After a One M9 clearly breaking the floor by its SoC S810, HTC returns in 2016 with a smartphone simply called “Ten”/10. The new Taiwanese flagship exhibits serious strengths and recovers with a semblance of logic, especially in terms of photography. Unfortunately, Samsung has already launched its Galaxy S7 setting the bar very high for HTC 10 to reach and satisfy common targets.
No more copy/paste for spearheads of HTC. The 10 innovates somewhat in the matter and proposes a front face reviewed and well presented. The first surprise, only the upper loudspeaker remains in front, the second was moved to the lower edge. It was consequently replaced by the touch sensitive navigation keys and the fingerprint reader. The latter is not embedded on a clickable button, but works perfectly and has nothing to envy to those on competition side whether concerning the speed or the ergonomics.
HTC makes a huge step into the surface actually exploited by the screen, which reaches 71% here. The result is that the HTC 10 is still a little less greedy compared to its competitors. Moreover, the navigation keys are particularly difficult to reach from the thumb and require some contortion. However, the grip with one hand comes easily, to be honest.
The back shell remains a piece of metal with a slight curvature, but the corners are now beveled. The whole holds well and correctly matches the palm. The unlock button and volume control buttons fall easily under the thumb of a right hand.
The dimensions of the HTC 10 are 145.9 x 71.9 x 9 mm, and its weight is 161 grams.
To begin with, the fingerprint sensor is located underneath a 5.2-inch Super LCD screen, whose resolution rises to 2560 x 1440 pixels, for a resolution of 564 dpi and a QHD definition. The manufacturer apparently did not opt for an AMOLED slab, like the one that equips its One A9.
HTC has chosen the Super LCD and we end up with a contrast ratio of “only” 1211: 1, just correct for the technology. The maximum brightness does not exceed 417 cd / m², but the reflection rate at 10% makes it possible to maintain a good legibility outside.
The manufacturer has nevertheless renewed its confidence in Qualcomm and opted for its SoC Snapdragon 820, based on 4 core Kryo 2.2 GHz and an iGPU Adreno 530 coupled with 4 GB of RAM. The internal storage comes in two options 16 or 32 GB, makes it a little lean, but can be extended by microSD card.
When it comes to the interface, the HTC Sense overlay is not particularly graphically heavy and remains fairly close to what is proposed by default Android 6.0 Marshmallow. The logic of navigation is also very close and the regulars of the OS of Google will not be lost with the new wave.
HTC has embellished his device with a few shortened gestures such as the double-tap option to wake up the screen or slip in different directions to open the camera, home screen or BlinkFeed, the aggregation application.
This new version of Sense inaugurates a new free layout for home screens. This differs from the classic grid of icons and proposes to place its applications where one wishes on the screen. It is also possible to choose custom icons related to the chosen theme.
The behavior of the SoC Snapdragon 820 and the 4 GB of RAM that accompanies it is far from the problems known by its predecessor. Here, the fluidity is flawless, the non-existent slowdowns and the passage from one application to another are done in a beat of lash. Nothing wrong on this side, the HTC 10 can cash it all without flinching.
It is regrettable that a high-end terminal does not offer a dedicated application for playing video more complete than the one found here. If the SD / HD or FHD files are decoded without any problems, we must pay attention to the formats of our videos, all of which are not read by default. It will inevitably go through an application like MX Player to no longer ask questions.
The sound processing is dissociated, with two different amplifiers, one per loudspeaker. The goal is to fully exploit the size of the resonance chamber to restore a rich sound. The loudspeakers offer rich sound with excellent quality and powerful enough with very little distortion. On the other hand, the power remains in the notch below the front loudspeakers of the HTC One M9. Loudspeaker placement and processing gave the impression that the sound was coming out of the middle of the phone.
HTC is a regular laurel for the audio portion of its smartphones and the 10 headphone output remains in the top of the basket. Its power is among the best on the market and, above all, it does not do to the detriment of precision, the distortion remaining at an excellent level. The dynamic range is wide and the stereo rendering in a good average. It will be necessary to make sure to disable the famous “Dolby Audio” which has the effect of doubling the power by ten times the distortion.
A battery of 3000 mAh is charged to feed this entire small world. Better note that the HTC 10 has a battery that is not removable. In practice, this gives about a day and a half of standard use. If we force a little on the greedy use, the HTC 10 can still accompany us for a good day. By limiting, it will be possible to reach the evening of the second day, but not more. This remains a good overall performance for a smartphone with such a screen and such guts. On the other hand, the performance of the fast charge catches up a little bit and allows going from zero to 100% in just 1h10.
The photo application is complete and rather well presented. We find a professional mode that lets you hand on a lot of options in the form of bars displayed in the center of the screen. The management of the RAW format, as well as the 4K video and especially the recording of the sound in 24 bits, are really appreciable. The sound quality of these 24-bit recordings is clearly what makes it better today on smartphones, perfect for recording a group of musicians on the street or your friend singing her heart out as if on a concert tour.
After the UltraPixel 4 Megapixels of the One M8 and the 21 Megapixels of the One M9, HTC seems to have made an average of its previous smartphones upscale to iron here on an UltraPixel sensor of 12 Megapixels. The front sensor has 5 Megapixels and, like its rear companion benefits from optical stabilization. The latter works well and the laser focus is rather accurate. However, autofocus remains a notch below that of the GS7, which at present seems untouchable in terms of velocity. There is also a slight tendency to produce clichés a little too hot, with a red dominance more or less pronounced, the white balance being to be called into question here.
The HTC 10 incorporates a 12-megapixel photo sensor (UltraPixel 2 sensor, 2nd generation), with an f / 1.8 aperture lens and recording RAW shots. Note also that the pixels here measure 1.55?m, which is the pixel size of a Nexus 6P. Also on the front, HTC promises real improvements in terms of photography. The lovers of selfies in difficult conditions will appreciate the front camera’s features. We regret a little the deformation induced by the wide angle of the optics which forces us to hold the camera relatively far away so as not to be wearing a forehead too prominent on the photo. The frontal unit will look for a nice amount of light, which is welcome in low light but tends to overexpose the images in broad daylight.
In practice, the HTC 10 blows hot and cold in photos and can sometimes compete in terms of details with a Galaxy S7, sometimes present images stuffed with electronic noise. Fortunately, the first case is a little more frequent than the second. In low light, the HTC 10 does not compare with the Galaxy S7, both in terms of speed of execution and rendering level. The noise is much more present on the Taiwan side, the dark areas are particularly warming and the loss of detail is important.
As for capturing videos, they can go up to a UHD definition, but it will take up to 6 minutes maximum for each take. The rendering of the films is rather good and the optical stabilization does a good job. The transitions of exposure and follow-up of the subject are done smoothly and precisely.
Overall, this HTC 10, now, has a screen now QHD whose diagonal reaches 5.2 inches, and under which one finds the now classic pairing a Snapdragon 820 and 4 GB of RAM. The smartphone also boasts a 3000 mAh battery, a 12 million point UltraPixel photo sensor, and unveils a more aggressive design than its predecessors.
This time, the Taiwanese brand was able to propose a very balanced product with this HTC 10 which has very high qualities, and especially no crippling defect that could deviate from the choice of the most demanding consumers (if not the price … ). HTC still offers a good screen, an HTC Sense interface that we love, an excellent performance and an audio experience that puts a lot of competitors in the waiting line. Indeed, the very high price can be found in other brands, but they are in positions far more dominant in the market (yes, Apple and Samsung).
Unfortunately, a quality product does not do everything; the company must know how to sell it. Hopefully, this will really be the case this year with this high-end device aka the HTC 10 deserves it largely.