HTC 10 Review
We dig the no-nonsense approach of Sense 8!
What we've always loved about HTC is the holistic nature of their devices. So the strapping hardware is complemented by equally no-nonsense software in the Sense 8 interface. Alike to Sony's Xperia theme, Sense 8 on the HTC 10 is more about executing the essentials well, all the while showing apathy for excessive—and largely unimportant—features. Unlike Sony, however, HTC's software design team knows how to create a visually impactful UI.
Based on Android Marshmallow, the HTC 10's software is really the only manufacturer interface where the word 'tolerate' doesn't figure. We kind of like it, actually, and if you're a fan of the Nexus line, this is probably the only custom UI you'll like as well. It's down to the point and beautifully utilitarian, with just essential apps pre-loaded and no duplicates. That said, there are some time-sinks and perks if you're so inclined.
A great example is the Themes app, which allows you to completely redecorate the look and feel of your homescreen. Everything, from app icons through wallpapers, fonts, and color schemes, can be edited to your taste, though we're yet to feel inclined to mess up with the defaults. Another stand-out—but actually useful—feature is the BlinkFeed homescreen, which integrates news, social media feeds, and contextual recommendations (think stuff like where to grab a bite). Best of all, unlike Samsung's very similar 'upday' (previously My Magazine) homescreen, transitioning to BlinkFeed is completely lag-free.
The only other feature worth mentioning is HTC's Boost+ app. As the name suggests, it's supposed to keep the HTC 10 performing fluidly by managing your apps in the background and scheduling regular maintenance to clear out junk files. Boost+ also lets you lock other apps so that they only open through a pattern or fingerprint.
Despite this overly positive experience, we'd be remiss if we didn't point out that we're no fans of the TouchPal keyboard that comes by default. It's unnecessarily complex—which runs counter to the rest of Sense 8's UX design—and even improperly localized for western markets in terms of the default layout. Given HTC's commitment to Google apps, we would have liked Google's keyboard app much better.
Granted, HTC could have placed the scanner a little higher on the bottom bezel for easier access, but we can't really complain much—it's easy to reach as is. Better yet, that thing is very fast, and absolutely spot on with accuracy. We haven't staged any intricate tests, but our takeaway is that this is possibly the most reliable scanner we've worked with, right up there with Apple's Touch ID.
Finally, while you can't lock files and photos behind it, the sensor wakes up the screen automatically when you touch it, allowing for very fast access to your phone. If you don't like this, you can turn it off from Settings.
Paradoxical as it may be, when you buy a new smartphone, the Phone app is probably your last concern. But it matters, and with the HTC 10, it's executed just right.
For starters, the Material Design-eqsue interface can be customized by removing entirely or just re-arranging your tabs—think call history, favorites, and such. The app offers staples such as speed dial and call blocking, but also speech dial, automatic answering when you pick up your phone, prompts to add unknown callers to contacts (actually useful!), and even Home dialing. That last one means the HTC 10 automatically figures out country codes when you're roaming.
If you're into messaging the old-school style, you'll find that the native Messages app is as thought-out as the Phone one.
Apart from customization options that let you change the font, background, and chat bubbles' color, there's also support for block lists and even extras such as a personal signature. Incoming texts by default trigger a notification in your status bar, but you can change that so they're of the heads-up style and get layered on top of whatever it is you're doing—alike to Viber.
Instead of relying on its own Calendar app of old, HTC has made the switch to Google's Calendar, and that, we've found, is a plus. Not only does Google's solution look great, but it offers perks such as birthday and holiday reminders, but also goodies like integration with Gmail. So things like appointments and flight tickets entering your mailbox will be automatically added to your agenda, and you'll be duly notified as needed.
Calendar is not the only Google app on the HTC 10 you'll be working with, however. Google Keep is also here for all your note-taking needs and to-do lists, and the Google Sheets and Slides apps are also present out of the gate.
Easily the smoothest-running, non-Nexus Android phone to date.
Despite ranking slightly lower than its peers on synthetic benchmarks, it'd be crazy to even mention sluggishness in the context of the HTC 10. Quite frankly, this is by far the smoothest-running, non-Nexus Android device to grace our offices. Every action is executed promptly, app open times are minimal, and it just feels like HTC has really done its part of the job.
Who else is responsible? Qualcomm, of course, and its flagship, quad-core Snapdragon 820 processor. Paired with it are the Adreno 530 GPU along with 4GB of the fastest RAM available right now. On the downside, when under continued pressure, the HTC 10 does tend to get warm—perhaps dangerously close to uncomfortably warm.
Storage is another matter that caused some arching of brows. In the United States, the HTC 10 is limited to 32GB of internal storage (of which ~23GB user-available), with a 64GB option promised for other, unnamed markets. Don't fret, though, for the 10 comes with a microSD card slot, which is 'adoptable' thanks to Android Marshmallow. In simpler terms, the OS will let you host apps on the card no problem, so that's a relief. And if that's not enough to soften the blow, you're also getting 100GB of free Google Drive storage for two years.
AnTuTu Higher is better
HTC 10 131088
Samsung Galaxy S7 136695
LG G5 134074
Apple iPhone 6s 59075
Sony Xperia Z5 51012.33
Vellamo Metal Higher is better
HTC 10 3578
Samsung Galaxy S7 3632
LG G5 3515
Sony Xperia Z5 1667.33
Vellamo Browser Higher is better
HTC 10 4418
Samsung Galaxy S7 5339
LG G5 4498
Sony Xperia Z5 4301.66
JetStream Higher is better
HTC 10 46.453
Samsung Galaxy S7 62.049
LG G5 52.218
Apple iPhone 6s 118.91
GFXBench T-Rex HD on-screen Higher is better
HTC 10 47
Samsung Galaxy S7 53
LG G5 54.33
Apple iPhone 6s 59.1
Sony Xperia Z5 53
GFXBench Manhattan 3.1 on-screen Higher is better
HTC 10 13
Samsung Galaxy S7 29
LG G5 17
Apple iPhone 6s 56.1
Sony Xperia Z5 18.3
Basemark OS II Higher is better
HTC 10 1806.33
Samsung Galaxy S7 1943
LG G5 1913
Apple iPhone 6s 2139
Sony Xperia Z5 1575
Geekbench 3 single-core Higher is better
HTC 10 2094.33
Samsung Galaxy S7 2327
LG G5 2344
Apple iPhone 6s 2539
Sony Xperia Z5 1318.6
Geekbench 3 multi-core Higher is better
HTC 10 4381.33
Samsung Galaxy S7 5455
LG G5 5442
Apple iPhone 6s 4421
Sony Xperia Z5 4167.3
Internet and connectivity
The whole shebang. No Sprint LTE, however (yet).
HTC ditching its own browsing client is nothing new, so like elsewhere, a Google solution—Chrome—is what's available. We're fond of the app, as it offers native integration with its desktop counterpart, making for a more cohesive experience.
On the connectivity front, the 10 is rock-solid. Staples such as Bluetooth 4.2, 5GHz Wi-Fi, and NFC are, of course, available, but there are some extras that you won't get elsewhere. A good example is the phone's support for AirPlay—an Apple technology—allowing you to hook up to various other devices that support the standard for wireless video/audio playback. Also worth noting is that the reversible USB Type-C port of the 10 is actually USB 3.1 Gen 1, meaning vastly superior transfer speeds than competing devices.
Finally, keep in mind that if you pick up the unlocked HTC 10 model currently available, you won't be able to use it over Sprint's LTE network because of a mismatch between supported and required bands. A special Sprint version is upcoming.
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- 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)