Last week I was in New York and shortly before I left I got my hands on the new HTC 10, so I immediately decided that this was the trip to seriously test the latest HTC device.
The first thing you notice is that this device has a seriously quality feel in the hand and an extremly good QHD LCD screen display which it should for a $900 device.
Manufactured by a Company that pioneered the smartphone market way before Apple, LG and Samsung were in the market HTC has of late struggled so this phone had to be good if this Taiwanese Company was to stay in the race.
Unlike a lot of brands that are pushing wafer thin phones which easily break or slip easily out of your hand, the HTC 10 is a serious work device that is built to stand the everyday use that most people put their devices through, whether it’s University students, business executives or mums who want a device that stands up to the rigour of day in day out use.
Built from high quality aluminium, this device is not flashy nor does it need to be to be and unlike the glass Samsung Galaxy S7 you are not constantly wiping fingerprints and grease off both the front and back of the device.
Tapered edges that shrink from 9mm to 3mm, make the device feel thinner than it actually is, it weighs in at 161g.
The front is all glass, with a fingerprint sensor at the bottom and a relatively large selfie camera at the top.
This device also has some seriously good stand out features such as an impressive camera that actually does shoot good images in low light, then there is the high end 24bit audio which for music lovers makes this device the smartphone to own.
The dual-speaker setup means sound isn’t muffled when you’re holding the phone with one hand.
More importantly, the 24-bit sound chip in the HTC 10 has been superbly designed. it gets really loud, and can drive high-impedance headphones and has supremely clean signal.
And when you plug in a really good pair of headphones, this device delivers sound that makes the Apple iPhone sound like yesterday’s technology. It delivers crisp clean audio with lots of base and you actually hear instruments that you would never hear in a million years on an $1,100 iPhone.
I used it on my flight to New York and it was excellent.
As for the display screen, I thought I’d sworn off LCD’s for good because of AMOLED’s superior blacks however HTC’s use of LED backed by some impressive display software makes one think twice about LED display technology.
With the new LED display you can easily choose between ‘Vivid’ and ‘sRGB’ colours depending on what you want.
HTC even lets you customize the colour temperature of the display – something no other manufacturer lets you do.
Being able to change your screen’s colour temperature is a very handy touch.
Other thoughtful but unobtrusive features include a ‘glove mode’ for the winter, gestures for waking the phone or opening the camera, Apple AirPlay support and a performance optimizer app (basically HTC’s take on CCleaner).
Another standout feature is the elimination of icon junk; however, HTC does need to do some work on their icon design.
What HTC has introduced is organisational tools that allows one to managed icons and applications without the clutter that a lot of other brands engage in. It’s called smartphone refinement.
What you will notice with the new HTC 10 is that most of the new UI does look like stock Android icons.
This is because HTC has moved to using Google’s software instead of its own offerings.
The settings menu looks like a Nexus.
HTC’s launcher is one of the better around, providing more organizational tools than Google’s option, as well as numerous theming options.
In New York I was on the go all day and into the evening.
I used the device for mapping and subway maps so the device was in constant use.
I also gave the camera a good workout.
The combination of a 3000 mAh battery and a 5.2-inch, QHD display delivered all day power with a lot left in the tank.
Overseas I use Skype and Wi Fi and after making over 22 calls using Skype I still had power left when I went to top up of an evening.
It’s also one of the few phones to come with a Quick Charge 3.0 adapter right in the box (LG supports the standard, but only comes with a 2.0 charger), and so far HTC’s claim that it can charge 50 percent in half an hour have remained true.
The camera UI is minimal but powerful.
The rear 12-megapixel “UltraPixel 2” camera is very good and in New York I was able to easily shoot excellent images whether it was the Empire State Building or people in Times Square at night.IMAG0018
Its laser autofocus is fast, its low light performance is excellent, and the images it captures are easily blown up without losing too much sharpness.
The f1.8 lens also worked well delivering shallow depth of field images.
The HTC camera app is also excellent, with all the right features within reach and enough manual controls with RAW export for when you want to try something.
The selfie camera has optical image stabilisation – a first for a front-facing camera – which helped avoid blur in low-light shots. While the images were bright and attractive, looking great on first glance, they lacked fine detail when viewed at full size like most other selfie cameras.
While Samsung and LG’s UI are overflowing with information and overlays HTC has kept their UI fairly simple.
Today almost every Android phone can shoot RAW but what HTC has introduced is built-in RAW processing – even if it doesn’t do very much right now.
The fingerprint sensor is really good
I’ve used the finger-print sensor on just about every flagship out there, and the HTC 10 beats them all in terms of speed and reliability – yes, even the iPhone 6S.
What I did notice is that HTC 10 has a relatively long fingerprint setup process. With the new LG G5 I was actually locked out of the device when the fingerprint scanner chose not to work.
For: This is a smartphone that delivers serious bang for your buck. It’s extremly well-built and durable and has everything that one could ever want in a smartphone.
Against.The icons are not sharp or large enough and I would have liked a removable battery similar to the new LG G5.
Screen: 5.2in full quad HD LCD (564ppi)
Processor: Quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 820
RAM: 4GB of RAM
Storage: 32GB + microSD card
Operating system: Android 6.0 with HTC Sense
Camera: 12MP UltraPixel 2 with OIS, 5MP front-facing with OIS
Connectivity: LTE, Wi-Fiac, NFC, Bluetooth 4.2, USB-C and GPS
Dimensions: 145.9 x 71.9 x 9mm