New HTC 10 Delivers 24Bit Sound And A Seriously Impressive Camera
HTC have launched their brand new top HTC 10 smartphone, which the Taiwanese Company believes is as “good as they get”. “It is the device that will claw back sales” claims HTC management.
In the hand the device feels like prior model HTC smartphones, easy to hold, well manufactured and made from premium quality materials, then there’s the 5.2-inch, quad HD Super LCD 5 display that delivers 30 percent more colour than last year’s phone. The screen is covered in Gorilla Glass with curved edges that blend into the phone’s metal frame.
The signature HTC all-aluminium construction, with large chamfered edges and machined ports, gives this device a distinct quality feel.
Below the display is a fingerprint scanner flanked by two capacitive buttons for back and recent apps, this is a clear departure from the on-screen buttons HTC has used on its flagships for the past couple of years.
But it’s not till you start probing under the bonnet that you realise that this device is the work of a Company who are out to prove that they are still a leading manufacturer of smartphones. The 24-bit audio the much improved camera system which HTC claims is the “best there is out there” and the optimisation of apps, which include the elimination of bloatware are all standout features.
10’s rear camera has a 12-megapixel sensor behind an optically stabilized f/1.8 lens that delivers better photos in low light.
It’s accompanied by a dual-LED flash and second-generation laser autofocus system. The camera can also capture 4K video with 24-bit high resolution audio.
The 10’s front camera has also been upgraded to a 5-megapixel sensor with optically stabilized, f/1.8 wide angle lens (a first for front-facing cameras, according to HTC), that should make for better selfies in low light.
Benchmark Company ranked the new HTC 10 camera ahead of several leading smartphone brands, they claimed that with an overall DxOMark Mobile score of 88 points, the HTC 10 offers outstanding mobile photography for both stills and video.
Featuring a 12Mp 1/2.3-type sensor, this device excels for autofocus and texture preservation, making it a great choice for shooting moving subjects, or capturing detailed landscape and architectural shots.
The overall DxOMark score is composed of a two subscores, Photo and Video, with greater weight given to the Photo score in the final evaluation. Each subscore analyzes image quality in a range of categories, including Exposure and Contrast, Autofocus, Texture, Noise, Artifacts, and Flash, with each tested in varying lighting conditions. A great all-rounder, the HTC 10 scored well in all our tests, securing a final Photo subscore of 88 and 86 for Video.
Solid video performance makes the HTC 10’s [email protected]/fps capture an excellent choice for photographers who value video image quality as much as stills. Many of its strengths for stills are evident in its videos, with excellent exposure, color, and white balance in bright- and low-light conditions. Texture preservation and noise reduction are also excellent in bright light, both scoring into the 90’s out of 100, with low-light videos displaying just a little luminance noise in patches of uniform color.
Video also boasts fast and accurate autofocus in most situations, with the only observed failure during panning. Video stabilization is also reliable, scoring 83 out of 100 in both bright- and low-light conditions, with just some very minor residual motion evident with walking movement.
In Australia HTC is still a popular brand though not as popular as when they were in the #3 spot.
The HTC 10 is the smartphone that the Company is looking to claw back share with, in a brutally competitive market that is being challenged by new Chinese players such as Alcatel and Huawei.
While Apple and Samsung are clearly fighting between themselves, HTC has to claw their way over several other brands such as LG, Sony and Nexus using they Android OS.
The 10 is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor and 4GB of RAM. There is 32GB of internal storage plus a MicroSD slot for expansion.
I only had a short period of time to play with this device and what I saw looked and felt good though the Australian sticker price has not been announced.
HTC says it has optimized the 10’s software and hardware for faster touch response and the new phone is 50 percent more responsive than its predecessor.
The 10’s battery delivers 3,000mAh, which HTC says is good for up to two days of life thanks to software and hardware optimisations, and supports Quick Charge 3.0 through the phone’s USB Type-C port.
Audio has always been a fascination for HTC engineers and it’s not till the 10 that I feel that they are seriously delivering a standout product that should make that daily commute far more enjoyable.
What you get with the 10 is a high resolution audio system, with a headphone amp that can output twice as much power as other smartphones.
The 10 can upscale audio to 24-bit quality, and HTC has built a customizable audio profile feature that tunes the sound specifically for your ears.
However, there is no MQA playback yet but I suspect that will come shortly.
In the box with the phone are Hi-Res-certified earphones and HTC has partnered with JBL to produce a noise-cancelling set of headphones that are powered by the phone’s USB-C port.
Another unique feature of the 10 is its ability to wirelessly play audio through AirPlay-certified speakers, which makes it the first Android phone to do so out of the box.
The device also adds Chromecast, enabling users to cast video to a TV connected to Google’s Chromecast dongle.
The phone also steps up to Category 9 LTE delivering 450Mbps theoretical download speeds, up from Category 6 300Mbps download rates.
On the downside HTC has played around with the icons and the icon menu and until I get more time with the device I will not be able to confirm what I am currently thinking and that is that HTC has taken a high risk, by delivering what at this stage look like small over engineered icons which may appeal to an Asian market but not Western markets.
When it comes to software, HTC claims that with this device they have worked closely with Google to reduce duplicative apps, such as calendar, photos, and music.
HTC’s email, messaging, and camera apps are still around, however. The interface more closely resembles a Nexus device, and HTC says it has redesigned its apps to fit in with Material Design guidelines.
While the carriers will be key partners for HTC it is retailers like JB Hi Fi who will give this device a real kick along with the mass retailer set to range the new device in May.
At yesterday’s briefing journalists were stopped from recording conversations as well as stopped from taking pictures of facts presented in a presentation. Local management were told that it was a “Corporate directive”, this was despite the fact that everyone attending the event had to sign a none disclosure agreement.