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HTC 10 Review

HTC 10

HTC 10 Review

We all love us an underdog. But the story of HTC doesn't quite qualify it for the role. At the height of its power, the Android pioneer was responsible for one out of four smartphones sold in the United States, and not by accident. But like so many other of the giants of old—think Nokia, BlackBerry—the company's fortunes took a turn for the worse. Rock bottom was last year in August, when the once high-flying brand's stock was trading below cash reserves, meaning it was essentially worthless in the eyes of investors.

HTC 10 Review
HTC 10 Review
Things have gotten better since. But HTC is still an unwilling prisoner of the spiral of death, with every successive failed, or even indecisive, quarter making a resurfacing next time around even less likely. And despite the initial success of its new Vive virtual reality arm, one has to wonder just how much sweat and worry—but also passion—went into the planning of its latest flagship phone, the HTC 10, to ensure a success.

With the 10, HTC must prove to the world that its wares are worth the dough. And theirs have been a tough sale lately, largely because of objective shortcomings that the HTC 'style' of doing things—a style we've always been attracted to—wasn't enough to cover for. So the 10 needs to be rock-solid both on the inside and outside, while also doing a splendid job getting us through a busy day of life acrobatics.

Let's see how it does.


Design isn't just about looks. The HTC 10 proves it.

Ask a person what they think of the design of anything and they're likely to start yapping about looks. And sure, looks are important and very much a part of design. But they're far from the be-all and end-all. And sometimes, we need devices like the HTC 10 to be reminded of that.

The HTC 10 not only looks great—it also feels great. In the hand, it's substantial and pleasantly heavy in a way that few phones are. From the chamfered edges on the back, through the solid aluminum body, the 10 is a smartphone with style. And it's also cleverly engineered.

HTC 10
5.74 x 2.83 x 0.35 inches
145.9 x 71.9. x 9 mm
5.68 oz (161 g)

HTC 10

Samsung Galaxy S7
5.61 x 2.74 x 0.31 inches
142.4 x 69.6 x 7.9 mm
5.36 oz (152 g)

Samsung Galaxy S7

5.88 x 2.91 x 0.29 inches
149.4 x 73.9 x 7.3 mm
5.61 oz (159 g)


Apple iPhone 6s
5.44 x 2.64 x 0.28 inches
138.3 x 67.1 x 7.1 mm
5.04 oz (143 g)

Apple iPhone 6s

To see the phones in real size or compare them with other models, visit our Visual Phone Size Comparison page.

For example, those aforementioned chamfers aid handling ergonomics and help you forget the specs—the specs that list the HTC 10 as 0.35 inches-thick (9mm), or more than any competing flagship. And while the phone is rather chunky, it feels like its thickness is a statement just as much as an engineering necessity. Also helpful is the ridged power button, which is centered on the right side, with the volume rocker a bit higher for a perfect, secure grip.

Turning our attention to the front, it's where HTC's design team lets us down the most. Adopting many of the characteristics of the HTC One A9, the 10 isn't exactly striking when looked head-on. Probably the biggest offender here are the weird proportions of the top and bottom bezels, along with the home button which sits strangely off-center.

Available in silver and dark-gray mattes, the HTC 10 strikes us as a rather masculine device. And while in terms of looks it's not the prettiest phone out there, it's a glaring example of macho design—and that, to be fair, is not a bad thing at all.


Better than most.

One thing we used to appreciate HTC devices for were the display panels the company used. They were bright, mostly color correct and without the gaudy colors typical of AMOLEDs, and never went for stupid-high resolutions, trading efficiency for just a tiny bit more clarity. Up to a point, this remains the case with the HTC 10.

HTC 10 Review
Things have changed, though. Perhaps most importantly, after sticking to 5-inch displays for three consecutive generations, HTC has now moved up to a 5.2-inch Super LCD 5 screen that packs 1440 x 2560 pixels. That's a density of 565 ppi, or more than sufficient to ensure everything you—or even a fighter jet pilot—end up looking at will be extremely sharp. As for the 'Super' part, it simply denotes that there's no air gap between the front glass and the display itself, helping prop the image closer to your finger.

Speaking of the image, it's a good one overall, but not perfect. Due to a disbalance between the primary Red, Green, and Blue (or RGB) colors, with the latter two towering above the former, there's a leaning towards a colder color temperature. In layman's terms, this means that the screen is bluer than it should be. As for overall color fidelity and gamma response, we're mostly pleased, even in the context of comparing the phone with other flagships.

A little bit of a disappointment after this showing was the brightness of the phone, as it peaks at a little over 370 nits, which is definitely on the lower end of the high-end spectrum. Still, the screen is legible under sunlight, if less so than competing solutions. Luckily, at 7 nits, minimum brightness is sufficiently low for nighttime usage.

