The Good The HTC 10 has an elegantly crisp design, brilliant sound quality and an easy-to-use user interface.
The Bad A non-removable phone battery doesn’t last as long as its competitors, and its camera doesn’t always do the exposure properly.
The Bottom Line Get the HTC 10 if you want a phone that delivers great audio. Look elsewhere for all your other needs.
If the HTC 10 can do one thing, it’s great sound. Dual speakers combined with some software technology mean your music and movies will sound fantastic. It also looks pretty damn good – a hard feat to do in a world filled with black plates.
But at $ 699 unlocked, £ 569 in the UK and $ 1,099 in Australia, it does not offer the same performance and cost of equipment as its Android rivals. For example, its performance is comparable to one Google Nexus 6P even if 6P is cheaper. Its battery life is not as long as Samsung Galaxy S7 and LG G5 , and there are times when camera exposure misses the mark.
While these competitive phones may have better sound quality than 10, the HTC flagship phone does not end up with all the other things that elevates a good phone into a great phone.
Up close with the streamlined metal HTC 10 (pictures)
Design: beautiful and refined
The 10 has an aluminum construction with angular edges that adds to the polished, industrially aesthetic HTC is famous for. Its unibody design means you can’t take out the battery, but the phone feels sturdy and looks beautiful.
HTC has got rid of the dual front audio speakers seen in previous years. The phone now has one speaker grille on the top panel and a home button (which doubles as a fingerprint reader) on the bottom panel. Although the second speaker is still there, it lives at the bottom.
As for the fingerprint reader, it adds extra security to the user, and he launches Google’s digital assistance service, Google Now, after long tapping on it. Although this is not an attacker, this shortcut can now get annoying. There have been many instances where I accidentally started now simply by pointing my finger at this home button, and it was not fun to throw it constantly throughout the day.
Software: More fun at hand
10 runs Google’s Android 6.0 Marshmallow operating system, with the HTC Sense UI. HTC has gone into deeper integration with Google, which is the only web browser you see is Chrome, your only music player is Play Music, and your only gallery is Google Photos.
I like to get rid of the software as much as the next person, but I would like HTC to keep the application for the native gallery. I am very careful about cloud security, and although you can turn off Google sync, I just don’t want my personal photos to be in any way related to any cloud or Google service.
However, there are some nice software tastes. The HTC BlinkFeed signature gives you information about your news and social networks. And Themes allow you to customize parts of the interface, such as layout, wallpaper, and application design. The good thing about some of these themes is that their home screens are not bounded by any grid lines, so you can place apps and widgets anywhere.
Programs should also not look like they are marked with uniform icons. Instead, HTC calls them “stickers,” and they come in many sizes and shapes. If you have been playing with Themes for a long time, your home screen may look like a page from a children’s storybook, with little objects launching the app, only you are unknown.
Sound and audio: That’s the boom
A distinctive feature of HTC’s flagships is its emphasis on sound quality, which the company calls BoomSound. The music through the dual audio speakers certainly sounded louder and clearer than the usual subtle and sharp sounds I get from other devices.
But what really struck me was listening to music through the included headphones. To get the most out of the buttons, I tuned my “sound profile”, which tested the frequency range I could hear in each ear, and optimized the audio output accordingly.
The music through the headphones sounded amazing – the bass was deep without getting too heavy, and I could distinguish each layer of instrumentation. (If you were wondering, I listened to Gallant’s “Ology” album. Make a commitment and get it listening.) Undoubtedly, sound quality is one of the strongest features of this phone.
Another unique audio quality of 10 is compatibility with Apple’s AirPlay streaming standard. This means that you can stream audio from your mobile phone to Apple TV and other devices compatible with Apple’s Wi-Fi audio, which typically provides better audio quality than Bluetooth.
The device’s 12-cell Ultra-Pixel (a term used by HTC to identify the use of larger pixels in camera lenses) works smoothly and takes crisp pictures. AF and touch focus also work fast, and there is a brightness meter in the interface so you can easily adjust the lighting. It also has optical image stabilization on both the rear and front cameras, helping you smooth out any damaged videos, snapshots and snappy selfies.
Compared to its Android competitors, I found that 10 overlapped images are lighter than others. In addition, the Galaxy S7 took photos with more intense green and blue. The G5 and Nexus 6P had deeper reds and pinks. I also found that 10 people had a more difficult time correctly highlighting objects in the foreground when there was a lot of illumination. Even when I tapped to focus on these objects, the device hardly adjusted its lighting settings, and the overall image turned dim.
