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HTC 10 review: Iconic, impressive, imperfect

HTC 10
(Image: © Alex Dobie / Android Central)

The quick take

After a disappointing couple of release cycles, HTC's 2016 flagship is a confident return to form, and a reason for high-end buyers to start paying attention to the company once again. This impressive all-rounder gets a lot of important things right — performance, build quality and, for the most part, the camera. And although it's trumped by the Galaxy S7 in some key metrics, the HTC 10 is arguably the closest competitor Samsung has right now.

The Good

  • Well-built aluminum unibody
  • Fast performance and clean, uncluttered UI
  • Impressive audio features
  • Capable all-round camera

The Bad

  • Display not great in sunlight
  • Camera focusing can be finicky, particularly in macro
  • Battery life inconsistent, sometimes wildly so
  • Expensive SIM-free price

A return to glory?

HTC 10 Full Review

It's easy to write off HTC. With its declining market share and shrinking revenue, it's been some time since it was a major force in the mobile world. Today, the Taiwanese firm is outspent by Samsung and Apple, and increasingly outmaneuvered by leaner upstarts. It's a small fish in a very big pond.

Nevertheless, HTC's strong history in design has left many of us with fond memories of the company's storied back catalog. Phones like the spectacularly ahead-of-its-time HTC One M7, and the beautiful and unique One S, and even the landmark Nexus One stand out as some of the best handsets of their time.

HTC needs a hit now more than ever.

However it's been a good couple of years since the last real trailblazer from HTC, and competing in the the cut-throat phone market of 2016 demands more than just nostalgia. With diminished resources and brand value, HTC needs a hit now more than ever before.

HTC 10 is what's hoped will fuel the recovery: A new, simpler brand backed up by a marketing message promising nothing less than perfection across the board. Sure, some of the key ingredients will be familiar to HTC alumni — BoomSound audio, metal construction and an "Ultrapixel" camera. But can a modern interpretation of these tentpole HTC features make a big enough splash — especially when it's got to go up against the almighty Galaxy S7?

Let's find out.

  • 5.2-inch Quad HD
  • SuperLCD5 Display
  • 2560x1440 resolution (564ppi)
  • 12MP Ultrapixel 2, ƒ/1.8 lens, OIS, laser AF
  • 5MP Ultraselfie front camera, ƒ/1.8 lens, OIS
  • 3000mAh capacity
  • Quick Charge 3.0
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor
  • Quad-core 2.2GHz
  • 4GB RAM
  • 32-64GB internal storage
  • microSD slot with adoptable storage

About this review

We're publishing this review after a week with an unlocked European HTC 10 (model 2PS6200 / M10h) on the EE and Vodafone networks in the UK. We've been using the phone in Manchester and London, UK, in areas with generally good 4G LTE coverage. Our device has been running software version 1.21.401.4, and it's been paired with a Moto 360 (2015) smartwatch during most of our testing. Security patch levels aren't shown in the menus, however the AIDA64 app shows that it's got the March 1, 2016, patch.

Our review unit is the "carbon gray" color option with 32GB of storage, and we've used it with a 64GB microSD card for photo storage and Google Play Music download cache.

We've also been using an unlocked North American model for two weeks now, in New York City and Pensacola, Fla. We've not seen any noticeable differences between them, and the vast majority of this review is based on our European device.

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HTC 10 Video Review

HTC 10

Metal to the max

HTC 10 Hardware

The HTC 10 represents a return to the manufacturer's design roots. An aluminum unibody with familiar angles and curves, accented by a deep chamfer circling the back, make up a modern interpretation of a classic smartphone design. Aside from the prominent branding on the back, there's a ton of HTC design DNA here. Everything from the contrast between the lustrous machined trim and the softer matte back, to the trademark antenna bands, is pure HTC.

A modern interpretation of a classic smartphone design — An M7 on steroids.

Veterans of the brand might recognize it as a refined, souped-up version of the company's past few flagships. Essentially, it has the look of an M7 on steroids.

It's also HTC's most ergonomic and easy-to-hold phone in recent years, and all without sacrificing the premium design elements we've come to expect. The curved back is a comfortable fit for the hand, while that enormous chamfer — combined with the flat, angled side walls — ensures a steady grip.

The HTC 10 isn't the thinnest or lightest handset you'll come across. (Nor, with an enormous metal enclosure, would you expect it to be.) That's not a bad thing — it's easy to overstate the value of both properties. What's more important is a phone which feels sturdy and well-built, and that's exactly what's conveyed by the HTC 10's somewhat chunky unibody and clean, uncluttered glass front. Its overall vibe is more industrial than the sleek, glassy Samsung Galaxy S7, but there's nothing at all wrong with that.

The rear chamfer shimmers as the HTC 10 rotates through light.

The main decorative feature — that oversized chamfer — may be a little polarizing. But there's no denying it gives the HTC 10 a necessary visual differentiator in an incredibly crowded field. And when combined with the darker antenna band in the carbon gray model we've been using, it works. On the gold and silver models, it's more pronounced — the chamfer is far more reflective, and makes the phone appear to shimmer as it tilts through different angles of light.

HTC 10

The HTC 10's rear camera — a 12-megapixel "Ultrapixel 2" shooter which we'll discuss in greater detail later — protrudes ever so slightly through the metal back, but not enough to cause any real issues in day-to-day use. (In fact, the slight camera bump means the phone doesn't wobble quite so much when placed on a flat surface.)

Up top, that extravagant metal design is broken up by two engineering necessities — a 3.5mm headphone jack, and a plastic section for antenna reception. It's easy to ignore on the dark gray model, but stands out a little more in the gold and silver versions.

Meanwhile, you're looking at a fairly standard port and button arrangement — a textured power key and smooth volume rocker on the right edge, below the nano-SIM slot, and a microSD tray over on the left. Down below you'll find a USB Type-C cable (supporting USB 3.1 Gen1, which means faster data transfer speeds) alongside one of the HTC 10's two loudspeakers.

HTC once again brings some serious audio credentials to the table.

Unlike its past few flagships, HTC's latest does away with the front-facing stereo speakers that had become a staple of the "M" series. Instead there's a new "BoomSound Hi-Fi" setup consisting of one front-facing tweeter (in the earpiece) and a bottom-facing woofer, each with its own amp, and Dolby lending its expertise on the processing end. Although it functions differently from earlier BoomSound implementations, the results are still impressive — powerful bass, and more volume than you're likely to ever need without any noticeable loss in clarity.

HTC 10

There is one trade-off, however. Because you've got one speaker facing towards you and another pointing downwards, the HTC 10's output is prone to more distortion when holding the phone in-hand, mainly due to the woofer being so close to your palm or index finger. The effect is less noticeable if the phone is lying flat — as it may well be if you're playing music.

Of course the phone's built-in speakers aren't your only option for music playback. HTC has some serious power behind its headphone port too, with a dedicated amp capable of delivering an output level of 1V, according to the company's own numbers. And using wired studio headphones, the difference is clear: HTC's pushing more power than Android rivals like the Galaxy S7.

The company is also keen to highlight the HTC 10's status as a high-definition audio certified device, with support for 24-bit audio and HD audio earphones bundled in the box in some countries. (Not including the United States, unfortunately.) It' s a neat addition sure to appeal to audiophiles, if not those of us mainly playing compressed music from streaming services.

Nevertheless, phone audio is important — it's where many of us listen to music the most. So it's great to see HTC continuing to pay close attention to audio hardware, even though the days of front-facing speakers seem to have passed.

HTC 10

The display is equally important, of course. It's a 5.2-inch SuperLCD5 panel at Quad HD resolution, just as we'd expect from a modern Android flagship. Generally speaking it's a good-looking screen, with vivid colors and ample brightness without appearing excessively over-saturated. (There's an optional sRGB mode in Display Settings for colorspace purists.) Off-angle visibility is decent too, with only slight color shifting noticeable on our unit at wider angles.

Sadly, wonky auto-brightness and less than spectacular sunlight visibility conspire to make the HTC 10 a little challenging to use in brighter conditions. Like a handful of other phones, including most of Samsung's high-profile models, the HTC 10 has a display overdrive mode that over-brightens the screen when very bright ambient light is detected. The problem is this doesn't kick in anywhere near as consistently as we'd like to see. Furthermore, the 10's screen appears more reflective than Samsung's latest round of SuperAMOLEDs, so it's hobbled from the outset.

HTC 10

It's possible some of these nagging issues with auto-brightness will be addressed in a software update. Even so, the HTC 10 is clearly a step behind the Galaxy S7 and iPhone 6s in outdoor visibility.

