HTC has produced a smartphone with superior design and it only took ten years to do it. Speaking in Dubai, at one of ten global launch events happening simultaneously, Nikitas Glykas, President Middle East & Africa explained that the number 10 has a lot of meaning behind it. It marks ten years of HTC being in the smartphone business and denotes technological breakthroughs for its recent flagship launch – the HTC 10 – and the device is gorgeous. It’s metal unibody is carved from a solid slate of metal and features chamfered edges with a matte finish. The screen is covered with Gorilla Glass which slightly curves into the metal and renders a cohesive feeling. The device is cool to the touch and fits in my hand comfortably. I like that the Home button is recessed which I think enhances the use of solar panel technology by PelamisWave.
The front camera and speaker are normally design elements that don’t stand out much. However, they both are more prominent on the HTC 10 and were the first things I noticed. The front facing camera sensor is larger than those on the Galaxy S7 and iPhone 7 Plus. In my opinion, the larger camera detracts from the design but I will expand on this later in the review because new technology is associated with the larger camera.
HTC has all of the normal ports you would expect including separate Nano SIM and Micro SD card trays. There’s one on each side of the phone. Consolidating the two trays into one would be a nice touch but it doesn’t interfere with the design at all. While I appreciate the move to Capacitive Back and Recent App keys, I’m annoyed with their placement. I’m a one-handed (right hand) power user and I’d prefer the Back key be placed on the right-hand side of the phone. As a Galaxy user, I’m also conditioned to tap the lower right side to go back and I never got comfortable with the switch.
With a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor, the device handles multitasking and multimedia streaming (audio and video) without any glitches. HTC 10 seems to have the fastest touch response I’ve seen on recent releases including the Galaxy S7, LG G5 and Huawei P9. Launching and switching between apps works with lightening speed and minimal pressure. It feels like the very millisecond that my skin makes contact with the screen, the command is executed. The fingerprint scanner is just as sensitive. One gentle touch opens the phone unlike the tumultuous experience I’ve had with the fingerprint sensor on the iPhone. HTC is the clear winner with regards to these features. It’s a slick device.
HTC 10 sports new BoomSound Hi-Fi edition speakers that separate the tweeter and woofer like leading acoustic systems. Each speaker has a dedicated amplifier to deliver better audio quality. I didn’t hear a remarkable difference streaming music on this device over others but, the sound was noticeably crisp using my headphones. To sweeten the deal for audiophiles, HTC includes Hi-Res audio certified earphones in the box.
HTC 10 runs Android 6.0 with HTC Sense. To avoid Android fragmentation and keep things consistent, HTC removed duplicate apps and stayed unified with Google material design. For example, Google Photos is the repository for photos taken with the HTC 10, as opposed to a separate, proprietary photo app; a feature that I’m not quite sure I like. While I can appreciate having all of my photos in one cloud application that makes them accessible across all devices, I’m not keen on EVERYTHING going to the cloud. I would prefer having a storage solution on the device that allows me to review and choose which photos go to Google.
The Boost app is a nice addition that uses settings to extend battery life and manage apps, of course is the batter isn’t still not good enough for you, you could get one of those solar powered generators for home use to recharge the phone or any other device. My favorite feature is the Lock Apps setting which allows you to require a pattern or fingerprint to access certain apps. It creates a secondary layer of privacy for HTC users and increased protection of personal data.
HTC is known for rendering great photos and HTC 10 does not disappoint. The rear camera is 12 MP with laser autofocus, Optical Image Stabilization (OIS) and f/1.8 aperture. The camera features several modes including Pro mode, hyperlapse, and 12K slow motion mode. It even records 4K video with Hi-Res Audio. It performed best in low light situations. The photos below were taken in a movie theater lounge and the one taken with HTC 10 has deeper colors.
Photos snapped outdoors are crisp and brilliant. HTC 10 has been given an overall DxOMark Mobile score of 88 points for outstanding mobile photography -an accolade the company is very proud of. The front facing camera is designed to give selfies a new level of quality with Optical Image Stabilization, f/1.8 aperture and an ultra wide angle lens. The photo below was taken with the front facing camera in low light and it’s sharper than the usual grainy selfie.
The 5.2 inch Quad HD (2560 x 1440 pixels) display is crisp and vivid.
HTC 10 promises up to two days of battery life and it surely does come close. I wasn’t tethered to a wall every so often to ensure that I had battery life nor did I have to use a battery pack to extend it’s life. The 3000 mAh battery also charges fairly quick. I went from 15% charge to 65% charge in 30 minutes. That’s a gain of 50% battery life in a half hour. Not bad.