HTC has released what it believes is its best smartphone to-date with the HTC 10. But can the 10 really stand on the shoulders of the One M9 – which we were big fans of – or the lesser One A9, which we were slightly less enamoured with? We put it thought its paces to find out. 

Every time a new phone is released – be it Android or iOS – we hear the now immortal words: ‘it’s the best X yet’. After hearing this about nearly every phone that’s ever been released, it begins to dilute the message – if this really is the best iPhone yet, was there something wrong with the last one? Or if this is the biggest Samsung phone ever, does that mean it also has better processing power? So when HTC said the HTC 10 had the best camera, the best battery, the best processing power and the best sound, it’s hardly surprising that we were sceptical. Luckily, HTC has proven us wrong with the 10, this really is a super-fast and intuitive smartphone and it's evident HTC chose to concentrate on getting the basics right, i.e. performance, and built the phone from there. 
 

Design and display


HTC really hasn’t made any massive changes in terms of design with the 10; in fact it looks like a cross between the M9 and the A9, all curved edges and metal bodied. M8 and M9 users will notice it’s slightly slimmer and more comfortable to hold; however it actually weighs more than its predecessors – 160g – and has a bigger display, this time coming in at 5.2-inches instead of the 5-inch displays we’ve seen on the A9, M9 and M8.
HTC One M9 vs. HTC 10
The HTC One M9 vs. HTC 10 with the 10 on the right in these images. 

Luckily, users should see quite an improvement in terms of display. With a Super LCD5 capacitive touchscreen at a resolution of 1440 x 2560 pixels, the HTC 10 is 30% more colourful and 50% more responsive than its predecessors. The improved colours and responsiveness works well with HTC’s new freestyle layout, which is a welcome treat for anyone who’s tired of having the same old Android layout. Personalise the screen, get rid of icons you don’t want or need, remove widgets or design the entire interface to match your style. It's all possible on the HTC 10.    
HTC 10 user interface
 

Camera


The main improvements HTC fans will notice with the camera on the 10 is the speed at which the app opens – 0.6 seconds – and the improved front-facing camera. While the main camera has less megapixels – 12MP compared to 20MP in the One M9 – as we’ve recently learned with phones like the Samsung Galaxy S7, which coincidentally also has a 12MP rear camera; size isn’t everything, it’s what you do with it that matters and on the 10, HTC has included ‘laser autofocus’ and ‘Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS)’ to make sure you can do plenty with it and never miss a shot while you're at it.

The 5MP front camera – again the same as the Galaxy S7 – also has OIS, which really is a massive benefit when taking group selfies, and also boasts a screen flash and wide angle lens for sharper selfies in low light. 
 

Audio


In terms of specs, to the untrained eye, there’s very little ‘new’ in audio in the HTC 10, however blast your favourite song from the 10’s Hi-Fi Edition BoomSound™ and even if your ear is 'untrained' you should hear the improved quality; this phone is loud and proud. 

If you like to listen to Spotify or watch Netflix on the bus or train, the HTC 10 has an extra treat for you. The new headphone amp offers improvements in terms of clarity and richness, meaning there’s 10 times less distortion than what you’ll find in other phones on the market. Also HTC’s new Personal Audio Profile system is perfect for users who like to listen through headphones. Create your own unique profile for audio that’s tuned to your individual hearing, so it’s easier to drown out external noises and listen to music or podcasts the way you want.
HTC 10 front
 

Processor and battery


Now let’s get down to where the HTC 10 really excels – processing power, speed and battery life. Running the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon processor (820) with enhanced 4G LTE, while the HTC 10 offers the same 3,000 mAh battery and a similar rapid charger as the Samsung Galaxy S7, there’s no doubt that it lasts longer than its competitor.

Interestingly, this is down to three key tweaks HTC has made on the 10. The first is Boost+ which automatically optimises your phone’s memory and offers a game battery booster – which as any gamer will tell you, is a lifesaver when you’re half way through a level and your battery is on 10%; the second is the new HTC PowerBotics system, which auto-detects and shuts down apps that use excessive power when not in use; finally, with the 10, HTC has decided to significantly reduce the number of pre-loaded apps and bloatware. This alone has helped the HTC 10 to perform better and faster.  
 

The verdict


While there really are very few differences in terms of design between the HTC 10 and its predecessors, the reduction in bloatware on the 10 really is a stroke of genius from the Taiwanese manufacturer. The result is a faster, more powerful phone, which is exactly what we love here at Carphone Warehouse. 

The HTC 10 is available now on the Three network in select Carphone Warehouse stores. Pop into your local store to find out more.