HTC Desire 816 vs. Sony Xperia T2 Ultra: Battle Of Mid-Range Phablets

This guest post was contributed by Asif Shaik

There have been some seriously worthy smartphone launches in the mid-range price category. Some of the strongest competitors in the mid-range price category right now are Samsung Galaxy Grand 2, HTC Desire 816 and the Sony Xperia T2 Ultra. Today, we are pitting the HTC Desire 816 against the Sony Xperia T2 Ultra which is its closest competitor comes with nearly similar price tag. Let’s find out which device turns out to be a relatively better mid-range smartphone.

Appearance & Quality


The Desire 816 comes with iPhone 5C like design, albeit with a larger screen. It comes in variety of colours and smooth curves. On the other hand, the Xperia T2 follows Sony’s OmniBalance design with straight lines and slightly sharper edges. Overall, I liked both the designs in its own ways. Both the devices have very good build quality. Ergonomics wise, the Desire 816 is better due to smoother curves and bearable size of the device. It feels easier to hold and use, at least relatively better than the Xperia T2. Also, the Xperia T2 comes with plastic flaps for covering SIM card slots and microSD card slots even though it isn’t water resistant.

Winner: HTC Desire 816

Display & Audio Performance

Both the devices can be considered as phablets due to their screen sizes. The Desire 816 comes with a 5.5 inch screen while the Xperia T2 comes with an even larger 6 inch screen size. Both the screens have 1280 x 720 pixels HD resolution. Overall, the screen on the Desire 816 is slightly sharper and has better contrast but not by much. You would be happy with both the devices in terms of screen.

Also, the HTC Desire 816 comes with BoomSound speakers which were also used in the last year’s much praised HTC One. The stereo loudspeakers on the front produce rich, loud and clear audio. The audio through headphones is also louder and cleaner than the Xperia T2 Ultra.

Winner: HTC Desire 816

Hardware Performance


Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 400 has been powering almost all the mid-range smartphones released in the past 6-8 months. The same processor is being used in the HTC Desire 816 as well as the Sony Xperia T2 Ultra. The processor consists of quad-core ARM Cortex A7 CPU along with Adreno 305 GPU. The Xperia T2 Ultra has 1 GB of RAM while the Desire 816 comes with 1.5 GB of RAM. In the actual performance, the Desire 816 feels slightly snappier and this might be due to HTC’s relatively more responsive UI. It also feels slightly better while multitasking. Gaming can be enjoyed very well on both the devices and both of them feel equally powerful for games. You can play almost all the heavy games on the Desire 816 as well as Xperia T2 Ultra. Although some high end games won’t be completely smooth but not unplayable.

There were no signal reception issues in both the device. But the Xperia T2 did not sound as loud as the Desire 816 during the calls.

Winner: HTC Desire 816

Software Quality & Features

The Desire 816 comes preloaded with Android 4.4 KitKat with Sense 6.0 UI. Some variants released in China were being sold with Sense 5.0 UI but even they are being updated to the newer interface. With Sense 6 UI, you get option to completely disable the beautiful BlinkFeed news reader app, which was a hindrance to some users.

The Sony Xperia T2 Ultra comes with Android 4.3 Jelly Bean but Sony stated that the KitKat update will hit the device in June. It will bring redesigned notifications bar which now places the quick setting notification toggles in a separate tab, just like the Nexus.

Winner: Tie

Connectivity & Battery Endurance

Both these smartphones come with dual SIM card slots with 42 Mbps HSDPA, Wi-Fi b/g/n, DLNA and Bluetooth v4.0. The wired connection is taken care by MicroUSB v2.0 ports. But Xperia T2 Ultra comes with some additional options such as Wi-Fi Direct and MHL. Connectivity shouldn’t be an issue in both the device but Xperia T2 wins the connectivity department by a slight margin.


The Desire 816 comes with a 2600 mAh battery while the Xperia T2 Ultra comes with a 3000 mAh battery. The Desire 816 would generally last a day and half on a full charge while the Xperia T2 Ultra would last for 2 days easily, thanks to a large battery but largely due to better software and hardware optimisation. Both the devices come with battery saver modes but the one on the Xperia T2 Ultra is more intelligent and effective. The STAMINA Mode cuts access to data when the screen is turned off. If you want, some apps can be whitelisted so that they can have access to data connection while the others are barred.

Winner: Sony Xperia T2 Ultra

Price & Value

The HTC Desire 816 price in India is around INR 23,029 while the Sony Xperia T2 Ultra is priced around INR 22,999. Both the devices fall in exactly the same price category. Both the devices are neck to neck in every section of performance as well. The only thing where the Xperia T2 Ultra beats the Desire 816 is battery life. But overall, the Desire 816, just by a hair’s width of margin due to its sharper screen, better loudspeakers and a slightly better UI.

Winner: HTC Desire 816

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