But there's more going on around the front than just the screen. The HTC 10 has a unique new button arrangement built around the capacitive fingerprint scanner, which doubles as your home key. On either side you've got capacitive back and recent apps keys which illuminate, Samsung-style, for a couple of seconds when pressed.

In fact the similarity to Samsung's way of doing things makes the HTC button setup particularly vexing if you're coming from a Galaxy phone, as the button order is reversed. It's not a huge thing, but it's definitely a thing.

HTC nails it once again, with an excellent fingerprint security setup.

The fingerprint scanner itself is among the best we've used on an Android phone. Setup is quick and painless, as is using your fingerprint to instantly power on and unlock the phone. Apple's Touch ID is faster, sure. But we're talking tiny fractions of a second here. We've also noticed fewer fingerprint-related failures in day-to-day use on the HTC 10, compared to Samsung's sensor on the GS7.

Powering this whole assembly is a collection of parts fit for any high-end smartphone. Qualcomm's latest Snapdragon 820 chip lurks within, paired with a hefty 4GB of RAM and 32 or 64GB of storage, with microSD expandability. Unlike many rivals, HTC supports Android 6.0's Adoptable Storage (also known as Flex Storage), letting you directly tag your SD storage onto your internal memory and use it for just about anything. (It's possible to find apps that can't save to it, but that's the exception, not the rule.)

Rounding off the spec sheet. there's a 3,000mAh fixed internal battery, along with support for Qualcomm QuickCharge 3.0. Unsurprisingly, the HTC 10 also appears to be backwards compatible with QuickCharge 2 in the handful of older chargers we tried.

As a whole then, the HTC 10 is an impressive hardware package — the latest 2016 internals brought together in a beautiful unibody enclosure, with a high-end audio setup, a decent screen and convenient fingerprint security.

Meet the Ice View case

The HTC One M8 in 2014 brought us the Dot View case, the neat dot-matrix flip cover that showed you the time, missed calls, weather and other info through a low-res grid of dots on the front cover.

With the HTC 10, we're introduced to the successor to Dot View — a higher-res interpretation of the same idea, dubbed Ice View.

Read our introduction to the HTC 10's Ice View case

HTC 10

Googley Sense

HTC 10 Software

Of all the numerous flavors of Android, HTC has generally presented some of the most coherent UI concepts atop Google's OS. HTC Sense has been unique yet attractive, with meaningful changes, and not completely removed from Google's vision of Android.

Then in late 2015, the HTC One A9 pared things back dramatically with a new Sense version — 7.0 G — that included many stock Android elements and design cues in place of HTC's.

Now on the HTC 10, we've got Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow and an all-new version of HTC Sense. The Sense software on HTC 10 doesn't actually have a version number — at least you won't find one in the Settings app. Instead it's advertised as simply "Android with HTC Sense." And that's a reflection of what Sense has become in 2016 — a collection of differentiated apps, UI tweaks, under-the-hood optimizations and standout features that complement the Android OS without completely redesigning it.

A 50-50 mix of Google and HTC apps, but a very Googley visual style in the most pared-back HTC Sense yet.

Through a close partnership with Google, HTC has reduced the number of duplicative apps bundled on its new flagship, using its own apps in cases where it makes sense, and in others ditching these offerings in favor of Google's. So you've got HTC's Sense Home with BlinkFeed, but the Google Calendar app. Sense Dialer, Google Photos — and so on. The overall app mix is about 50 percent Google and 50 percent HTC, but because HTC's software has adopted a Material Design look and feel, Sense manages to avoid looking like two systems haphazardly tacked together.

When it comes to the overall look and feel, the HTC 10 is way closer to vanilla Android than what HTC One M7 and M8 owners might remember as Sense on their phones. Key elements like the notification tray, quick settings and the Settings app match the "Nexus" software experience almost identically, while the color scheme of the default Sense theme also mirrors that of vanilla Android.

HTC Sense

As vanilla as Sense now is, HTC's comprehensive theming engine remains in place, giving HTC 10 owners endless possibilities for customization of colors, wallpapers, fonts and sound effects. And new in the latest version of Sense, Freestyle mode is a wacky home screen layout that lets you replace traditional icons with stickers, and make your home screens an interactive scene where tapping stickers opens your favorite apps. Being increasingly old and boring, we played around in Freestyle mode for just a few minutes before retreating to the familiar territory of our grid of icons.

BlinkFeed, HTC's social and news reader, once again gives you a scrolling panel for Twitter updates (but oddly not the preloaded Facebook or Instagram — they need a separate social plugin) and news stories. And the service continues in a similar vein to what we first saw on the One A9, with more prominence given to the News Republic brand. BlinkFeed news stories display in the News Republic app, and customization is handled through that system as well. This means HTC doesn't need to update this component itself, but with notification nags and account sign-in pop-ups, it's a definite step back in terms of user experience. (Either way, BlinkFeed is easy to turn off if it's not your cup of tea.)

HTC has ton of software audio enhancements — with one odd omission.

HTC's focus on audio extends into its software, too. When playing stuff through the built-in speakers, you'll be able to choose between music mode and theater mode, which tweaks the EQ levels for different types of content. And when you're connected to headphones you'll have four options to choose from depending on the type of headset. Only problem is everything except "Other," the generic option for all headphones, sounded weirdly muffled to our ears, regardless of which headphones we were using.

Annoyingly, these "BoomSound" software enhancements conjure up a persistent notification whenever any audio or video is playing — including silent videos in Instagram and Twitter. What's more, the notification pops up even if all BoomSound enhancements are turned off, which is mildly irritating.

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HTC's sound setup also includes the ability to make audio profiles that tune the phone's output to individual listeners or different audio hardware. This is done either by listening to a series of tones and answering questions, or by telling the software a few things about you (for example how old you are, what kind of music you listen to.) For us, the result was slightly louder output, with a bit more oomph given to the low end.

Audio profiles

For all the HTC 10's audio tweaks and preset modes, the one thing that's missing is a dedicated software equalizer for setting your own levels. It's easy enough to download one from Google Play, but for a phone with such a musical focus, it's an odd omission.

Another software oddity is the "Boost+" app preloaded on the HTC 10, an application which does a handful of useful things — like letting you lock away sensitive apps behind fingerprint security, or tweak games' performance for better battery life. It can also help clear up "junk" files like old downloads and cached stuff.

Boost+ does some useful things, but randomly clearing apps out of memory isn't one of them.

But strangely, Boost+ also, by default, sits in the background clearing apps out of memory periodically. It's not clear why this is necessary — Android's memory management is pretty good, and in the Linux world free RAM is mostly considered wasted RAM. The only real upside: We didn't notice any performance difference either way with "Auto Boost" either on or off. So at least it didn't appear to be doing any harm.

HTC 10 boost plus

Not that the Sense of 2016 needs any help being smooth and responsive. As you might expect, HTC's software absolutely flies, and we experienced no instances of stuttering, animation lag or performance bottlenecks anywhere during our time with the HTC 10. Part of that's surely due to the sheer hardware muscle of current high-end phones, but the manufacturer also claims it's fine-tuned things under the hood for maximum performance. Given its track record in eking smooth, responsive performance out of less than stellar hardware (like the One A9), we have no reason to doubt it. But it's arguable that we're reaching the point of diminishing returns in smartphone smoothness and performance. Though for sure it's blazing fast, I can't say the HTC 10 felt noticeably quicker than either the Nexus 6P or Samsung Galaxy S7.

Overall, HTC has employed a lighter touch than ever in its software customizations, and the result is an experience we think will please Android purists and HTC fans alike. It's fast, it looks good, and the feature set, though not extravagant, brings enough unique stuff to the table to add real value.

A handful of related software bits:

  • HTC's Motion Launch has grown a couple of new useful features, the most helpful of which is a double-swipe down on the screen when asleep to jump straight into the camera app.
  • HTC Connect — the feature which lets you swipe up with three fingers to stream content to other devices — now supports AirPlay. In fact, the feature has already rolled out to older HTC phones through an app update.
  • The setup wizard on our European HTC 10 gave us the option to install a selection of stuff from a list of "popular" apps. Ostensibly that's a useful feature that saves you time poking around the Play Store later. But some of the apps on offer here toed dangerously close to bloatware territory. (Money had obviously changed hands to get stuff on this list.)
  • The unlocked HTC 10 we reviewed works with EE's Wi-Fi calling in the UK, however we were unable to get Vodafone's Wi-Fi calling to work on the device. As Vodafone isn't planning on ranging the HTC 10, it's unclear whether there'll be any official solution here. We also used Wi-Fi calling on T-Mobile in the U.S.
  • When it does work, Wi-Fi calling dumps an unsightly persistent notification in your notification tray, which is less than ideal.

