HTC 10 Review

July 22, 2016 | Amy Davies | Rating star Rating star Rating star Rating star

Introduction

HTC has introduced a new smartphone, removing the “One M” brand name that has been used for some time. The HTC 10 follows on from the HTC One M9 and features a 12 million “UltraPixel” rear camera which has an f/1.8 26mm fixed length lens. The front facing camera is 5 million pixels, but are standard pixels rather than “UltraPixels”.

Optical image stabilisation is available for both of the cameras, which should have a positive impact on low light shooting. You can record 4K video with the HTC 10, along with standard video recording at full HD, and slow motion at 720p.

The camera has a variety of different modes, including fully automatic as well as a “pro” mode which allows you to adjust certain settings. You can also shoot in raw format.

Other specifications include a 5.2-inch Gorilla Glass screen, Micro SD card compatibility, a suggested 2-day battery life and a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 Processor.

Ease of Use

HTC uses the Android operating system, and in this case the HTC 10 uses Android 6, or Marshmallow. If you are used to using an Android phone then you should find it a very easy transition to make to the HTC 10, especially of course if you’ve been using something like the One M8 or One M9.

The design of the phone itself is reasonably minimal, as we’re used to seeing from most phones on the market at the moment. There are three raised buttons, all found on the right hand side of the camera. One of the is the on/off button, and you can also use it to lock and unlock the screen once the phone is switched on. The other two buttons act as a volume rocker, but when you first use the phone and open up the camera app, you will be prompted to set the volume down button to release the camera’s shutter.

On the front of the phone at the bottom there is a fingerprint sensor that you can press with your thumb to reach the home screen, but it is not raised like the other buttons. Because the down volume button is in the middle of the right hand edge of the phone, it’s not particularly easy to hold the phone as you might do a standard compact camera when composing your images - instead you have to awkwardly reach over to press down the button. For this reason, you may find that you prefer to use the on-screen “virtual” buttons.

HTC One (10)
Front of the HTC 10

From the phone’s lock screen, you can swipe up from the bottom corner to open the native camera app. If you want to look at images you’ve taken in a previous shooting session you’ll need to unlock the phone first. You can use a variety of ways to lock and unlock the phone, including the fingerprint scanner or drawing a pattern on the phone’s screen.

The default camera app has quite a simple interface. It will open up in whatever you left it in, so if you were recording a video last time you used it, that’s what it will open in. At the bottom / right (depending on which orientation you’re holding the phone) of the screen you’ll see a large virtual shutter release button, an icon which allows you to switch between stills and video shooting and a preview of the last image / video you shot with the phone. You will also see a symbol that you can press to switch to using the front camera.

At the top / left of the screen there’s menu you can drag down to switch between the different camera modes, as well as access the camera settings. There’s quite a few different options here. You’ll find “Photo” which is the standard automatic photo option, Zoe Camera, which takes a couple of seconds of video along with each photo to create a “living image”, Panorama mode, Pro mode, Video, Hyperlapse, Slow Motion, Selfie Photo and Selfie Video. Some of the modes have additional options that will appear below the menu if you select it - for example if you select Pro mode, you’ll see that you now have the option to switch on/off raw format (DNG) shooting, the timer or the aspect ratio (4:3, 16:9 or 1:1).

HTC One (10)
Camera Mode

If you tap the settings options, then you’ll have a few choices here, including a Grid, the option to Geo-tag photos,a shutter sound, storage options, how the volume button works and so on. It’s likely you won’t need to venture into these settings all too often.

Moving on to look at how the “Pro” mode operates, as this is something that enthusiast photographers may appreciate. Once you have selected this mode, you’ll see that there’s now a row of camera settings displayed along the bottom / left of the screen. You have the option to alter white balance, exposure compensation, ISO (sensitivity), shutter speed and focus. There’s no way to adjust the aperture of the camera’s lens.

To make adjustments, you simply tap the option you want to change and use the slider which appears. Each of the options also has an automatic option, so for example you could alter white balance, ISO and metering, but you could leave shutter speed and focus on automatic if you wanted to.

