Tuesday 25 October 2016

HTC unveils new flagship phone - 5.2-inch HTC 10

Published 12/04/2016 | 13:00

HTC 10
HTC 10

HTC has today unveiled its new flagship phone, the 5.2-inch HTC 10.

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It comes at a critical time for the company. From once being the best Android phone on the market, HTC has slipped into a difficult place in recent years. Its HTC One M8 and M9 models lacked any meaningful new features or design innovation. And their cameras, while decent, did not keep up with the best that Samsung, Sony and Apple had to offer.

So can the new HTC 10 recapture our interest?

HTC has made some significant tweaks to the phone’s design. The edges of the gold, silver or dark grey phone are chamfered, meaning you get a kind of transition surface between the front and sides of the handset. This has the side-effect of more light-reflection from the phone.

new HTC phone
new HTC phone

Otherwise, the phone -- which costs €699 sim-free or less on subsidy from 3 Ireland -- looks very similar to a cross between a Samsung and an iPhone.

There are two areas that HTC appears to have improved dramatically for this new phone. The stereo speakers on it promise to be the best on the market right now. This is partly because of a woofer-tweeter combination.

This echoes a general upscaling approach to its audio, with high resolution audio and 24-bit infrastructure.

The camera looks to have been also improved. HTC has deepened the pixel quality on offer with the 12-megapixel rear snapper, with an f1.8 lens and faster autofocus. This allows for more light into the camera which means better quality shots, particularly in dim shooting conditions.

The improvements are enough to earn it a joint-leading DXO score of 88, putting it on a par with Samsung’s new S7 and slightly ahead of the iPhone 6S Plus (84). One thing that might be useful to some -- and that’s still just ‘some’ -- is its 4K video recording at 30 frames per second. We’re getting closer to a time when 4K video is becoming a useful standard, even if we’re not there yet. The phone also shoots slow motion videos at 120 frames per second.

Finally on the camera score, it has a 5-megapixel f1.8 front-facing lens that uses the screen as a flash.

The phone’s screen is at the upper end of the market, with 564 pixels per inch and a better-than-full-HD 2K resolution.

Other things to know include a 3,000mAh battery, which should easily mean over a day of usage. It’s also a USB C device, which means faster recharging. HTC says that that 30 minutes gives you a 50pc charge. There’s also a slot for an SD memory card to augment its onboard 32GB of storage.

HTC has junked some of the bloatware it used to ship on its phones, which will be a relief to those of us who wince at the proliferation of unwanted apps and software forced onto phones. But it has retained its fairly annoying Blinkfeed service and is sticking with its Zoe feature for now.

As far as subsidised models go, the handset is only available from 3 Ireland for the first six weeks.

I’ll come back to this with a review when I’ve had a while to really test it, but it seems that HTC may have upped its game with this new model.

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