HTC 10 – Audio Fidelity on a Phone – Review

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Welcome to my review of the HTC 10 which came from Clove Technology.

Before I delve deep into my HTC 10 review let’s cover off the key specifications.

Key Specifications

  • Dimensions – 145.9 x 71.9 x9mm
  • Weight – 161g
  • Nano sim
  • Micro SD with adoptable storage option
  • Android v6.0.1
  • Snapdragon 820, Adreno 530
  • QHD 5.2 inch screen, 71.1% screen to body ratio, 565ppi
  • Gorilla Glass 4
  • 12mp rear camera f/1.8, OIS, laser autofocus 1/2.3 inch sensor, 1.55 pixels, 4K
  • 5mp fron f/1.8, OIS, 1.34 pixel size, HDR, 1080p, autofocus
  • 32gb storage, 4gb ram
  • Dual speakers – bass, treble
  • Audio 24 bit/192 khz
  • Active noise cancellation mics
  • Battery 3,000mAh, Quick Charge 3, 50% in 30 mins
  • WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual band
  • Bluetooth v4.2, APTX, A2DP
  • NFC
  • USB Type C 1.0
  • Fingerprint, accelerometr, gyro, promximity, compass
  • Colours – Carbon Gray, Topaz Gold, Glacier Silver

 


Phone Basics

The HTC 10 is made from a solid piece of aluminium. Based on the crazy YouTube stress tests, the HTC 10 is also one of the strongest handsets available, as it survived loads of bend tests. ie. it doesnt bend.  Like all aluminium phones it is slightly slippery although not as bad as other phones I could mention.

Call quality was excellent and the recipient to my calls had no issue hearing me clearly. I did notice on the cellular reception the odd occassion whereby the signal strength was one or two bars less and other times when the 4g signal was stronger than my other phone running on the same network.

I had no issues with WiFi, Bluetooth but I could not send via DLNA photos to my old Sony TV as some protocol was missing with the HTC 10. My Samsung S7 and LG G5 for example could easily send wirelessly any photo. Using a Chromecast was the solution in this case.

The screen is a high quality QHD panel. Visibility in bright sun was average. Viewing angles were good too. Battery life has varied from anything to 3 to 4.5 hours screen on time. I do run a demanding setup, location services always on high, 4 email accounds pushing email, a connected smartwatch, 2 twitter acounts, facebook, flickr, 120 apps and a lot more. You get the picture, everything is on NFC, WiFi, Bluetooth and push services and notifications everywhere.

With a Snapdragon 820 and 4gb of ram the HTC 10 flies. In addition HTC has worked hard to remove bloat and duplicated apps. There is a really great feeling of fludidity using the HTC 10. The fingerprint scanner has been perfect everytime. Not one missed reading!

HTC Sense UI has consequently been toned down with the HTC 10. You still have extensive theming options and now a Freestyle mode. This is where you place small images anywhere on the screen and associate an app with this. Looks arty, in practice is not as useful unless you only every want quick access to half a dozen apps. For some people, I can see this being popular, but its not for me at all.

Audio

This is why you bought the HTC 10. Even if you didn’t you are in for a treat. 24bit 192khz Hi-Res sound as standard. Hi-res mics  as standard too. That means recorded audio is at FLAC standard. The Loudspeaker arrangement is a tweeted on the top front of the phone and the bass comes out the bottom edge to provide Hi-Fi quality sound. The quality is definitely there, but sometimes I missed the higher output volume of previous HTC Boomsound speakers. Listening to podcasts or playing games, that extra speaker fidelity became noticeable for the better.

The real magic is connected wired headphones. The HTC 10 has volume,  superb audio quality and the voltage to really deliver magical sound to your headphones. I connected my Sennheiser HD598se, Oppo PM-3, Dunu Titan 5 and Sony XBA-1. They all sounded the best I have ever heard them from any smartphone! Whats more the incredible sound is produced for everything you listen to from YouTube, Tidal, Spotify and more. The HTC 10 also has scale with the music. So for example, if you are listening to a classical track and it suddenly explodes with drums, the HTC 10 amp explodes with it. The underlying audio leans to a slightly warmer side but in a good way. I really “love” the audio from the phone.

Camera

Normally this is where HTC phones have not been as good as their competitors, but now with the HTC 10 it is time to rejoice. The camera is really good. The rear camera has huge pixels at 1.55 microns. And Optical Image Stabilisation with laser autofocus. The front facing camera also has large pixels, OIS and autofocus. Not only that but the mics for recording are hi-res, so you get flac audio with your recordings.  The HTC Camera app has been redesigned and at first it feels alien to use. However, after a short space of time, it became second nature. There is a Pro Mode (manual) which offers shutter speeds up to 2 seconds. Camera modes include auto, pro, panorama, hyperlapse, Zoe camera and time lapse. 4K video recording is available too.

The burst mode is effective as well. In terms of image quality, I really liked the output. The post processing isnt as heavy as say the Samsung S7 and consequently I preferred many of the photos of my dogs from the HTC 10 vs the S7. I do think the photos lean towards a warmer tone and in auto ,the low light shots  ISO levels are far too high, althought the end result is acceptable. In Pro mode, night shots are much better as you can force the ISO at 100. Occassionally when focusing up close the HTC 10 would fall over. Other than that, its a camera you can rely on.