HTC 10 camera

Ultrapixels and Ultraselfies

HTC 10 Cameras

If there's one area in which recent HTC phones have thoroughly disappointed, it's photography. Through a combination of hardware misadventure and lack of competent software tuning, the M7, M8 and M9 were pretty sub-par cameras compared to their competition.

Forget all that. HTC finally — finally — has a good camera.

It starts with an impressive collection of specs. The HTC 10's rear shooter is a 12-megapixel "Ultrapixel 2" setup, with the Ultrapixel brand referring to larger pixels on the sensor. HTC's camera setup has 1.55-micron pixels (like the Nexus 6P), letting each tiny dot take in more light than traditional smartphone cameras, which tend to measure around the 1.1-micron mark. HTC's paired that beefy sensor with an f/1.8 lens, optical image stabilization (OIS) dual-tone flash and a laser autofocus unit. On paper, then, you couldn't ask for much more out of a high-end smartphone camera.

Update May 4, 2016: Right around the time of the phone's release HTC put out a firmware update that (in addition to other things) tweaked the camera a good bit. You can see new samples and read our updated impressions here.

HTC 10 camera

Around the front, Ultrapixel morphs into Ultraselfie, with a new optically-stabilized 5-megapixel front facer — the first selfie camera we're aware of with OIS. It's got smaller pixels than the M9's Ultrapixel front-facer (1.34 microns versus 2.0), but the addition of OIS and a higher overall resolution tilts the balance in favor of the HTC 10.

HTC's Ultrapixel 2 camera is unfazed by most lighting conditions, be they bright, backlit pics or night scenes lit by streetlights.

Technology is one thing, but it doesn't guarantee you'll be able to take great pictures. Fortunately, HTC has mostly nailed it with its new flagship's camera. It's quick to launch, lightning-fast to capture and reasonably speedy to focus. Crucially, it exhibits none of the metering and exposure weirdness we've seen from earlier HTC cameras. With its large pixels and optical stabilization, the HTC 10 is unfazed by darker conditions, and we've been able to get some great-looking night shots out of the phone — with one or two caveats.

The HTC 10 is pretty trigger-happy with its ISO levels in darker shots. Compared to major rival Samsung's Galaxy S7, the HTC 10 tends to crank up sensitivity levels to ensure a steady shot in low light, as opposed to leaning on its OIS and opening the shutter for a little longer. This results in some visible chroma noise in darker shots — although HTC's camera routinely captured more realistic colors in night shots than the GS7, which gives things a yellowish tint.

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Photos from the HTC 10 generally have true-to-life, realistic colors. HTC's photos appear a little less punchy than Samsung and LG's more saturated output, but look great in their own right. At the same time, it's clear HTC isn't sharpening its images as aggressively as its chief Android rivals, leading to pics that appear a little softer when viewed up close. On the flip side, we sometimes noticed areas of fine detail being mushed out by HTC's noise canceling and HDR algorithms, an issue that's less apparent with the competition.

Dependable in most conditions — but HTC's software occasionally stumbles in macro mode.

But the main point of contention has to do with macro shots, where HTC's software can get a bit confused. Despite the use of laser-assisted autofocus, the HTC 10 takes noticeably longer to focus on close subjects than competitors, sometimes failing to focus entirely. And on multiple occasions the phone told us the laser was being blocked when trying to take macro shots. All of these small frustrations combine to make a camera that's just a little bit wonky when it comes to snapping food pictures, flowers or other shots where the camera is close to its subject. Hopefully some of this can be ironed out through future software updates.

Tapping the screen to focus doesn't set the exposure level, either. The phone instead uses the entire screen to figure that out, and that can be frustrating if you're trying to highlight something in the foreground, with light coming from behind the subject. While that'll keep you from blowing out what's behind, it also means what's in front may be darker than you want.

Like most Android flagships, the HTC 10 can shoot video at up to 4K resolution, with a time limit attached: in this case, 6 minutes per clip. There's no such limit when shooting at 1080p, which is the default for the video camera.

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OIS, 4K resolution plus high-definition audio makes for an impressive video camera.

Overall, the HTC 10 shoots great-looking video with similar characteristics to its still camera — realistic colors without oversaturation, and a little focus hunting in scenes with lots of movement. Optical stabilization kicks in to make camera movement smooth and shake-free, even when walking with the device in one hand. The phone's impressive mics, combined with optional high-res audio capabilities, are able to capture a wide range of sounds in louder conditions like concerts or noisy bars.

As for the front camera, HTC's new stabilized selfie shooter mostly lives up to the hype. In all but extremely dark conditions, it's able to pick out your mug and successfully focus in on it. And when it is darker, the phone can overdrive the screen's brightness briefly to act as a makeshift flash. If we were to nitpick, we'd point out that the front camera's focus seemed a little soft in places. On the whole, however, we have no major complaints.

HTC has also overhauled its camera app, finally including single-tap shortcut keys for flash and HDR. And there's now an Auto HDR mode — on by default —which does a great job of automatically detecting shots with bright and dark areas. Just about everything else is tucked away slide-out menu over on the left — features like Panorama, Pro mode, which includes RAW capture, and Zoe shot, a combination of burst shots and a few seconds of video. HTC's camera app also boasts slow-motion video, as well as a built-in Hyperlapse mode for stabilized time-lapse video, both at 720p. And there's a regular old "settings" menu tucked away in there too, which is a bit of a rat's nest. Fortunately there's nothing crucial buried back there.

A big change (and part of this new Google-HTC relationship) is that Google Photos is used as the gallery app. It's a fully functional gallery app, but it can get a bit busy and confusing, especially if you're importing photos from other sources into Google Photos. If you just have to use HTC's gallery app, it's available in Google Play. Or you're certainly free to use any other gallery app.

One thing we'd like to see is a faster quick shortcut for launching the camera app when the display is off. It's possible to double-swipe down on the screen to open the camera, but this isn't as quick as the double-tap shortcuts we've seen on other phones.

Camera app

Not a perfect smartphone camera, but still a really great one.

This isn't a perfect smartphone camera. There are minor complaints here and there. There are numerous instances where the Galaxy S7 or iPhone 6s will take subjectively better-looking photos than the HTC 10, mainly because of Samsung and Apple's lead in image processing. But equally — particularly at night — there are times when the HTC 10 will come away the better-looking shot.

HTC has come a long way in the past year, and we're way more confident in the HTC 10's photo capabilities than any of the company's previous phones. This is a camera worthy of being mentioned in the same breath as the Galaxy S7 — even if there are still some software issues to be worked out.

HTC 10 silver

A 'one day' phone

HTC 10 Battery Life

The HTC 10 comes with a fixed 3,000mAh battery, with Qualcomm QuickCharge 3.0 support, and a unique charger from HTC. In addition to Qualcomm's latest rapid-charging tech, the plug incorporates power management circuitry from HTC in order to regulate current in the brick itself, as well as integrated surge protection. (Perhaps in an effort to avoid damage to the phone or the charger if a dodgy USB-A to C cable is used.)

Battery stats

Rapid charging is a hugely important feature for a high-end smartphone, allowing a dead handset to quickly return to life with a reasonable amount of charge. HTC claims the 10 can go from zero to 50 percent in 30 minutes, and our real-world experiences back this up.

As for battery life itself, it's been something of a mixed bag. Longevity hasn't been poor per se, more inconsistent — and sometimes wildly so. Indoors on Wifi, the phone sips power. Outdoors on LTE, it can guzzle juice alarmingly quickly. This isn't a universal trait. Some days, even on LTE, the phone would easily last us to the end of the day. But on other occasions we'd hit the 50 percent mark in just a couple of hours.

Ignore the hype: There's no way you're getting two days out of the HTC 10.

Following a week of use, battery life seems to have stabilized somewhat, and we'll update this review with any long-term findings.

That said, on a typical day we were getting between 12 and 14 hours out of the HTC 10 with mixed, moderate-to-heavy use on Wifi and LTE, both indoors and outdoors. That consists of browsing in Chrome, chatting on WhatsApp, Slack and Hangouts and streaming music through Google Play Music, along with capturing a few dozen photos. Nothing to sniff at there, but it's a far cry from the vaunted "two-day" battery life proclaimed in HTC's marketing materials.

Bottom line: Expect battery life that's passable — decent, even — but nothing spectacular. Certainly nothing near the two days HTC claims in its marketing material (which undoubtedly makes heavy use of the software-enabled power-saving features.) Even so, the bonus of rapid charging with the bundled plug makes it easier than ever to translate a brief time on charge to a meaningful boost in battery level.

