Camera

What do you know! HTC finally caught a break.

For years now, by far the biggest weakness of HTC devices has been the camera. Refusing to give up its 4MP UltraPixel camera for two generations, the company finally moved to a higher resolution, Toshiba unit with last year's One M9. Unfortunately, it wasn't good enough.



With the HTC 10, however, we're finally looking at a very promising setup. Not about to mess this up yet again, HTC is going with a 1/2.3”, 12-megapixel sensor with large, 1.55μm pixels and wide, f/1.8 lens. Combined with optical stabilization, these parameters suggest great light sensitivity for when you're shooting in the dark. Up front, we're looking at an equally compelling, 5-megapixel selfie camera, also with optical stabilization—a first with front-facing snappers, and a boon for club photos.


The software is different. You can launch the camera by simply swiping downwards twice—even when the phone is asleep—or by dragging the camera app icon into the middle of the lockscreen. As for the interface, it's more minimalist than ever before and absolutely down to the point. Save for the dedicated Pro mode, which gives you manual control over variables such as ISO and shutter speed, it's a really clean execution overall.



Image quality


While the camera app on the HTC 10 is relatively slow to take a snap, once it does, the results are overall great. On the plus side, white balance is almost universally set correctly despite some slips, so you can expect photos that are true to life. Dynamic range, while not best-in-class, is pretty decent overall.


It's worth pointing out that the 12MP camera produces stills that are pretty soft—perhaps even too soft—and often chooses very fast shutter speeds to avoid blurring, but at the expense of high ISO levels (so more noise). Noise reduction is great overall, but combined with the aforementioned softness of images, detail in trees and foliage can get pretty dirty.


Another problem we noticed is that the snapper sometimes has trouble delivering clarity at the edges of the frame. So while the center is in focus, detail in the corners of the image can be mushy.


In low light, the camera delivers. Even without using the flash, the HTC 10 manages to soak up enough light from the scene to deliver a bright shot, if at the expense of accuracy. That is, the scenes in front of us are actually darker than they appear in the 10's camera reel, which is nevertheless still preferable over the opposite scenario.


In the scheme of things, however, these are simply imperfections. Overall, the camera on the HTC 10 is terrific.


Unsurprisingly, the front-facing camera also does a pretty decent job as far as your selfie needs go. There's an automatic HDR feature, along with auto focus and beauty effects. Selfies come out naturally looking, with plenty detail, and the camera does an awesome job even in complete darkness. In such cases, the screen of the HTC 10 lights up and serves as a front flash, and we've got to say that it does the job pretty well.




Taking a pic Lower is better Taking an HDR pic (sec) Lower is better CamSpeed score Higher is better CamSpeed score with flash Higher is better
HTC 10 2.4
3.2
616
534
Samsung Galaxy S7 1.5
1.6
315
281
LG G5 2.2
2.7
505
480
Apple iPhone 6s 1.7
1.9
485
293
Sony Xperia Z5 3
3
No data
No data

Video quality


Capable of 4K video capture along with slow-motion and even hyperlapse video, the HTC 10 is a competent camcorder. Video quality in 4K is terrific, not to mention smooth and well-stabilized thanks to OIS. Our only beef is with the laser auto-focus mechanism on board, which sometimes struggles when having to transition between subjects without manual help.




As for hyperlapse video—very long recordings that have been sped-up and digitally stabilized—we can't say we're impressed. Both Microsoft's eponymous app and Samsung's implementation with the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge are superior, with better quality and shake compensation.

Multimedia

All's good.


At 5.2-inches, the HTC 10 is a great medium for video watching, be it streaming or local playback—which is taken care of by the Google Photos app.


In fact, Google Photos is the only gallery app on the HTC 10, and that's absolutely a great thing given how powerful it has grown. Not only does it automate the process of backing up your photos to Google Drive, but you can also search your library through keywords. Better yet, HTC has actually included the editing tools from its old Gallery app into Google Photo, so you get a pretty powerful photo editor out of the box.


For music, you're again relegated to a Google app: Play Music in this case. We can't say we're big fans of the execution with that one, but it's what you get out of the box. Spotify is still a Play Store trip away.


Speaking of music, and given HTC's BoomSound legacy, we need to have a word. First off, the front-firing, stereo BoomSound speakers of old are obviously gone with the HTC 10. In their stead, HTC has gone for a speaker integrated into the earpiece (a tweeter), along with a secondary speaker on the bottom that takes care of lower frequencies. HTC spent a lot of time talking up this configuration, and while it's not quite up there with the iPhone 6s', it is on par with other flagships.


We were also sent the HTC Hi-Res Audio Earphones, which are not included with the US model, and we were disappointed. In particular, this is a pair that's absolutely monstrous on bass, and while this may appeal to some, it's impossible for us to recommend such imbalanced sound.


Headphones output power (Volts) Higher is better
HTC 10 0.95
Samsung Galaxy S7 0.704
LG G5 0.29
Apple iPhone 6s 0.986
Sony Xperia Z5 0.35
Loudspeaker loudness (dB) Higher is better
HTC 10 68
Samsung Galaxy S7 72.7
LG G5 73
Apple iPhone 6s 69.6
Sony Xperia Z5 73

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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: 361; 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: 3282; 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: 361; 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: 701; 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: 5691; 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: 3282; 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: 247; 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: 3282; 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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