However, I liked the 10-year macro scaling, which seemed to show less depth of field. It more blurred the background, creating more cinematic and dramatic photographs. To learn more about photo quality, check out the photos below. And don’t forget to click on each image to see it at full resolution.
Processing performance: Fast enough, but not the best dog
The 10 has a quad-core Snapdragon 820 processor. Although it has the same processor as the Galaxy S7 and G5, the 10 has a slightly higher clock speed than the other two (2.2 GHz compared to 2.15 GHz). The device did a quick job of running applications, scanning my fingerprint and capturing photos. Graphic heavy games also played smoothly and looked clear.
As for the benchmarks, the device is comparable to its competitors, which will avoid the Nexus 6P in all three tests. Although he beat the G5 in the Geekbench single-core test, he did not beat the LG phone in other tests. The Galaxy S7 also beat the HTC 10 on every test.
Battery life: More juice is needed
One of the disappointments of the HTC M9 was its battery life, which lasted only 8 hours 40 minutes during our lab test for continuous video playback in airplane mode. This time, however, a 3000mAh 10-hour battery was much better than 11 hours 15 minutes.
But competition is fierce these days, and 10 lags behind some of its competitors. While the Nexus 6P had a battery life similar to 10, the G5 lasted 12 hours 34 minutes (it is also removable if you want to change it during the day). In addition, the 3,000mAh battery inside the Galaxy S7 has served an impressive 16 hours and can be recharged wirelessly.
Anecdotally, 10 was good, but not great. After a weekday standby without charging, the device was about 60 percent Monday morning. On the other hand, heavily using this handset (surfing the Internet, downloading applications, taking pictures) reduced the battery by 20 percent in 40 minutes.
The phone also uses Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 3.0 technology, which promises a 50 percent charge in 30 minutes. When I checked this statement, I approached – 44 percent in 30 minutes. Full charging takes about an hour 40 minutes.
Comparison of HTC 10 specifications
|HTC 10||Samsung Galaxy S7||LG G5||Google Nexus 6P|
|Display size, resolution||5.2-inch; 2,560×1,440 pixels||5.1-inch; 2,560×1,440 pixels||5.3-inch, 2,560×1,440 pixels||5.7-inch; 2,560×1,440 pixels|
|Pixel density||564 ppi||576 ppi||554 ppi||515 ppi|
|Dimensions (Inches)||5.7×2.8×0.35 in||5.6×2.7×0.3 in||5.88×2.90×0.3 in||6.3×3.1×0.28 in|
|Dimensions (Millimeters)||145.9×71.9×9 mm||142.4×69.6×7.9 mm||149.4×73.9×7.7 mm||159x78x7.3 mm|
|Weight (Ounces, Grams)||5.7 oz; 161 g||5.4 oz; 152 g||5.61 oz; 159 g||6.3 oz; 178 g|
|Mobile software||Android 6.0 with HTC Sense||Android 6.0 Marshmallow||Android 6.0 Marshmallow||Android 6.0 Marshmallow|
|Camera||12-megapixel||12-megapixel||16-megapixel, 8-megapixel wide||12.3-megapixel|
|Processor||2.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 820||2.15GHz + 1.6GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor||2.15GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor||2GHz eight-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 810|
|Storage||32GB, 64GB (varies by region)||32GB, 64GB (varies by region)||32GB||32GB, 64GB, 128GB|
|Battery||3,000mAh (nonremovable)||3,000mAh (nonremovable)||2,800mAh (removable)||3,450mAh (nonremovable)|
|Fingerprint sensor||Home button||Home button||Home button||Back cover|
|Special features||BoomSound||Water-resistant||Pull-out battery, two rear cameras||Pure Android|
Do you have to get it?
As it falls within the same price range as the Samsung Galaxy S7 and LG G5, I expected the HTC 10 to perform at the same level as its Android counterparts. Although I give it prime props for its great sound quality (seriously, I never nodded to the music played by the phone as much as when I used the HTC BoomSound) and good looking, I hesitate to recommend it to anyone the best choice.
For the same price, you can buy the Galaxy S7, which is also beautifully designed and waterproof. There’s also a G5 that dials 10 in battery life (plus you can replace the battery with its unique modular design if needed).
Although the Google Nexus 6P has not gone beyond the 10 in our benchmark tests, it costs about $ 100 less, has comparable battery life, and receives software updates from Google as soon as they appear.
The moving landscape is as cross-sectional as they come. Although the HTC 10 is a reliable device, it just isn’t enough to carry it upstairs. So if you are not a music lover, do not miss ten for something better.