HTC 10 colors

The bottom line

Should you buy the HTC 10? Yes

The HTC 10 is unquestionably HTC's best phone ever. It's also a great Android phone in its own right, with an attractive metal unibody, top-notch audio credentials, fast and uncluttered software, speedy fingerprint security and a camera capable of taking great photos.

Even in the areas where it doesn't shine so brightly — the distinctly one-day battery life, and the display that's unspectacular in daylight — there's nothing it's straight-up bad at. Is it a "perfect 10?" Probably not. But then what is?

The HTC 10 doesn't exist in a vacuum — HTC will be asking for flagship money in a world where the Galaxy S7 exists.

The biggest issue here is that the HTC 10 doesn't exist in a vacuum. HTC will be selling the 10 for flagship smartphone money in a world where the Samsung Galaxy S7 exists. It'll be dropping a great phone into a veritable ocean of great phones.

Samsung has set the bar really high this year with two truly excellent handsets. This is what you get when a corporate giant pours its enormous resources into making the best smartphone it can. By comparison, HTC doesn't have the vertically-integrated tech, or the scale, or the financial might of its major rival. It's not even close to being a fair fight.

Nevertheless, this is the comparison HTC invites with its claims to perfection.

And this leads into what in my view is the HTC 10's Achilles' heel: The areas where HTC actually truly beats Samsung are so very few and far between. The speaker's a bit better. It can drive headphones with more power. You'll get more accurate looking night shots, sometimes. The software is somewhat closer to stock Android, if that's your thing. Even build quality is mostly a question of personal taste — do you prefer glass or metal? By contrast, Samsung can point to its its superlative displays, wireless charging, water resistance, VR integration and, in the case of the GS7 edge, market-leading battery life.

A worthy challenger, if not quite the very, very best.

The HTC 10 is nevertheless a phone that deserves your consideration, and potentially your money too. And given that LG's G5 seems to have fallen flat, it's probably the closest competitor Samsung has right now. That the HTC of 2016 can create a phone like this is impressive, and a reason for its continued relevance.

Depending on how things play out in the months ahead — and how well HTC's marketing is received — this phone could emerge as the de facto alternative to the Galaxy S7. Ultimately, that's what the HTC 10 is: a worthy challenger, if not quite the very, very best there is.

Where to buy the HTC 10

The HTC 10 will be available direct from HTC, and from independent retailers in the United States, Canada and the UK. In the U.S., it's available on T-Mobile, Verizon and Sprint, in Canada it'll only be offered on Bell, and in the UK it's been picked up by EE and Three, as well Carphone Warehouse as the usual unlocked sellers.

Where to buy the HTC 10 in the United States

Where to buy the HTC 10 in Canada

Where to buy the HTC 10 in the UK

Alex Dobie
Alex Dobie

Alex is global Executive Editor for Android Central, and is usually found in the UK. He has been blogging since before it was called that, and currently most of his time is spent leading video for AC, which involves pointing a camera at phones and speaking words at a microphone. He would just love to hear your thoughts at alex@androidcentral.com, or on the social things at @alexdobie.

