HTC 10 Review

HTC 10

HTC 10

HTC

April, 2016
5.2" display, Snapdragon 820 chipset, 12 MP primary camera, 5 MP front camera, 3000 mAh battery, 64 GB storage, 4 GB RAM, Corning Gorilla Glass 3.
EUR:€300 | PKR:51,500
Rate It:User Rating: (Good)


HTC 10 Review

HTC 10 Review


Introduction

Over the last couple of years it could be said that HTC has seen a bit of a rough patch after couple releases of the flagship line that fell just short of taking on the competition the 10th try may hopefully be the charm. Is it truly the HTC phone we've been waiting for a while.

Design

The aluminium construction that HTC has been known for returned with some refinements and additions to the overall design at its thickest portion the HTC 10 is about 9mm which makes it just a little bit thicker than the competition and it is also a little taller and wider than other flagship devices. When looking at the front of the device it almost reminds us of the Moto X 2014 edition but really this isn't a bad thing but it's just that there is a noticeable bezel around the 5.2 inch display.

As we focus on the front you will notice that there is the absence of both boom sound speaker setup and the HTC bar they used to be on the lower third of many HTC phones, now boom sound is still around but it consists of a top speaker and a subwoofer then backs it up that is now found at the bottom near the USB support.

The man change HTC made appears on the back of the device with the same grade metal material remains the company's calling card but imagine this for a second as HTC One M8 except now you add an extra little bit around all sides this is basically what HTC did and it is the chamfered edge that provides a silhouette type of look, these new chamfered all around add a bit of curved to the device and this means that the phone sits along the contour of the hands helping with the handling but as we already mentioned before it is just that little bit wider and taller then maybe it needed to be.

And speaking of handling we will mention that this phone is pretty damn slippery this isn't anything new if you have used HTC One devices before but to be fair it was a bit of a nuisance, ultimately HTC proves in the trend that it is still capable of making an attractive, and for fans of previous HTC devices some of our distinguished those phones from others has been removed, like the boom sound front-facing speakers or even the HTC black bar, but these updates and additions are just different enough to please anyone that wanted a different looking device from the past.

Display

As you've already mentioned before the display is 5.2 inches in size but now its comes in a QHD resolution, this is a super LCD 5 inch display that performs quite well with good brightness even in very bright situations and good amount of saturation to keep the colors looking nice, now this won't be as vivid as an AMOLED display but HTC has make sure that this display adheres to the NTSC standard and have done well to note that.

Overall however text remains very sharp due to the high pixel density and games like Kingdom Hearts Unchained X or Final Fantasy 9 have all been a blast to play.

Performance

And much like other flagships coming out this year the HTC 10 comes with the expected high power package the Snapdragon 820 backed by the adreno 530 and 4GB of RAM, now we have just mentioned gaming and it has been a smooth experience and good performance has been the case across the board.

HTC did mentioned that they wanted to have to touch latency be as low as possible simply to add to the snappy experience, but probably more important to notice how HTC streamlined their software, instead of having multiple versions of the same application it is sensible now just keeps the company's own version or sticks to Google's irradiation, and this consolidation does help overall with how the software feels.

Even without the claims that HTC makes about how they made the software and performance experiences better it is pretty clear that the HTC 10 is a good phone to have as a daily driver and proves a very reliable.

Hardware

Which then brings us to hardware which there is quite a bit more to talk about, we will start up with the fingerprint reader found in the capacitive home button now this one is a lot like the HTC One M9's fingerprint reader from a while back, and it can sense the fingerprint when in standby and unlock the device straight to the home screens. It is easy to set up but just like in the One M9 it poses a little bit of a difficulty.

The motion gestures sensors are still a thing in the HTC 10 where the phone knows that it's been brought up by the hand and then we'll react to a number of different commands, the newest of these is a double swipe downward in order to open up the camera which is nice but when you have to use your finger prints to unlock the device even when swiping in any of those other directions it just feels like these two features are a little bit disjointed.

Once opened up an unlocked the phone pretty much has everything you would expect including NFC and call quality has been very good thus far, using that full speaker of top as the phone girl has been useful for example but of course you can go to speaker phone and take advantage of the boom sound setup.

The only real thing missing here is an IR blaster which we know some of you guys really enjoying the smartphone, but HTC did mention that it's not a widely used feature anymore.

Audio remains one of the cornerstones of the HTC experience and boom sound is still here even though it's been changed a bit now, the top phone speaker is backed by a bottom mounted sub woofer unit that helps provide richer lower tones, it's not going to be as loud as typical front-facing stereo speakers even from previous HTC devices but we will admit that the sound stage has been improved because of a better lower end.

Just don't expect to be easily sharing the sound with everyone around you, but plug in a good pair of headphones and that's where the magic really begins, a good pair of cans or even the bundled highres ear bud headphones will make you hear the difference that the HTC 10 really makes.

HTC put a 24 bit DAC and a headphone amplifier in here it's really make the boom sound goal boom, this is also due in part to the Dolby enhancements which come in the form of user controllable audio profiles in which a number of questions may be asked of you in order for it to figure out what best listening profile to give you. You can also change the equaliser bit by bit if you so wish to, but ultimately it really amped up the sound while providing a much more wider sound stage depending on what you answer to those questions.

The bottom line is that the HTC 10 has a lot of power to drive headphones and it's very fun to get lost in the sound especially with good headphones there's no need for a separate DAC or AMP anymore, but overall listening on headphones result in some of the loudest yet best audio that we've ever got from a smartphone.

