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Review: HTC Desire 728

The Desire 728, a new mid-range smartphone, faces tough competition from the loaded Moto X Play

HTC offers a wide range of smartphones at and around the 20,000 price point. The latest addition to the range is the Desire 728 ( 17,990). However, it faces stiff competition from the likes of Moto X Play ( 18,499).

Design: light but too big

The Desire 728 looks a lot like the Desire 820, but without the funky-looking frame. The brushed metal frame on the sides looks plain but the phone feels a lot more solid than many of the HTC phones in the same range. The soft matte finish on the back feels good in the hand. The SIM and microSD slots are placed on the side panel under one long plastic cover that feels flimsy. At 7.9mm, the phone is sleeker than many flagship devices, but it’s a bit too long (158mm) for users with small hands. This is mainly because HTC has put the speakers on the front panel for better audio playback.

At 10.9mm and 169g, the Moto X is hefty but more compact (148mm). The curved back and the pattern on it make it easier to hold than the Desire 728.

Display: big but looks dull

While the 5.5-inch LCD display, with a screen resolution of 1,280x720p, is big enough for watching movies and reading e-books comfortably, it looks a bit dull in terms of sharpness and text clarity. Colour reproduction, however, is flawless and the auto brightness mode can handle variations in ambient light smoothly.

The Moto X Play also has a 5.5-inch screen but looks a lot more vivid because it has a higher (1,920x1,080p) screen resolution and AMOLED display. The only niggle is that it has a slightly warmer tone that gives the screen a creamish tint rather than the pure white you would get in the Desire 728.

Software: offers an old but unique flavour of Android

The Desire 728 runs on a two-year-old Android 5.1 (Lollipop) operating system with its own custom user interface (UI), HTC Sense, over it. It is one of the few full-fledged custom UIs that offer plenty of options and look good too. Some of the notable features include the themes library, where you can personalize the layout. Then there is Blinkfeed, which aggregates all your social media posts and news posts on the home-page screen itself.

The Moto X Play has an edge, for it runs the newer Android 6.01 (Marshmallow) with a clutter-free plain Android UI that would appeal to a lot of users. The Moto X Play was launched with Android Lollipop 5.1.1 but has been upgraded since then.

Performance: works well but is not meant for power users

Powered by a MediaTek MT6753 octa-core processor with 2 GB RAM, the Desire 728 seems pretty capable of handling most day-to-day chores smoothly. We didn’t notice any lag or heating up on the back panel, but it wasn’t very quick in terms of performance either. It isn’t meant for power users. While it struggled with some high-end games, some were not even available, for the phone’s hardware doesn’t match higher app specifications.

This is in stark contrast to the Moto X Play, which runs on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 octa-core processor and 2 GB RAM, and can handle most heavy games and tasks with amazing ease.

Camera: colourful and sharp

The Desire 728’s 13-megapixel camera is brilliant, especially in bright light. It is fast, and a single tap gets the focus right. The colours come out really well, as does the detail in landscape shots. The low-light results are disappointing and blurry. The Moto X Play’s 21-megapixel camera, which comes with an auto-focus, is as feeble in low light as the Desire 728, but delivers good daytime shots.

Battery: average backup

Powered by a 2,800 mAh battery, the Desire 728 lasted less than a day even with moderate use — much less than what the Moto X Play offers. Its 3,630 mAh battery delivers up to one-and-a-half-day’s backup with ease.

Verdict

The HTC Desire 728 has some good points, but it is difficult to justify the 17,990 price tag. The Moto X Play, in comparison, has a better design, a superior camera and the latest Android software, and offers smooth performance thanks to its more powerful specifications.

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