The HTC 10 is one of the best flagships to come out this year. Its got a premium build, high end specifications and a 700 dollar price tag. But don’t let that scare you. You get a lot for your money.

In terms of specifications, it has the typical specs that we see in 2016 high end flagships.

The HTC 10 has

  • Snapdragon 820 chip clocked in at 2.2 ghz
  • Adreno 530 GPU
  • 4gb of RAM
  • 1440p display
  • Corning Gorilla glass 3
  • Micro sd card slot expandable up to 256 gb of storage
  • 12mp f/1.8 sensor with OIS
  • laser auto focus
  • 5mp front facing camera with OIS
  • $700 price tag

When compared with the OnePlus 3 for example, which costs about 300 dollars less, and packs similar specs, it makes the price of this flagship seem a little too high. If 700 dollars is in your budget, this phone offers a lot more than just the aforementioned specs.

The HTC 10 has a striking premium design, with a large chamfer on the back, that picks up the light and offers a subtle glow. It offers a nice weight, that screams quality, unlike the build on the LG G5, which was my previous daily driver.

With this metal build are a few adjustments of the placements of items on the front side. There’s an extremely accurate fingerprint sensor, which is quick to set up, and even faster to use. It comes at the cost though, of the famous front facing boom sound speakers. The HTC 10 now has a two part system.

HTC is still calling this setup boom sound, but it doesn’t offer the same amazing listening experience found on the M9. There’s a larger driver on the bottom which produces the low and mid frequencies, and on the top there’s the speaker within the earpiece for high frequencies. It gets loud, and the audio is crisp, but HTC is no longer my go to for the ultimate audio setup on a smartphone. That said, its dedicated 24 bit DAC takes the sting out and makes even 15 dollar headphones sound decent.

Here’s what else you will find: the front screen is a 1440p panel, with accurate colors, which is great for content consumption, and the screen gets pretty bright and is definitely viewable in direct sunlight. Admittedly, it’s a little bit behind the S7 Edge in brightness, and vibrancy, but it is definitely in the top 5 panels this year.

The screen does take a pretty big hit on the battery though. The battery is 3000mAh, but I was only able to get four to four and a half  hours on very moderate, to light use, and three to three and a half hours for heavier use. It’s not the best battery I’ve used but when it was juiced up, it ran extremely smoothly.

HTC’s light skin in combination with the high end specs, made the phone fly with light to heavy tasks and with gaming. The ram management was slightly better than average, and I enjoyed watching videos and playing games without the battery heating up too much. While recording video over a long period of time I noticed the battery heating up more, but it was very subtle, and you’d really have to try to notice it.

The HTC 10 records 2160p video at 30fps, and the quality is actually pretty good. That same quality transfers over to the photos, with the images coming out crisp, properly exposed and well saturated.

During low light conditions noise is definitely present, but it does not take away from the shot. The camera is comparable to the Nexus 6p, with images looking slightly more compressed and less saturated. It’s a great camera, and one of my favorite on the market to date.

One general comment worth mentioning is that unfortunately the phone is extremely slippery, which means it actually occasionally slips off of surfaces, out of my pocket, or out of my hand.

Overall though, if you are looking for a rock solid build, buttery performance, a passable camera and speaker setup, with a dedicated dac for better listening, I would definitely recommend the HTC 10, and it has made my list for one of the best flagships of the year.

Kevin Nether