Camera Samples

HTC 10 camera action shots

The HTC 10 produced some brilliant shots. George has a wicked smile! Snapped in burst mode.

The Highway Code on Dartmoor

Sheep crossing the road.  I love the atmosphere of this shot.

The Green Tree on Dartmoor #HTC10

Accurate colours with this photo of the tree and landscape.

Panorama over Dartmoor #HTC10

Panoramic shots worked well too. Superb sky.

HTC 10 - 1/6s ISO 100 - 9.26pm

The large pixels really helped with the night shot of my local church.

Video Review

To compliment the written review, I have also produced a video below.

Conclusion

The best smartphone from HTC in ages with excellent audio, a decent camera, slick UI all wrapped in a premium metal unibody design. Recommended.

My thanks to Clove Technology for their good service again.

 

Specifications Source

 

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34 thoughts on “HTC 10 – Audio Fidelity on a Phone – Review

  1. Just happily subscribed .. Thank you !
    One question how does the htc 10 compare to the other audio smartphones you have listened to & can you kindly list them .. If possible ) Cheers jono

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Gavin, but for most people the studio of the HTC will be really good? And they face all the hassle in buying the B&O module and special case to fit etc ?

        Like

  2. Nice Review Gavin, I am currently trying to decide between the HTC 10 and the LG G5. I have a S7 edge but audio over bluetooth and then camera still quality (not selfies) are my main priorities and whilst the S7 has a better screen/ battery life camera it comes out last in my list (BT audio is awful) so it’s being returned soon.

    I’ve been impressed with the audio from the LG without the B&O friend, it’s much better than the LG3, LG4 which were really bad IMHO. The camera is as good if not better than the HTC from the pics i’ve taken but i prefer the build quality, the Nexus like GUI/quick updates and the adoptable storage of the 10. Decisions, decisions lol how are you finding the Korean Plus case, if i decide to swing the way of LG?

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Some day
        I hope
        You have time and interest
        Compare gps from different phones.
        It’s something i can’t find anywhere.

        Yes,
        Your reviews are fantastic.
        Pity I don’t need more than 2 phones…

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Great review Gavin. My favourite phone of 2016 so far. Spent a lot of time with mine now and just the best all rounder I’ve had. Spent a weekend away in London and it took some great shots, was super slick in use, had great battery life and sounded superb the whole weekend 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Gavin,

    How does this compare audio wise to the LG V10? Just imported a V10 myself and quite enjoying it but the amount of bloatware/LG android in general is terrible.

    Also while the amp makes a massive difference on my M50x’s, the DAC (compared to my old OPO) isn’t incredibly better.

    Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. So I returned the LG V10, mainly due to the horrible LG android skin, and got a HTC 10. Arrived yesterday and so far WOW. Incredible sounds, so rich and resonant. Soundstage isn’t quite as deep as the V10 and the V10 was more neutral (How To Train Your Dragon Soundtrack was slightly better on the V10 due to both of those) but otherwise it’s superior to anything I’ve ever listened to. Vocals, Brass Band and Piano in particular leap out. Listening on my M50x which are known to sometimes be a tad harsh when listening to the top piano notes, with the HTC 10 powering them that issue has completely disappeared. Very wide soundstage too if not the deepest.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi Gavin, I just discovered your blog and impressed with the range of updated product reviews, good work man. I have a question: Has HTC 10 got aptx? I have SONY MDR-1ABT bluetooth headphones and they support both aptX and LDAC (Sony’s hi-res bluetooth codec), I have been thinking to get xperia x performance, however its overpriced boring design is putting me off. I need to decide between HTC 10 and Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge (Exynos 8890 model as it has a better audio dac). I go gym and want to listen over bluetooth without compromising the audio quality (at least CD quality which is 16bit 44,100khz). Sorry if I dive into too much technical details. All I want to know is that has HTC 10 got aptX codec? Thanks in advance 🙂

    Like

      1. Thank you so much for this info Gavin, there is no info on the web, strange, they should mention this for those who are looking for a phone to use with bluetooth headphones as well. Wish they had aptX HD codec, then this phone would be the best 🙂

        Like

      2. Thank you so much for this info Gavin, there is no info on the web, strange, they should mention this for those who are looking for a phone to use with bluetooth headphones as well. Wish they had aptX HD codec, then this phone would be the best:)

        Like

  6. Hi Gavin, today I was reading about HTC 10 again, I read somewhere that this phone is upscaling the music to hi-res by default. Have you noticed something like this? I am planning to listen mostly on TIDAL and the music is already CD quality. I would appreciate if you could let us know (if you know about this of course) Cheers.

    Like

    1. Gokhan, you should also consider the LG G5 as that has aptx HD, I never used it with the hifi module but they are coming down in price as the phone is a flop sales wise sadly and no one is making other modules. IMO audio over Bluetooth on the S7 Edge isn’t great unless you’re using Samsungs UHX headphones. The HTC 10 sounded slightly better than the G5 over the Bluetooth but the G5 does have the ability to inform you of the battery life of your accessory, such as Mpow Magneto headphones

      Like

  7. Hi Tony, I was thinking about LG G5 actually but I didn’t like its design and the screen was too dim even in the maximum brightness. I gave up on it now. I will eiher go with HTC 10 or wait to see Note 7

    Like

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