HTC has recently launched its latest Android flagship, and the device can legitimately threaten top-tier handsets from all ecosystems.

Although the company scored poor ratings with its previous premium handset, the new HTC 10 makes that water under the bridge due to a synergy of premium specs, snappy speed and excellent features.

Design And Build

The HTC never stepped back from building quality smartphones, but the HTC 10 raises the stakes. The solid aluminum unibody design is bold and stands out. As opposed to the more slippery Galaxy S7 or iPhone 6s, the metal body feels stable and well balanced when held with one hand.

In spite of not being the thinnest handset, its combination of curves and thick, beveled chamfer give it an athletic silhouette. Buttons feel responsive and clicky, especially when compared with the floppy ones from the One M9.

"The shape of the sides and back are great. All the corners are smoothed over, the slight roundness of the back and the chamfers make it fit the hand well, and the metal is great. High marks all around," Ron Amadeo from ArsTechnica affirms.

Observant users surely noticed that HTC's staple, the two front-facing BoomSound stereo speakers, are gone. You should know that the exquisite BoomSound technology remains, but the sound now comes from a combo of one front speaker/earpiece and a speaker placed at the device's bottom. One thing that the HTC 10 carried over from the One M9 is the 24-bit high-res audio.

Screen

The HTC 10's screen is a marvelous 5.15-inch 2K QHD LCD display able to render resolutions of 2,560×1,440p, while an Adreno 530 GPU does a great job at showcasing its potential.

It should be mentioned that the screen is a trade-off from the inky blacks provided by Samsung's AMOLED displays. However, the advantage of LCD is that it portrays colors more accurately. Another advantage of the new screen is that it packs a touch panel that is twice as fast as the previous model.

"I can vouch for the screen's responsiveness and overall snappy feeling while moseying through Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow," says Jeff Benjamin from 9to5Google.

Specs And Performance

The HTC 10 uses the commended Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 chipset for processing power and packs a strong 4 GB of RAM to assist it. The combo appears to work wonders as the Qualcomm 820 shows great progress over its predecessor: up to 50 percent faster computing speed.

"The HTC 10 is a very fast and snappy phone. Like the Galaxy S7 and LG G5, you can throw hard-hitting apps like 3D games at the HTC 10 and it still blazes," Mashable's Raymond Wong notes.

The default storage space reads 32 GB or 64 GB, but HTC was inspired to equip the handset with microSD support. Users may boost their internal library capacity to as much as 2 TB, via a memory expansion card.

One of the highest achievements of the HTC 10 is its battery life. The OEM touts that the 3,000 mAh can last almost two days on normal usage. Reviewers pointed out that heavy-duty usage depleted the battery after almost an entire day of intensive use, which is commendable.

"HTC appears to have nailed it with the HTC 10's massive 3,000 mAh battery and some truly impressive software optimization," BGR's Zach Epstein says.

According to a benchmark test done by AnTuTu, the HTC 10 scored 156,091. In comparison, rivals such as Xiaomi Mi 5 checked a 136,000 score, the iPhone 6s sat at about 133,500 and the Galaxy S7 edge somewhere in the 134,000 range.

Connectivity checks all the important points: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC and GPS and looking at the bands we see GSM, CDA, UMTS and LTE support. You also get the sweet USB Type-C for quick transfers via cable.

Camera

The camera combo is the second biggest evolution point for the HTC 10.

Moving away from the sad memory that was the One M9's camera, HTC 10 packs a notably upgraded shooter.

"What you will find is a solid, practical camera on both sides of the phone that, in most cases, deliver real results that you can see," adds 9to5Google's Jeff Benjamin.

The main camera is a 12-megapixel snapper with larger 1.55µ pixels, leading to reduced noise. The aperture of f/1.8 is a notable element as it allows the smartphone to rank first in low-light flagship photography. The autofocus and optical image stabilization play nice together, delivering sharp photographs.

Overall, the HTC 10 offers a good balance of color accuracy and image sharpness, placing its main camera somewhere between the ones from Galaxy S7 and iPhone 6s.

The selfie camera is a 5-megapixel unit that delivers a slight airbrush effect and also packs OIS.

"Even without the 'beauty' effect turned on, 5-megapixel selfies looked like they were mildly airbrushed," Mashable's Wong observes.

Software And Features

The HTC 10 runs on a pre-installed Android 6.0 Marshmallow, which gives its owners access to features like Doze, Now on Tap and Android Pay. The Sense 8 skin is the UI that sits on top of the Android 6.0 and it can easily win the hearts of HTC 10 owners.

"It's a sensible, fast and modern looking interface – prettier than Samsung's TouchWiz and LG's UX, that's for sure," Wong says.

However, others are less enthusiastic about the new so-called Freestyle layout.

"These are still shortcuts that open apps, but they come in various designs and sizes that aren't related to the app. They also aren't constrained to a grid," Amadeo points out.

In certain areas, HTC ditched its own apps and kept Google's. This means you won't find HTC's web browser and will have to settle for Chrome, while Google Photos replaces HTC's gallery. Google Calendar and Google Keep add to the list, and so on.

"All of HTC's own apps that remain on the phone feature a terrific material design interface that matches Google's own work in Marshmallow quite well," Epstein mentions.

Pricing And Availability

For an unlocked HTC 10 (32 GB variant), customers are expected to shell out $699. This puts the device on par with the upcoming Galaxy S7.

The HTC 10 should be on the shelves in early May, and it remains to be seen if the company's marketing department can compete with Samsung's.

Conclusion

On the downside, HTC 10's rear camera is unimpressive when compared with rivals from Apple, Samsung or LG, and the lack of Quick Action shortcuts is a bit dismaying.

On the bright side, the uni-body aluminum design looks great and feels even better on hand, the headphone experience is amazing, the fingerprint scanner is reliable, battery life is epic, the front camera has OIS, and software optimization shows tremendous improvement.

"[I] will be singing [HTC 10's] praises to my friends – even my iPhone-loving friends," concludes Benjamin.

ArsTechnica, meanwhile, says the HTC 10 is the best Android flagship of 2016.

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