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The HTC 10 Smartphone Review

The HTC 10 Smartphone Review – Power Of 10 Revealed!

The HTC 10 is one of the most anticipated smartphones of 2016. With the tagline “Power of 10“, the HTC 10 was designed to be the best smartphone HTC ever made. A smartphone that is truly a perfect 10/10 in their eyes. Let’s find out how true that really is!

Let’s start by checking out the full specifications.

SpecificationsHTC 10
Display5.2" Super LCD 5 display
- 1440 x 2560 resolution (564 ppi)
- curved-edge Gorilla Glass 3 protection
Operating SystemAndroid 6 with HTC Sense
System PlatformQualcomm Snapdragon 820
Processor4 x Qualcomm Kyro cores (2.2 GHz)
Graphics ProcessorQualcomm Adreno 530 GPU
Memory4 GB LPDDR4 memory
Storage32 GB internal flash memory
microSD slot, supports card capacities up to 2 TB
Front Camera5 MP BSI sensor (1.34 µm pixel)
- f/1.8 aperture, 23 mm focal length
- Optical image stabilisation (OIS)
- 1080p video recording
Rear Camera12 MP HTC UltraPixel 2 sensor (1.55 µm pixel)
- f/1.8 aperture, 26 mm focal length
- Optical image stabilisation (OIS)
- Dual-tone LED flash
- 4K video recording with Hi-Res Audio
AudioHTC BoomSound Hi-Fi Edition with Dolby Audio 4
- Hi-Res Audio certified with Hi-Red Audio earphones
- Three microphones with noise cancellation
Network2G : 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 MHz
3G : 850 / 900 / 1900 / 2100 MHz
4G LTE : FDD Band 1, 3, 5, 7, 8, 12, 20, 28, 32; TDD Band 38, 40, 31
- Supports Cat 9 LTE : 450 / 50 Mbps
SIM CapabilitySingle nano SIM slot
Fingerprint SensorYes, integrated with Home button
Other SensorsAmbient light, proximity, motion, compass, gyro, magnetic
GPSGPS + GLONASS + Beidou (Europe & Asia)
ConnectivityWiFi : 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2.4 GHz & 5 GHz)
Bluetooth : Bluetooth 4.2
USB : USB 3.1 Type C
Earphone : 3.5 mm stereo audio jack
Others : NFC, DisplayPort, DLNA, Miracast, Google Cast, AirPlay, HTC Connect
Battery3,000 mAh lithium ion battery
- Talk time on 3G/4G : Up to 27 hours
- Standby time on 3G/4G : Up to 19 days
- Quick Charge 3.0 allows up to 50% charge in 30 minutes
Size71.9 mm wide
145.9 mm tall
3.0 to 9.0 mm thick
Weight161 grams
Available ColoursCarbon Grey / Topaz Gold

The HTC 10 comes in two colour options – Carbon Grey or Topaz Gold. Our review sample is the Carbon Grey version. Let’s check it out!

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Unboxing The HTC 10

The HTC 10 smartphone comes in a unique flat white box with rounded corners. It comes shrink-wrapped with a security sticker on one side. Let’s check out what’s inside!

Inside, you will find the following items :
  • One HTC 10 smartphone
  • One set of HTC Hi-Res Audio-certified earphones, with two sets of replacement earbuds
  • One 15 W HTC quick charger with one Type C USB cable
  • One set of nano SIM guide, warranty & user licence agreement, safety & regulatory guide
  • One set of four labels
  • One HTC SIM card slot extractor

Next Page > The HTC 10 Smartphone, Cameras, Fingerprint Sensor

 

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The HTC 10 Smartphone

The HTC 10 has a large 5.2″ Super LCD 5 display with a resolution of 1440 x 2560. The display is protected by a 2.5D curved-edge Gorilla Glass 3 cover. This is a peculiar choice since similar premium-grade smartphones like the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge use the much tougher and scratch-resistant Gorilla Glass 4.

The full metal chassis is a beauty to behold. Its chamfered edges give it a really futuristic look that feels great in the hand. The matte finish looks great and is easy to maintain, since it’s highly resistant to fingerprint smudges. Take a look for yourself in this hands-on video :

Eschewing the dual SIM, dual standby trend, HTC chose to support only a single nano SIM card. You will find the nano SIM card slot on the right side, just above the Volume control and power button. The card slot on the left is for the microSD slot, that supports microSD cards of up to 2 TB in capacity.

Despite its slim profile, the HTC 10 is actually 9 mm at its thickest. That’s perfectly fine with us since it makes for better handling, and the placement of the earphone port at the top. It also allowed for the inclusion of a large 3,000 mAh lithium-ion polymer battery.

We are very glad to note that the HTC 10 supports the new Type C USB 3.1 connector. That is not only bidirectional, it allows for faster data transfers. We also like the HTC BoomSound HiFi Edition speakers used in the HTC 10, that uses a separate tweeter and woofer design.

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Cameras

The HTC 10 has a 5 MP front camera with f/1.8 lens. It uses a BSI sensor with large 1.34 µm pixels, and is capable of 1080p video recording. To top it off, it even supports optical image stabilisation (OIS)!

