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HTC 10 review

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Summary

Our Score:

9

User Score:

Pros

  • Iconic design
  • Fantastic version of Android
  • Great audio quality
  • Best selfie camera on the maket
  • Really fast charging

Cons

  • Some camera niggles
  • Slight pinkish tinge to the display

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Key Features

  • 5.2-inch quad-HD display
  • Snapdragon 820
  • 4GB RAM
  • 32/64GB internal storage
  • USB-C
  • 3,000 mAh battery
  • Android 6.0.1 & Sense 7.0
  • 12 UltraPixel camera w/OIS
  • 5 UltraPixel selfie camera w/OIS
  • Manufacturer: HTC
  • Review Price: £569.99

HTC 10 long-term review: Still one of the best phones around

The HTC 10 has stood the test of time remarkably well. After months of use I haven’t had any serious issues with the phone.

Unlike competing phones, like the Huawei P9, the HTC 10 remains lightning fast. Games open in a matter of seconds and run chug- and stutter-free and I’m yet to have a serious software crash.

The phone has also survived more than average wear and tear. As well as several standard accidental drops onto TrustedReviews' carpeted floor, the phone also survived a hazardous impact with a tree after an accidental trip while running. It remained crack and chip free.

Battery life has slightly deteriorated, but not as much as I’d expected. The HTC 10 still easily lasts a full day off one charge and I regularly manage to eek out two days with light use.

The camera is still a slight annoyance, but only because I’ve experienced the majestic awesomeness of the Galaxy S7 – which still has the best phone camera sensor on the market.

The HTC 10’s camera isn’t bad, but the use of Ultrapixel tech, which instructs the camera to capture bigger pixels and more light, works a little too well. Photos taken in even moderately bright lighting conditions are regularly washed out and have unwanted flare effects. Careful use can get around the issue, however, and I’m still more than happy to snap memento shots of meetups with friends.

However, the phone’s biggest selling point remains its advanced audio qualities. HTC’s been leading the mobile audio market for quite some time and the 10 cements its position as the best phone maker for music fans.

Putting aside the phone’s Boomsound speakers that, while above average, are only useful to cretins that insist on using their phone to listen to music outloud, the HTC 10’s standalone headphone amp is its best feature.

The HTC 10 uses a dedicated DAC as well as headphone amp. HTC claims the 10’s amp is twice as powerful as competing phones, and after a few months with the phone I believe it. The HTC 10 consistently delivers superior audio quality to competing phones, including the Galaxy S7, LG G5 (without its add on DAC), OnePlus 3 and Huawei P9 on a variety of genres.

Everything from heavy metal, punk, prog and jazz sounds fuller and better balanced on the HTC 10 and it’s a key reason the 10 remains my handset of choice, even though it falls behind its archrival, the Galaxy S7, in other areas.

Continue reading for our full HTC 10 review

What is the HTC 10?

After the frankly awful HTC One M8, the Taiwanese brand went back to the drawing board and, well, it worked. The HTC 10 more than matches up to the iPhone 6S in looks, and it doesn’t fall behind the Samsung Galaxy S7 when it comes to specs.

With its sloping curves, aluminium body and clean front, the HTC 10 is one of the best looking phones on the market, but with the iPhone 7 and Samsung Galaxy Note 7 coming soon is it still worth buying?

Video: Watch our HTC 10 video review

HTC 10 – Design

While the HTC 10 takes the brand’s flagship smartphone in a new design direction, it’s still very familiar. The front is stripped from the One A9, and the back is a tweaked and tuned version of the rear casing from the One M9.

It’s far from original and looking at it face-on you’d be forgiven for confusing it with an iPhone or Samsung Galaxy S7, but for me it’s the perfect mix of style and substance.

First off, this phone is clearly made from metal – and proud of it. The back is cool to the touch, with an elegant curve that helps it sit comfortably in your hand. This curve flows into some heavily chamfered edges that add a bit of much-needed flair.

It's a divisive design choice, though. I really like them as they give your fingers somewhere to sit, but the some of the TrustedReviews team were less impressed, claiming they’re far too shiny.

Related: HTC 10 vs Samsung Galaxy S7

front

The camera sensor sits bang in the centre, and while it doesn’t have what I'd consider a ‘hump’, it does jut out ever so slightly. Alongside it is an LED flash and a space for the laser autofocus system.

Like any metal phone, the sleek design is broken up by two bands of antenna lines that run around the top and bottom. These don’t stand out anywhere near as much as they do on the iPhone and they feel like part of the design, rather than something that has to be there.

Along the side you’ve got the usual combination of a volume rocker and sleep/wake button, the latter of which is bevelled and easily identifiable even when the phone is in your pocket.