296 Comments
  • Hopefully an update by release day will fix those little issues. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Makes you wonder why they wouldn't have fixed bugs before it goes to reviewers.
  • What phone had ever been reviewed that doesn't have some quirks Posted via the Android Central App
  • The iPhone Posted from my Nexus 6/Nexus 7 2013/Surface Pro 3
  • True Moto XPE/VZW Moto X DE/N7
  • Just cause the reviewers don't mention them, doesn't mean they aren't there. My friend's iPhone 6S had a couple of bugs when he got it. Nothing major though. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Apple maps? That was an unmitigated fiasco Posted via the Android Central App
  • Apple Maps was great. If you wanted to drive off a pier on your way to the airport. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Apple Maps couldn't find Ontario International Airport when I was out in California last October. Still. Conversely, Google Maps tried to take me down a road that's been closed off for 5+ years to get to the same airport, so there's that.
  • You do realise Google Maps relies heavily on community reports? I've been doing it for years around my area, and each report has led to rectifications made within days of submitting them.
    If you get roads that are closed off, MAKE THE REPORT!
    It helps you and other people out in the long run.
    Google: Steps to report an error on the map
  • I ended up married in Vegas last time I used Apple maps
  • Agree 100% do not use Apple maps
  • You sir, are awesome.
  • not true.
    Apple even introduces new quirks on their latest updates.
  • True, but they are fewer and farther between, and Apple fixes them a helluva lot quicker since they don't have to wait on carriers to load more bloatware in addition to the fix. Don't think of me as a loyal sheep. I use Android, too. I have a G4, Note 5, 6s Plus, and a Winphone. I really want that HTC 10.
  • When you release the same phone over the last 8 years, there's not much left to find.
  • Ok, I'm not a hater of IPhones, but there were plenty of bugs on the iPhone 6 and 6 plus. First and foremost is that it bends horribly. Not to mention the complete signal loss when it was released. IPhone 6 plus had to have an update done so the camera could focus. ALL phones have bugs, iPhone is not out of the water with bugs when it's released for reviews or to the public to buy. I'm not s hater by any means, just pointing out iPhone bugs you say don't exist.
  • Time my friend. Bringing a product to market is a process. You cannot miss your window to release, but you can only do so much development before then. Day one patches are inevitable for products that iterate every year like phones do. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I think so and I hope so. So far my number one pick for an upgrade. Note 6 could change my mind though. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Besides, who doesn't get all giddy when an update is available? Posted via the Android Central App
  • Like the body. Expand screen to 5.5 to 5.7, throw sensor on the back, on screen buttons and hopefully this is the next Nexus. I'm in. Posted via Nexus 6 running on any data plan I want
  • For me, it's not expand the screen but replace it with the S7 screen. Then that Nexus would truely be my personal dream phone.
  • For me it's just make the sensor centred on the bottom chin! It's driving me insane how it's so low and small and not vertically centred.
  • Then it would look like a galaxy. They're probably trying to avoid that.
  • It already looks almost exactly like a galaxy phone from the front.
  • Me too. There may even be a rational reason for it (like preventing accidental 'home' touches - which happens often enough with the virtual keys), but visually, it looks like they wanted to directly copy the iPhone's looks, but then got cold feet on copying the round home button - so they copied Samsung's instead. But they'd already designed the innards for the symmetrical top/bottom bezels. That may not be the actual reason, but it's an obvious conclusion to jump to. Not that I mind it, but a speaker on the bottom - fingerprint scanner on the back arrangement would've been better.
  • With it lowered it will be easier to hit while holding the phone one handed. Posted via the Android Central App
  • OCD
  • If you do "Expand screen to 5.5 to 5.7, ... on screen buttons" - you are back to 5.2 screen but in a bigger body. On screen buttons will eat up those 0.3"
  • Not for video or gaming, which is the main use for larger screen. No big deal scrolling the extra 0.3 when reading. Posted via Nexus 6 running on any data plan I want
  • Well,it's not all video or gaming is it? Posted via the Android Central App
  • Yes Posted via the Android Central App
  • Finally Samsung has some competition. Now they need the marketing, not sure they have it in them. Posted via Nexus 6 running on any data plan I want
  • To be honest, I sincerely doubt the Samsung execs will be losing much sleep. The HTC 10 is a very nice phone, but the S7/edge is much better in a few areas. Add to that the difference in marketing you allude to... I think Samsung's only real competition still has a half eaten piece of fruit on the back. It's best to assume I'm being sarcastic. if I'm ever serious I'll type "/s" to make it clear.
  • It's true that the 10 won't massively hurt Samsung but that's not the point really. What it does mean though is there is a real choice for people who care about android. I would go for the 10 over the s7 every time. I personally prefer LCD over amoled, value sound more than anything else and I just hate how Samsung have a design that is crazy shiny and always looks dirty with fingerprints.
  • Maybe not today but trust me when I say HTC will surpass Samsung in near future.
  • This isn't competition. Even says so repeatedly in the review lol Posted via the Android Central App running on my Galaxy S7
  • If you think it isn't, you have blinders on. Problem is HTC has lost years in marketing. Almost impossible to make this up, especially with their budget. Posted via Nexus 6 running on any data plan I want
  • You clearly haven't used TW on the S7. You guys that say that just because it's Touchwiz have blinders on. The camera isn't better, nor is the screen quality and it lacks waterproof features. The Editor in Chief of the very site were reading the review on said repeatedly that it is the best phone sans S7. I'm not a fanboy, this is my first Samsung phone since the S3 Posted via the Android Central App running on my Galaxy S7
  • I don't even know why I even care. I'm not buying either one, since I cannot own a phone with a physical home button. If I had to choose and had no choice it's HTC. Posted via Nexus 6 running on any data plan I want
  • Right on. HTC was a one hit wonder with the Nexus One. Since then the only the M7 was interesting because of the dual front facing speakers, which was the right move for the industry. Now they've backed away from that. Regardless of how well they engineer their hardware it will always be crippled by obsolete old and unupgradable software. Same thing for the galaxies, the Galaxy Nexus was amazing for it's time, been downhill since then. Carry on now.
  • Haha! Obsolete software you say?
  • What complete nonsense
  • I use TW on both my phones and is OK but meh. Love Sense. Love the look of the HTC too, which is why I will be jumping ship. Posted via the Android Central App
  • The fact that it is running Sense and not Touchwiz makes it better. Posted via Nexus 6 running on any data plan I want
  • Bla bla TouchWiz bla bla. This UI is fine since the S6. Yes, i do love Sense, but TW isn't bad. Galaxy S7 Edge Exynos - Posted via the Android Central App
  • Exactly. He's probably been saying the same **** for 3 years. Use Touchwiz for more time than it takes you to play with the display model at best buy then he can comment on TW Posted via the Android Central App running on my Galaxy S7
  • Yeah ok, everyone and their brother owns a S6, plus close relatives of mine. It's not very hard to find one and put it through its paces. I do not like it. Posted via Nexus 6 running on any data plan I want
  • My boss owns a S6. That's the only person I know. My wife and sister own LG G4s. Don't see what an s6 has to do with this as the s7 is definitely better than that. You said up top you don't know why you care but you're still commenting lol??? BTW, Michigan sucks. Scarlet and grey 4 life Posted via the Android Central App running on my Galaxy S7
  • S6 and S7 software are very close. Reason I brought up S6. Posted via Nexus 6 running on any data plan I want
  • Very close but 2 different phones. Different processors and for some that haven't received MM, software Posted via the Android Central App running on my Galaxy S7
  • Some haven't received MM
    So SAD
  • You are pathetic Posted via the Android Central App
  • Exactly. Samsung don't give a toss about their customers. That's why they fill their phones with bloatware and are slow with updates. They only care about the sale.
  • That's So, we're talking about S7. It'd an absolute beast. I don't know if you guys try to downplay it because of pure ignorance or because you're afraid to give Samsung credit. Don't support to company, support the product. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Absolutely afraid when they have nothing else empty to sling. Posted via the Android Central App
  • No joke.The standard crap line when they've got nothing.If it were unbranded and presented on another phone,it would be,"oh,no problem,pretty cool".useless empty dogma. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I don't understand the whole TW thing when most of us put Nova or Action or whatever launcher on. Unless you mean within the overall phone settings. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Touchwiz on my Note 5 with 4GB of RAM is noticeably laggy. Not to mention fugly
  • TW is still making things work slower. Even LG did a better job w their skin on G5 compared to S7 - both using the same processor. And HTC's sense will run miles around it, even though it has slower memory on board Moto XPE/VZW Moto X DE/N7
  • Keep telling yourself that if it helps you sleep at night. Won't make it true. Posted via the Android Central App
  • TW does stutter and lag like a ***** sometimes though. And I'm running MM on my S6, and it still does it! Posted via the Android Central App
  • ://youtu.be/Dh-u7kyyw98 Even Before RAM management restrictions, M8 was killing s5, than last year S6 got really close to m9 thanks to the super fast memory and processor but still lost. So, we'll see how will s7 stand against m10. Moto XPE/VZW Moto X DE/N7
  • S6 got nowhere near the m9. I have both phones and the performance of the s6 is woeful next to the m9 and that's after removing all bloatware and shutting down as many services as possible on the s6. I'm getting the 10 as I know that it will kill the s7
  • For gods sake bozo, why do so many people have to call this the "M10"?
    It's the HTC 10, no M in the name. May as well call it the HTC Tank Destroyer.
    Actually.. That's an AWESOME name!
  • LOL at these outdated comments. It seems that the ignorant ones say that. TW is not what it once was. It flies on the S7 Posted via the Android Central App
  • I'm with Erik - every year I have spend a little time with the latest Galaxy and every year I go yecch when it comes to TouchWiz...it's the same with the LG's skin as well.
  • Except you can change the look with themes and Good Lock to make it look very much like stock...sooooo... O_o Posted via the Android Central App
  • Ah, Good Lock. Just needs a proper dark theme and I'll be the happiest bunny on earth. It's getting better, however. Really glad they added the option to switch between a card and list view in the recent apps screen. Thought the list view would be odd to get used to.
