HTC 10 not a perfect 10 — but close
A model poses for photographs with HTC 10, an Android-based smartphone during its launch event in Taitung, Taiwan April 12, 2016. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu
Bell: $349.99 (two-year plan), $899.99 (no contract)
HTC Canada: $999.99 (unloccked)
Simplification is the key word when it comes to the HTC latest flagship smartphone. Called the HTC 10, dispensing with the company's annoying HTC One branding, which basically named every phone the same thing, and has a cleaner look than its predecessors.
Running Android 6.0 (Marshmallow) with the HTC Sense GUI, the company has pared down the number of its own apps that come preloaded on the device. It has especially eliminated apps that duplicate the functionality of Google ones. For example, it has removed the HTC Internet browser in favour of Chrome. This reduces the amount of bloatware on the device and provides a cleaner interface to navigate.
The HTC 10 does include its own app manager, called Boost+, which offers great control over the device. You can stop/disable programs to boost battery life, clear the memory cache and clear away junk files all in one place.
Boost+ also lets you put a security lock on individual apps, so you are required to draw a pattern on the screen every time you want to access them. This is in addition to the standard screen lock (PIN, pattern, fingerprints or alphanumeric password) you find on most smartphones.
The phone is very responsive. Like the recently released LG G5, the HTC 10 uses a quad-core 64-bit Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor with a clockspeed of 2.2 GHz.
Its unibody design (145.99 mm x 17.9 mm x 9.09 mm) features a curved aluminum back and full Gorilla Glass front. The 164-gram phone fits comfortably in the hand but the smooth back is a little slippery so you would most likely want to purchasing a case for it. The HTC 10 has 4 GB of RAM and 32 GB of internal storage, with a microSD slot that allows for another 2 TB of space.
AUDIO AND VIDEO
The HTC 10's 5.2-inch quad HD (2,560x1,440-pixel) Super LCD 5 display provides a beautiful, bright experience. Images and video look vibrant and the animations are smooth.
The phone uses HTC BoomSound stereo speakers — one on the front and another on the back — featuring 24-bit high-resolution sound. They provide a rich, full sound for music, videos and other content.
You can also create unique audio profiles tailored to your own hearing and the headset you're wearing. To do so you listen to a series of tones played in each ear to pick the volume level where you first start to hear them. It's a little time-consuming but it does seem to provide a better listening experience.
HTC has really stepped up its game when it comes to photos. While personally, I didn't have a major problem with the HTC One (M9) rear camera, it was much maligned by other reviewers, especially regarding its performance in low-light situations. But the HTC 10's main camera is much better in all respects.
It uses an UltraPixel sensor — a technology that uses larger, but fewer, pixels than competitors' smartphone cameras. These larger pixels absorb more light to supposedly create superior images but HTC's previous smartphones' cameras, such as the HTC One (M8)'s 4.0 MP one, didn't always do well in darker settings. So HTC split the difference. It shrunk the pixel size from 2 micrometres to 1.55 micrometres, to allow for a 12 MP sensor.
The result is quite impressive. Its f/1.8 lens uses both laser autofocus and optical image stabilization (to reduce blurring) which offers photos that are at least as crisp and vibrant, if not more so, than the other top smartphones on the market. The camera also offers a burst mode to let you take a batch of photos at once.
The HTC 10 can also record 4K video with 24-bit high-resolution audio, providing a comparatively rich, clean sound. However, like with most smartphone cameras, it will pick up more background noise than you might like
In low-light conditions, The HTC 10 takes decent photos. The photos aren't particularly grainy and generally have the right colour balance.
The front-facing 5 MP camera also features optical image stabilization so your selfies will be less blurry. It also shoots 1080p video.
The HTC 10 has a large 3,000 mAh battery which offers up to two days of battery life. It uses USB Type-C and comes with a quick charger.