Most other phones have switched to a single tray that houses both the Nano SIM tray and a microSD card, but the HTC 10 still has one tray on each side. I’d like to see this combined to makes things sleeker, but it makes little difference in reality.

Related: Best smartphone

htc10 7

Flip the phone over and the HTC 10 is one of the cleanest devices around. HTC has even removed its brand logo – a minimal change that makes a big difference.

Compared to last year’s One M9 flagship, there are a couple of major differences here.

There’s now a capacitive home key sitting below the display that isn’t so much of a button but a touchpad. Like pretty much every worthwhile Android phone this year it features a fingerprint scanner inside, but coming from the Galaxy S7 it feels strange not to get get that satisfying ‘click’ when I press down.

HTC has also switched to capacitive Back and Recent Apps keys, as opposed to on-screen versions, and these sit either side of the home button. It’s all down to personal preference whether you prefer physical or virtual buttons, but it does free up that extra bit of screen real estate.

htc10 5 The phone comes in black, silver and gold

Whereas LG took plenty of risks with its funky modular design of the G5, HTC has played it relatively safe here. That’s not a dig, though. In fact I'd say the HTC 10 is my favourite phone of the year so far when it comes to the overall look and feel.

It almost matches the Galaxy S7 for size, though it’s marginally taller and noticeably weightier. It feels reassuringly expensive and solid, which is something I just can’t say about the LG G5.

It’s the precision, though, that wins it for HTC. Everything is symmetrical, with the headphone jack, camera sensor and USB-C port on the bottom, all in line with each other. I would have preferred to see that headphone port on the bottom, but that’s just a minor quibble.

Considering its history, it’s no surprise that HTC has designed a stunning looking phone. It hasn’t taken risks and opted for something more ‘out there’, but it still has charm and is an absolute pleasure to use.

HTC 10 – Screen

HTC has updated just about every part of the One M9 for its successor, and the display is no exception.

It’s grown slightly to 5.2-inches, but the bigger upgrade is the resolution. It’s much more pixel dense now, thanks to the 2560 x 1440 quad-HD resolution, and it covers 99.9% of the sRGB colour gamut. It’s a mightily impressive panel, though as it's LCD – 5th-generation LCD, to be precise – it does lack a little of the vibrancy of Samsung’s Super AMOLED screen. It’s not far off, and it’s hard to notice unless you have both phones sat next to each other.

Related: HTC 10 vs iPhone 6S

htc10 31

It’s a lovely display to look at. Colours are punchy and bright, without being oversaturated, and they’re accurate too. The wide colour gamut is great for watching video as it was originally intended and accurately editing snaps, making this a strong media machine.

There is a slight pinkish tinge to the display when it’s tilted to the side and this dampens viewing angles, but it’s not a deal-breaker. Viewing angles are still great and reflections are kept to a minimum, but colours are skewed ever so slightly when you’re not looking directly at it. I had a similar issue with the Galaxy S7 Edge, so it’s certainly not a problem exclusive to HTC’s displays.

The HTC 10 is missing a feature both the LG G5 and Galaxy S7 tout, which is an Always-On mode. This clever method of displaying your most recent notifications when the display is seemingly off is far from essential, but it’s a useful extra that I’ve grown to like after using those two phones. LG managed it with an LCD screen, so I’m not sure why HTC hasn’t tried anything similar.

What it does offer over its rivals is improved brightness. Well, in certain situations. In regular use, the maximum brightness on the HTC 10 is much brighter than that of the LG G5 and Galaxy S7, though it doesn’t feature the trick used by those two where it can boost brightness even more in direct sunlight. Still, the HTC 10 is perfectly usable outdoors.

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Democritus3

April 12, 2016, 12:58 pm

Do you know what? It looks great and the specs are fab. Now if only they have sorted that darned camera out, I might be tempted.....

Dead Words

April 12, 2016, 1:30 pm

It looks promising but early rumors of the One M9 camera looked promising too. We'll just have to wait for some reviews to come out.

Dead Words

April 12, 2016, 1:31 pm

How does the 10 compare size-wise to the Galaxy S7? I'm curious just how compact HTC made the 10 and I don't feel like comparing dimensions. Besides, comparing dimensions doesn't really get you a feel of the, ah, feel of the phone. As far as I can tell from the side-by-side picture the 10 is about the same size as the S7, which is a good sign.

Democritus3

April 12, 2016, 6:34 pm

Yeah you're right. I really really want this phone to be great though. Maybe sympathy for the underdog?

Dead Words

April 12, 2016, 7:36 pm

HTC doesn't need sympathy right now. They need a great phone. Not just a decent, solid phone like the M9 or A9 but an amazing, no-compromises phone. People are already complaining that the phone isn't water resistant and I've already complained about it not having wireless charging despite the fact that I know it's an all-metal phone (seriously someone figure that out). Everything about this phone needs to be pretty awesome for anyone but die-hard HTC fans to pay attention. Sad but true.