UPDATE: HTC has sent us a new 10 unit, whose maximum brightness we measured at 430 nits. According to the manufacturer, this is the true luminance the panel is capable of, and there's been something wrong with our initial unit. We're willing to believe this is in fact the HTC 10's true max brightness level.

Finally, it should be noted that the HTC 10's software allows you to tweak display metrics through two distinct screen modes: Vivid and sRGB (on which we've based our analysis above). The former is your typical, overly saturated, AMOLED-like mode, though both modes offer the option to manually adjust color balance—which we did in order to compensate for the bluishness.

Display measurements and quality

Maximum brightness (nits)Higher is better Minimum brightness (nits)Lower is better Contrast Higher is better Color temperature (Kelvins) Gamma Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better Delta E grayscale Lower is better
HTC 10 432
Samsung Galaxy S7 484
LG G5 816
Apple iPhone 6s 554
Sony Xperia Z5 672
View all

  • Options

posted on 20 Apr 2016, 10:59 49

1. NoToFanboys (Posts: 2974; Member since: 03 Oct 2015)

Looks like I'm goin' HTC this year.

posted on 20 Apr 2016, 11:11 36

12. zeeBomb (Posts: 2304; Member since: 14 Aug 2014)

This is the HTC 10, and therefore, it should have gotten 10/10

posted on 20 Apr 2016, 12:06 15

61. SonyOwner (unregistered)

Couldn't agree more.

posted on 20 Apr 2016, 12:20 36

63. Nathan_ingx (Posts: 4319; Member since: 07 Mar 2012)

Well, let's be happy that a device that is not Apple or Samsung got a 9.

posted on 20 Apr 2016, 12:55 4

76. MSi_Cubi (unregistered)

9 points? well I don't think it will be better than Huawei p9 plus or max

posted on 20 Apr 2016, 14:13 9

101. danny_a2005 (Posts: 268; Member since: 06 Oct 2011)

yeeees finally HTC is back, this phone is so nice, i will buy it asap. the gold version fancies me :)

posted on 21 Apr 2016, 03:31 3

178. Ashoaib (Posts: 3229; Member since: 15 Nov 2013)

Me too if HTC will fix the camera glitches and will bring it to the level of Nexus 5x/6p...
Chris you have done a very nice review. I didn't feel bored for a single second. You put the words in nice and interesting sentences. Why you were not doing the reviews before?

posted on 21 Apr 2016, 15:53

214. kriistofor (Posts: 4; Member since: 14 Sep 2015)

He really did, didn't he?

I was bitching earlier this week about a review from Dan from the Verge (about m10) which was such a bias that I was shocked to see it as a legit review posted on a site.
My comments were met with people saying "yea, this is a subjective review, better than the spec-sheet s**t on Phonearena and Gsmarena...i want to read what it is to use the phone" etc.
Well, here is a review that clearly shows that phone was used, reviewed properly and written eloquently.

While I agree that you guys are a bit too harsh (bias, maybe?) to Chinese competitors coming here with lower prices and similar specs, you are still giving great insights and observations in your reviews.

This is a well written review that is rounded from the beginning to the end, highlights all the features that deserve to be highlighted, but also very elegantly points out the cons of the device (and i'm not talking 'bout keyboard, but rather screen, camera, call quality - you say it's better than most - still not great enough to be called perfect. And I need that when considering a phone - pros and cons in the same paragraph -so well put sir.)

Much better than Dan's opinions that this boring device just isn't gimmicky enough to even deserve a proper review.

posted on 20 Apr 2016, 21:51 1

162. plck74 (Posts: 65; Member since: 12 Dec 2013)

do not forget that samsung put heat conductor.....

posted on 21 Apr 2016, 09:16 1

198. danny_a2005 (Posts: 268; Member since: 06 Oct 2011)

so? lol

posted on 20 Apr 2016, 11:21 10

20. amats69 (Posts: 1523; Member since: 12 Nov 2012)

me too! that carbon grey HTC 10 is really a good looking phone! this is the real successor of the M7. HTC really nailed it this time. a 9 score is too low for this phone.well this is phonearena and i expected it.

posted on 20 Apr 2016, 11:27 4

34. newbey123 (Posts: 636; Member since: 19 Mar 2012)

I know they made a black one but it doesn't seem to be available! The carbon grey looks awesome, but really wanted the black one.

posted on 20 Apr 2016, 13:24 5

85. marorun (Posts: 5029; Member since: 30 Mar 2015)

9.2 or 9.3 would been more appropriate.

