Side by Side by Deslok

HTC 10 (left) HTC One M9 (right) Text (above, below) Credit: Deslok

Last week on Wednesday I received a shipping notification that I would be getting my package by end of day Friday, which would have been a one-week turnaround from the unexpected limbo I was put in. I was really sick last week, drowning in tree funk sick, not the fun type. I didn’t care.

The package may have shown up on the Wednesday that I got the shipping info. It was certainly there Thursday morning waiting for me and nobody at work seemed to know when it arrived, so who knows. Anyway…

Let’s get the quick set of biases presented up front so you can see where I’m coming from:

  1. I like stock Android
  2. Not a huge fan of Sense although I do run Sense ROMs with a different launcher to get the camera
  3. I didn’t feel the need to upgrade my M9
  4. I like the old HTC camera app
  5. I like the ability to move my SD card off if I need to
  6. I have a hell of a lot of Micro-SD charging equipment
  7. I really dislike the inability to swap out batteries
  8. I like wireless charging

Coming from a rooted HTC M9 to a stock HTC 10 I thought I’d probably end up rooting it before the day was out, but due to both being sick and it not annoying me excessively (except with the laughable piece of trash app Lookout,) it’s been close enough to stock to not particularly vex me.

It’s getting rooted, Lookout is not going to stay on this phone in any shape, form, or fashion, but that’s for another day.

The initial camera software was terrible. It didn’t focus right, I couldn’t select where I wanted to save my photos, it was useless to me. What’s weirder is it didn’t show up in the list of apps to update on the Play Store. I searched for HTC Camera, it said installed and update available, updated it and now the camera is acceptable. I’m reserving judgement on the picture quality for now as I haven’t had a chance to play with pro mode.

I recorded a few biometric unlockers for the phone, and was pleasantly pleased that the dumb as nails smart lock could stop annoying me when I needed to unlock the phone (seriously smart lock, you’re paired to a bluetooth device I’m wearing that we’ve given the greenlight to, stop locking the damned phone) – anyway, unlocking with a touch was quite nice.

Unfortunately it’s not particularly great yet… the implementation of unlock I’ve watched sometimes is “oh hey, I’m awake… what? let’s put something on the screen… what you wanted that unlocked? you sure? nevermind, screen off… ok, ok again? oh… you wanted it unlocked? ok, here you go, it’s unlocked, oh and now you’ve held it just a quarter second too long so I’m going home”.

I think that can be easily fixed in a software update. Why can’t I use my pinky to unlock and immediately be in camera?

Audio – not as loud, sounds significantly fuller at certain angles. Call volume seems to default fairly low. I know I didn’t change it and I’ve seen other reviews mentioning it, but it’s somewhere at about half the maximum speaker output (I don’t care if it says it’s at 80%). Just turn it up and you should have a fairly good call experience.

The placement of the USB-C connector annoys my pinky. My particular grip on my last few phones involves using my pinky as a ledge for the phone, and this annoys it. Not a huge deal, but I wish the thing can with a rubber plug for the USB C port.

The laser focus, somehow I thought it would be better. It quite often tells me that the laser is blocked, it’s not. This is a common occurrence, it’s not my phone, it’s a software bug. Taping an object focuses insanely fast, in comparison to previous HTC devices. It just doesn’t keep up with that object (eg: baby,) very well. Not that I particularly expect perfection trying to photograph a whirling dervish, but. It is significantly better than any non-DSLR-psycho pricy camera I’ve used.

Low light photos are great.

Sound – going to skip this one, let people comment on their own. My ears are so messed up at the moment all I can honestly say is that everything sounds like it’s underwater, but unfortunately that’s everything to me. Freaking sinus hell.

Initial startup was a lot slower than I was expecting. It took several minutes before I was able to start inputting my info. That was with 50something apps to optimize. I blame the Goog on this one. Seems like it’s single-core attacking apps to make a cache.

Selfie mode no longer warping head

Selfie mode is no longer warping heads like it did on the M8 and M9, however it’s stuck in mirror mode for reasons no reason I can determine – the checkmark will not clear. That door is over my left shoulder, not my right.

Lack of IR blaster turned out to not be too big an issue for me as I only used it at home and a company sent me an IR blaster to play with, but had that coordinated set of circumstances not happened I’d be out something I used regularly.

SIM and SD card are reversed and will fall out if you remove them like you did on the previous models. There’s nothing new, just they’re opposite sides you’re used to from the One line. They’re also designed to be taken out with the phone on its face.

The metal unibody design is flipping sweet. I hate unibody designs as I hate non removable batteries, but this one works right up until the top where we flow from exquisitely crafted aluminum into ho garbage plastic. At least I think that cheap hat it’s wearing is plastic.

The boost app, I’m unsure what I think about this one. The only real use I’ve seen is to prevent some rinky dink apps from using the full resoluton/moar powerz, and it really doesn’t do a good job with that. Specifically let’s say I tell it that I don’t need infinity resolution on What’s The Phrase – then WTP is set to standard, uses less power, and then it spawns an ad that recognizes the native resolution and now I’ve got 1/4th of an ad with the close button somewhere off to the right. I think it’s fixable with yet another software update.

Selfie flash – good add although it has been producing some weird results.

I find your lack of setting disturbing

I find your lack of setting disturbing, now fetch me moar coffee.

Inability to choose filename convention still irks me – I need photos named by year-month-day-horse-dog-pony not IMAG0001. Every time I move stuff off of my phone or flash a new ROM or factory reset I end up with yet another IMAG001… my 2014 folder had 17 IMAG001s in it from how many times I did complete wipes of that phone)

Video recording in high resolution/high res audio means you’re going to be using the MKV format. I watched a couple of video reviews of the product where the reviewers didn’t know what to do with an MKV – just so you know MKV is a container format, it’s been around for 14 years, is open source and open spec, and you can convert an MKV or most any other format for free, or add an MKV codec so that your software can understand it, usually for free also.

The OS is not as stable as it should be. Now first off you need to understand that I put my phones under a whole lot more stress than you will. If I don’t have a couple hundred connections going at a time I’m not using my phone ;). That said, my HTC One M9 could handle this. After about two or three hours of me stressing the 10, it reboots.  I’ve so far submitted two “system has recovered from some error or something” reports.

As near as I can tell it’s in the TCP driver or kernel as a couple of hundred connections at a shot can bring the phone down. You won’t be doing this unless you’re planning on port scanning a 255.0.0.0 subnet with a few hundred worker threads. You won’t be doing this.

The power button praise his noodly appendage now has texture meaning you can tell whether you’re hitting the power, vol up or down. This has been a source of frustration with my M9 and Nexus 9 as for some reason all clank buttons in different configurations seemed like a good idea to them.

Just a picture took and liked the results

Just a picture took and liked the results

Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 – something’s wrong. I’m not seeing the results I would expect. Even accounting for varying battery sizes I’m seeing sub QQC2.0 speeds. My guess is this will also be addressed in a firmware update. I did mention I have not rooted this phone or done anything strange to it right? Really I haven’t.

Battery reporting is different, so if you’ve got an app like Battery Monitor Widget you’re going to need to specify something like Reverse Android UA until they recognize the HTC 10. I kept seeing Unplugged, discharging, +5981mA or some such. This isn’t a bug, this is just something I noticed I’m passing along.

Conclusions so far at day 4: HTC once again produced a great piece of hardware but out of the gate released buggy or unfeatured software, which unfortunately is par for the course with HTC. It’ll take a couple of months for them to get it right.