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Smartphones

Smartphone review: HTC 10 puts plenty of features into a well-designed package

Easy to pick up and comfortable to hold, the metal-bodied HTC 10 has powerful cameras with image stabilisation and manual control

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 26 June, 2016, 12:00pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 26 June, 2016, 12:00pm

I wish more Android phones were built like the HTC 10. I’ve tried a few of the flagship competitors – including the Samsung Galaxy S7 and the LG G5 – but I think the HTC 10 has the best design and feel.

The HTC flagship phones have had a metal body since their introduction, and they’ve given the 10 a new design with a few nice touches to make it stand out.

But if I’ve come to learn one thing about buying a phone, what’s inside is more important than the design. Inside, the HTC 10 can compete with the big boys, but is it enough to sway your buying decision?

Design and hardware

These days a flagship phone is lucky to have a feature or three that stands out from the crowd. The design has evolved to be curvier and the added bevels allow for a more refined design that’s easy to pick up and comfortable to hold.

The buttons are all on the right side of the body with a rocker button for volume above a sleep/wake button that’s serrated like the edge of a coin to make it easy for your finger to find without looking.

The headphone jack is centred on the top edge while the bottom houses a speaker and a USB 3.1 Type-C port for charging and synchronising.

I’m glad HTC went with USB-C, which is faster and easier to use than microUSB. It does mean you’ll be buying new charging cables and docks, but I think USB-C will be the new standard in a year.

Camera

The HTC 10 has one of the best cameras I’ve found on a phone. The main (rear) camera has a 12-megapixel sensor made up of “UltraPixels”, which is a fancy word for bigger pixels. Bigger pixels can collect more light, making for better images in low light.

The camera has an f/1.8 lens with laser-assisted focus, and the camera app launches in less than one second. The 5-megapixel selfie camera also has an f/1.8 wide-angle lens with built-in screen flash.

Both the front and rear cameras have optical image stabilisation, which is an industry first.

Professional photographers will be happy to hear the HTC 10 has manual controls and can capture photos in RAW format. The 10 also can capture 4K video with 24-bit hi-res audio from the main camera, while the selfie camera can capture 1080p HD video.

Battery life

HTC says the 10’s battery should last two days, which is pretty accurate, although making it to the end of the second day with a live phone means you probably aren’t streaming too much video.

The 10 is equipped with Qualcomm’s QuickCharge 3, which means the battery will charge from zero to 50 per cent in just 30 minutes. A full charge takes 90 minutes. These speeds are achieved with the included fast charger.

Conclusion

I’m conflicted about the HTC 10. I love the build and I love the features. The metal body is as sturdy as it gets, and the processor is fast. It has the storage, RAM and video processing power to run any game you’ll want to play. The screen is vivid and responsive.

I wonder why it’s not more popular. What do the Galaxy phones have that the HTC lacks? The HTC 10 is near the top of the Android phone list for me. It’s a bit thicker than the Galaxy S7 Edge (my current Android pick), so that’s a consideration if you have smaller hands.

If audio factors into the decision, the 10 is a clear winner.

Key specs

Dimensions: 5.7 inches x 2.8 inches x 0.35 inches

Weight: 161 grams

Screen size: 5.2-inch display

Screen resolution: 2,560 x 1,440 with a pixel density of 564 pixels per inch

Battery: 3,000 mAh non-removable battery

OS: Android 6.0.1 (Marshmallow)

Cameras: 12-megapixel sensor made up of “UltraPixels”

CPU: 2.2 GHz Snapdragon 820

Memory: 4GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage, with microSD slot

Colours: grey, silver and gold

Price: HK$5,698