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Like Huawei, HTC hedges its bets on a premium camera with new device

Ahead of a launch party at Covent Garden’s Hospital Club, HTC has just unveiled its latest flagship smartphone, the HTC 10. Available to pre-order on the HTC website from today, the HTC 10 offers “unprecedented control. Off the chart performance. And innovations like the world’s first dual OIS for pro level photos front and back, as well as end-to-end 24-bit Hi-Res sound.”

Like other recent smartphone launches (see our coverage of Samsung and Huawei), HTC is promising to “redefine what a flagship phone is truly meant to be”. So what’s the HTC 10 offering?

Following others in the race, the HTC 10 has a metal unibody and curved-edge Gorilla Glass. A press release also claims the “HTC 10 was subjected to over 168 hours of extreme temperature tests, ranging from a freezing -20’C to a scorching 60’C, plus over 10,000 drop, bend, scratch and corrosion tests”, which let’s face it, sounds impressive.

The HTC 10 boasts the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon processor with enhanced 4G LTE, as well as ‘Boost+’ which HTC explains will make your phone faster, consume less power and provide effective security and applications management features. Getting in to the nitty gritty of what this actually means, and to be honest, this all sounds very familiar, but still, handy features to have.

A promise that will be popular with Android lovers is HTC’s claim it will be reducing bloatware and duplicative apps – the jury’s still out on this though. Particularly given HTC’s new Freestyle Layout, which sounds impressive but may be guilty of over-tinkering with Google’s popular OS. Having said that, I do like the idea of not being tied in to the grid layout; the option to drag icons, stickers and widgets anywhere I want to, including layering them, grouping them, linking stickers to apps or getting rid of screen icons altogether, sounds good.

As expected, the HTC 10 comes with a fingerprint scanner, which apparently unlocks in just 0.2 seconds and not just that, but due to a fancy algorithm, will recognise you faster and more accurately the more you use it. Claims that the fingerprint sensor will recognise your finger from almost any angle would, I imagine, be a welcome relief to anyone who’s been competing in the fingerprint gymnastics up till now.

HTC’s big news though, is the camera, which the device maker “believe[s] to be the best smartphone camera available on the market today”. (The footnote on the website clarifies this is “Based on HTC research among major smartphone brand models as at March 2016”, which makes me wonder whether the likes of the Huawei P9 are included).

The HTC 10 has the world’s first optically stabilised, larger aperture f/1.8 lenses on not just the rear camera, but also the front. It also boasts new larger sensors, 12 million new generation UltraPixels (1.55um per pixel), and faster laser autofocus, a wide angle lens and screen flash on the front UltraSelfieTM camera. The camera will launch in just 0.6 seconds, and the 2nd generation laser autofocus gives you focused shots faster, and apparently is quick enough to even work in burst mode. Like the new Huawei, there’s a Pro Mode, which in HTC’s case offers advanced options for more experienced photographers, including RAW format functionality.

Further features include Hi-Res audio certification, a headphone amp that delivers two times the power of a conventional headphone amp, and the all-new Personal Audio Profile system – which I really like the sound of – which allows you to dynamically adjust specific sound frequencies to each ear. The speakers are impressive too, and they’re backed up with the “best Hi-Res audio certified inbox earphones yet”, which features an 8µm thin aerospace polymer diaphragm and 70% oversized drivers. 

As to availability, the HTC 10 will be available to pre-order on the HTC website today either Carbon Grey, Glacier Silver or Topaz Gold for £569 [$800].

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Kate Hoy

Kate Hoy is Editor of IDG Connect

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