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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: Camera

Another weakness HTC's hoping to address with the HTC 10 is the rear camera. Despite having a 20-megapixel sensor last year, the M9's wonky exposure algorithm meant it was easily one of the worst parts of the entire phone, putting it at a severe disadvantage compared to the LG G4 and Samsung Galaxy S6. Thankfully, this seems to have been improved for the HTC 10, as its 12-megapixel sensor – dubbed the UltraPixel 2 sensor – produced some very respectable shots in our camera tests.

It's certainly got the right tools at its disposal, as it not only has built-in optical image stabilisation, but it also has a wide f/1.8 aperture lens, laser autofocus, the ability to shoot in RAW as well as JPG and huge 1.55um pixels. That's even bigger than the S7's 1.4um pixels, so the HTC 10 should theoretically produce better photos when it comes to challenging low-light photography.

HTC 10 back

Outdoors, the HTC 10 did a great job. Colours were bright and accurate and, more importantly, the exposure levels were just right, as they didn't come out overly dark or oversaturated. It did have a tendency to blow out very bright objects, creating a bit of a misty sheen in the process, but it's still a vast improvement over last year's camera.

HTC 10 camera test

^ The HTC 10 produced excellent shots outdoors, although lighter parts of the frame were a little hazy and blown out at times

HTC 10 camera test HDR mode

^ Thankfully, you can easily correct this by switching on HDR mode

Its indoor performance was good, too, as it captured an excellent level of detail even in low lighting conditions. However, compared to the shots I took on the G5 and S7, the HTC 10 had a noticeable lack of contrast regardless of lighting arrangement, which meant colours looked rather flat as a result. While some might say the G5 and S7 produce overly warm shots, it's certainly preferable to the cooler, greener colour palette of the HTC 10. This is a shame, as its 1/25 sec shutter speeds make it just as fast and reliable as its rivals in low light, but that's not much consolation when its shots are significantly darker and less eye-catching.

HTC 10 camera test indoors

^ The HTC 10 performed well indoors as well, but the resulting images just don't have as much contrast as its rivals, leaving photos looking a bit flat and lifeless as a result

HTC 10 camera test indoors with lamp

^ Even with our external lamp turned on, images looked a bit dark and dingy - a world away from the bright, punchy images I took on the G5 and S7

Still, at least you have plenty of space for your photos, as the HTC 10 comes with 32GB of storage as standard, which can then be expanded via microSD up to 2TB – not that you can buy 2TB microSD cards just yet, but at least it has a bit of futureproofing for when they do finally arrive.

HTC 10 review: Boomsound Hi-Fi Edition

Of course, a new HTC phone wouldn't be complete without new Boomsound speakers, and the HTC 10 is the first smartphone to come with the company's new Boomsound Hi-Fi Edition speakers. Comprised of a miniature tweeter at the top of the phone and a tiny subwoofer at the bottom, it's been specifically designed to mimic a traditional speaker set-up. There's even a separate amplifier for each driver.

It certainly has plenty of volume for such a tiny setup, but it can still sound rather tinny depending on what type of music you play. Instrumental tracks, for instance, didn't do it many favours, particularly when played at high volume, but vocal tracks, such as George Ezra's Blame It on Me, sounded perfectly fine. They're certainly better than a pair of laptop speakers, but you'll probably want to plug in its pair of bundled Hi-Res headphone to get the best experience.

With support for 24-bit Hi-Res audio tracks and Dolby Audio, these comfy earbuds can really add a significant amount of bass to your music. Drum rolls can, admittedly, sound a touch muddy at times, but on the whole it strikes a pleasant balance with the mids and treble. It's easy to turn off if you don't like it, too, as a card automatically appears in the notification tray when you plug in a pair of headphones.

HTC 10 headphones

If that wasn't enough, HTC's also upgrading its HTC Connect streaming service with full native Apple Airplay support, making it even easier to share your music around your home.

HTC 10 review: Verdict

There's no denying that the HTC 10 is a huge improvement on last year's M9. Not only has it improved on all the M9's weaknesses, such as its screen quality, battery life and camera performance, but it's also got all the right looks to go head to head with the Samsung Galaxy S7 and LG G5.

That said, the competition for the best flagship smartphone has never been higher, and the fact that contract prices are all pretty level across the board right now means we really have to split hairs on which smartphone comes out on top. At launch, the HTC 10 was the most expensive handset when buying SIM-free, with prices sitting at £569 (now £480), resulting in the HTC 10's flaws, such as its inferior low light photography and mildly slower CPU performance, enough to knock it into third place overall.

HTC 10

Of course, if you want a phone you can customise down to the nth degree, then the HTC 10 certainly won't disappoint. It definitely has the best version of Android out of all of the 2016 top-end phones, and its new sticker-based Freestyle Layout gives it a lot more personality than any other smartphone currently available. It's also the best-looking handset out of the 'big three', and the bundled Hi-Res headphones are a great added bonus, too - although it's worth noting that most retailers are still bundling in a pair of B&O H3 headphones with the G5 as well.

The HTC 10 is still a great smartphone that gets a lot of things right, but for those after the very best Android can offer, the Galaxy S7 and LG G5 still come out on top. 



Hardware
ProcessorQuad-core 2.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 820
RAM4GB
Screen size5.2in
Screen resolution2,560x1,440
Screen typeSuper LCD 5
Front camera5 megapixels
Rear camera12 megapixels
FlashLED
GPSYes
CompassYes
Storage (free)32GB (23.9GB)
Memory card slot (supplied)microSD
Wi-Fi802.11ac
BluetoothBluetooth 4.2
NFCYes
Wireless data3G, 4G
Size146x72x9.0mm
Weight161g
Features
Operating systemAndroid 6.0.1
Battery size3,000mAh
Buying information
WarrantyOne year RTB
Price SIM-free (inc VAT)£569
Price on contract (inc VAT)Free on £40-per-month contract
Prepay price (inc VAT)N/A
SIM-free supplierhttp://www.carphonewarehouse.com/phones/htc-10
Contract/prepay supplierhttp://www.carphonewarehouse.com/phones/htc-10
Detailswww.htc.com/uk
Part codeHTC 10

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