HTC 10 evo in-depth review - Hands-on review

HTC have gone down the e-commerce route for the 10 evo. With a great camera and amped up audio capabilities, does it have the smarts to take on the likes of OnePlus 3 and Xiaomi?

 HTC 10 evo Review - Hands-on review
4.5

Review by Sunetra Chakravati,11/21/2016 4:58:53 PM

9

out of 10

Performance

10

out of 5

Look and feel

9

out of 5

Ease of use

10

out of 5

Features

9

out of 5

Battery life

Pros:

Adaptable audio capabilities, first cameraphone with panoramic selfies, beautiful design

Cons:

No headphone jack, very expensive

- By Sunetra Chakravarti

So there is a new avatar of the HTC 10. Just like OnePlus who launched a newer variant of the OnePlus 3 with the OnePlus 3T, HTC have borrowed the name of their flagship for a slightly upscaled (or downscaled, depending on your view) new release.

Not much cheaper than the HTC 10, the flagship currently retails at around £499 and this is what its top features look like:

HTC 10 evo: Look and feel

HTC have ditched the curved back that has become synonymous with their handsets over the years and the 10 evo is a super-slim, albeit flat number. So now the phone goes from 3.7-8.09 mm in thickness making it easier to hold and use one-handed than the HTC 10.

HTC have used a clever sidecut on the phone, making the chamfered edges wider so side-on, the phone seems a lot slimmer than what it is. With a maximum width of 8.07mm, it is already very slim but this neat little trick makes it even more covetable.

The HTC 10 evo is absolutely stunning. HTC have always been known for their strong design ethos and they deliver and more with the 10 evo. The 10 evo has an unimetal body and HTC have cloaked the 5.5-inch screen with Gorilla Glass 5 so your phone screen won't always come off worse in a close encounter with a pavement.

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The power button on the right side is machined- so you never confuse it with the volume toggles and the fingerprint sensor is on the 'Home' button at the bottom of the screen. HTC promise it unlocks the phone in .2 seconds and at this stage we will have to take their word for it. The fingerprint sensor further comes into its own when you unlock protected apps locked by the App Lock function in Boost+.

HTC 10 evo: Screen

The 5.5-inch screen on the HTC 10 evo is a Quad HD one and comes with a 534 pixels per inch density giving it the might to take on the likes of Samsung Galaxy S7 edge. However, this is no Super AMOLED screen, like the one on the Samsung flagships but the super LCD 3 one here does a very very good job, with great colour reproduction and contrasts.

Users are able to personalise the colour, contrast, brightness and other details on the display so it is exactly how they like it. The HTC 10 evo further comes with a Corning Gorilla Glass 5 shield with curved edge, as mentioned earlier. The phone is IP57 rated so is splash and dust resistant. While not the same as being water proof, it loses its resistance with age and wear- something to be careful about!

HTC 10 evo: Camera

The primary snapper on the HTC 10 evo is a 16-MP one with Optical Image Stabilization (OIS) with phase detection auto focus (PDAF) smarts. During the time we had hands-on with the phone, the HTC 10 evo did very well with quick focussing and no lags while taking pictures. There is a Dual LED flash, to even out skin tones and also a pro mode with RAW format support.

The ƒ/2.0 aperture may not seem like the best in industry and that's because it is not. Lower the aperture, better the low light pictures and while it isn't as low as we would like it to be, at its price bracket, it isn't the worst.

There is 4K video recording capabilities and the added bonus of Hi-Res audio recording alongside is just the ticket for wannabe YouTubers and Vloggers. The selfie panorama is perfect for beauty bloggers and those who take more groufies than selfies.

HTC 10 evo: Audio

HTC had ramped up the audio capabilities significantly on the 10 and with the HTC 10 evo, they have gone further into fine-tuning the audio proposition for customers. On-board the HTC 10 evo are the world’s 1st USB Type-C dual adaptive earphones. While this is amazing news- it means that like Apple and Moto before them, HTC have done away with the headphone jack on this phone. Whether this is something they will follow through with their subsequent phones remains to be seem but given that the USB Type-C port allows for hi-res audio transmission, something tells us it is here to stay.

The HTC 10 evo is Hi-Res audio certified and it comes with a clever bit of tech called HTC BoomSound Adaptive Audio. Everytime you pop on the earphones supplied in the box, you can opt to get your inner ears analysed and depending on how you well you hear and to what level in your ears, the music playback is then customised to your hearing.

It sounds terribly complicated, but during demo, we can vouch for the remarkable difference in audio quality between the analysed audio and bog-standard audio playback.Every note, nuance and tone can be tuned to your individual hearing and the results were quite staggering. You can also record hi-res audio on its own, apart from when you record 4K videos.

HTC 10 evo: Performance

The HTC 10 evo comes with Android 7.0 Nougat on-board with HTC's customisations atop. There is Boost+ which we liken to the equivalent of a butler. It optimises memory, cleans up files, makes sure the phone runs along as is expected and keeps an eye on the battery life. Gamers will be pleased to know that Boost+ on the HTC 10 evo can give their abilities on games a performance boost as well.

As always, you can use the HTC Themes app to make the phone look exactly as you would like it to. Internally, there is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor bolstered by 3GB RAM. While the processor is an older generation, that shouldn't come as a problem performance-wise. However, the processor was known for its thermal issues- specifically that phones running on it would get hot, very quickly. HTC themselves ran into that issue with the HTC One M9. Although the Google Nexus 6P later used this same processor with no performance related issues- they seemed to have gotten ironed out...

Battery-wise, you are onto a winner with the HTC 10 evo. There is a 3200 mAH number on here and the phone further comes with quick charging capabilities.

There are two on-board memory flavours: 32 and 64GB and you are further able to add upto 2TB of storage utilising the microSD slot on the phone. However, in this day and age of Google Drive and a million other cloud storage services, expandable storage might not be your primary concern.

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HTC 10 evo: early verdict

This phone is an absolute cracker. Apart from the slight off-note with the older processor, its specs check out and that gorgeous unimetal body is absolutely stunning.

However, there are two issues with the HTC 10 evo being the breakout product this year.

Firstly, the price. At between £450-£499, it is the same price (almost) as the HTC 10, the flagship. At launch, the HTC 10 was priced at £579 and is now reduced to £499 online.

For what it is, the HTC 10 evo is incredibly over-priced. There are others like the OnePlus 3 and Honor 8 which deliver almost the same specs and let you save more than £100 on the price.

Secondly, HTC have gone down the e-commerce route to sell this phone. This means, it can only be bought from the HTC website. Not even Amazon. For a phone to be released at this time of the year and not be available on the high-street doesn't bode well for its success. Whether it is telling of HTC's relationship with high-street retailers or of its own uncertain future, we would hate to speculate...

But it is a shame because the HTC 10 evo is a great product.