This morning, after months of leaks and anticipation, HTC officially unveiled its latest flagship smartphone. Named HTC 10, the Taiwanese phone maker’s newest device is a sequel to last year’s lackluster One M9 and is touted by the company as its “most refined” smartphone ever. We can’t attest to the truth, or lack thereof, of that statement until we get our hands on the HTC 10 ourselves, but on paper the claim has serious weight.
The first indication of HTC’s renewed dedication to delivering a polished powerhouse of a phone is the name. After the revolutionary HTC One in 2013, the company endeavored on a path of confusing monikers for its flagships that were a mouthful more than anything. In 2016, simplification is the game, and gone are the “One” and “M” attributes, leaving just the number 10 to adorn the new slab of aluminum and glass. As for the design, after taking flak for last year’s uber iterative installment, the HTC 10 features an aesthetic that recalls the original One, with distinctive and pronounced chamfered edges that give the phone a much bolder look than that of the M9, but isn’t too out there to raise many concerns. The oval fingerprint scanner from the One A9 has been carried over, replacing the HTC logo found on previous flagships.
One trend HTC has managed to keep at arm’s length are the hulking screen sizes found on most high-end smartphones. While in no way small, like the recent iPhone SE, the HTC 10 comes in at a more manageable screen size of 5.2-inches. It is a small bump up from the M9, but not a massive increase. In every other way, though, the HTC 10 is a flagship through and through. The aforementioned LCD screen is now Quad HD with a PPI of 564. Powering the phone is the top-of-the-line Snapdragon 820 and 4GB of RAM. The device comes with 32 or 64GB of storage, with a microSD card slot for further expansion up to 2TB. BoomSound speakers make a triumphant return after being noticeably absent from the One A9 last fall, though in this iteration only one speaker is front-facing (the other fires out of the phone’s bottom chin, to make room for the fingerprint scanner). A trend the company has thankfully jumped on board with is USB Type-C, which pairs with a healthy battery of 3,000 mAh which HTC claims will get users two days of normal use.
The most lamented aspect of HTC’s flagships have not been the internal specifications and screen resolution, however, but their continually underperforming cameras. Of course, we cannot make any claim about the quality of the HTC 10’s camera, but once again the paper specs here are promising. The back facing camera comes in at 12MP (UltraPixel is back this year, so take that as you will), with a huge aperture of f/1.8, laser autofocus, dual tone LED flash and Optical Image Stabilization. It’s capable of shooting 4K video, slow motion in 720p at 120fps and includes Auto-HDR. A Pro mode with manual control and the ability to shoot RAW images are also included. The front-facing camera is a 5MP shooter with the same f/1.8 aperture and Optical Image Stabilization, as well.
HTC claims this camera is the best it has ever put into a smartphone, but that’s a claim the company has made before, so our official judgement will be reserved for our full review. That said, the bullet points concerning the HTC 10 camera are certainly intriguing, and if it can compete in the same league with the Nexus 6P and within shouting distance of the Samsung Galaxy S7 and LG’s latest cameras, then the HTC 10 will be an extremely compelling device.
We will have lots more with the HTC 10 in the coming days and weeks, including hands-on impressions and, of course, a full review.