cabinet Minister in Narendra Modi’s government.

He is presently the second rank Minister of State for Agriculture.  That comes in complete contrast to the warmth that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his NDA government has generally displayed towards the visiting dignitaries.  Only a couple of weeks ago, when the heads of the 10 ASEAN states arrived in India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi didn’t receive Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the airport, as he has previously done with many leaders including Barack Obama, Xi Jinping, Shinzo Abe, and Benjamin Netanyahu.

The fact that Prime Minister Narendra Modi didn’t join him is all surprising even when Prime Minister Trudeau visited Gujarat. This is unusual because the Indian Prime Minister has set a trend that he always accompanies head of the state when they visit his home state.

Even Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh Yogi Adityanath did not show up, let alone accompany Prime Minister Trudeau to the Taj. However, during Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s 15 January visit to the Taj Mahal at Agra, Yogi Adityanath had received Netanyahu and his wife and shown them around as well as hosted a lunch for them. For first three days, none from the executive or the elected representative held any meeting with the delegation.

Media in India is trying to spread a message that the cold treatment given by Prime Minister could be because two of the four Sikh members of Trudeau’s cabinet – Harjit Sajjan and Amarjeet Sohi – support the Khalistan movement. However, had that been the case his visit to Punjab would have got a similar response.  However, the Punjab Government led by Captain Amarinder Singh rolled out a red carpet during his stay at Amritsar and even the two leaders held some fruitful discussions.

Thus putting an end to those criticisms that that Prime Minister Trudeau’s visit was devoid of any warmth.  Chief Minister of Punjab Amarinder Singh, for instance who met Prime Minister Justin Trudeau setting aside his earlier prejudice that he exhibited during the visit of Defence Minister Harjeet Singh Sajjan.

In recent months, Gurudwaras (Sikh temples) in Canada, the United States and Australia have banned Indian officials from visiting gurudwaras and the moment started with Gurudwaras here in Toronto. Could that be the reason for Prime Minister Narendra Modi to not accord one of the warmest welcomes that he is known to provide?  Or the use by Canada’s parliament of the term genocide to describe mass killings of Sikhs in India in 1984 has left the Indian Prime Minister disturbed?  However, more than Prime Minister Modi, this could have left the Congress party in troubled waters, but that was also not the case as Amarinder Singh hails from the same party.

The lukewarm welcome to Prime Minister Trudeau can have its political ramifications too. Will it hamper the significant 2015 deal, in which Canada agreed to supply 3,000 metric tons of Uranium to power India’s atomic reactors?

Somewhere Prime Minister Modi has not taken the issue of non allowing entry of Indian officials to Gurudwaras and the statement on Genocide too lightly. Prime Minister Modi however has failed to understand that Canada cannot curtail the right of freedom of speech and expression of its citizen.

Two nations perhaps failed to resolve the matter before Prime Minister boarded the flight from Canada and not welcoming Prime Minister Trudeau could be a tactical decision to put pressure on him. With Prime Minister Modi preferring to meet him at the far end of the tour has conveyed a lot about the myopic approach of Prime Minister Modi.

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