Unlike the car industry, in mobile terms, the addition of the word ‘Evo’ doesn’t make the brand-new HTC 10 Evo some crazy high-performance monster. Believe it or not, HTC’s latest phone actually sits below the HTC 10 that launched earlier this year.
But there must have been some major arguments in the office, as the phone has plenty of improvements that will make you wonder why that’s the case. Still, 2016 has been a mad year where nothing makes sense, so why stop now?
First up, the larger 5.5-inch display. It’s still Quad-HD, and the S-LCD display still looks as crisp as you’d expect for something with 1440 x 2160 pixels. Sure the PPI is lower, but we challenge you to see the pixels anyway. For most people, this is definitely an improvement.
Another thing is the IP57 rating. HTC isn’t going to sell it as a phone to take swimming or diving, but it can withstand a dunk in water up to a metre deep for half an hour. In the real world, a drop in the toilet isn’t going to be a problem.
The phone itself is constructed of high-grade metal, with the stylish chamfered edges you’ve come to expect from HTC, a company building unibody phones for longer than anyone else.
On the flip side is a 16-megapixel camera, up from 12-megapixels on the HTC 10. It’s here that only a full review will confirm if the larger number of pixels can make up for the loss of laser autofocus (it retains phase detection autofocus) and smaller pixels. To date, HTC hasn’t confirmed what image sensor the 10 Evo uses, but it seems probable it’s actually a lower spec overall.
The camera still retains optical image stabilisation, and given both the HTC 10 and the HTC-made Google Pixel phones have got top marks from DxOMark, we’d assume HTC won’t want to drop the ball.
It’s the chipset that makes it clear the 10 Evo isn’t a true high-end phone for 2016. It might be using a flagship chipset, but flagship for 2015 not 2016. Inside the phone is last year’s Snapdragon 810, a chip notorious for overheating issues. HTC promise they’ve got the chip under control and it won’t falter after playing heavy 3D games for just a few minutes. We’ll see.
See you later Jack!
And with Apple getting all the press for removing the headphone socket (even if Motorola did steal a lead on that), the HTC 10 Evo is joining the club by moving exclusively to USB-C for audio. There’s not even an adapter in the box, but fortunately, you do get a pretty impressive set of earphones with a world’s first: adaptive audio.
Plug them in, fire up the calibration app and within seconds you’ll have an exclusive audio profile for your ears – independently set for each ear. A simple tap at any time can re-evaluate the profile based on surrounding sound, so you can have one for home, the gym or when flying.
There’s plenty of other high-quality audio built in the phone too, from a 24-bit Hi-res audio DSP with upscaling, 24-bit Hi-res DAC and a powerful headphone amp.
Powering all of the above is a 3,200mAh battery, but with last year’s tech comes last year’s charging – so that means QuickCharge 2.0 instead of 3.0, but fear not as it will still charge quicker than many comparable phones. Yes, that includes you iPhone users.
Connectivity wise, the 4G speed of up to 450/50Mbps is ample for most, while there’s also VoLTE and VoWiFi support to take advantage of the various launches of 4G and Wi-Fi Calling from the big UK networks. All in all, don’t let an old chip fool you into thinking this can’t stay current for the next year or so at least.
All things considered, HTC has created a bit of a weird one here. The old processor makes it sound like it’s less capable than it is when in many ways it’s superior to the official top-end model.
We guess that all of this will be fixed by the time the HTC 11 comes rocking along next year, but for now, you can hopefully enjoy the HTC 10 Evo on major UK networks or for between £450-500 SIM-free when it goes on sale.
Got any questions about the HTC 10 EVO? ask Jonathan Morris on Twitter.