In order to change the autofocus point, you simply tap the area on the screen that you want to focus on. If you’re shooting in the fully automatic mode, you’ll see that you can adjust exposure compensation by moving a slider up and down next to the autofocus point.

HTC One (10)
The HTC 10 In-hand

The phone can shoot 4K video, and it’s easy to switch that on and off. If you select Video from the top pull down menu, the option to switch between different recording formats will appear and you can simply tap to move between 4K, full HD, and other resolutions (such as something which is suitable for sending in a message). When shooting in 4K, you also have the option to switch on and off high res audio.

Thanks to the ability to be able to access the camera’s native camera app directly from the lock screen, you can go from the screen off to being ready to take a shot in under a second.

The camera is great at focusing in good lighting conditions, but it does slow a little when the light is low, hunting a little for focus in dimly lit conditions. It’s worth watching for the camera taking a shot when not in focus as that can sometimes happen, especially in lower light conditions. Looking through images in playback is generally pretty quick and responsive, as is generally using the phone.

Battery life is quoted as lasting for two days. This is based on “normal” use, so if you are a heavy camera user, or are often using functionality such as 4K video recording you may expect the battery not to last quite so long - during my testing I was happily able to use the phone all day without too much bother though.

Image Quality

All of the sample images in this review were taken using the 12 megapixel JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 3.5Mb.

The HTC 10’s camera is capable of producing some great shots when the light is favourable - as is pretty common for mobile phone cameras. Colours directly from the camera are nicely saturated, with a good degree of vibrancy that doesn’t stray into unrealistic realms.

If you’re shooting in the universal raw DNG format, you’ll see that colours are more muted, giving you scope to edit them in post production to your own favoured look.

Although low light shooting is pretty good for a mobile phone - no doubt in part due to the UltraPixels, it’s still not comparable to a compact camera which uses a larger sensor. You can see noise and a loss of detail throughout the native sensitivity range, especially if you examine at 100% on a computer screen.

Images display a good level of detail and sharpness, especially when shooting in good light. There isn’t a specific macro setting, but you can get reasonably close to the subject and the camera will still focus and produce a decent amount of detail.

Under artificial light, the camera’s automatic white balance setting produces images with warmer than accurate tones. It’s not too bad, but you can set a specific white balance setting when shooting in Pro mode if you prefer.

Noise

There are 6 ISO settings available on the HTC 10. Here are some 100% crops which show the noise levels for each ISO setting.

JPEG RAW

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

iso100.jpg iso100raw.jpg
   

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

iso200.jpg iso200raw.jpg
   

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

iso400.jpg iso400raw.jpg
   

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

iso800.jpg iso800raw.jpg
   

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

iso1600.jpg iso1600raw.jpg
   

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

iso3200.jpg iso3200raw.jpg

Focal Length

The HTC 10's lens offers a wide-angle focal length of 26mm in 35mm camera terms, as illustrated by this example:

26mm

focal_range1.jpg
 
Digital Zoom
focal_range2.jpg

Macro

This image shows how close you can get to the subject (in this case an SD memory card), with a minimum focusing distance of 8cms.

Macro

macro.jpg

Flash

The flash settings on the HTC 10 are Auto, On and Off. These shots of a white coloured wall were taken at a distance of 1.5m.

Flash Off

flash_off.jpg
 

Flash On

flash_on.jpg
 

Flash Off

flash_off1.jpg
 

Flash On

flash_on1.jpg

Night

The HTC 10's maximum shutter speed is 2 seconds in the Night scene mode. This shot was taken at 2 seconds at ISO 100.

Night

night.jpg

Sweep Panorama

The HTC 10 allows you to take panoramic images very easily by 'sweeping' with the camera. The camera does all the processing and stitching and even successfully compensates for moving subjects.

panorama.jpg

Sample Images

This is a selection of sample images from the HTC 10 camera, which were all taken using the 12 megapixel JPEG setting. The thumbnails below link to the full-sized versions, which have not been altered in any way.

Sample RAW Images

The HTC 10 enables users to capture RAW and JPEG format files. We've provided some HTC RAW (DNG) samples for you to download (thumbnail images shown below are not 100% representative).