  • Yea def needs a dark theme, which I believe they're working on. I actually got used to the list view for recents, but ended up going back to cards because it just feels...right. Don't know how else to put it. But yea they're doing a great job with Good Lock, I'm very pleased with it so far...especially since they fixed that crazy battery drain issue. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Yeah, it's definitely getting better over time. Hope Samsung never stops improving it. It has potential as an alternative UI for those who prefer the look and feel of something a little closer to stock Android while keeping some useful TouchWiz features like dual-window and the S Pen features on the Note.
  • Switched to Note3 w TW after owning a Galaxy Nexus. Loved the Nexus and almost didn't get Note b/c of all the blather @ TW I read from reviewers and posters. Once I owned the 3 I was blown away by all the things the Note d that stock did not. Now on Note 5 and the thing is smooth as butter 99.99% of the time, AND all the extras are still there. This TW whining is the biggest bunch of cr@p I've ever seen.
  • It's honestly getting old. I used to be a big hater of TouchWiz. Then the Galaxy S6 happened. Of course, it's not perfect. Nothing is. But it has gotten better, to the point where I consider it a total non-issue nowadays.
  • I think TouchWiz is far less near to perfect than a lot of other phones out there. To be honest, I'm sick of OEM's in general. I'd much rather go 100% stock Android. If the people making design choices on the Nexus phones manage to get a 5-5.2 inch screen with no specification or storage downgrade from the bigger screen option, I'll be there in a heart beat.
    Couldn't give two buckets of **** about MicroSD, I've had countless MicroSD cards fail on me in the last few months and they were each barely used!
  • Yea, in the introductory paragraph we're told the 10 falls short of the all mighty 7 so I kind of figured how the rest of the review would fall.
  • LOL. No, Saumsung doesn't have competition in the HTC 10.
  • "In fact the similarity to Samsung's way of doing things makes the HTC button setup particularly vexing if you're coming from a Galaxy phone, as the button order is reversed." This should have read: "In fact the similarity to Samsung's way of doing things makes the HTC button setup particularly vexing if you're coming from a Galaxy phone, as the button order on the HTC 10 is correct."
  • +1 Posted via Nexus 6 running on any data plan I want
  • Hahaha, you're not wrong. It's best to assume I'm being sarcastic. if I'm ever serious I'll type "/s" to make it clear.
  • You are familiar with the concept of a "de facto standard" right? Samsung made one. I hate it, I think Google's button order works better, but Samsung sells the most Android phones, and that makes their button order the one that most people are used to.
  • Silly argument, and pompous. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Not at all. PDFs became a standard the same way. Not that I like those either.
  • Samsungs format is perfect for me, all I've ever known and wouldnt want it reversed. luvin my s7 edge
  • Same Posted via the Android Central App
  • If Samsung's 'non' industry standard button placement is all you've ever known, due to years of repetitive muscle memory training, Samsung has you 'trapped'. They gotcha! You have little choice but to stay locked up with Samsung forever. lol
  • Samsung sells more phones than all other Android OEM's combined. It may not be what Google does or wants, but like it or not that's the bar that all other phones (including Nexi) need to aspire to if they want to sell phones. Many of us may not like it, but that's the way it is. Tech writer compare phones to Nexus, but everyday consumers compare it to Samsung Galaxy phones. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Yeah, that's why Samsung has been losing market share for 2+ years and despite their heavily subsidized marketing muscle will probably continue.
    We'll see.
  • The overall pie is getting bigger, but they aren't really selling any less phones. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Do you even know you're touting BS, or just don't care? Q1 2016 - Samsung had a 24.5% marketshare of all smart phones sold (inc. iPhones).
    Apple sold 15.3%.
    Together that only makes 39.8%.
    The remaining 60.2% is made up around 1% Winblows and the rest is Android based.
    How exactly is 24.5% more than 59.2%?
    The fact is, Android is created by Google. Google set the standards for everything Android, because they are the ones who create it. Samsung just want to be different and reverse their physical keys.
    Let me ask you this.. On screen buttons inside apps on iPhone and in some Android apps, where is the back button always located? That's right.. The left hand side.
  • Android wasn't actually created by Google in that sense. It was by Android Inc, which started out in 2003, then bought by Google in 2005. Co-founder of Android Inc. Andy Rubin led the development team when Android Inc. was bought over by Google. Technically, Google now owns Android, but they didn't actually really "create" it in that sense. It was initially created by Android Inc, which Google backed. Then, they bought the company and have its development team transferred over to the company. Today, it's still considered a Google product, but when it was in its earliest development days, it wasn't a Google-product yet. It was just backed by the company.
  • It's still wrong
  • ^This. Samsung's button configuration is bass ackwards.
  • Most people are right handed and if your using your phone one handed, having the more commonly used back button on the right makes more sense. Just as having the navigational bar at the bottom of the screen in the browser makes more sense than leaving it at the top like chrome does.
  • I'm left handed and prefer Google's method for the reason you mentioned. S7edge is my first samsung since S2,not a dealbreaker,just a thing to note.Love my phone. Posted via the Android Central App
  • So true. Posted via the Android Central App
  • TESTIFY.
  • +1 Posted via the Android Central App
  • Um, no. Samsung makes the most androids. They should be able to do whatever they please with their button placement. In fact it's the same button placement since the Galaxy S1 (Bar the menu button after the S4), before Google even had any sort of standard whatsoever. Posted via the Android Central App
  • They haven't changed the buttons, or the quick settings, or settings screens because they think their users are too stupid. Tend to agree.
  • +10000000!! Couldn't agree more!! Posted via the Android Central App
  • I've been using on-screen buttons for the past few years, HTC M8 and Nexus 6. Bought the S7 edge and am actually a convert to both the capacitive buttons and the order of Samsung. Reason being is: get full screen all the time. The order, well being right handed, and using the phone single handed it's easier to reach the button on the right than the left, seeing as I use back more than frequent apps it's actually nicer to have it there.
  • I definitely have been converted back to capacitive buttons.I want all my screen real estate. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Yes, it is definitely a chore scrolling up a little more to read web pages. Tough job but someone has to do it. Oh, I have plenty of screen real estate. Posted via Nexus 6 running on any data plan I want
  • You owe me a latte. Just spilt mine from reading that. XD
  • This phone is more comfortable to hold than the one a9? Really? Posted via the Android Central App
  • Makes sense to me. The back is rounded and not flat. Curved backs always fit the hand better if you ask me. Posted via the underrated M9
  • The A9's only really comfy once you get a case on it.
  • I love that phone
  • nah many people prefer back button on the right Posted via the Android Central App
  • ^this. I love the Samsung way. Galaxy S7 Edge Exynos - Posted via the Android Central App
  • Ditto, makes more sense to me. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Yup I use the back button way more than the task switcher. Posted via the Android Central App
  • As an lg user NO! I like the mask button on the left Posted via the Android Central App
  • As a Samsung user YES! As an lg user NO! As a blah blah user blahhhhhh! How about we all just chock it up to personal preference and STFU already? Posted via the Android Central App
  • Another outstanding review of the HTC 10, an Editors Choice awarded smartphone - brings forth the predictably agitated troop of monkeys obsessively picking nits and throwing feces, alarmed by what's going on around them. SAD!
  • Great review Alex. Thanks. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I like how every yr the new M series comes out and they always say it's a great phone.... then the next yr when the next M comes out ppl write articles saying things like "this new version is better than last yrs failure "... same thing will happen next yr when the M 11 comes out..... articles will be written saying it's better than last yrs M10 failure. .... My M8 is still a good phone, and it's the same phone as the M9 and looks to be the same as the 10.....
  • The M8 IS, more or less, the same phone as the M9, but I don't agree that it's the same as the 10. The absence of front facing stereo speakers on the 10 assures that (and that's the biggest bummer for me). Though it is still unmistakably HTC in every other way (except the fact that it finally has a decent camera). I have an M8, and I intend to upgrade it this year, but I don't know if it'll be to the 10 or not. I'm not exactly jumping out of my seat for it yet. I'll give it a bit mird time. My M8 is running OK for the moment.
  • I agree... I was just saying that every yr when a new phone comes out ppl say it's a great phone, then next yr when the new version comes out ppl always write in articles that last yrs sucked and this new vesion is good
  • Wait till Sept/Oct. The next Nexus (likely made by HTC) should have the dual FF speakers, and maybe some other good stuff.
  • Meh.. those phones are way too big lol
  • Not sure what internet you've ever been on, but I can't remember very many, if any, reviews that were glowingly discussing the virtues of the M9 last year.
  • Hopefully it will be better.Improvement is the goal,right?I also think the htc 10 is a really nice phone.This is the phone I would buy if there were no S7edge.Good job htc,I hope they market well and enjoy strong sales.while I'm not buying one,I think I've gained 2 sales for them to upgrade my folks m7's. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Glad to read the HTC 10's fingerprint reader performs better than the one on the S7/S7 Edge. I've had the S7 Edge for the past few days and get multiple misreads throughout the day. It also happened last year with the Samsung devices I owned and got to the point where I just stopped using my fingerprint. It's nowhere near that bad yet, but my index fingers unlock the 5X and 6P pretty much perfectly everytime. That said, it's great to see HTC releasing such a great device. A couple months back, I never expected they'd be able to release a phone I would want to buy, but I'm sure glad they did. The G5 may have fallen flat, but LG sure is marketing it heavily. HTC may have finally released a flagship worthy enough to challenge Samsung's flagships, but the bigger task is now marketing and convincing the non-tech enthusiasts they should opt for the HTC 10 instead of a similarly priced Apple or Samsung device. Posted via the Android Central App
  • That's surprising, while I had the GS6, the fingerprint reader worked really well. I ditched it because of battery life and TouchWIZ, but I did love the fingerprint reader.
