Hands on with the HTC 10 - camera and audio top of the agenda

Feature

Hands on with the HTC 10 - camera and audio top of the agenda

The HTC 10 has been revealed, and we’ve been hands on with the new flagship.

It’s a 5.2 inch smartphone that’s set to be the new top of the range model for HTC. Their main handsets have always had a unique design and the 10 follows suit with a metal unibody that’s cool and smooth to the touch. The edges of the case have a new chamfered design which looks well and feels good in the hand, and the matte finish on the back is comfortable too.

In a world where many smartphones are increasingly made of plastic the HTC 10 feels quite different and there’s a pleasant heft to the device in the hand. It’s also a good size thanks to the 5.2 inch screen, with the company choosing to pull back from the common 5.5 inch size in favour of easier one handed use.

In our briefing HTC made it clear that they had been listening to user feedback in the wake of their previous handset and wanted to address as many issues as they could. That included admitting that the M9 had a disappointing camera at launch and also the issue of duplicate apps doing the same things on the phone.

In terms of the camera, the 10 is a big change. UltraPixels are back but the sensor has been bumped up to 12 UltraPixels, addressing the low resolution problems of previous generations. With an f1.8 aperture low light performance is improved, particularly compared with older HTC handsets. Autofocus is faster, optical image stabilisation is included and the UI has been streamlined.

In person first impressions are good. The app opens and takes a snap quickly, and burst mode rattles of photos easily. Switching between modes and options is fairly accessible and you can use 4K video at 30 frames and slow motion at 120 frames per second. The regular gallery app has been replaced by Google Photos which is probably the best app for the purpose around and can sync your photos to the cloud – a feature you can also turn off.

HTC has already put the camera through its paces with DXOMark – a website that uses sophisticated tests to objectively rank camera performance. The HTC 10 scored 88 in their tests, which makes it tied with the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge as the best smartphone camera out there. We’re hoping to get more hands on time soon to check that claim.

Audio is also a big growth area for HTC, and they’re bringing in 24-bit playback and recording for the latest model. That means you’ll be able to upscale your tracks and even tune the experience your ears specifically. This commitment to audio is carried through in the pair of high end headphones included in the box and also the return of BoomSound. This time around the top speaker has an integrated tweeter with the relocated one on the bottom end acting as a woofer. In our test it was definitely loud but also surprisingly clear, even at high volumes.

Battery life continues to be a major issue for phone companies and HTC is addressing it in a number of ways. Firstly they’re putting a large 3,000mAh battery inside the 10 and they also have Boost+ - a piece of software which dynamically optimises your games and apps depending on how much power they’re using. And finally there’s rapid charging which can get you to 50 percent in just 30 minutes, and the cable is included in the box.

We’ve only had a brief time with the HTC 10 but it’s clear that this is an ambitious device for the company, with new and enhanced features and a focus on fixing the perceived issues of the last generation. It’s a slick looking smartphone with the potential for high quality camera and audio performance and we’re looking forward to getting more hands on time soon.

The HTC 10 is set for release exclusively on Three in Ireland in Dark Grey and Gold in May 2016.

FULL SPECS

SIZE: 145.9 x 71.9 x 3.0 - 9.0mm1

WEIGHT: 161g1

DISPLAY: 5.2 inch, Quad HD (2560 x 1440 pixels, 564 pixels per inch) Super LCD 5 with curved-edge Gorilla Glass

Main Camera
12MP HTC UltraPixel™ 2 (1.55µm pixel size)
Laser autofocus
BSI sensor
Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS)
f/1.8 aperture, 26mm focal length
Dual tone LED flash
4K video recording with Hi-Res Audio
Slow motion video recording at 720p, 120fps
Modes include Auto-HDR, Panorama, Pro mode with manual control and 12-bit RAW format support, Hyperlapse, Zoe capture, Video Pic, and continuous shooting up to 8fps

Front Camera
5MP (1.34µm pixel size)
Autofocus
BSI sensor
Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS)
f/1.8 aperture, 23mm focal length
Full HD 1080p video recording
Modes include Auto-HDR, Auto Selfie, Voice Selfie, and Live Make-Up

PROCESSOR
Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 820
Quad-core, 64-bit, up to 2.2Ghz

MEMORY
Total storage: 32GB or 64GB (available capacity varies4)
RAM: 4GB
Expandable: microSD™ expansion supports additional memory cards up to 2TB with Flex Storage (optional cards not included)

BATTERY
Capacity: 3000mAh
Talk time on 3G/4G: up to 27 hours
Standby time on 3G/4G: up to 19 days
Extreme power saving mode
Quick Charge 3.0 with cool charge: up to 50% charge in 30 minutes



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daniel@clickonline.com
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