Sample Movies & Video

This is a sample video from the HTC 10 at the highest quality setting of 3840x2160 pixels at 30 frames per second. Please note that this 16 second movie is 108Mb in size.

This is a sample video from the HTC 10 at the quality setting of 1920x1080 pixels at 30 frames per second. Please note that this 16 second movie is 41Mb in size.

Product Images

HTC One (10)

Rear of the HTC 10

 
HTC One (10)

Front of the HTC 10

 
HTC One (10)

Front of the HTC 10

 
HTC One (10)

Front of the HTC 10 / Camera Mode

 
HTC One (10)

Front of the HTC 10 / Image Displayed

 
HTC One (10)

Side of the HTC 10

 
HTC One (10)

Side of the HTC 10

 
HTC One (10)

Top of the HTC 10

 
HTC One (10)

Side of the HTC 10

 
HTC One (10)

Front of the HTC 10

 
HTC One (10)

Rear of the HTC 10

 
HTC One (10)

Front of the HTC 10

 
HTC One (10)

Front of the HTC 10

Conclusion

HTC has once again produced a phone with a lot to like about the camera. The HTC 10 is not something that is going to replace a main camera any time soon, but if you’re looking for a mobile phone which is good for photographers, then it’s a solid choice.

Images are best taken in good light, which is of course pretty much standard for mobile phone cameras, but the HTC 10 performs reasonably well in low light too - just don’t expect miracles from the UltraPixels.

The ability to take manual control of the camera, if not full (you can’t set aperture) is appealing to many, as is the ability to shoot in raw format. If anything, we’d like to see a few more fun options, such as more digital filters, in the native camera app. That said, with the HTC 10 running on the Android operating system, you have the flexibility to download all sorts of creative apps which give you that flexibility.

Other features which make it appealing to photographers is the two day battery life and the ability to expand memory using a MicroSD card. The ability to record 4K video may also be tempting to some, although you need to be wary of large file sizes taking up room on your phone or memory card.

In terms of handling, there are a couple of niggles that make the HTC 10 less than perfect to use. For example, it would be ideal to have a camera button which is easy to reach with your finger when holding the phone in a normal camera configuration.

The HTC 10 is one of the most expensive mobile phones on the market at the moment, putting it in close competition with the iPhone 6S. It may be worth waiting for a while until the price drops before investing, or looking for deals where you pay for the phone as part of a contract.

4 stars

Ratings (out of 5)
Design 4
Features 4.5
Ease-of-use 4
Image quality 4
Value for money 3

Main Rivals

Listed below are some of the rivals of the HTC 10.

Apple iPhone 6 Plus

The Apple iPhone 6 Plus is the largest ever version of the most popular flagship smartphones of all time. Find out what it has to offer photographers by reading our Apple iPhone 6 Plus review, complete with full-size sample photos, test shots, videos and more...

Apple iPhone 6s

The Apple iPhone 6s is the latest version of the most popular smartphone of all time. The iPhone 6s offers photographers a 12 megapixel sensor and 4K video recording. Read our Apple iPhone 6s review, complete with full-size sample photos, test shots, videos and more...

HTC One (M9)

The HTC One (M9) is a new flagship Android smartphone with a conventional 20 megapixel sensor, 5-inch screen, RAW file support and a MicroSD card slot. Read our HTC One (M9) review to find out if it can satisfy the photographer in you...

Huawei Mate S

The Mate S is Huawei's flagship smartphone, offering photographers a 13 megapixel sensor, a 29mm f/2 lens with optical image stabilisation, full manual shooting mode, and 1080p movie recording. Can the Huawei Mate S really replace a compact camera? Find out by reading our in-depth Huawei Mate S review...

Huawei P9

The new Huawei P9 smartphone has been co-developed with none other than Leica, and promises to "reinvent smartphone photography" - a bold claim indeed. The P9 offers photographers a 12 megapixel sensor, not one, but two lenses (one colour, one monochrome), a fully manual shooting mode, 1080p movie recording, and a powerful 3000mAh battery. Is the Huawei P9 a dream ticket for keen photographers? Find out by reading our in-depth Huawei P9 review...

