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HTC 10 review: 2018 is time to move on

Alan Martin Katharine Byrne
30 Jan 2018
HTC 10 display
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
569
inc VAT

The most personalised take on Android yet and a huge improvement on the One M9, but the HTC 10 still has a few minor flaws holding it back

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HTC 10 review: Display

HTC's also made huge leaps forward in improving the quality of its 5.2in display, as the HTC 10 not only has a 2,560x1,440 resolution now (the M9 was only Full HD), but its new Super LCD5 panel is arguably the best LCD screen I've ever seen on an HTC smartphone. While it can't match the rich vibrancy of the One A9's AMOLED display, the HTC 10 still looks stunning thanks to its super-high colour accuracy.

Covering a near-perfect 99.8% of the sRGB colour gamut, images look absolutely superb, exhibiting plenty of deep, natural colours, and its low black level of 0.25cd/m2 also ensures that shadows and darker areas of the screen stay pure and inky. Its contrast ratio of 1,793:1 is also very impressive, so you'll find plenty of detail available on darker shadow areas, too.

HTC 10

Its peak brightness of 449.22cd/m2 is also significantly higher than its LG and Samsung rivals, which both top out at about 350cd/m2. However, both the G5 and S7 have a clever trick of being able to boost their brightness way beyond this in bright sunshine – something the HTC 10 is sadly lacking. Still, I found the HTC 10 was more than legible to look at outdoors, so it's not really a huge disadvantage in the grand scheme of things.

HTC 10 review: Android and HTC Sense

Since its original release, the HTC 10 can be upgraded to Android 7 Nougat for free.

Where the HTC 10 really shines, however, is its deep levels of customisation. HTC's Sense UI is by far my favourite Android skin after plain, vanilla Android, and it was one of the few saving graces on the One M9. However, the HTC 10 goes even further, adding in a whole new type of sticker-based home screen called the Freestyle Layout.

You can still have an ordinary home screen and personalise it with one of HTC's many pre-installed or downloadable themes from the HTC Theme Store if you wish, but the Freestyle Layout lets you create even more bespoke home screens thanks to its free-moving stickers. These can be placed anywhere you like, allowing you to break free from Android's traditional grid-based layout to make something a lot more fun and pictorial.

HTC 10 Sense UI

^ This is one of my favourite Freestyle themes. It takes a while to wrap your head around the new pictures, but it's definitely a lot more fun than traditional Android

App labels can be toggled on and off, too, allowing you to create secret app shortcuts that friends and family wouldn't necessarily know were there just by quickly glancing at the screen – perfect for those embarrassing apps or games you don't want others finding out about.

Admittedly, the Freestyle Layout takes some getting used to, as trying to dislodge well-known app icons from your brain and re-associate them with, in our case, a series of cat stickers takes time to wrap your head round. I'm sure it will become second nature the more I use it, but it's almost like learning an entirely new language – something that might, in fact, put some users off.

HTC 10 Sense UI traditional

^ Alternatively, you can opt for the traditional Sense interface. Whichever one you choose, you'll notice HTC's really cut down on duplicate applications

Luckily, the rest of HTC's Sense Home interface is still present and correct, and its lashings of vanilla Android still persist in the notification tray and main settings menu. However, one thing you will notice is just how streamlined the HTC 10's pre-installed app selection has become. HTC's made a big effort to remove duplicated apps this year, and it's been working with Google to help make sure its Sense UI easier to use and more intuitive than ever before.

For instance, instead of having a separate HTC Gallery app in addition to Google Photos, or the HTC camera as well as the Google Camera app, you'll now just see the HTC Camera and Google Photos app. The only exception is HTC's Mail app, as the company still believes it's better than Google's Gmail app. Still, having fewer apps to deal with is definitely a plus in my book, and it should hopefully make the phone less confusing for those new to the Sense interface. Continues on Page 3


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