The powerful and professional HTC 10 offers a 5.1” Full HD display for enhanced viewing as well as dust and water resistance
HTC’s Galaxy S7 rival has a lot going for it with a great design, strong screen and fantastic version. It’s one of the most tired cliches of the tech world. This year’s phone is what last year’s phone should have been. But as worn out as it is, seldom has a trope fit quite as well. This year’s HTC flagships head and shoulders above last year’s tepid offering. So why isn’t helping this company? I’m Michael Fisher and this is the Mr. Mobile review of the best Android you’re not buying. The HTC 10. A word about my time with the 10. I’ve carried it far longer than the week I usually spend with a review device. In fact I’ve been using since just after its release in May.
Over a month before the first ever Mr. Mobile video went live. For awhile I flirted with the idea of splitting business and personal phones. And the 10 was always my preferred sidekick for getting things done. Why? Because for all the other things you can say about it, the essential truth of the 10 is that it’s an all around terrific every day phone. Part of that is specific to my line of work. Periscope and Facebook Live and Snap chat are how I talk to you guys behind the scenes. And the 10’s optically stabilized front-facing camera makes it perfect for shooting that kind of stuff. Also you might have noticed that my reviews usually touch on how well a phone handles in one hand. That’s because whenever I’m out doing something I’m usually carrying a tripod or a bag or another device. So I often have only one hand to spare. The 10 strikes the perfect balance between a screen big enough to see what you’re doing and a casing small enough to let you manipulate it single-handed. And why your thumb is darting all around the screen, the software has no trouble keeping up.
Even after three and a half months with 116 apps on board and no resets to its name, my review unit still flies. The 10 is the phone I would recommend to someone who doesn’t give a damn about specs or cutesy features because he or she is too busy trying to get things done. The 10 gets things done. And yes, it does have its drawbacks. HTC to remove its trademark front-firing speakers is understandable. It makes room for a fingerprint sensor among other things. But I hate it. Every time I fire up Netflix and have to cup my hand around the woofer on the bottom to make it sound right. Every time I take a call on the speaker phone and realize only the bottom port is actually doing the work.
I long for yesterday’s HTCs with their big brassy grills flanking the screen. Also RAM management isn’t always what I’d expect a phone with four gigs of the stuff. And this fingerprint scanner feels a little pokey next to some other devices of this generation. But most of those are nit picks. And they’re easy to forget when I pick up the 10 and feel that reassuring aluminum uni body. That lock button with its aggressive texturing and click feedback. The mass of the 3000 mAh power pack that usually gets me through a day, if I’m careful. And the camera. Well look it’s still not the best one out there. But it’s also not the worst. That sounds like a cop out until you remember that last year’s HTC camera was one of the worst. I used the 10 to shoot much of the behind the scenes stuff leading up to the Mr. Mobile launch, and I never got one complaint about the shooter I was using. Let me shut up for a few seconds so you can see for yourself. On the video front there’s something worth mentioning here. The 10 can record in four K and when you toggle the high res audio that sound will rerecorded in FLAC format. That means it’s lossless, basically perfect audio. And it does sound incredible. Sadly you’ll need to take my word on that because the resulting videos are packaged in the MKV format, which introduces a whole host of complications if you want to edit those files without compromising quality. That’s a little technician I usually like to get, so this is all very well explained in a video by Jerome Ortega, which I’ll link in the description below. Point is, the 10 has more capabilities than you’ll probably need on the video side, and the sound quality will amaze you. Finally the 10 finishes strong on the day to day details. A micro SD card slot for all that four K video, Quick Charge 3. 0 for some of the fastest top ups around, clear voice calls with ample noise cancellation, and a discreet DAC for the music lovers out there. That stands for Digital-to-Analog Converter and it along with the headphone amplifier makes sounds sound better. HTC has been okay keeping up with Android security updates too, and it offers a hell of a warranty package.
As you can see from my unit, the 10 can take some pretty serious drops on concrete without shattering, but if you do manage to demolish that display within the first year, HTC will replace your phone for free. The same deal with water damage. So with all those thumbs up for the 10, why don’t more people seem to be buying it? Well first, in a word, Galaxy. As usual Samsung has sucked all the air out of the room wit hits marketing this year and for the first time, it’s also built a few phones that live up to the hype. The Galaxy S7 has wireless charging, a brighter display, water resistance, and a better camera. And it can even be had for cheaper. That’s the 10’s real Achilles heel. HTC built a great phone for 2016 but it priced it like it’s still 2013. This is the age of One Plus, Alcatel, Honor, phones with solid specs and pretty nice reviews that you can pick up for $400. Do I prefer the HTC 10 to those? Absolutely! But the existence of those cheaper phones, coupled with the added features of Samsung’s higher end, are a one-two punch that’s tough to get past unless you’re a die hard HTC fan. That’s a shame because it means a lot of people out there are missing out on owning a fantastic smart phone. But it’s also just one of many mean realities of this ultra competitive market.
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