Get a 5.5-inch HTC Desire 816 for $199.95 shipped

That's a full $100 off the price Virgin Mobile charges for this mammoth smartphone, which just landed in the US.

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Virgin Mobile

What's the sweet spot for smartphone screens? Some users prefer smaller ones that can be tapped and swiped with a single thumb, while others want the equivalent of a dinner plate.

Me, I read a lot on my phone, so I'm definitely leaning toward a bigger screen -- even if it means a slightly less comfortable addition to my pocket.

Of course, the really big phones cost a pretty penny, right? Not today: QVC has the HTC Desire 816 for Virgin Mobile for $199.95 shipped. Virgin's price: $299.99.

The Desire's standout feature: its 5.5-inch screen. The resolution falls well short of Retina or the like, but as noted in CNET's very positive review, 1,280x720 pixels is "more than sharp enough."

Other standout specs include a powerful quad-core processor, a 13-megapixel rear camera, front-facing stereo speakers, and an attractive plastic chassis. Another standout (in a bad way): just 8GB of storage. Fortunately, you can easily add more by way of the microSD slot.

I'll let you peruse the aforementioned review for more specifics, keeping in mind it was based on a $300 price tag. At $200, I think it's a little easier to forgive the Desire's minor shortcomings.

Of course, for some users, the carrier could be the deal breaker: Virgin Mobile runs on Sprint's network, and in my experience at least, coverage pales in comparison with, say, AT&T. On the other hand, you're not roped into a contract, and plans start at just $35 per month. (Incidentally, the user reviews for the Desire 816? Glowing.)

So if you've been lusting after a really big screen but limited by your budget, this is a smartphone deal worth considering. Personally, having used the 5.5-inch OnePlus One a fair bit, I can totally see the appeal of this size. Your thoughts?

Bonus deal: Hey, iDevice users: Not satisfied with the stock Mail app? There are plenty of alternatives, including some freebies. And then there's CloudMagic, a top-rated Mail app that normally sells for $10. Today, however, you can nab CloudMagic (iOS) for free! Even if you end up not liking it, no harm done (or money spent).

Bonus deal No. 2: Game time! Clear your weekend, because you can play Dishonored absolutely free between now and 1 p.m. (PT) Sunday. And if you like it, the full game is on sale for a measly $4.99 -- a crazy-good deal for one of the most celebrated games of 2012.

 

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