LG G4

The LG4 is a smartphone that focuses on image quality, with a 16 megapixel sensor and f/1.8 lens onboard, along with Raw format support and even a manual shooting mode. Is this the smartphone that every photographer has been waiting for? Read our LG4 review to find out...

Microsoft Lumia 950

The Microsoft Lumia 950 is a new Windows 10 smartphone with a 20 megapixel sensor, 5.2-inch screen, a 26mm fixed lens with fast f/1.9 aperture, Raw shooting mode, and 4Kp video recording at 30fps with stereo sound. Read our in-depth Microsoft Lumia 950 review now...

Panasonic Lumix DMC-CM1

Is it a camera? Is it a smartphone? No, it's the new Panasonic Lumix DMC-CM1, which is bravely offering both in one device. Can the Panasonic CM1 replace a high-end camera and a premium smartphone? Read our Panasonic Lumix DMC-CM1 review now to find out...

Samsung Galaxy S6

The Galaxy S6 is Samsung's flagship smartphone, offering photographers a 16 megapixel sensor, a 28mm f/1.9 lens with optical image stabilisation, and UHD movie recording. Can the Samsung Galaxy S6 replace a compact camera? Find out by reading our in-depth Samsung Galaxy S6 review...

Sony Xperia Z5

The Sony Xperia Z5 is a new flagship waterproof smartphone that features a lot of cutting-edge camera technologies. The Xperia Z5 has a 23 megapixel sensor, 24mm fixed lens with fast f/2 aperture, 4K and 1080p video, sweep panoramas, a range of picture effects and Hybrid AF system featuring phase detection points. Read our in-depth Sony Xperia Z5 review now...

Review Roundup

Reviews of the HTC 10 from around the web.

trustedreviews.com »

2016 has been a fine year for smartphones. The Samsung Galaxy S7, LG G5 and Huawei P9 have all been excellent devices and now it’s the turn of HTC. After a poor 2015 – both the One A9 and Desire 530 disappointed – I can safely say the Taiwanese company is back.
Read the full review »

techradar.com »

It's a hard phone to rate on first impressions – HTC has put all the right bits in here, but I felt the same way with the One M9. However, the brand seems to have addressed the foibles and appears genuinely excited by the new 10.
Read the full review »

engadget.com »

HTC has done it. The company's new flagship smartphone, the 10 (yes, that's the name, and no, I don't like it either), is a credible contender for Android greatness. I've spent a little over a week using it as my daily driver, and while the name still irks the hell out of me, the device itself doesn't. Mostly, anyway.
Read the full review »

Specifications

  • Dimensions and Weight1

    145.9 x 71.9 x 3.0 - 9.0 mm, 161g

    145.9 x 71.9 x 3.0 - 9.0 mm, 161g

  • Platform Android2

    Android™ 6 with HTC Sense

  • Main Camera

    • 12MP (HTC UltraPixel 2 with 1.55μm pixel)
    • Laser Autofocus
    • BSI sensor
    • Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS)
    • ƒ/1.8 aperture and 26mm focal length (80° wide angle)
    • Dual tone LED flash
    • Self timer up to 10 seconds
    • Face detection
    • Pro mode with manual control and 12 bit RAW format support
    • Auto-HDR
    • Panorama
    • Continuous shooting up to 8 fps
    • Zoe capture
    • Hyperlapse
    • Slow motion video ([email protected] fps)
    • 4K video recording with Hi-Res audio
    • Video Pic
  • Location

    • GPS + GLONASS + Beidou (#UHL SKU)
    • GPS + GLONASS (#WL SKU)
  • Sound

    • HTC BoomSound Hi-Fi Edition
    • Dolby Audio
    • Personal Audio Profile
    • Hi-Res audio certified
    • Hi-Res audio earphones
    • Three microphones with noise cancellation
    • Hi-Res audio stereo recording
  • Gesture and Others

