One month with the HTC 10: A contender for the best smartphone of 2016

The HTC 10 started arriving in customer's hands late last week. After five weeks of usage, it's clear the HTC 10 is the phone HTC needed to help rekindle the fire.
Written by Matthew Miller, Contributing Writer

After five weeks with the HTC 10, see my full review, it's clear it is a device that will challenge Samsung for the title. With its full metal design and high resolution audio, the HTC 10 offers a slightly different focus than the Galaxy S7.

I purchased an HTC 10 in Carbon Gray that just arrived last Friday. Those who pre-ordered one should expect the arrival of their new smartphone soon and Verizon customers can visit their local stores to get some hands-on time with the HTC 10. It's clearly the best smartphone from HTC since the One M7.

A couple of weeks ago I posted 10 reasons to buy the HTC 10 and after more time with it I can confirm that all of those remain valid. A camera software update hit international HTC 10 devices and according to AndroidCentral the update fixes some of the issues that knocked my review score down a bit. I'm satisfied with it at the moment, but shots with a strong light source tend to get blown out.

HTC offers a fairly pure Google experience on the HTC 10 and I find it to be a bit more responsive than my Galaxy S7 Edge. I installed a 128GB microSD card and enabled adoptable storage so now have a massive amount of available "internal" storage to use as I wish. This is my first time using adoptable storage and so far I haven't seen any apps struggling to work with it.

While I like the heft of the HTC 10 aluminum body, it is a bit slick in the hand. With the heavier weight than a plastic or glass phone, I'm looking forward to seeing an Urban Armor Gear case to help it survive drops and slips.

Hands-on with the HTC 10: Touring the hardware

I would love to see HTC implement a better quick camera launch option as the double press on my S7 Edge button is a killer feature when out and about. You can swipe down twice on the display of the HTC 10 to launch the camera, but it's not always consistent in recognizing your swipes. A double tap of the fingerprint scanner or even the Google double press of the volume down button would be appreciated as an option.

HTC offers a lot in the camera software and even after a month I haven't fully explored all of the options and implemented them in my daily life. The HTC Zoe option is present, which is how HTC captures short video clips similar to what Apple later implemented in Live Photos. The new HTC camera software layout is much improved over the past. However, the tap to focus feature we see on all other phones is not working on the HTC 10 so you may have to spend a few seconds adjusting conditions a bit.

There seem to be wildly varying experiences with battery life on the HTC 10, but after five weeks of regular usage I continue to easily go a full day of moderate to heavy typical usage on a single charge. The HTC 10 also charges up very quickly with the Quick Charge 3.0 included charger and USB Type-C cable.

It's disappointing to see HTC's latest financial report, but with the HTC 10 and HTC Vive VR headset just now reaching customers we should see an improvement in the second quarter report. I'm not sure one phone and a VR headset can completely turn things around, but both of these products are fantastic and HTC is not giving up without a fight.

Related ZDNet HTC 10 coverage

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