HTC 10 review

Not quite 10 out of 10

HTC 10 review

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  • Dedicated Quick Charger in the box
  • Great for web browsing battery life
  • Good when asleep at holding charge
  • Terrible battery drain per hour when using the phone

Oh, HTC. Why do you never make this easy for me? Why must I always be having to caveat the battery life tests when reviewing your phones? Why can't it just be a simple use case?

Sorry - got a little ahead of myself there, so let's wind back a little bit. The HTC 10 has, by far, the largest power pack in a 'normal-sized' phone from the brand so far. It's a whopping 3000mAh, and that's the same as the recent Samsung Galaxy S7.

Given that HTC has been well known in the past for under-using the space in its devices for battery power, this is good to see. However, when you compare the thickness of the Galaxy S7 to the HTC 10, you'll wonder still how that extra girth to the phone is being spent - after all, it's not got a wireless charging solution in there, and it has the same size of battery.

HTC 10 review

I'll leave that one for you to decide, as when I asked HTC they just told me it was a 'normal' battery in there, nothing that was extra special. So let's talk about the actual performance - or, I'll at least try to.

HTC 10 review

The reason I'm approaching this with such trepidation is that it really depends how you use your phone as to what result you get from the battery. I know that sounds obvious, but it's so much worse than normal on the HTC 10, with the battery management extremes so far apart.

If you're a light user of phones, then you're going to love the HTC 10, as it's one of the best I've seen for going into a deep sleep when it's laid on the desk. 

I'm going to equally give the credit for this to HTC and Google, as the former has apparently spent longer than ever tuning the phone to get better battery life, and the latter has added in Doze mode to the Android system with Marshmallow and that's clearly having an effect.

HTC 10 review

However, there are still too many issues with the battery to declare it a runaway success. Firstly, the second you start using the phone it seems to signal to the device that it should ping, parse and update everything it can get its hands on - that's the only reason, surely, for the steep drops in battery life I kept seeing.

Seriously, I could pull my phone out of my pocket after taking it off charge for three hours and almost certainly have over 90% of battery power remaining. Deciding that this is enough to treat myself to a little bit of photo editing, gaming or web browsing, the battery will drop rapidly whenever I'm prodding at the screen, with about 20% gone per hour in this manner.

It's hugely frustrating, as it meant I kept putting off using the HTC 10 to preserve the battery life, rather than using this expensive device to regularly cure disease or something.

I'm not sure how I'd do that on a phone, but it's something that I'd LIKE to learn to do should I have the confidence in the battery life.

When it comes to our battery test, where we run a Full HD video at full brightness, the results were interesting: over the 90-minute test, the phone managed to drop 22% of battery - which would equate to about 7 hours of movie watching with everything connected and the brightness ramped up.

That's a little lower than HTC's quoted time, but about on par for the rest of the industry - Samsung blitzed this test with the Galaxy S7 losing only 13%, but both comfortably beat the iPhone 7 (which lost 23%), Sony Xperia Z5 (25%) and 2015's HTC One M9 (31%).

The last stat is the most revealing, as it shows that the bigger battery and optimisations have had a real effect on the HTC 10 - and that bears out in day to day use too.

Quite surprisingly, the HTC 10 smashed the techradar web browsing battery test. The phone was set up to run through websites for two hours straight on full brightness and the HTC 10 finished the test with 56% left in the tank.

The next closest phone was the Samsung Galaxy S7 with 48% at the end of the test, showing the HTC completely owned the competition.

It's certainly worth bearing in mind the HTC 10 is good at holding its charge when web browsing, but it's not the only thing to consider when looking at battery.

The charging time is improved on the HTC 10, thanks to Quick Charge 3.0 from Qualcomm enabled… and mercy be, there's a dedicated charger in the box to help!

Charging speeds are indeed impressive, although the predicted 'one day's use in 30 minutes' seems a bit over eager - however, from completely dead it wasn't that far off that number. Ultimately, this charging is FAST, where you can plug in for 15 minutes and easily have enough juice to last for a few more hours.

Gareth Beavis
Formerly Global Editor in Chief

Gareth has been part of the consumer technology world in a career spanning three decades. He started life as a staff writer on the fledgling TechRadar, and has grown with the site (primarily as phones, tablets and wearables editor) until becoming Global Editor in Chief in 2018. Gareth has written over 4,000 articles for TechRadar, has contributed expert insight to a number of other publications, chaired panels on zeitgeist technologies, presented at the Gadget Show Live as well as representing the brand on TV and radio for multiple channels including Sky, BBC, ITV and Al-Jazeera. Passionate about fitness, he can bore anyone rigid about stress management, sleep tracking, heart rate variance as well as bemoaning something about the latest iPhone, Galaxy or OLED TV.