  • Yeah,it always seems the same,99%+ of users have no problem,and then oddly enough,a few people are always plagued with "oh god,it just doesn't work".Yeah,I think you can safely filter most of those out the same as looking at reviews elsewhere and for other things,and I think you know what I mean.Hey look!It's got a million great reviews,but these 5 people scream it's so horrible.Yeah,ok. Posted via the Android Central App
  • My S6 one started good and seemed to get worse and slower with each update. I'm on MM now and it's better again, but does get stroppy still sometimes Posted via the Android Central App
  • Strange, after the M update my S6 hardly ever has issues reading my fingerprint. It is both faster and more accurate. Have you tried retraining the sensor?
  • I can't comment on the S6 since I sold mine last year, but I have registered both of my thumbs more than once and in different positions each time. I'd blame my thumbs, but I never had this issue with the iPhone's sensor. It seems to be a hit or miss though. I've seen some people say they've never had any issues with Samsung's fingerprint reader, but I've also seen a fair amount of others who've encountered the same thing I have. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I just assumed the S7 sensor would be better than the S6, I had a ton of problems before the M update but now it works 99% of the time. Strange man, real strange.
  • My mom's s6 is the same, she had to turn off the fingerprint lockscreen because the sensor would only recognize her print 1 out of 20 times. Went through the print learning process 4 or 5 times, never made it different or better. On lollipop and marshmallow, it's been an issue on both.
  • I had the same experience with the fingerprint scanners on the S7 and the 6P. S7 would consistently miss my fingerprint several times, while the 6P was pretty much always on point.
  • Really is a great phone and I can't wait to buy it instead of testing
  • I would've respected your headline if u left it at "iconic&impressive" and left the imperfect out. U can label EVERY PHONE with imperfect Posted via the Android Central App
  • The phone without imperfections does not exist, but they HAD to put it in the headline because it's HTC, Lol. Same reason they mocked HTC for not being waterproof. Just HTC, mind you. Posted via the Android Central App
  • PS: Not a bad article though, aside from that. I should probably note that, in my experience, some HTC models get better with battery life after release. HTC fine tuning it as time goes by, I assume. Posted via the Android Central App
  • It's nice that HTC was able to step up some, particularly with LG dropping the ball this generation. Otherwise H1 would pretty much be a Samsung show, and we'd all be waiting to see what Moto and Nexus had in store for us.
  • Haven't had a chance to read it all but it looks like a great phone once again from HTC. As for the button layout, thank God they didn't pull what Samsung does, they need to quit messing around and follow standard Android layout. Now does the unlocked version work on VZW...? Posted via the Android Central App
  • It'd be great if the unlocked version worked on Verizon, but I'm thinking that it probably won't. I'll be happy though if my assumption is wrong.
  • Based on FCC documents, it should have the hardware necessary to work on Verizon. Whether or not Verizon will allow you to use the unlocked on their network.... who knows. My bet is they want to force you to buy it from them.
  • Great review. Can't wait to play around with this when it's available in stores. Hopefully they have the budget to market this thing effectively. They need to have working units in all electronic retailers. Samsung has a freaking entire section of Best Buy devoted to its hardware. The good news is HTC doesn't have to sell as many phones as Samsung to be successful. I hope they can at least take some of their thunder. Posted via the underrated M9
  • Who will be upgrading from the HTC M8? Besides the battery not havig the same longevity (it costs 45€ to change it, thinking about it) I am still pretty happy with it.
  • I am too. I'm really excited by this device and I know i'm going to love it. It reminds me of the M7 with the bionic chamfer. And its a huge step up from the M8. Improves everything about it. I have always gotten HTC devices and this device really had me excited unlike the M9. Bring it.
  • +1 Posted via the Android Central App
  • M8 is boss Posted via the Android Central App
  • I'll probably be upgrading from the M8, this looks like another solid phone from HTC, I like the sound features, near vanilla sense and quick charge. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I'll get it in the fall probably Posted via the Android Central App
  • I'm confused, you show a picture of the HTC 10 with Sennheiser HD280 Pro which has an ohm rating of 64ohms. Can this phone power those cans? You mention the HTC High-Res Earphones instead of really getting into details about the audio; those earphones are rated at 35ohms. All you really mention is the external speakers. No talk about the detailed specs of the DAC/AMP?
  • I'm sure the audiophiles in AC will do a separate and more detailed audio article soon. There might even be comparisons to the v10 and g5. Posted via the Android Central App
  • HD280s aren't that hard to power. Yes, they're 64 ohms but their sensitivity is rated at 113 dB, so they're actually fairly efficient. Compare that to something like Fostex's MK3 series, which are 50 ohms with a sensitivity of only 92 dB. Now THOSE are hard to drive. You can't look at impedance alone. I don't think HTC has put out a detailed spec for their DAC, at least none that I can find. This leads me to believe that it's just the Qualcomm DAC pair with a non-Qualcomm amp for better power. This should beat the S7 or G5 (sans B&O module) pretty handily, but I doubt it'll go toe-to-toe with V10 or the B&O module.
  • True on the impedance and SPL but the HD280 is 102db. I agree on the Snapdragon maybe pushing the audio, it was used on the M9 (which I'm currently using right now). I have HD598SE and VModa M-100 50ohms/112db vs 32ohms/103db, so I'm curious on the output power of the headphone port.
  • Right you are, don't know what I got that 113 from lol
  • My Sony headphones I use for live mixing are 25 ohms, and the Jam Transits I use while out and about are 33 ohms (when using the hardwire). I have both the M8 and M9, and both drive them with ease. I believe the electrical specifications for the M8 are 0.95 v at 32 ohms, and 1.0 v for the M9.
  • Samsung really needs tobget with the program and unify the soft key arrangement. Silly to call the proper arrangements on the 10 a "thing". Posted via the Android Central App
  • I mainly use my phone with my LEFT hand (I write with it also,) and the "regular" Nexus arrangement is a bit awkward. The Samsung arrangement is more comfortable but it depends on you really... This Galaxy Note 3 with the AC App is On Fleek.
  • Odd, I like samsung's reversed arrangement, but I always thought it made more sense for right handed people because the back button is closer to the thumb and you don't have to stretch so much.
  • Yep,and I'm left handed Posted via the Android Central App
  • "Display not great in sunlight." Just curious, but when did this become so important to list as a pro or con? Are there really that many people who care about this? I mean just cup your hand around the phone or turn around and use your body to block the sun or find a nearby shady spot.... Only thing I can think of is your insistence on comparing things to the latest Samsung devices that ramp up the display brightness when detecting direct sunlight (I have a Note 4 that does it of which I've never found useful even when used in a dashboard mount for navigation!). Regardless my point still stands...
  • I've read and watched quite a few reviews saying the screen is good in sunlight. The picture that was used in the review is a tad misleading. Of course you won't be able to see the screen if you're looking into a reflection of the sun.
  • It's kind of a big deal if you live where I live. The sun is out 300 days/year here and it's blazing bright. I walk/run every day and have to occasionally check my phone when I get notifications or want to check my progress. Some phones are completely unusable in sunlight and others barely so. A small handful are actually perfectly usable under those conditions.
  • Um, navigating with Google or HERE? Trying to find a spot to eat or whatever? Outdoor Photography? Runstastic? There's good reasons why you'd want a phone screen that's USABLE in even low shade or shadow in direct sunlight... This Galaxy Note 3 with the AC App is On Fleek.
  • Since people started using phones outdoors.
  • Lol Posted via Samsung's beast S7
  • Lol, the OP going through and down voting comments that disagree with him. Not everyone spends every waking moment in their parent's basement like the OP.
  • Try again, but without the ad hominem...
  • I mean just cup your hand around the phone or turn around and use your body to block the sun or find a nearby shady spot.... The thing is, with phone like the S7 you don't have to do that, which should be the norm. Of course this is something that would be considered a con.
  • True. If one phone ideally requires hunting for shady spots for optimal outdoor viewing and its direct competitor doesn't, this should be noted. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I find outdoor visibility in direct sunlight VERY important, and I'm glad reviewers pay attention to this. If it's not mentioned explicitly in a review, I seek the information out. What good is the phone if you can't see it outside? I remember, a few years ago, having a play with a Samsung Galaxy S3 from work. The screen was BEAUTIFUL indoors. But as soon as I got the thing outside, it basically disappeared. This ultimately rendered the phone useless. I have no use for a phone I can only use indoors. Things have now changed, and I'm glad they have. I always check the screen maximum brightness ratings on sites like DisplayMate before I make a decision.
  • It's been important and tested for years,you're only acting bent out of shape about it here because it hurt feelings.And yes,I like the htc 10,but that is all you are doing with this comment.If the htc 10 aced this,you would have been perfectly fine with it. Posted via the Android Central App You must not spend much time outside or you wouldn't even have to ask trying to make a fake point
  • You're right. I'm a vampire with hurt feelings just trying to make a fake point... ;P
  • "And given that LG's G5 seems to have fallen flat, it's probably the closest competitor Samsung has right now." I see all this trash talk about the G5, even in reviews of other phones and I just don't get it. Sure, it's not a perfect device and the build quality is a little worse than the competitors, but that's how the G4 was, too. I bought an S7 Edge first and I hate it. Picked up the G5 the other day and it's a much better fit for me. Not only is the always-on-display actually useful on the G5, I can double-tap-to-wake the device and the fingerprint scanner works without turning it on first. I actually like the way it feels in my hand, too. I don't get all the hate for that device. Of course, mine doesn't have any of the reported build quality issues, but I still don't think it deserves all the bad press it's getting. I put my S7 Edge up for sale and I'm sticking with the G5. I wanted the HTC 10 when it was first announced, but canceled my preorder after some of the reviews came out. It seems like the camera suffers from the same processing and overexposure issues of past cameras. HTC needs a new team working on their camera software.
  • I think the whole paint/primer thing is going to get them. It's too easily damaged, that's why people don't generally paint phones. Probably going to see a lot of chipping and flaking out in the world.
