Review: HTC 10

HTC 10

HTC has had a tough couple of years and that might just be understating the whole scenario! The whole industry knew what the company had riding on this year’s flagship device. Well, now that we’ve had the HTC 10 for a while, we’re trying to find out if it lives up to those expectations in this in-depth review.

Design and build

HTC 10 Back

HTC stuck with its metal unibody design for the 10. A lot of changes from its predecessors but similar enough to know it’s an HTC from a distance. One of the first things I noticed when I got the device was the thickness of the phone. It’s a fatty at 9mm at its thickest, but HTC has done a great job by curving out the back and making it a perfectly comfy-to-hold device.

We find the power button, volume rockers and SIM slot on the right side. The microSD slot comes on the left and the headphone jack on the top. The bottom separates the device from its predecessors, with the bottom-facing BoomSound speaker and USB Type C charging port.

On the front of the device you’ll find the front-facing speaker and a decently large front-facing camera on the top while the home button/fingerprint reader and capacitive back and home buttons are at the bottom. The back of the device has its premium metal finish, curved and cut edges with a slightly jutting camera, dual-tone flash and laser autofocus.

Display

HTC 10 DisplayThe display on the HTC 10 is a 5.2-inch Super LCD5 Quad HD display with a resolution of 565 ppi. This is the first time HTC has incorporated such a high resolution on any of its devices. The display is great on most conditions including the UAE’s harsh sunlight. Text is sharp and easy to read while graphics during gaming and video run smoothly on the screen.

Performance and battery

Keeping on a par with all this year’s major smartphone releases, HTC stacked the 10 with the new Snapdragon 820 processor clocked at 2.15GHz and the Adreno 530 GPU supported by 4GB of RAM.

Batterylife 1The device has been a breeze to use and not shown any signs of lag. Overall usage including using the camera, social media and gaming, all run smoothly altogether without any resistance from the device.

All this performance is helped by the device’s non-replaceable 3,000mAh battery. HTC does claim that the device can give you two days of battery life but of course that comes with its conditional asterisk. Now I do consider myself a heavy user and I was only able to get approximately one whole day when I didn’t use any battery optimisation whatsoever.

In this scenario, my device was charged to 100 per cent battery around 11AM and lasted me through the day until 2AM. Whenever I used battery saver modes, the phone easily crossed into a day and a half of usage. To sum it up, the HTC 10 easily lasts through the day.

Camera

HTC 10 features a new UltraPixel 2 Camera with 12 million UltraPixels, optical image stabilisation (OIS) with a super-bright F/1.9 aperture lens

It is good to see that phone manufacturers have come to understand that pixel size overpowers pixel count. HTC too has got that and the 10 features a new UltraPixel 2 Camera with 12 million UltraPixels with a 1.55 micron pixel size and optical image stabilisation (OIS) with a super-bright F/1.8 aperture lens. DxOMark rates the HTC 10 camera on a par with the Samsung S7 Edge at a score of 88, the highest for any smartphones out there.

What a camera is capable or what it is rated as is definitely important, but our daily usage changes the way we think of it. In terms of shots during the day, the HTC 10 is brilliant. Colour accuracy is on point and the camera snaps really quickly. Auto HDR works fluidly and enhances photos as required.

If you look at the last low-light image in the gallery, you’ll notice the problem the device has. The camera is great with low-light but it snaps at lower shutter speeds, which means that even with the in-built OIS, you need a very steady hand to click pics.

The front snapper on the device is 5MP and the world’s first with OIS. It does make a difference if you’re a v-blogger or a Snapchat addict. The video is stable.

HTC10 (10)
Gareth (left) and me outside the #GNTECH office

Software

The software on the HTC 10 is impressive. We get Android 6.0 Marshmallow straight out of the box, topped with the latest version of the highly cleaned-up Sense UI.

Fingerprint reader
Fingerprint reader

The main change you will notice when you start using the phone is that the duplicate apps have been removed. There aren’t two galleries (Gallery and Google Photos), only Photos. There is only Chrome for the browser as well. This not only uncluttered the OS but also enhances the usage of the UI.

Boost+ is an app added by HTC that helps with device management with features such as find and clean out junk on the phone, as well as RAM management. It also helps with resolution control with high-end games to conserve battery life.

Blinkfeed finds its way to this Sense UI. To be honest, I’m not the biggest fan of the app but it does prove useful to a lot of people who like all their social media and news in one place.

Overall, the software is plain and simple and you will adore it even if you’re an Android Vanilla supporter.

Conclusion

The HTC 10 is one of the best devices the company has ever produced. I’ve used the device as my daily driver for almost three weeks now and the display, processor, UI and battery life stood out. There is slight room for improvement when it comes to the camera and I definitely would like to see a slimmer device. That being said, does it find a place among the best phones this year? Yes it does! We will have to wait and watch whether the device is the knight in shining armour that HTC needs, but I do see massive potential for the device.

Here’s a little camera comparison we had done between the Samsung S7 Edge and HTC 10.

Keep an eye on this space for an upcoming comparison of the HTC 10 with another big release this year.