At one point in time HTC was a mobile powerhouse. Unfortunately for them, companies like Samsung and other lower cost smart device manufacturers came in and stole some of their clout. This isn’t a knock against the company or the quality of their products, it’s just the market is more competitive now than ever before. For HTC however, there was a desire to climb back up to the mountaintop and their first step on that path is the HTC 10.  As a high-end device made with great products, this is a smartphone for those looking for quality and functionality.

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Starting with the exterior, the HTC 10 features a sturdy build with a solid metal backing that not only looks sturdy, but sleek. Weighing in at about 169 g, the device does not feel heavy or cumbersome, but it does feel strong and durable. The phone comes in a bunch of colours including carbon grey, topaz gold, glacier silver, and camellia red. CGM reviewed a model with the glacier silver and it gives the HTC 10 a very professional look.  On the front of the HTC 10 lies a 13.2 cm multi-touch screen protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 3. The resolution on the screen is pretty impressive as well at 1440 x 2560 pixels making most videos and games look on par with its peers. While I have seen smart devices that are visually superior, the HTC 10 doesn’t lag too far behind.

The HTC 10 currently runs on Android’s Marshmallow with a planned upgrade to Nougat, meaning it will run the latest Android software with relative ease. With the quad core Qualcomm MSM8996 Snapdragon 820 CPU, this device is built for higher end functionality. It had next to no issue running multiple apps most of the time, but I can’t say I didn’t experience some chugging with games, music, YouTube and social media apps running simultaneously.

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Speaking of games, the HTC 10 runs games pretty well. Packed inside is an Adreno 530 GPU, which allows the device to run most Android games to their full capability. Adding to that experience, the HTC 10 has some pretty great sound output with dual speakers. I was honestly surprised by how loud this phone can get when playing music or even games without headphones on. The quality of sound can be questioned to an extent as it is still only a built in speaker, but it’s much better than most phones on the market. Users will also be happy to know that the classic 3.5 mm jack is still included so your headphones will still work without a ridiculous dongle attachment.

Also packed inside the HTC 10 is a 12 MP laser autofocus camera. With 1/2.3” sensor size, 1.55µm pixel size, geo-tagging, touch focus, face detection, HDR, and panorama, it can do quite a bit but it struggles in dimmer lighting and simply can’t take action shots. Any movement in a photo becomes a blur, which can get frustrating if you like to take pictures of your pets or kids. Still, for the average Instagram food post or selfie, the HTC 10 provides average photos. I’ve definitely used phones with much better cameras, but still, HTC allows users to make those photos even better with a pro mode that lets them customize settings like ISO.

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The most surprising aspect of the HTC 10 however, is its non-removable Li-Ion 3000 mAh battery. In my tests, I used the phone heavily for a full day, and didn’t need to recharge the device until the very end of the day, and even then the HTC 10 can recharge to close to full battery within the hour. As a person who is out a lot and gets a lot of use out of my smartphone, the battery life along with the recharge speed was really appreciated.

While the HTC 10 is a great device in its own right, it isn’t quite the phone that will bring HTC back to the promised land, but that doesn’t make it bad. This device does a lot that’s very impressive. With a strong design and higher end insides, the HTC 10 does compete with the big boys, but falls a little short in the end. Still, those in the market for a higher end device shouldn’t miss out on the HTC 10. With decent functionality, superb sound output and a strong body, HTC went all out with this smartphone, and it paid off—for the most part.