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



Things have gotten better since. But HTC is still an unwillingprisoner of the spiral of death, with every successive failed, oreven indecisive, quarter making a resurfacing next time around evenless likely. And despite the initial success of its new Vive virtualreality arm, one has to wonder just how much sweat and worry—butalso passion—went into the planning of its latest flagship phone,the HTC 10, to ensure a success.



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



Let's see how it does.


Design

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

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



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


HTC 10

HTC 10

Dimensions

5.74 x 2.83 x 0.35 inches

145.9 x 71.9. x 9 mm

Weight

5.68 oz (161 g)

Samsung Galaxy S7

Samsung Galaxy S7

Dimensions

5.61 x 2.74 x 0.31 inches

142.4 x 69.6 x 7.9 mm

Weight

5.36 oz (152 g)

LG G5

LG G5

Dimensions

5.88 x 2.91 x 0.29 inches

149.4 x 73.9 x 7.3 mm

Weight

5.61 oz (159 g)

Apple iPhone 6s

Apple iPhone 6s

Dimensions

5.44 x 2.64 x 0.28 inches

138.3 x 67.1 x 7.1 mm

Weight

5.04 oz (143 g)

HTC 10

HTC 10

Dimensions

5.74 x 2.83 x 0.35 inches

145.9 x 71.9. x 9 mm

Weight

5.68 oz (161 g)

Samsung Galaxy S7

Samsung Galaxy S7

Dimensions

5.61 x 2.74 x 0.31 inches

142.4 x 69.6 x 7.9 mm

Weight

5.36 oz (152 g)

LG G5

LG G5

Dimensions

5.88 x 2.91 x 0.29 inches

149.4 x 73.9 x 7.3 mm

Weight

5.61 oz (159 g)

Apple iPhone 6s

Apple iPhone 6s

Dimensions

5.44 x 2.64 x 0.28 inches

138.3 x 67.1 x 7.1 mm

Weight

5.04 oz (143 g)

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



For example, those aforementionedchamfers aid handling ergonomics and help you forget the specs—thespecs that list the HTC 10 as 0.35 inches-thick (9mm), or more thanany competing flagship. And while the phone is ratherchunky, it feels like its thickness is a statement just as much as anengineering necessity. Also helpful is the ridged power button, whichis centered on the right side, with the volume rocker a bit higherfor a perfect, secure grip.



Turning our attention to the front, it's where HTC's design team letsus down the most. Adopting many of the characteristics of the HTC OneA9, the 10 isn't exactly striking when looked head-on. Probably thebiggest offender here are the weird proportions of the top and bottombezels, along with the home button which sits strangely off-center.



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



Display

Better than most.

One thing we used to appreciate HTC devices for were the displaypanels the company used. They were bright, mostly color correct andwithout the gaudy colors typical of AMOLEDs, and never went forstupid-high resolutions, trading efficiency for just a tiny bit moreclarity. Up to a point, this remains the case with the HTC 10.



Things have changed, though. Perhaps most importantly, after sticking to5-inch displays for three consecutive generations, HTC has now movedup 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 ensureeverything you—or even a fighter jet pilot—end up looking at willbe extremely sharp. As for the 'Super' part, it simply denotes thatthere'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. Dueto a disbalance between the primary Red, Green, and Blue (or RGB)colors, with the latter two towering above the former, there's aleaning towards a colder color temperature. In layman's terms, thismeans that the screen is bluer than it should be. As for overallcolor fidelity and gamma response, we're mostly pleased, even in thecontext of comparing the phone with other flagships.



A little bit of a disappointment after this showing was thebrightness of the phone, as it peaks at a little over 370 nits, whichis definitely on the lower end of the high-end spectrum. Still, thescreen is legible under sunlight, if less so than competingsolutions. Luckily, at 7 nits, minimum brightness is sufficiently lowfor 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 totweak display metrics through two distinct screen modes: Vivid andsRGB (on which we've based our analysis above). The former is yourtypical, overly saturated, AMOLED-like mode, though both modes offerthe option to manually adjust color balance—which we did in orderto compensate for the bluishness.



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236 Comments

1. NoToFanboys

Posts: 3231; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

Looks like I'm goin' HTC this year.

12. zeeBomb

Posts: 2318; Member since: Aug 14, 2014

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

61. SonyOwner unregistered

Couldn't agree more.

63. Nathan_ingx

Posts: 4769; Member since: Mar 07, 2012

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

76. MSi_Cubi unregistered

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

101. danny_a2005

Posts: 365; Member since: Oct 06, 2011

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

178. Ashoaib

Posts: 3298; Member since: Nov 15, 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?

214. kriistofor

Posts: 6; Member since: Sep 14, 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.

162. plck74

Posts: 65; Member since: Dec 12, 2013

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

198. danny_a2005

Posts: 365; Member since: Oct 06, 2011

so? lol

20. amats69

Posts: 1527; Member since: Nov 12, 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.

34. newbey123

Posts: 702; Member since: Mar 19, 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.

85. marorun

Posts: 5029; Member since: Mar 30, 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.

142. Hydrocaliz

Posts: 39; Member since: Apr 20, 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.

148. ..Z..

Posts: 85; Member since: Apr 16, 2016

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

165. amats69

Posts: 1527; Member since: Nov 12, 2012

go to sleep boy.

212. TMach unregistered

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!

171. KONICHIWA-ANNYONG unregistered

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

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..

179. NoToFanboys

Posts: 3231; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

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

102. johanbiff

Posts: 415; Member since: Mar 31, 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.

128. vincelongman

Posts: 5728; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

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

134. JoshN

Posts: 202; Member since: Apr 01, 2015

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

180. Ashoaib

Posts: 3298; Member since: Nov 15, 2013

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

192. demi9od

Posts: 13; Member since: Oct 26, 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.

221. w1000i

Posts: 250; Member since: Jul 22, 2015

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

223. ZetZet

Posts: 22; Member since: Apr 21, 2015

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

161. PHYCLOPSH

Posts: 652; Member since: Jun 28, 2014

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

181. Ashoaib

Posts: 3298; Member since: Nov 15, 2013

And with the exception of camera

206. DomSanity

Posts: 28; Member since: Dec 13, 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.

10
  • Display 5.2" 1440 x 2560 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP / 5 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 820, Quad-core, 2200 MHz
  • Storage 32 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 3000 mAh(27h 3G talk time)

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