- Dim display
- Sketchy Wi-Fi reception
- Color accuracy issues with camera
- Non-removable battery
Once a top contender and innovator in mobile design, HTC hasn’t exactly dominated with it’s last few releases. You’ve probably heard a lot of hype on both sides of the fence related to their latest release. We’ve dug through the best reviews and insights to highlight the important considerations anyone should look at before investing in the HTC 10.
HTC was a pioneer for the metal unibody design. The HTC sticks with this trend presenting a phone that is a bit thicker than many competing flagships at 9mm. While most reviews noted that the phone was noticeably heavier than many recent phones, they all considered this a good thing. Phone Arena notes, “The HTC 10 not only looks great—it also feels great. In the hand, it's substantial and pleasantly heavy in a way that few phones are.”
Reviews were also positive when it comes to build quality. Tight seams, rigid design and an evolution of the typical HTC formula appears to have paid off. Android Police loved the look, saying, “I don't know of another phone that looks quite like this one.”
And this starts a trend that continues through many reviews in virtually every aspect of the phone. This isn’t a glamorous phone or a game-changer. It’s a durable, utilitarian phone. One made for life and use. From CNet to Pocket-Lint, this sentiment is repeated often.
Coming around to the front of the phone, you’re greeted with a 5.2-inch, 1440-by-2560 display. HTC opted for a Super LCD 5 and this leads to the first of many mixed opinions in the reviews. Android Police was perhaps the harshest, calling the screen, “the 10's weakest attribute.”
While reviews for the screen were generally positive, they all noted minor concerns with brightness and color accuracy. Pocket-Lint stated, “the HTC 10 can look a little dim at times and that makes it seem less impactful than its rivals.” Most also pointed out a blue tint to the image and almost all recommend switching the screen from Vivid mode to sRGB mode. However, all agreed that the details and viewing angles of the screen were great.
Pushing all those pixels, you’ll find what has become a standard in 2016 flagship phones--the Snapdragon 820. Couple that with 4GB of RAM and you’ll enjoy performance that reviews could find no flaws with. Though most reviews were quick to point out that the benchmarks for the phone fall behind some of the other flagships, real life performance appears to be fluid. Alphr noted, “during my time with the handset it scythed through everything I threw at it.” Phone Arena was more impressed, calling the HTC 10, “by far the smoothest-running, non-Nexus Android device to grace our offices.”
The phone dropped with Android 6.0.1 installed. While they haven’t offered the 15-day promise of previous models, HTC tends to offer some of the shortest update times next to Nexus devices. Reviews all noted the near-stock Android experience offered by the 10. SlashGear called HTC’s Sense 8.0, “a far less domineering experience, however, and that's down to some welcome restraint on the part of the software team.” Droid Life again references the utilitarian nature of the phone, calling the interface “a bit boring or bare bones, only in a really, really good way.”
To ensure there’s plenty of room for all of your favorite apps and games, HTC includes 32GB of internal storage on the US/NA model. HTC has mentioned that a 64GB variant will be available in select markets--though they haven’t outlined which ones.
If you’re looking to store your collection of movies, music or games on your device, you’ll find the microSD slot offers support for cards up to 2TB in capacity. This is also where HTC separates itself from the competition. They’re one of the first major handsets to enable Adoptable Storage support in Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow. This allows you to, essentially, treat the SD just like internal storage. No more splitting apps between storage and SD or jumping through hoops. Just keep in mind, once you set up a card as adoptable storage, removing it is not recommended. So, it might be a bit of a compromise depending on your usage.
Heading the cameras, you’ll find another mobile first. The rear-facing camera is fairly standard mobile kit these days. A 12+ megapixel lens with UltraPixel 2 technology, optical image stabilization, 4K video support and a wide aperture for decent low-light performance. Where HTC changes things is on the front. The 5MP front-facing ‘selfie shooter’ also features optical image stabilization. If you’re a fan of the front-camera, this should help keep shots clear and crisp.
Reviews for the cameras were a bit of a mixed bag. Reviewers universally agreed that the HTC camera app itself is well-designed and a joy to use. However, many noted that their images took on a pink tint. Some even had trouble with lens-flares and light fringing--something all but eliminated in most high-end handsets these days.
Droid Life summed up opinions on the camera well, saying, “It’s not my favorite camera in the current crop of flagships, but it’s not one that will cause you to question your purchase, should you decide to buy the 10.”
To keep everything juiced up and ready to go, HTC included a 3,000mAh battery in the 10. While it’s not removable, it does support QuickCharge 3.0 and includes a compatible charger with the phone. For most reviews, this netted a 50 percent charge in roughly 20 minutes with a full charge time near an hour and a half.
Battery life will depend on your usage. Droid Life said, “I’m averaging right around 14-16 hours on a single charge with around 3 hours of screen on time.” Phone Arena had better luck, noting, “In everyday usage, you can expect the HTC 10 to handle anywhere between a day/day-and-a-half, depending on how much you stress the device.” While this is a far cry from the two-day life touted by HTC, most reviews note that it should be plenty to get most users through a day without searching for power outlets.
If you’re shopping for an unlocked device, purchasing the HTC 10 direct through HTC will net you a cool perk--12-months of “Uh Oh Protection”. This means you can take your phone on-the-go with the peace of mind of one-time replacement for cracked screens or water damage.
There were, however, a few complaints about the phone. The first being the Wi-Fi strength. Android Police notes, “The 10, in particular, seems to have "death grip" syndrome along the bottom of the device. I can completely lose Wi-Fi connectivity in my bedroom simply by holding the phone tightly in one hand with my thumb along the bottom edge.” While other reviews didn’t get this specific, many noted an obvious problem with range and signal strength.
The other issues mentioned in reviews is the Boomsound Speakers. HTC has always been known for the audio experience offered by their handsets. With the HTC 10, their latest effort appears to have fallen a little short. While most reviews are quick to point out that the speakers aren’t bad, they’re also not the experience many HTC owner’s enjoyed on previous handsets.
One exception to this is for high-end headphones. With a 24-bit DAC and the ability to tune audio profiles for up to three headsets, audiophiles might find a little more to love about the handset once the speakers are out of the picture.
Overall, the reviews ended with a positive note. Though all questioned the pricing of the phone. Android Police called it, “a very good phone - easily the best the company has produced since the original M7.” While most reviews would agree, Alphr provided the best summary of opinions out there, saying, “It’s a great handset, and jumps straight into our league table of the finest smartphones. But, given the strength and popularity of the opposition, HTC may begin to wish it had tried that bit harder to win the all-important price war.”