For more serious photography, the HTC 10 boasts a 12 MP HTC UltraPixel 2 camera with f/1.8 lens at the back. It uses a BSI sensor with even larger 1.55 µm pixels, supported by a dual-tone LED flash. It also supports optical image stabilisation (OIS), and is capable of 4K video recording with Hi-Res Audio.

We will take a look at its photographic and video recording capabilities later in the review!

 

Fingerprint Sensor

The HTC 10 smartphone comes with fingerprint sensor discreetly integrated into the Home button. It takes 16 presses to register a fingerprint, but once registered, it is very fast and accurate in detecting the fingerprint, irrespective of the aspect.

The HTC 10 fingerprint sensor also serves as a quick login method. Just touch it with a registered finger to instantly unlock the smartphone. This is unlike the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge, which requires you to press the Home or Power button before the fingerprint sensor is activated.

Next Page > Setting Up The HTC 10, It’s Alive!, Available Memory & Storage

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Setting Up The HTC 10 Smartphone

Amazingly, it took the HTC 10 almost 5 minutes to boot up for the first time. It took more than a minute to start-up and then it started optimising its pre-loaded apps for almost 4 minutes. Even at the end of the setup process, it took another 14 seconds to actually finish the process.

Overall, this is probably the longest setup process we have ever encountered in an Android device. In fact, it took longer to setup than the Wise Pad W7 Windows 10 phablet we reviewed recently. Overall, you will need about 15 minutes to setup the HTC 10 smartphone.

 

It’s Alive!

You will forget about the long setup time once it starts up. The Super LCD 5 display is super sharp and bright. It is not as vivid as the Super AMOLED display of the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge, but this is only apparent if you compare them side-by-side. The shadow effect at the top and bottom of the Home screen is partly to blame, making the display look less bright.

The display is protected by Gorilla Glass 3, with a 2.5D curved edge. Thanks to the oleophobic coating on its Gorilla Glass 3 cover, and the matte finish on the metal chassis, the HTC 10 is almost smudge-proof and is therefore very easy to maintain.

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Available Memory & Storage

The HTC 10 comes with 4 GB of LPDDR4 memory. That may seem like overkill, but the Android 6.0.1 operating system and HTC pre-loaded apps take up about 1.3 GB of memory. This leaves you with about 2.4 GB of free memory to use.

The HTC 10 also comes with 32 GB of internal flash storage. This is expandable via a microSD card (up to 2 TB). Fresh out of the box, the HTC 10 has 23.11 GB of free space for you to use, excluding 8.89 GB used by the system files and apps.

Next Page > Camera Performance – Photos & Video Recording

 

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Camera Performance – Photos

The HTC 10‘s UltraPixel 2 camera has a fast f/1.8 lens, which allows it to take good photos in low-light conditions. The photos have a maximum resolution of 4000 x 3000 in the 4:3 format. The photos are about 4 MB in size.

The HTC UltraPixel 2 camera produces photos with good detail resolution and low noise. You can see that detail resolution most noticeably in the texture of the grapefruits and winter melon. Its low noise capability is also very evident in the shadows and the picture of the signs that were taken in low-light.

The only problem we noted was the over-exposure of bright areas. You can see that in the pictures of the elevator and the apples. HTC needs to work on the control of the UltraPixel 2’s exposure.

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Camera Performance – Video Recording

The HTC 10 smartphone is capable of recording 4K UHD videos, as well as 1080p videos. Other than the resolution difference, the HTC 10 supports optical image stabilisation (OIS) and Hi-Res Audio recording in both modes. However, the HTC 10 does not support electronic image stabilisation (EIS).

To test and compare the image and audio quality of the 4K and 1080p videos recorded by the HTC 10 smartphone, we took two examples of two scenes – the street market, and Mr. Yang I-Deun’s piano performances. Check them out!

The HTC 10‘s image quality in both 1080p and 4K resolution was very good, and the image stabilisation was decent. We noted the same overexposure problem with bright areas, like the lit floor underneath Mr. Yang I-Deun’s piano.

What impressed us the most though was the richness of the Hi-Res Audio recording. It literally made the recorded videos much better than even those recorded by the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge. If you purchase the HTC 10, you must definitely enable the Hi-Res Audio option when you record videos.

The only possible downside with the HTC 10‘s videos is that they packed it as a MKV (Matroska Multimedia Container) file. That is not a problem for most users, but it is a big problem for Mac users. You will need a third-party player like VLC player to play it… and a third-party video editor to edit it, because QuickTime Player and iMovie simply won’t read them.

Next Page > Work Performance, Battery Life & Recharging Performance

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Work Performance – PCMark

We tested the HTC 10‘s performance using PCMark, which simulates work applications like web browing, playing video, writing text and editing photos.

HTC 10 Samsung Galaxy A9 Pro honor 5C Samsung Galaxy S7 edge
Work Performance Score
(Average)
6105 5785 5357 4892
Web Browsing 5782 5132 5643 6908
Video Playback 3321 4138 4487 3218
Writing 7463 6286 5944 4629
Photo Editing 9694 8388 5469 5563

The HTC 10 really hit the ball out of the park in work performance. It was the fastest smartphone in this comparison, beating the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge, the Samsung Galaxy A9 Pro, and the honor 5C. It was especially good at the Writing and Photo Editing tests, but did rather poorly in Video Playback.

