HTC 10 Review: This is the HTC Phone You’ve been waiting for

Ever since the release of the HTC M7, HTC hasn’t really been doing great in the smartphone department. We have all been hoping that 2016 will be the year that the Taiwanese company will rebound and gain its spot as one of the top OEMs in the market. They may just done that with the new HTC 10.

The first time I had the chance to play the 10 was at a press event in NYC. I immediately knew that HTC was listening to the Android community. Not only they slimmed down the software but they addressed the camera woes and kept it all in a sexy aluminum package. It is as close as to a Nexus phone as it can get. Here are my thoughts about the HTC 10!

Specs:

  • Display: 5.2 inches Super LCD5 2K display (565 ppi)
  • OS:Android 6.0 Marshmallow w/ HTC UI
  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 MSM8996 processor
  • Memory: 4GB of RAM
  • Storage: 32/64GB of internal storage; MicroSD expansion (up to 2TB)
  • Cameras: 12-megapixel front camera; 5MP front camera
  • Battery: 3,000 mAh battery
  • Audio: Hi-Res with BoomSound Hi-Fi technology
  • Network: 2G/2.5G – GSM/GPRS/EDGE 850/900/1800/1900 MHz
    CDMA: 800/1900 with EVDO Rev A
    3G UMTS-850/AWS/900/1900/2100 MHz, 4G LTE (up to 450Mbps)
    FDD: Bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 12, 13, 17, 20, 28, 29, 30; Support Cat 9 LTE, download up to 450 Mbps, upload up to 50 Mbps
  • Colors: Gunmetal Grey, Gold/Silver, Gold and Silver
  • Misc: USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type C, Capacitive keys, Bluetooth 4.1, GPS, NFC, Miracast, Airplay, GPS + GLONASS DLNA and WiFi

Design

htc-10-design

The HTC 10 design is somewhat similar to its previous predecessors. HTC used metal once again and it looks and feels nice. It really gives the phone that premium flair that we are all fans of. The contour has been chamfered  which gives it a different look than the M9. The metal finish feels and looks nice in the hands. This phone is simply well put together and there it nothing to nitpick to be honest. Looking from both sides of it, the display seamlessly blends with the aluminum. You won’t see gaps or anything like that.

On the right, you will find the volume rocker along with the home button and sim card tray. I would have preferred to have the volume buttons on the other side for convenience. The microSD slot is located on the left while the 3.5mm headphone jack on the top section. The USB 3.1 Type C port is located on  the bottom. In the center bottom part of the screen, HTC placed a fingerprint reader/home button. Out of the latest flagship phones in including the S7, G5 and 6P, the HTC 10’s reader is probably the fastest.

I would definitely recommend heading to your carrier’s closest location (unless you have AT&T) to see this beauty in person. The HTC 10 is a piece of art in my opinion.

Display

HTC-10-1

HTC packs a 5.2-inch Super LCD5 QHD display which has a resolution of 2560×1440 and 556 ppi (pixels per inch) and Gorilla Glass. I have been pleased with how the colors show on phone while indoors. However, it is a different story when outdoors. It definitely lacks brightness and somewhat dims down when I try to use the phone in direct sunlight. This is where the Galaxy S7 and its AMOLED display excel in my opinion.

The HTC 10 comes with 2 display color modes including Vivid and and sRGB. Both allow you to adjust the warmth of colors from warm to cool. If you’re into LED notifications, they’re there. However, there aren’t many options to customize the light colors. I tried using LightFlow to play around with the lights but it didn’t work.

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Audio

The front speakers we’re accustomed to having with HTC phones are now gone. They’ve been replaced with a separated tweeter and woofer. Both work flawlessly with the 24-bit DAC and the new Hi-Fi Boomsound technology. According to HTC, this phone has been “engineered for audiophiles.” On top of that, there is an amplifier for headsets. The HTC 10 has been certified as a Hi-Res Audio device by Japan’s Audio Society. Sound-wise, this phone blow all of the competition away. Slap in a pair of good headphones and you will know what I am talking about.

Phone calls are clearer and crisper than any phone I have ever used.

Playing audio via the speakers is pretty much on par with the older M9. It is not louder. However, the sound quality is slightly better. I confess. I love the dual front speaker more but it is not a deal breaker folks. If you’re an audiophile (or not), this is the best phone you can get.

Software

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I am going to say it again. The HTC 10 is the closest flagship phone to a Nexus device. I have yet to see it lag once since I got this review unit about 2 weeks ago.

