After months of leaks — some from the usual suspects, others from HTC themselves — the latest One-series flagship is here, except, there’s no ‘One’ in the name. The HTC 10 has been officially announced, and it looks to compete directly spec-wise with the best phones around, and packs its high-end components in to a hefty, solid piece of aluminum.
As has been the case for a few years now, HTC’s most premium device for 2016 is hewn from a solid single piece of aluminum. It has a gently rounded back, to make it comfortable in hand, and features some generously sized polished chamfers on the back edges.
Drilled in to the bottom edge of the device is the USB Type-C connector, the loudspeaker grille and a small microphone hole. As is customary with metal devices, antenna bands run along the back, above the bottom edge, and below the top edge.
While it mostly looks like a high end product, we are left questioning the protruding camera. Surely, in a device this thick, it wasn’t necessary to have the metal ring around the lens stick out this much?
Regardless of how it looks, its performance is claimed to be market leading. The 12MP OIS-equipped f/1.8 UltraPixel camera is without rival according to DXOMark, who claim there is ‘no one above HTC’. The front-facing is just as impressive sounding and has the same number of pixels, and even has OIS built in to rid us of blurry selfies.
Moving on to the all-important specs, and HTC 10 should easily compete with the likes of the LG G5 and Galaxy S7 series phones. It’s equipped with a 5.2-inch Quad HD SuperLCD5 display with a pixel density of 546ppi, and is powered by a Snapdragon 820 processor and 4GB RAM. Its 32GB internal storage is expandable via Micro SD card all the way up to 200GB, but will be compatible with 1TB cards in future.
Moving on to the all important battery, HTC claims the built-in non-removable 3,000mAh cell can handle up to two days of use before needing to be recharged. When it does eventually deplete, you’ll be able to charge it back up again really quickly thanks to USB Type-C and Quick-Charge 3.0 support.
In past years, BoomSound has been a big selling point of the HTC One series flagships. While the branding has remained, the equal stereo front-facing speakers are no longer there. The manufacturer went with a ‘home’ button with a built-in fingerprint sensor on the front and went with a new, intriguing audio technology.
Like the Huawei P9 Plus, the ’10’ uses a speaker under the earpiece grille for higher frequencies, acting as a tweeter of sorts, while the bottom firing speaker acts as a sort-of woofer. The idea here is to give a more balanced audio with stereo effect. As well as that, the phone supports DAC/Hi-Res audio output and is the first smartphone to include Hi-Res 24 bit audio recording.
While BlinkFeed still remains, HTC has decided to opt for less bloatware with its latest phone. You won’t find HTC Audio or Zoe, instead, you’ll find Google’s Photos and Music apps pre-installed on to the Marshmmallow-based OS with Sense UI 8 on top.
The phone goes on sale next month and will be available in silver and carbon gray, and there’s a brand new DOT View-style case called the ICE View case to go along with it, which is completely transparent.
While there’s nothing wrong with the HTC 10, we can’t help but feel it doesn’t offer quite enough to get the company out of its current slump. It didn’t just need to compete with, or match, the likes of the S7, it needed something unique. It needed something new and innovative to set it apart. On first looks, it doesn’t seem to have that.