HTC has proven time and again that it knows how to make a great smartphone, and with the HTC 10 it's got a device that has all the right bits underneath another thoughtful design - with a couple of genuine high points inside too.

HTC 10 review

But is this phone going to be enough for the brand? Is a handset that has the latest chipset, 32GB of onboard memory with expandable storage, powerful audio and camera abilities enough to keep being a thorn in the side of Samsung and Apple... and maybe start creeping up on them in the future?

We liked

I'll always be a fan of the way that HTC puts its phones together, because it simply doesn't seem to compromise on build quality or effort. Despite not being totally in love with the heft of the device, or the massive chamfered edges, there's no doubt it looks unique and that's a very important thing to have in today's phones.

The camera has been upgraded too, and while you'll really need to work at the photos to get something brilliant, the opportunity is there. Combine that with expandable memory that can be turned into internal storage through Android's Adoptable Storage feature and you've got something excellent to play with.

The real win here comes from the audio though - the HTC 10 can play nearly any file and play it incredibly well. The Hi-Res audio compatibility is welcomed, if a little redundant still, the upscaling seems to offer genuine improvement to even the dullest Spotify track and the bundled headphones feel rather high-quality indeed (in some markets - sadly not all in the US and Canada get them).

The battery life on the HTC 10 is definitely improved and it'll last the day nicely for most scenarios, but if the screen is on it can fall a little too fast to feel 'safe' before you head out to the bars in the evening.

We disliked

There's not actually a lot to dislike on the HTC 10 - the keyboard, for instance, isn't the best any more, but that can be upgraded easily by downloading one of the many great free options on Google Play.

I'm not in love with the shape of the phone, as I've mentioned, and many others I've spoke to have felt the same way. However, I've met people that love the edges and the unique look, so it's hard to criticise that too much.

HTC 10 review

It's a similar story with the camera: HTC has let itself down here by not making it instantly as good at snapping as the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge, but it's still a capable photo machine that should get better with time - and you can still take some utterly amazing pictures with it.

The loss of the iconic dual BoomSound speakers from previous models is hard for me, and while I appreciate what HTC is trying to do by splitting them up, for me the sound quality isn't good enough.

Verdict

The HTC 10 is a phone that promised so much but only partly delivers. As you can see above, I can't really criticise it too much as it's hit the marks that a top smartphone should: loads of power, upgraded battery, improved camera and changed design.

And that's happened, so it's a big tick from me on that front. But there's nothing here that really impresses, that you'd show off to your friends down the pub. With the One, it was a simple case of shoving the phone in their hands and watching them look at it in quiet awe (and hoping they'd give it back).

The One M8 had the same impressive ability to be fondled, but it combined it with better sound output and innovative pictures - it was one of the best phones ever made.

The HTC 10 doesn't do anything wrong, and if you bought it you'd want for very little throughout your time with it, as it's very capable indeed and has all the excellent design DNA slathered through from HTC.

But it's not got any innovation packed inside, beyond the great audio performance - and it's hard to get your friends to come into a quiet room and show them the improved sound when someone's just bought a round of drinks.

The 10 is a phone that's technically very able but doesn't offer a massive wow factor - and for the high-end price it commands, it really should.

  • Not sure about this phone? Then we've got a few more for you to check out:

Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge

Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge

The S7 Edge is one of the best phones ever made. It's simply a brilliant phone with an excellent and speedy camera, beautiful design, innovative edges and it's waterproof to boot.

It's got a huge screen melded into a smaller body thanks to the edge display, and the battery life is exceptional too. Despite minimal metal, Samsung has actually managed to make a more desireable phone than HTC for the first time in years.

LG G5

LG G5

The LG G5 has one standout feature over the rest of the market: its modular design. You can remove the battery despite a metal chassis, and thanks to some clever wizardry you'll be able to add in camera grips and sound modules too.

It's a cheaper phone than HTC is offering, although it lacks the polish and feel that that's on offer with the HTC 10 - and the interface doesn't have the same power either. That said, it's a neat phone with a decent screen, and great if you love trying new things.

iPhone 7

iPhone 6S

This is Apple's best phone at the moment, and it's a very different proposition to what HTC is offering. It's got a smaller 4.7-inch screen, and the resolution is nowhere near as sharp, but the camera is even better and the build quality also decent.

It's still not the cheapest on the market (and the iPhone doesn't descend in cost much over a year) but the waterproof body and dual speakers make it a more attractive option over last year.

OnePlus 3T

OnePlus 3

The big phone with a big heart - but a smaller price tag. It packs the same level of quality as the other big flagship smartphones (a powerful CPU, high-spec camera and AMOLED screen) but does it for between half and two-thirds the price.

There are some corners cut: the battery life isn't as strong and the camera not as amazing as some on test, but these are optimisations that cost money and the lower price has to be found somewhere. They're minor aberrations though, and if you don't like the HTC 10's price, this is a good phone to check out.