 

Battery Life – PCMark

We then tested the HTC 10’s battery performance using PCMark. It basically ran the PCMark work tests until its battery capacity dropped to 20%.

Sadly, all that performance sucks up a lot of juice, and it shows. The HTC 10 packs a 3,000 mAh lithium-ion polymer battery, but it barely lasts more than 5.5 hours. That is half the battery life of the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge and honor 5C smartphones, and less than half that of the Samsung Galaxy A9 Pro, with its 5,000 mAh battery.

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Battery Recharging Performance

The good news is the HTC 10 features the Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 capability, courtesy of its Snapdragon 820 SoC. When used with a Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 compatible charger or power bank, it allows the HTC 10 to recharge up to 50% of its battery in just 30 minutes. We check that out with its 15 W quick charger.

Our test showed that the HTC 10 will recharge from 20% to 100% in just 81.5 minutes (1 hour, 21 minutes and 34 seconds)! That is an amazing performance, especially since the battery temperature only peaked at 42°C.

Next Page > Overall & Gaming Performance, Our Verdict & Award

 

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Overall Performance

AnTuTu is a nice benchmark for testing various performance aspects of Android devices.

HTC 10 Samsung Galaxy A9 Pro honor 5C Samsung Galaxy S7 edge
TOTAL SCORE 113813 68184 53417 131246
3D SCORE 50700 18360 9842 40824
– 3D (Marooned) 34778 10739 5795 23336
– 3D (Garden) 15922 7621 4047 17488
UX SCORE 30890 23464 19297 42765
– UX Data Secure 6319 5356 5577 8169
– UX Data Process 3379 3235 2706 5966
– UX Strategy Games 5433 5601 4109 10745
– UX Image Process 9521 6240 3144 13878
– UX I/O Performance 6238 3022 3761 4007
CPU SCORE 21915 19872 19254 37882
– CPU Mathematics 8494 5953 4198 11831
– CPU Common Use 5931 4830 5947 10875
– CPU Multi-Core 7490 9089 9109 15176
RAM 10308 6488 5024 9775

The HTC 10 did well in AnTuTu, coming in only 13.3% slower than the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge, and is roughly twice as fast as the Samsung Galaxy A9 Pro and honor 5C smartphones.

It was particularly strong in the 3D test, particularly the Marooned test, in which it best the Galaxy S7 edge by 50%, and was 3X faster than the Galaxy A9 Pro, and an astounding 6X faster than the honor 5C.

 

Gaming Performance – 3DMark

We tested the HTC 10’s gaming performance using 3DMark, using the Ice Storm Unlimited test.

HTC 10 Samsung Galaxy A9 Pro honor 5C Samsung Galaxy S7 edge
Gaming Score 23171 16989 11560 28650
Graphics 27514 21800 11067 33685
Physics 14925 9585 13698 18810
Graphics Test 1 136.6 fps 120.7 fps 63.4 fps 162.9 fps
Graphics Test 2 106.4 fps 78.0 fps 38.8 fps 133.1 fps
Physics Test 47.4 fps 30.4 fps 43.5 fps 59.7 fps

The HTC 10 is fast in 3DMark, thanks to the fast Qualcomm Adreno 530 GPU. It was just 19% slower than the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge, which features the faster ARM Mali-T880 GPU. The HTC 10 will definitely have no trouble handling any 3D game in the market, even at the full screen resolution of 1440 x 2560.

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Our Verdict & Award

The HTC 10 may not be quite the perfect 10 smartphone that HTC hoped it would be, but it comes pretty darn close. It has a really bright and sharp 5.2″ display, with a sleek full-metal chassis. All that is powered by the really fast Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 with 4 GB of LPDDR4 memory and 32 GB of internal flash memory.

It can handle anything and everything you throw at it and then some. Our benchmarks show that it is the fastest smartphone in our arsenal for work applications, and second-best to the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge in 3D games.

The HTC 10 smartphone also boasts a really good 12 MP UltraPixel 2 main camera. It’s called UltraPixel for a good reason – it uses a sensor with really large pixels. The results are quite impressive – high detail resolution and low noise. The only downside – it has trouble controlling overexposure.

The overexposure problem extended to its video recording performance. But we have to point out that this is one of the few smartphones to record 4K videos without any time limit. What will really blow you away though is the richness of the audio recorded by its video. Thanks to its support of Hi-Res Audio, the recorded audio is truly a head above the competition.

If there is a major flaw with the HTC 10, it would be its relatively short battery life. If you are an avid Pokemon hunter, or take a lot of videos, you would do well to pack a power bank. The good news though is that the HTC 10 recharges extremely fast. You can recharge it from 20% to 100% in just over 81 minutes!

Overall, this is a great come-back effort by HTC, and one worthy of our Reviewer’s Choice Award. Congratulations, HTC!

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