HTC says that they have been working closely with Google to refine the Sense UI. And they did. The HTC 10 offer a toned down version of the UI with more Google apps and less HTC apps. This is a good thing folks. You won’t find 2 calendars, calculator apps, clocks (like the S7 or G5). The phone comes pre-loaded with the same apps you’d find on a Nexus 6P with the exception of phone dialer, messenger, HTC Help, Voice Recorder, Zoe Video Editor, flashlight , Camera  and Boost+ apps.

If you’re a fan of theming your phone, you will definitely love the new theme engine and store that come with this phone. You can change the icons, wallpaper, fonts  and skin. As far as motion gestures are concerned, you will find the following five within the phone:

  1. Double to to wake and sleep
  2. Swipe to unlock
  3. Swipe left to go home
  4. Swipe right to launch blinkfeed
  5. Swipe down twice to open camera

If these are not enough, you can find more with launchers like Nova. Software is another area where HTC has outdone itself!

Camera

In the past few years, HTC tried to deliver a good camera with its phones. Unfortunately, it has not been the case for a little while. The HTC 10 changed that but not dramatically. The camera takes some really nice pictures, on par with the Galaxy S7 and Nexus 6P. However, it really needs some tweaking.

The camera app does not launch as fast as I’d want it to. Some of the pictures I have taken came out nice and all. But I have seen “light flares” in most of the shots I have taken outdoors and indoors. I am pretty sure this could be addressed in a future software update. Talking about updates, my 10 received one for the camera. I really didn’t see any difference in terms of performance to be honest with you.

It is worth noting that both the 12MP rear camera and the 5MP front one have OIS. If  you’re a fan of selfies, this is the phone to get folks. When it comes to the different camera modes there are 9 of them.

  • Photo
  • Zoe Camera
  • Panorama
  • Pro (Raw)
  • Video with 4k recording
  • Hyperlapse
  • Slow Motion
  • Selfie Photo
  • Selfie Video

Please do not think that this is a bad camera. It is great and has a lot of potential. You will definitely not be disappointed if you decide to buy the HTC 10. Pretty sure that it will be improved. Check out the many pictures below and let me know what you think.

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Update: RAW pictures sample for the HTC 10

 

View post on imgur.com

Battery Life

HTC-10-045 HTC-10-044 HTC-10-046
The HTC 10 pack a 3,000 mAh battery which is slightly bigger that the one on its predecessor, the M9. I consider myself a power user. I have about 6 emails syncing all the time. The Bluetooth is always on (Android Wear, Car), I text a lot, watch videos, play games, etc….

On average, I get about 4 hours of SOT which is pretty normal for a 2016 Android phone. What most sites forgot to mention is how good this phone is when “dozing.” I lose about 2-3% overnight which on par with the 6P.

The handset comes equipped with Quick Charge 3.0. It also recognizes older QC 2.0 chargers and charges fairly quickly while I am driving or even using navigation. You won’t have any issues recharging your phone with the provided QC 3.0 wall charger. HTC claims that it can charge it up to 50% in less than 30 minutes.

If good battery life is one of your must haves in a phone, the HTC 10 will deliver!

Other Stuff

One of the complaints that I have been getting about the HTC 10 is its price tag. At $699, it is one of the priciest Android phones in the market along with the Galaxy S5 and LG G5. If we go by quality of build, I will pick the 10 ahead of anything else that is available. Should you decide to pre-order it, you can save $100 of the price for a limited time.

For the first time, AT&T has decided not to carry an HTC flagship device possibly due to weak sales for previous models. On the other hand, T-Mobile, Verizon and Sprint customers can pick it up directly from their carriers.

The HTC 10 should be available sometimes in early May. You can pre-order it directly from HTC and take advantage of the UH OH Protection. From what I understand, the UH OH warranty is only available to those who buy the phone directly from HTC.com. So keep that in mind.

Zack has always been a fan of anything with the tag "Gadget" on it, he has had used almost every phone brand except for the Palm and owns a Pixel XL as his daily driver. His favorite camera is the Olympus EM-1 Mark II. He is a full-time father of two great boys and happily married to his wife. Did we mention the Zack loves Video games? Add him to you circles: Google+

  • LionStone

    I don’t believe the 10 has an IR blaster, other than that good review

    • OnlyClarity

      You are correct that the HTC 10 lacks an IR blaster. Let hope the reviewer fixes that in the Specs section.

      Great review though!

      • DroidMatters.Com

        Done! Thank you guys.

  • Nicholas Morbidelli

    S7 has a 3000mah battery too.

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