HTC used to be a name on everyone’s lips when it came to smartphones but following a succession of sub-par releases and a slump in sales since the release of the One M8, HTC are back with what many are calling the best android phone of the year and we have to agree.
The design of the 10 is not unlike that of previous generations with its stunning metal and glass design motif but this time around they have managed a much more refined look. With chamfered metal edges, polished back and clean sheet of corning gorilla glass 4 coating the front, this phone is an eye catcher. The metal back is separated by very inconspicuous antenna lines and a camera sensor front and center and all seem to blend seamlessly. They even managed to avoid too much of a camera “bump” – take note Apple. The sides are only broken up by a sim card and SD card slot plus your usual array of beautiful cl-icky metal buttons.
The big changes aesthetically with the 10 are the removal of the front facing speakers (don’t worry they were replaced with something just as good) and HTC has also switched to a capacitive Back and Recent Apps keys, as opposed to on-screen versions, and these sit either side of the home button. The very accurate fingerprint scanner is also a nice addition.
The screen also gets an upgrade to 5.2 inches with 2560 x 1440 quad-HD resolution and it is bright and beautiful with its punchy colors and contrast. Viewing angles are still great and reflections are minimal. The screen has great outdoor visibility too with its improved brightness.
Software is where the HTC 10 shines with Android 6.1 and an approach more companies should take on board – there is little to no bloatware and a conscious effort was made to not reinvent the wheel and use Google’s own apps. The Sense UI is HTC’s cleanest and borrows many elements from a stock version of Android. Blinkfeed the news and social media aggregator still shines and seems to get better and better each device release. It is one of the few additions to the phone that actually make it better. Another welcome addition is the Boost+ app by HTC, designed to keep the phone running smoothly and clear out junk files.
Audio is still very good, despite the loss of front facing speakers but cleverly the main speaker is now on the bottom. There is also a dedicated amplifier for both the tweeter and sub-woofer which sit on the bottom and top of the phone respectively. So, in short, sound is above average, especially when using the speakerphone and its boom sound enhancements. The phone continues to shine when listening to music through headphones, HTC 10 supports Hi-Res Audio, so it’ll play 24-bit audio files. While North Americans didn’t get the Hi-Res earbuds included in the retail package, a good set of headphones will suffice.
Performance is superb on the HTC 10 with the combo of a Snapdragon 820 and 4GB of RAM, this thing can really buzz around without any lag or stutter. The camera too is a vast improvement with its 12-megapixels (cough – UltraPixel) shooter and impressive 1.55µm-sized pixels’. The camera app is also one of the best around: with RAW support, Pro modes, simple navigation and big buttons with a lack of text it doesn’t lag in the slightest. Camera performance is also very good with accurate color representation a wide f/1.8 aperture and optical image stabilization means you can take some very nice low light shots. There is lastly a 5 megapixel OIS front shooter for some very clear and high quality video chats with your loved ones or just a fun little Instagram snap.
To conclude, the 3,000mAh battery is sufficient, getting easily a day to day and a half with moderate usage. You could also achieve more with HTC’s own battery saving modes. If you do run out of juice, don’t worry, the HTC 10 comes with a USB-C port and Quick Charge 3.0 charging up the phone in an hour or so – impressive!
HTC 10 have a winner here. It is the perfect balance of form and function for a high end phone. Its metal and glass construction is simply perfect for 2016 and with solid processing power and a minimalist take on the android software, this is the phone to get.
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