HTC Desire 826

Another six months have gone by, so I guess It's time for an another Desire 8-series to land, right? Right. Well, earlier today at CES 2015 HTC launched the Desire 826, a new mid-range phone destined for the Asia Pacific market -- at least for now. I got a chance to briefly play with the new handset tonight at Digital Experience, and came away pretty satisfied.

The Desire 826 improves on the Desire 820 by bumping the 5.5-inch display up from 720p to 1080p, the 64-bit Snapdragon 615 from four to eight cores, and by replacing the 8MP front-facing camera with an f/2.0 4MP AF UltraPixel shooter. While the 826 is almost identical in size to the 820, the design borrow heavily from the smaller Desire Eye, complete with the signature center-mounted selfie cam and hidden slots above and below the screen for the BoomSound speakers. As for the remaining specs, the 826 an 820 are almost identical: 2GB of RAM, 16GB of built-in storage with microSD expansion, f/2.2 13MP AF rear shooter, and a 2600mAh sealed battery.

On the software front, the Desire 826 is the first phone from HTC that's shipping with Sense UI on top Android 5.0 (Lollipop). It also features Dolby Audio in addition to BoomSound, for an even more engaging audio experience. The handset felt responsive enough for the short time I used it and camera performance seemed on par with HTC's existing 4MP UltraPixel and 13MP devices. Of course, I'll need more seat time to deliver a proper verdict. The Desire 826 will be available late January 2015 in two-tone colors including White Birch, Blue Lagoon, and Purple Fire. No word on pricing, although it's likely similar to the Desire 820 ($350).