Battery

Which brings us to the battery life which depends on a 3,000mAh unit in our testing with up to 13 full hours in our days the phone has been able to stretch out of four and a half hours of screen on time, your mileage may vary of course but with slightly more moderate usage it should certainly be possible to get a couple of days of longevity out of the HTC 10.

It also helps that the boost+ application assists in a couple of key ways for example it can scale down games to FHD resolution so that the game doesn't take up so much power. But couple of that with the quick charge 3.0 capabilities in power should never really be that far off.

HTC does boast two days worth of battery life from this phone and according to their claims about half an hour on Qualcomm Quick Charge 3 should provide one of those days and USB type-C port also helps in this regard though it is a standard that we haven't totally gotten used to yet they're already been a couple of times when the phone hit the single digits and we forgot to bring the right cord.

Camera

Talking about the camera and HTC has had a rough go of it the last couple of years with the cameras falling short of the competition, this year however the ultra pixel returns and reaches its second generation, much like a couple other phones we've seen thus far this year HTC prioritizes larger pixel sizes over the sheer amount of them, so you get 12MP this time around at 1.55 micron sizes and aperture of 1.8 for the bolsters a low light capabilities as the optical image stabilization.

The camera app has been somewhat streamlined with a lot of the different modes just all on the side in one easy to slide over menu, and a number of the other controls are found on the right side so you can use the phone in one hand in auto mode so you can get a shot off quickly. Only real big hole in the usage of the camera app is the pro manual mode which overlays all of the settings over the viewfinder covering the frame unless you pick a setting and then put the slider away. Other modes include slow motion, video capture, panorama and a hyper labs feature.

The changes to a lower amount of large pixels seemed to do the job, details are captured very well in daylight shots and colors are accurately depicted, in most of these pictures the results are plenty adequate and taken on their own they do look quite great. Zoom into any of these photos and you see the noise up here but that is the nature of having less detailed due to the lower mega pixel counts.

Of course in lower light situations this can be exacerbated where the exposure might be more decent them before but the details still suffer further. HTC also still has a big problem with back-lit subjects or just about any blown-out area of the scene and this is something that even HDR can't fix in most situations, basically just expect to have a lot of flares in situations like these.

HDR though does do a pretty good job as long as you're using it in a situation where it's called for and whether or not you are using HDR in lower light situations the HTC software will usually opt for a slower shutter speed so you have to make sure to have steady hands that are still required even if the OIS is already helping out. But what it's worth it the consistent quality in most normal situations makes this worthy shooter to have in the pocket, you just have to know what you're getting when you shooting indoors at night.

But perhaps the best edition in the camera experiences in the front-facing shooter which is a 5MP camera that can also record high resolution audio when you want to do selfie videos, but this time HTC is bringing first time to the smartphone game by putting optical image stabilization in the 5MP front-facing shooter and while this might help with self portraits in some situations, I personally found that its main application is an improving videos like vlogs. Stabilization is a great idea for anyone who wants to make so few videos on social media or even use the FHD footage for longer form video content. This OIS edition is a good move by HTC as it is a distinguishing feature compared to the two kids video capture of the Samsung Galaxy S7 and a wide-reaching wide-angle lens of the LG G5.

overall the camera experience of the HTC 10 is the best that HTC has put out in quite some time. It may not killed the other flagship that we have seen thus far in 2016 but it does certainly deserve to be considered among those ranks.

Software

And finally in software we have Android marshmallow with HTC Sense and before we get into it, yes there is an AppDrawer in this version of Android so many of your readers and viewers can rest easy, Sense is about the same as it's always been, and due to some major changes Android has been going through recently this can actually be a very good thing.

Home screens might have a little bit too much space between the Apps and Widgets but it's still pretty clean, and the AppDrawer is a simple paginated vertical scroll that is simplistic yet functional. BlinkFeed is still around and is one of our favorite built-in second home screen experiences providing a good glimpse at the headlines and more if you want to dig deeper.

Additions to the software include Boost+ an application that can among other things finding clean out junk on the phone and manages the RAM. A favorite function of ours is a toggle to make certain high performing games play at FHD rather than QHD resolution which seems to help with the battery consumption.

The other addition is in themes which as robust as it is now includes a free style layout that doesn't adhere to grids the way typical Android homescreens do, it is an interesting concept that require special iconic image packs that are then tied to different functions of the phone, but there's only one of these freestyle theme currently available and it's still a young feature that needs to be further hashed out.

Now aesthetic is always a personal matter but for most die hard Android enthusiasts, function is king and Sense provides a lot of it the Appdrawer is a fan favorite that already elevates this version of Android and without any overly cartoonish elements or flourishes sense is a UI that simply no pun intended makes sense.

Conclusion

The HTC 10 is available for pre-order now and will be shipping in May and unlocked versions will go for $699, now obviously the main competitors include Samsung Galaxy S7 and LG G5 phones.

The HTC 10 it really feels like this phone has been a long time coming, with the metal construction returning once again with a more refined look HTC 10 actually looks and feels like a proper flagship phone, and with all the bits and pieces underneath and you would expect from a flagship device the HTC 10 is worthy of being called a true contender this year.

The sound experience is so good this time around proves that boom sound is not only back but it is here to stay, and the camera which has been a stumbling point for HTC in the past now rivals that of the competition, it might not necessarily be the best camera out there but we feel pretty comfortable recommending it as a good daily shooter.

For fans of HTC this might feel like a dream come true but the true success of the HTC 10 is in the fact that HTC just might have gotten your attention once again.