Max Parker

April 13, 2016, 10:40 am

The S7 is slightly shorter than the 10, but only by a very small amount. It's also slightly thinner, but again not by much.

Dead Words

April 13, 2016, 12:03 pm

Thank you.

Javier Lombardo

April 13, 2016, 1:16 pm

IM IN LOVE, IM CRYING WITH EMOTION, ITS A PERFECT IPHONE WITH ANDROID FREEEEEDOOOOOMMMMM

Ben Moran

April 14, 2016, 5:00 am

HTC has come up with such a wonderful phone with neat features. Just the basics and improved on those a lot!

4K video plus the 24-bit audio, I'd like to see some actual samples of those as well just to see how good they say it is.

https://versus.com/en/htc-one-...

S7 vs HTC 10, somehow gets harder to choose between these two phones if you compare them side by side.

Lonewolf

April 14, 2016, 9:21 am

I hope the battery life is good as they claim.

Johnny Zenith

April 14, 2016, 10:35 am

I'm very disappointed it isn't 5.5 but maybe there will be a Max version. I totally can see that is being very picky and 5.2 is perfect for many. This might be my next phone as I have the M7.

Johnny Zenith

April 14, 2016, 10:36 am

I'm actually amazed it doesn't have those features even if I don't need them. HTC needed to push everything on this. However they aren't deal breakers for many people.
The lack of wireless charging is very disappointing for me though.

Johnny Zenith

April 14, 2016, 10:38 am

I'm not sure. HTC have increased exposure this year (due to Vive - still niche) and a good solid phone may attract more. Of course they are up against the Samsung and Apple Marketing machine.
I'd rather go with HTC as I prefer the OS. The Galaxy Note 6 however may be interesting.

Johnny Zenith

April 14, 2016, 11:49 am

Wait a minute. This doesn't have an always on screen?!

Dead Words

April 14, 2016, 12:54 pm

I'm sure HTC could've made it happen but we'd have to wait longer for it. I personally would wait another month if the 10 had wireless charging.

Dead Words

April 14, 2016, 12:55 pm

Oh no doubt Sense is one of the better skins. But this is Apple and Samsung we're talking about.

fredphoesh

April 14, 2016, 1:00 pm

Sounds like it's a fantastic phone... so why does the review say It has a long way to go? for what?

Sgt. Stedenko

April 14, 2016, 4:29 pm

Many like myself feel the 5.2" screen is too big.
4.7" was a sweet spot.
Waiting for the One 10 mini release with an 823.

R P

April 14, 2016, 7:36 pm

"even more disappointing than the One A9." That statement is made by "trusted reviewers" who are more in love with spec sheets and numbers on a piece of paper than actual meaningful performance.

I've been using an A9 since it was released and love it. Perfect size, weight, feel in the hand, and performance that handles anything that I throw at it. I considered pre-ordering the HTC 10, but can't think of a single reason that would justify the effort and cost of upgrading. The 10 has no features that would actually make a significant improvement or make a difference in my actual use compared to the A9.

andyvan

April 15, 2016, 10:52 am

Because this isn't our full review, just first impressions. We'll be posting the final review next week.

Johnny Zenith

April 15, 2016, 2:57 pm

How true and well said. The reality on the ground is so different. Truth is many have built a reality distortion field; a collective one if you will.

The real truth is we're spoilt and these differences mean little to nothing for many.

My colleague beside me has the A9. Completely capable and amazing technology and yet you hear critics slate these devices when the reality is different.

Take the M10. Reality is it's scarily advanced and so are it's competitors. You'll be fine with any of them, including the A9.

Saying that I'm well aware of my hypocrisy. We all get stuck on specs.

Journalist #TheUniversNews

April 15, 2016, 4:43 pm

i like it .. this phone good to handle and smart ..

Bill Pitt

April 18, 2016, 10:59 pm

The HTC 10 ticked all my boxes and I pre-ordered the phone on the day it was announced.

Mark Pointon

April 19, 2016, 4:12 am

If I had the money, i'd absolutely buy one.

toboev

April 19, 2016, 5:48 am

You see emerging contenders marked down because their screen is 'only' 1080p. I was amazed by the screen on my original Galaxy Note (820p, I think), and remained amazed for the 3+ years I used it. Now I have the Note 4, I struggle to see the improvement. I notice that the reviews have never done a 'double blind' trial of screen or speaker quality - they just spout the specs and pontificate their unavoidable human biases. It just stokes the spec wars, and makes for lazy copy.

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