Nimish SawantMay 26, 2016 13:40:15 IST
HTC launched not one, not two but at least seven phones at an event in New Delhi today. While the majority of the launches belong to the Desire series, the flagship HTC 10 is the one we were really excited about. If the power-packed internals don't draw your attention, the design certainly will. The phone has been launched in India at Rs 52,990 and will start selling from June 5. Launched in April, the HTC 10 is one of the first smartphones to sport optical image stabilisation (OIS) on the front-facing camera. Here's our first impressions of the device.
Build and Design
HTC's flagship phones are renowned for their design language. But in the last two generations we had seen near identical designs with the HTC M8 and later, the HTC M9. The HTC 10 is finally a departure from the staid M8 design and features a unibody metal design with a curved back (as on the earlier devices), but this time, the edges are chamfered. The chamfered edges make all the difference, resulting in an interesting aesthetic and much better grip for a metal phone.
The phone weighs around 161 grams and is around 9mm thick. This gives the phone a good heft, and it feels good in the hand. The right-hand side houses the textured power/standby button below the volume rocker button—both of which are metallic. Above this you have the Nano SIM card tray, which is also present on the other edge and also takes in a microSD card.
The front-face has the 5.2-inch Quad HD display, a prominent, 5 UltraPixel camera (HTC doesn't like to use the term, MegaPixel) with OIS sits beside the slit of the earpiece speaker. The base hosts the home button, which also functions as a fingerprint scanner. This is in-turn placed beside backlit recents and back keys, which are touch-sensitive. The home button bears some resemblance to the home button on the Samsung Galaxy flagships, but it is less tactile on the HTC 10.
On the rear, you have the 12 UltraPixel camera with OIS, which protrudes slightly from the plane. The HTC logo graces the centre and there are antenna cuts on the top and at the base. The bottom edge houses the USB Type-C charging and data transfer port beside the speaker grille.
The HTC 10 sports a 5.2-inch QuadHD display which gives a really crisp output and the colours are quite natural. Thanks to the use of a Super LCD5 panel, the viewing angles are brilliant, although we will need to test it outdoors to check out the sunlight legibility. Text appears sharp and we did not notice any pixellation on the device. The display is protected by Corning’s Gorilla Glass 4 layer.
Chipset, RAM, Storage, OS
We have seen the flagship Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 chipset only on the Xiaomi Mi5 so far, in India at least. The HTC 10 will be the next phone to sport the Snapdragon 820, which comes with Qualcomm’s custom Kyro processor cores. HTC will also be releasing a Lifestyle variant of the HTC 10, which will come with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 chipset. The HTC 10 has 4GB of RAM along with 32GB of internal storage space.
It comes with Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow along with HTC’s proprietary Sense 7.0 user interface atop it. We found the phone to be quite responsive, and there was no lag while trying it out. The Sense 7.0 UI also brings in Blinkfeed, which gives you a list of news and contextual information, akin to Flipboard. In terms of overall design language, the user interface is quite good looking. Although we did notice some bloatware, we wonder if it can be deleted.
The USP of the HTC 10 is the fact that it sports a 5 UltraPixel front-facing camera with OIS, making it the first smartphone to do so. The 12 UltraPixel rear camera also comes with OIS. The rear camera has an f/1.8 aperture and supports laser detect AF and is capable of shooting from 2160p@30fps to 720p@120fps. The venue was too unevenly lit to suitably gauge camera performance, but we'll certainly perform an in-depth analysis once we get our hands on the device.
HTC 10 houses a 3,000mAh, non-removable Li-ion battery. With a QuadHD display, we wonder how the battery will hold up. Only proper testing can reveal that. But just for comparison purposes, the Galaxy S7 with its 5.1-inch QuadHD display and 3000mAh battery offered very decent battery life. It should be noted however that the S7 uses a slightly more battery-friendly AMOLED screen.
In terms of connectivity, you get a single Nano SIM card slot, Wi-fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.2, NFC, USB 3.1 Type-C, GPS with A-GPS, GLONASS and so on. Standard fare that one can expect from any flagship today.
After seeing flagships from a lot of companies, HTC can surely rest assured that its 10 will garner a lot of interest on the design front. The phone packs in all the features one expects from flagship phones, including a smooth, good looking Sense 7.0 skin atop the Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow OS. With OIS on the front camera, selfie enthusiasts will definitely be keeping an eye out for the HTC 10. And in order to entice those on a budget, HTC has also released the HTC 10 Lifestyle which will have all the same features except for the chipset.
The HTC 10 is priced at Rs 52,990, which puts it in the same league as the LG G5, which is yet to launch in India, but which has also been priced similarly. The price is also close to the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge (which is around Rs 55,000) and higher than the Galaxy S7 (priced at Rs 49,000). These are the smartphones to beat. The price of the HTC 10 can only be justified if it actually does that. So yes, HTC certainly has their work cutout for them.
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