HTC Desire 816 versus Motorola Moto X (video)

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We’ve already shown off a few of the features of the mid-tier HTC Desire 816 and compared it to its top-tier sibling, HTC’s One M8. This time around we’re looking at another popular phone from another manufacturer: here’s the Desire 816 vs Moto X.

Both devices run Android Kitkat 4.4. HTC’s runs Sense UI 6 and Motorola stays a bit more true to what many would call “pure” Android.

When it comes to weight, you’re going to feel a difference. The Desire 816 is 5.82-ounces  compared to the Moto X‘s 4.59-ounces. As far as size is concerned, the Desire is bigger — a lot bigger. Turning to construction, the Desire has a nice, matte border around its edge, but the back has a slippery, gloss surface. Motorola went with all matte, and it’s much easier to hold. What’s more, the Moto X felt more “solid”, and didn’t squeak like the Desire did.

One of the distinguishing factors of today’s HTC devices are their front-firing speakers. Sound from the Desire has much better range than the Moto X. Both are fairly loud and clear, but we like listening to the Desire more than the Moto X.

The screens on the two phones are really where you’ll notice the difference. The Desire has a huge 5.5-inch LCD2 screen at 267ppi, whereas the Moto X has a 4.7-inch AMOLED screen at 312 ppi. Both are 720P screens, though the Moto X was crisper and had deeper blacks.

 Specs

The battery in the Moto X is 2200 mAh, which provided us 12-15 hours between charges with moderate-to-heavy usage. The battery in the Desire 816 is 400 mAh bigger and netted us two solid days of use. Before you get too excited about battery life, remember that although both devices support LTE, we couldn’t test LTE on the Desire since it’s only compatible with T-Mobile’s EDGE bands.

As for WiFi, unlike the Moto X, the Desire 816 doesn’t include the 5GHz band, which means it can’t connect to 802.11a or the faster ac networks. For why that’s important make sure you check out our editorial on the subject.

The Desire, with its 1.6GHz quad-core Snapdragon 400 and Adreno 305 GPU fared better in performance than the Moto X with its custom dual-core 1.7 GHz SoC and Adreno 320. Motorola went to great lengths to build out the X8 platform for battery saving as well the ability to gather “ambient information” by always listening for when you need it — things the Desire doesn’t have.

The Desire includes a bit less RAM, 1.5GB compared to the Moto X’s 2GB. When it comes to storage, the Moto X comes in both 16 and 32GB configurations; the Desire only comes with 8GB, but it includes a microsd slot, so you can add up to 128GB more.

The Desire’s 13MP camera is a few megapixels better than the Moto X’s 10MP sensor, but in practice, they perform about the same.

Like we mentioned in our last video, the Desire 816 is missing NFC. Though we can live without the Google Wallet and Isis features, not being able to tap to beam content from one device to another is a major disappointment.

Conclusion

There’s no doubt that both the Moto X and the Desire 816 are great phones. What it really comes down to is size: if you want a big, phablet-like experience with a large-screen and forward-firing speakers, you want the Desire 816. If you want something more compact, and want a bit more depth and contrast on your screen, it’s the Moto X all the way.

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About The Author
Joe Levi
Joe graduated from Weber State University with two degrees in Information Systems and Technologies. He has carried mobile devices with him for more than a decade, including Apple's Newton, Microsoft's Handheld and Palm Sized PCs, and is Pocketnow's "Android Guy".By day you'll find Joe coding web pages, tweaking for SEO, and leveraging social media to spread the word. By night you'll probably find him writing technology and "prepping" articles, as well as shooting video.Read more about Joe Levi here.