  • I kind of get that, but who uses their phones naked? I almost always put on a minimal TPU case, which would defeat about 90% of the complaints on that phone. At the end of the day, I'm much more concerned with how it performs than how it looks, but I guess I'm in the minority.
  • If no one uses their phones naked, why bother with a metal phone? Or a glass-backed phone? :) Lots of people use their phones naked. I'm using my Nexus 6 naked, though in my case I think it's too wide to use with a case on. But I may use the HTC naked too, not sure yet. Depends on what Ringke comes up with I guess.
  • Same here, never used a case and never will. Posted via Nexus 6 running on any data plan I want
  • "I bought an S7 Edge first and I hate it. Picked up the G5 the other day and it's a much better fit for me." I hear you, but I had the exact opposite experience. There's a floor shop demo of both devices, and while the G5 IS good, on paper, an absolute screamer performance, an excellent shooter, and powerful with the hardware extensions, it simply is NOT as premium sent as the Galaxy S7 twins at all. And they're priced about the same where I live, which is a problem. It's like you bought a luxury car for BMW money but you get the worksmanship and halfheartedness of a Toyota Corolla, it's sad but that's the unfortunate truth... This Galaxy Note 3 with the AC App is On Fleek.
  • I fully agree with you that it's not as premium feeling. My S7 just annoyed the crap out of me and my G5 doesn't. I had several software issues and quirks with the S7 that I just couldn't get around and I hated that I had to hit a power button to turn the screen on (or scan my fingerprint). The S7 is a very nice device, but the G5 is too and I think it might even be a better fit for some people (like me), but it's getting completely buried and discounted by the reviewers.
  • Yeah, it's unfortunate, but it's an LG thing. They take a fundamentally good idea and then crap on it. For shame, I'd really like the extensibility of it, but everything else is a compromise to get it, and I'm personally not willing to accept them, but you value the traits of the LG more than the Galaxy, so that's good... This Galaxy Note 3 with the AC App is On Fleek.
  • See, I don't even really care about the "friends". I just like that I can change my battery in a pinch. I would not have chosen this phone for the modules. There are rough edges and seams where there shouldn't be (like the SIM door slightly sticking up), but I'm going to put a TPU case on it anyway and I can live with those. The cameras are great and the device performs much better for me than my S7 Edge did, even after two wipes and an update. Everyone is different. I just feel like LG really got reamed by the reviewers this year and they're the only ones who really tried anything different. Samsung and HTC both played it safe, which admittedly resulted in very good devices, but the same could be said about Apple.
  • Yeah, it's sad. But ultimately it falls to us to take the reviews with a pinch of salt and decide for ourselves. And yeah, the removable battery. Also, PLEASE do not bring Apple into this. You're opening a giant can of worms... This Galaxy Note 3 with the AC App is On Fleek.
  • Yeah, remember when 'all' the Sammies would post voluminously about the absolute requirement for a swappable battery otherwise FAIL. Perhaps the compromises and idiosyncrasies of their investment drives them to get so overly defensive. SAD lot!
  • but that's how the G4 was, too. You don't see a problem with a phone company stagnating on the quality of their phones?
  • I understand, I cancelled my preorder for HTC 10 as well. G5 is probably one of the best phones I have owned. But my criteria for a good phone is battery and camera quality. I don't even care for root or custom ROMS - always flashing to find a better experience. Sound quality on G5 is a sorry but at least was able to load DSP for a little extra bump.
  • To each their own,enjoy what you like Posted via the Android Central App
  • I'm not big on the G5 personally because I feel they've made some compromises that made it a little less appealing as a phone compared to the competition for the modules. It's ambitious, but it needs to be improved upon or it will fail. And so far, LG doesn't seem to be putting enough effort to make it a success. Don't get me wrong. It's still a good phone and if you own one, chances are, you already know its quirks and like it and you should be satisfied with your purchase. Just laying out my 2 cents. Hope LG gives us a stunner for the next V-phone. Enjoy your G5! Hope it works out well for you. :)
  • Too small. Samsung knows that 5.5 inch-ish phones are now mainstream and wisely upped the edge's size. I won't consider a phone under 5.5 inches now. Posted via the Android Central App from my S7 edge
  • Google had the balls to shove its half baked software onto the 10 (Looking at you, Photos and useless-except-in-the-USA-and-Canada Play Music,) and take out the EXCELLENT HTC Gallery (it had the best OEM photo editor, simpler than Snapseed!) and Music Player, but couldn't stop them from shoving a Clean Master clone? Touché. Other than that, this looks reasonably good, the price maybe a bit steep, considering HTC doesn't have a quality reputation anymore... This Galaxy Note 3 with the AC App is On Fleek.
  • I believe you can still download most of those HTC apps and use them if you want.
  • I know you still could, but it's a shift in the software that I'm not happy with. Google's software is fundamentally half baked and performs not as well as many OEM offerings. And they're SHOVING them to us. Also, if you want a true Google experience, get a true Nexus. Then deal with the compromises later (from how I see it...) This Galaxy Note 3 with the AC App is On Fleek.
  • I agree. I quite like HTC's software in most cases (Internet browser, Music app, Gallery, etc.). I appreciate them wanting to cut down on bloat & duplication, but in my opinion, it's always been the CARRIER'S apps that are the problem, not HTC's. Make it so users can buy their phones from the carriers without the carrier's junk apps installed. THAT would be nice.
  • Then they wouldn't be the carriers phones held in their inventory.Not likely. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I actually like play music (I'm in the US, though) and love google photos. They work great for me, and I choose to use them, they weren't forced on me.
  • Me too Posted via the Android Central App
  • Google play, why only good in North America? I use it in the UK, it's great. Agree 100% on gallery, but you can still download and use it so not a problem and the memory app isn't a clean master clone. Posted via the Android Central App
  • HTC should be praised for pairing down sense to apps they feel useful. Samsung should still be criticized. Posted via the Android Central App
  • This could have received a bit more attention. Some think the pairing down makes this phone stand out less in a world full of TouchWiz and LG's UX 5.0. I think this pairing down is just as much of a feature that really helps differentiate HTC from the rest of the pack.
  • I hear you, but to Samsung's credit, the stuff they've put over the years TRULY "works as advertised," especially the stuff surrounding the S Health suite. The heart rate scanners work, the pedometer is accurate, the sensors come close to the registers of dedicated barometers and thermometers. But they DO need to tone the loadout down a notch. Side note, why with the obsession of making software of non Nexus devices "close" to stock, then call out phone makers who stray from it? If you want the purest of pure Android, get a GENUINE Nexus and leave the OEMs to do their bit. Google's software is simply LACKING compared to OEM and developer's software... This Galaxy Note 3 with the AC App is On Fleek.
  • Yes Posted via the Android Central App
  • Yep, not sure why that doesn't weigh more in HTC's favor...current GS6 owner here. Excited to get an HTC again. Heck I'll even pick up an M9 to keep the 2 forward facing speakers so I can continue to use my BoomBass.
  • +1 Posted via the Android Central App
  • Excellent effort by htc, even if it's a bit on the expensive side. One thing I can't get out of my head is that the front buttons (fingerprint scanner and capacitive keys) aren't aligned in the center of the bottom bezel. I just plain ugly in an otherwise gorgeous phone.
  • Easier to reach when held one handed.My god,Johnny I've has succeeded.Next,let's clamor for no better than 65% screen to body ratio. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Too bad they're taking so long to get this out. We don't even have a release date!
  • Verizon does. April 29th. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Dude, seriously? That's nothing but an arbitrary preorder date. You can't buy it then and it could be weeks until you can actually have one...
  • Amazon list April 27th-may 5th Posted via the Android Central App
  • BS. Stop making **** up...
  • Camera maybe improved with the updates. So waiting the camera comparison after the update to fix issues Posted via the Android Central App
  • Thanks for the write-up Alex! You touched on something that has been on my mind for the past year as several flagship phones have come and gone, and I've waited for the HTC 10, and that is that we (collectively) keep looking for a new phone to be as stellar as some of the other phones from our past, such as the HTC EVO LTE, (or the M7) For me, coming from a Palm Pre to the EVO LTE, that was a huge jump for me. I absolutely loved the larger screen, the camera, that cool red backed kickstand, and a new OS. But when I think about the differences between my wife's Galaxy S3, and my HTC M8, I recognize I can do some things better and quicker on my phone than hers, but both phones look fairly similar, and basically do the same things. So I feel we're at a point with current technologies where there's not a lot of wow factors to be had. People complain about these phones look like slabs of glass that copied someone else's design, or the bezel is too big, or some other nit-picky item, and some of these "issues" certainly have some merit, but let's face it, there's only so many "designs" that would work for a phone. Personally, I'm disappointed that HTC did away with two front facing speakers, and I sense that's simply the result of trying to be different, rather than it being a technological requirement. What we need are breakthroughs in other technologies such as power, camera optics, shatterproof screens, etc.. but until those industries make huge breakthroughs, I feel that we've set our expectations to high for each of these yearly release cycles. Until then, we're going to have to learn to live with new phones that struggle to be different. David
  • Is HTC releasing an unlocked version compatible with all 4 US carriers? If not, why not?
  • Only with the GSM carriers, especially since AT&T isn't selling it. I don't think the unlocked model works with cdma. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Correct.
  • So to put it accurately,the unlocked version in the US is for t-mobile and will probably work on AT&T for the most part,but in all likelihood will be missing some AT&T specific capabilities.Not a real wide range there for the unlocked variant. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Desperately grasping at straws Mr Davis There are no missing capabilities on ATT & TMUS (GSM) for the US HTC 10 just like there are no missing capabilities on the 'updated monthly' US HTC A9 released 6 months ago. There are ZERO unlocked US Samsung phones.
    Zero 'range' of options. BTW, did you get the MM update yet?
  • They don't ship an S7edge with anything other than marshmallow. Besides skipping carrier bloat,what is it that I need an unlocked phone for?I don't root,flash,or anything else,I use a phone.I wouldn't anyway,because I'm not going to lose the ability to use Samsung pay. Posted via the Android Central App