If there’s a company that needs a winner right now, it’s HTC. Remaining competitive hasn’t been so easy for the Taiwanese company as Samsung and LG are among those who started implementing the impressive and premium designs that once made HTC special. When the One M7 and One M8 arrived, the world was mesmerized because they broke away from cheap plastic with their metal unibodies. Then the One M9 came along and underwhelmed because the HTC’s competitors were also pushing their respective engineering teams, and the specifications had nothing on the Galaxy S6 and G4.
This morning, HTC announced its new flagship for 2016. The HTC 10 raises the bar with its design and beefs up its brains with top-notch specifications. It may look familiar, but the HTC 10 is unlike anything you’ve ever seen from HTC.
Everything you see on the HTC 10 is said to be “crafted with obsession.” The company claims it went back to the drawing board to develop its 2016 flagship and returned with a obsession-infused phone.
In true HTC fashion, the HTC 10 is made of aluminum with a dual-textured finish. It’s impossible to think HTC didn’t make this phone. But what’s new is the chamfered contour around the back edge that will likely make it sit comfortably in your hands. The front, specifically where the display meets the body, has a chamfered edge as well. So the smooth curves from the last few HTC phones are nowhere to be found. It’s all about the chamfered edges and metal for the HTC 10, which gives off an industrial and elegant look that you wouldn’t expect from HTC.
The phone appears to be a hybrid of past HTC flagships, particularly resembling the front of the One A9 and the back of the One M7. There shouldn’t be any complaints about that, though, because both of those phones were attractive and well-made. The unibody design for the HTC 10 is gorgeous.
Last year, HTC let us down by putting a 5-inch Full HD (1920×1080) display on the One M9. The HTC 10 finally gives us what we want from HTC because it has a 5.2-inch display with Quad HD (2560×1440) resolution. While the IPS LCD technology might disappoint those hoping for AMOLED, HTC is using updated Super LCD 5. It’ll be interesting to see how the IPS LCD display stacks up against, say, the LG G5 because that phone has an in-house advantage.
Beneath the display is a home button that doubles as a fingerprint scanner. HTC has walked away from the on-screen buttons movement.
Completing the HTC 10’s all-in-one entertainment wizardry is BoomSound HiFi, which ushers in 24-bit audio and a dedicated amplifier. Just know that the front-facing stereo speakers you’re familiar with are gone. Instead, the bottom-facing speakers do all of the work; however, HTC is throwing in free Hi-Rres audio-certified earbuds featuring “an 8µm thin aerospace polymer diaphragm and 70% oversized drivers.” I’m not an audio buff, but that description sounds impressive.
Within the metal unibody of the HTC 10 is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 with 4GB of RAM but with a slight advantage. HTC bundled its own Boost+ technology to “make your phone faster, to consume less power and to provide effective security and application management features.” It seems that Boost+ is about optimizing device performance in different areas. The new PowerBiotics system, for example, shuts down apps that use up a lot of power in order to extend battery life.
Speaking of battery life, HTC is saying that the HTC 10 could deliver up to two days of use on a single charge. Juicing the phone’s 3000mAh battery is a charger with Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 3.0 technology. And, yes, a USB Type-C port is present.
It’s time for HTC, like Motorola, to release a phone with a great camera. The HTC 10 has a 12MP UltraPixel 2 camera with optical image stabilization (OIS) and laser autofocus. DXOMark, the go-to for camera testing, put gave the HTC 10 the very same score as the Galaxy S7. Is that surprising? Oh yes. Is that a good thing? 100%. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that HTC knocked it out of the park with the camera.
The front-facing camera, called the UltraSelfie camera, has a wide-angle lens and even OIS.
Sense 8.0, based on Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow, is running the show. The newest addition to HTC’s software overlay is HTC Freestyle Layout. It “frees you from an on-screen grid” and unleashes creativity because icons can be dragged and stickers and widgets can be placed anywhere, meaning you can overlap items and create a masterpiece (or a hot mess).
If you want to experience a little bit of what the phone has to offer, you can download all twenty wallpapers from the HTC 10 right now.
Pricing and availability for the One A9 was an absolute mess for the One A9. It wasn’t worthy of flagship status yet carried a massive price tag. Luckily, the HTC 10 is priced appropriately. The phone is up for pre-order right now on HTC’s site for $699. This, mind you, is for the unlocked edition to work on AT&T, T-Mobile, and others’ networks who are of the GSM variety. Specific carriers have not yet said when they’ll be offering the phone, but HTC says Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile are all planning to do so. Oddly, AT&T was not mentioned as one of the carriers selling the HTC 10 themselves.
Following the acceptance of pre-orders, the HTC 10 will ship in early May.