    • Motion Launch
    • Support Ice View case
    • Sensor Hub for activity tracking
    • HTC Connect
    • Quite ring on pick up
    • Pocket mode
    • Flip to Mute
  • Display

    5.2 inch, Quad HD

    • 5.2 inch, Quad HD (2560 x 1440 pixels)
    • Pixel density at 564 ppi (pixel per inch)
    • Super LCD 5
    • Corning® Gorilla® Glass on a Curve Edge Display
    • Display colour personalisation
  • SIM Card Type

    Nano SIM

  • Front Camera

    • 5MP (1.34μm pixels)
    • Autofocus
    • BSI sensor
    • Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS)
    • ƒ/1.8 aperture and 23mm focal length (86° wide angle)
    • Live make-up
    • Auto selfie (smile selfie, still selfie)
    • Voice selfie
    • Self timer up to 10 seconds
    • Auto-HDR
    • Full HD 1080p video recording
  • Sensors

    • Ambient light sensor
    • Proximity sensor
    • Motion G-sensor
    • Compass sensor
    • Gyro sensor
    • Magnetic sensor
    • Fingerprint sensor
    • Sensor Hub
  • Battery and Charging Speed5

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

    Audio supported formats:
    Playback: .aac, .amr, .ogg, .m4a, .mid, .mp3, .wav, .flac
    Recording: .aac, .flac

    Video supported formats:
    Playback: .3gp, .mp4, .avi, .mkv
    Recording: .mp4, .mkv

  • CPU Speed

    Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 820, Quad Core, 64bit, up to 2.2GHz

    Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 820, Quad Core, 64bit, up to 2.2GHz

  • Memory3

    • ROM: 32GB / RAM: 4GB (Config 1)
    • Available storage for users: about 23.1GB
    • ROM: 64GB / RAM: 4GB (Config 2)
    • Available storage for users: about 51.7GB
    • Extended memory: microSD up to 2TB
    • Flex Storage supported
    • ROM: 32GB / RAM: 4GB (Config 1)
    • Available storage for users: about 23GB
    • ROM: 64GB / RAM: 4GB (Config 2)
    • Available storage for users: about 52GB
    • Extended memory: microSD up to 2TB
    • Flex Storage supported
  • Network4

    • #UHL SKU (EMEA/Asia)
    • 2G/2.5G - GSM/GPRS/EDGE
    • 850/900/1800/1900 MHz
    • 3G UMTS
    • 850/900/1900/2100 MHz
    • 4G LTE (up to 450Mbps)
    • FDD: Bands 1, 3, 5, 7, 8, 20, 28, 32
    • TDD: Bands 38, 40, 41
    • Support Cat 9 LTE, download up to 450 Mbps, upload up to 50 Mbps
     
    • #WL SKU(America)
    • 2G/2.5G - GSM/GPRS/EDGE
    • 850/900/1800/1900 MHz
    • CDMA: 800/1900 with EVDO Rev A
    • 3G UMTS
    • 850/AWS/900/1900/2100 MHz
    • 4G LTE (up to 450Mbps)
    • FDD: Bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 12, 13, 17, 20, 28, 29, 30
    • Support Cat 9 LTE, download up to 450 Mbps, upload up to 50 Mbps
  • Connectivity

    • NFC
    • BT 4.2
    • Wi-Fi®: 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2.4 & 5 GHz)
    • Display Port
    • Chromecast
    • DLNA
    • AirPlay
    • Miracast
  • Buttons Keys and Connection Ports

    • 3.5 mm stereo audio jack
    • USB 3.1 Gen 1, Type-C
    • Capacitive keys
  1. All units of measurement may vary slightly according to manufacturing tolerance.

  2. Platform may be different after software update.

  3. Available storage is less due to phone software. Available storage is subject to change based on phone software updates and apps usage. Extended memory limited to available microSD card size.

  4. Network bands in regions may be different, depending on the mobile operator and your location. 4G LTE only available in select countries. Upload and download speeds also depend on the mobile provider.

  5. The battery claims herein may vary based on mobile network, location, signal strength, feature configurations, app and phone usage and many other factors. Actual results may vary.

 

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