HTC’s 2016 flagship is finally here. Following last year’s losses, the company’s aim was to redefine what its premier device is all about. With the HTC 10, the company touched upon every single area, making it better than ever before. By refining last year’s One M9 in just about every way, the HTC 10 is surely a robust smartphone, putting them right back into the game.
HTC’s long days of working endlessly on its new flagship proved to many that they still have what it takes to be in the high-end market. When the phone is released, it will clash directly with other high-end Android devices like Samsung’s Galaxy S7 and LG’s G5.
Did the HTC 10 improve enough over the One M9 model that launched just one year ago? Will it be able to endure the high competition from rivals? Today we’re going to show you exactly how it compares to last year’s model, the One M9. In this comparison, we’ll discuss why you should (or shouldn’t) upgrade from the One M9, stating the key differences between the two.
While the HTC 10 and One M9 appear similar at the rear, it’s not until you hold them in your hand that you notice the true difference in feel. The truth is, the HTC 10 all but the same as the One M9. The HTC 10 is slightly larger than the One M9 measuring 145.9 x 71.9mm. It is also thinner than its predecessor measuring 9mm at its thickest point. The HTC 10 retains the lightweight aluminum body design, but is more durable. If you don’t believe me, you can try HTC’s Uh Oh protection service you purchase the handset unlocked. Unlike the One M9, the HTC 10 features a drastic curve to fit the palm of your hand, which was very subtle on the One M9.
What stands out most when looking at HTC 10 from the outside is its chamfered edges. These make it both look good and feel premium when using it. The HTC 10 ditches the rectangular rear-camera lens for a circular one that appears to protrude a hair less than its predecessor. On the front of the HTC 10 you’ll notice no BoomSound speakers. This is because they have moved off the front onto the top and bottom of the handset. These are HTC’s new Hi-Fi Edition speakers, which are said to be better.
The software keys are also gone on the HTC 10, which have been replaced with two capacitive buttons and a physical non-tactile home button containing a fingerprint scanner. The front logo is also gone, providing a cleaner look. The only drawback is the home button, which appears to be slightly off alignment.
With the HTC 10, HTC increased the size of the screen’s diagonal ever so slightly from 5-inches to 5.2-inches. After sticking with a Full HD display on the One M9 to preserve battery life, HTC made the step up to QHD on the HTC 10. This matches that on rivals such as the Samsung Galaxy S7 and LG G5. The new S-LCD 5 on the HTC 10 features better color accuracy, contrast, responsiveness, and outdoor visibility when compared to the S-LCD 3 present on the One M9. The difference is remarkable, you really have to see it to believe it.
HTC has been highly criticized for its camera tech over recent years. But with the HTC 10, HTC appears to have finally got it right.
The 20MP rear-facing sensor on the M9 is no more. In replace, HTC has chosen a 12MP UltraPixel sensor for the rear-facing camera with more sizable pixels. This will allow the HTC 10 to take crisper and more detailed shots, especially in areas where lighting isn’t perfect.
Both the camera sensor and aperture have also been increased (F2.2 to F1.8), which will contribute positively to the HTC 10’s overall camera ability. Optical image stabilization is also present now, even on the front-facing camera (a first for the industry). Speaking of the front-facing camera, the HTC 10 includes a higher MP count at 5, compared to the 4MP sensor on the One M9.
Faster auto-focusing is now present on both sides, with the rear being of a laser sensor. The rear-facing camera on the HTC 10 retains the ability to shoot 4K video, but adds the capability of filming 720p video at 120fps. A ton of new camera modes have also been implemented including a pro mode for advanced photography. Old features like Zoe also haven’t disappeared on the HTC 10. For a more in-depth comparison of the two cameras, wait for the samples taken for our review, which will be coming soon.
HTC stepped out of their comfort zone and took a risk this year in order to give us a better sense (get it) of how to distinguish their software from the rest. The HTC 10 boards the latest version in that of Sense 8.0. And it’s the most streamlined version of Sense yet!
The HTC 10 runs Marshmallow straight out of the box, which is geared towards simplicity. HTC ditched unnecessary bloatware by installing very few of their own apps. Instead, HTC pre-loaded most of Google’s apps to replace their own, which is a good thing if you enjoy using Google’s apps. HTC keeps features to a minimum on Sense version 6.0, installing only what works well and what they feel users will enjoy most. Software design elements closely resemble those on stock Android, which will allow for faster updates. In matter of fact, they’re so close that it’s hard to tell them apart. Animations are smooth, fast, and fluent.
The major addition that can be noticed right when you boot on the phone is HTC’s new freestyle layouts. This is another industry first. Different themes can be applied changing elements throughout the interface. And don’t worry, the app drawer is here to stay. HTC allows icons to be placed wherever, not just on a horizontal grid. Stickers to match the background can act as shortcuts to apps as well. There are lots to play around with to match your style.
Hardware and the little touches
From a hardware standpoint, the HTC 10 has no compromises this time around. Powering the handset is the latest and greatest Snapdragon 810 processor backed with 4GB of RAM. This will provide a significant boost in performance all across the device. Storage capacities come in 32GB and 64GB options, both in which can be expanded with the addition of a microSD card (up to 2TB). Depending on your region, you’ll be able to choose from a selection of colors including Black, Grey, Gold, and Red.
A 3,000mAh cell should provide average battery life when fared against current flagship smartphones. To charge, the HTC 10 ditches the old standard in that of microUSB (present on the On M9) for reversible USB Type-C. This will provide faster charging capabilities including Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 3.0. LTE-A Cat 9 support is onboard with Wi-Fi 802.11 ac, Bluetooth 4.2, NFC (for wireless payments), DLNA, Apple AirPlay, and Miracast. The HTC also includes a variety of health related sensors to track your fitness such as a pedometer for step counting.
HTC also included some new additions on its latest flagship smartphone. The HTC 10 contains super high-quality audio through the use of headphones. A new cover case is available on HTC’s store which expands upon the functionality found on last year’s dot-view case. HTC’s new Boost+ app can be downloaded to manage your background tasks and free up RAM to keep performance at its very best.
Even though the HTC 10 isn’t the most feature-packed phone, it builded upon the One M9 in just about every which way. Nearly all the weaknesses and compromises on the One M9 were turned into strengths on the HTC 10. This is not something you can say often with flagship smartphones. With the creation of this phone, the company really established who they are by hopefully making a place for themselves. HTC undoubtedly made a compelling offering in that of the HTC 10. And if this doesn’t fare well against rivals, I don’t know what will.
The HTC 10 doesn’t compromise. I would definitely recommend upgrading, even if you’re coming from last year’s model. This phone signifies that we’re inching closer towards the perfect smartphone. For $699 you’re really getting it all with the HTC 10. However, if you’re in need of saving a buck, the One M9 is still a great phone, especially for the $499 price tag (bound to decrease even more) it can be purchased for at HTC’s website.
If something is to keep the HTC 10 popularity from soaring, it’s going to be the lack of availability. We’ve already heard that AT&T won’t offer the handset here in the states, and many countries around the world aren’t planning to sell it either. Is it too much too late for HTC? We’ll find out in early May when the device is released.