The HTC 10 has been unveiled. As with all its predecessors, it looks to be a fantastic device on paper. Beautiful, powerful, fast, and with a minimalist user interface.
For a change, instead of going through every tiny hardware-related detail, let’s cover what’s changed with this year’s HTC 10.
HTC seems to have come through again with a truly stunning device. More-simplistic than previous versions, the clean-cut chamfered edges present an almost futuristic quality to the metal design, and the antenna lines that had been so prominent on previous versions have been significantly cut back.
Around the back we’ve returned to the subtle, round camera, as opposed to the bulky square black piece of plastic we had surrounding the M9's shooter.
Happily, the chin has been trimmed down somewhat. Since the M7, HTC’s flagships have been plagued with a big black bar, which seemed to accomplish nothing but house the HTC logo in some cases. This time around, the bottom is still black, but it doesn’t appear to be any bigger than it needs to be.
This is probably in part because the implementation of the BoomSound speaker system has been changed, but more on that later. For now, we can accept that the HTC 10 doesn’t look like it’s any taller than it needs to be.
BoomSound speakers no longer dual front-facing
With the new design, there is a tweeter up the top to handle the higher sounds, and a mini subwoofer at the bottom, which faces downwards. This setup supposedly gives clearer, louder sound than any previous phone.
The 5.2 inch 2560 x 1440 display has been upgraded to LCD5 for better colour and viewing angles. No other changes.
Rear camera trimmed back to 12 “Ultrapixels” (UP)
The 20MP camera on last year’s M9 was an abysmal over-reaction to the unpopular 4UP shooters on the M8 and M7. Unfortunately, 20MP was more than HTC could handle, and the M9’s camera was the worst in its price range. This time around, a 12MP (or “Ultrapixel”) shooter sounds promising, as that’s the same number of pixels on the iPhone 6s range, as well as the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge. On top of that, it has optical image stabilisation (OIS), which should make shots come out clearer, and help hugely with night shots.
Front camera is 5MP with OIS
Last year’s ‘selfie’ camera was 5MP and it was great, but this time we have OIS for better night shots, and less fuzziness if you’re in the midst of rambunctious activities.
The HTC 10 uses the USB-C standard for its cable. This is a reversible plug, that has the capability of charging faster, and, in the future, supporting USB 3.0 for faster data transfer.
It seems like the 10 only has USB 2.0, but at least it’ll be easier to plug in in the dark. The downside is none of your old cables will fit.
32GB storage, microSD for expansion
Located on the left-hands side, HTC continues to offer microSD for expanding storage. Even better, the HTC 10 will support Android’s upcoming Adoptable Storage system, which means your microSD card will act as a full extension of your storage, and not place any restrictions on what type of apps or information it can hold.
Fingerprint home button, capacitive keys
HTC has returned to capacitive keys situated either side of a home button with built-in fingerprint scanner. This is the same setup found on the Galaxy S7, and is a good move.
Snapdragon 820 and 4GB of RAM, for those that care about this sort of thing. If you don’t, rest assured that these are very powerful figures, and should translate in to a smooth and fast user experience.
The battery is 3000mAh, which, like the CPU and RAM, matches the Galaxy S7 pretty much exactly, and should provide you with a full day's charge.
The HTC 10, likes its predecessors, is a gorgeous phone that, on paper, looks like it can absolutely compete with the best of them.
However, also like those that came before, the real test is going to be its camera quality. This has consistently been the one and only reason you'd consider something like a Samsung or LG phone over HTC's offering, and has actually become a worsening problem as the years have gone on.
If HTC has finally managed to tack a great shooter on to its flagship, then the HTC 10 has a chance of being one of the best, if not the best phone due out this year.