Still i am impressed with battery life its like mid ground between S7 and S7 edge.

posted on 20 Apr 2016, 19:29 8

142. Hydrocaliz (Posts: 39; Member since: 20 Apr 2016)

Really? This phone looks quite ugly. Put it beside S7 or P9, it will look like a sumo wrestler standing next to slim guys with tuxedo (It's not like I don't like sumo, though. I watch it frequently on TV and I like it).

Anyway, what's so special about this phone? Display, which is not comparable to AMOLED, mediocre battery life, below average performance, no-S7-(or G5)grade camera with horrible exposure problem, an iPhone like front panel with Galaxy's home button, etc...
I'm pretty sure that people are saying this looks nice because it is made out of metal. If it was not, it would have not be the same for sure.

posted on 20 Apr 2016, 19:58 2

148. ..Z.. (banned) (Posts: 85; Member since: 16 Apr 2016)

It surely is ugly. Samsung front and ugly chamfered back, which everyone agrees to. Similar like the fugly G5.

posted on 20 Apr 2016, 22:14 3

165. amats69 (Posts: 1523; Member since: 12 Nov 2012)

go to sleep boy.

posted on 21 Apr 2016, 15:22

212. TMach (Posts: 465; Member since: 29 Dec 2011)

Think you mean put beside the S7 or P9, it will look like an adrenaline fuelled Rambo next to a slim lady in a dress........I have the S7 Edge but I have pre-ordered this direct from HTC (UK) as loving the macho feel to this phone! Also took advantage of the promo discount which is HTC10 to net a reasonable discount n the RRP.

Christmas present is likely to be the Xperia X Premium which sounds like an insane phone!

posted on 21 Apr 2016, 01:40 2

171. KONICHIWA-ANNYONG (unregistered)

It's definitely can't be called elegant. More macho than 'premium' looking.

posted on 20 Apr 2016, 13:23 2

84. MSi_Cubi (unregistered)

why? just bcos u seen this? come oon.. get P9 plus much better
Everybody pleasing on HTC but nobody will be buying..or just HTC fans that's it..

posted on 21 Apr 2016, 03:32

179. NoToFanboys (Posts: 2974; Member since: 03 Oct 2015)

"Better" is subjective, also it doesn't take an HTC fan to like this phone.

posted on 20 Apr 2016, 14:19 2

102. johanbiff (Posts: 414; Member since: 31 Mar 2015)

good for HTC! they deserv it. the benchmark scors are a bit low though, underclocked soc to get better battery maybe? SD820 is not known for good batterylife.

posted on 20 Apr 2016, 16:14 1

128. vincelongman (Posts: 5068; Member since: 10 Feb 2013)

Patiently waiting for the HTC Nexus
Hopefully with the fingerprint reader on the back

posted on 20 Apr 2016, 16:39 1

134. JoshN (Posts: 196; Member since: 01 Apr 2015)

Max brightness SUCKS but apart from that it's a beast ☺i

posted on 21 Apr 2016, 03:35

180. Ashoaib (Posts: 3229; Member since: 15 Nov 2013)

Camera also. There are some serious glitches in camera which need to be fixed.

posted on 21 Apr 2016, 06:29

192. demi9od (Posts: 13; Member since: 26 Oct 2015)

Could be a deal breaker if it makes it unusable for navigation and HTC has been getting worse here every year.
M8: 490 nits
M9: 430 nits
M10: 370 nits
To be fair, the G5 is 378 nits on max auto and the S7 is 391.

posted on 24 Apr 2016, 06:18

221. w1000i (Posts: 116; Member since: 22 Jul 2015)

phonearena test is not right, other reviews said it has higher nits than LG g5

posted on 25 Apr 2016, 15:21

223. ZetZet (Posts: 22; Member since: 21 Apr 2015)

S7 is 539 on max auto. ~395 on manual.

posted on 20 Apr 2016, 20:48

161. PHYCLOPSH (Posts: 541; Member since: 28 Jun 2014)

It seems HTC should probably win phone of the year, with exception to the display brightness.

posted on 21 Apr 2016, 03:37

181. Ashoaib (Posts: 3229; Member since: 15 Nov 2013)

And with the exception of camera

posted on 21 Apr 2016, 11:23

206. DomSanity (Posts: 28; Member since: 13 Dec 2012)

I just noticed the HTC 10's shot in the comparisons are a bit yellowish.

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

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HTC 10

HTC 10

OS: Android 7.0 6.0
view full specs
PhoneArena rating:
Display5.2 inches, 1440 x 2560 pixels (565 ppi) S-LCD 5
Camera12 megapixels
Qualcomm Snapdragon 820, Quad-core, 2200 MHz, Kryo processor
Size5.74 x 2.83 x 0.35 inches
(145.9 x 71.9. x 9 mm)
5.68 oz  (161 g)

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