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HTC 10 Evo hands-on review

HTC 10 Evo hands-on review: Today HTC announced a new premium smartphone to its 2016 portfolio, designed to slot in underneath its flagship, called the HTC 10 Evo. Here’s what we thought of it.

HTC 10 Evo: Specs at a glance

Screen size 5.5-inches
Screen resolution WQHD (2560×1440)
Weight 175 grams
OS Android 7.0 Nougat w/ HTC Sense
Front camera 8-megapixels
Rear camera 16-megapixels w/ OIS
Processor 2GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 810
Memory 3GB RAM
Storage 32GB. Expandable via microSD up to 2TB
Battery 3200mAh w/ Quick Charge 2.0
Extras IP57 certified, BoomSound, fingerprint sensor, Gorilla Glass 5

HTC 10 Evo: Hands-on review

As its name suggests, the 10 Evo (styled as ‘HTC 10 evo’) shares in the same philosophy as the company’s current flagship, the HTC 10, which launched back in April. At first glance it looks rather similar too, with an aluminium unibody sporting heavy chamfering along its 8.09mm thick waistline, a textured power key and a set of capacitive navigation buttons either side of a speedy fingerprint sensor-laden home button.

HTC 10 Evo - Front HTC 10 Evo: Back

It’s a larger phone versus the standard 10, dictated by its 5.5-inch Quad HD Super LCD3 display, which looks pin sharp and purpose built for media; speaking of which a BoomSound speaker arrangement is also on-hand too, placing highs through the loudspeaker in the earpiece and bass tones through the grille along its bottom edge.

It also swaps out a curved back for a flat one, which HTC says makes it more ergonomic when you take into account its larger size (versus the HTC 10), and it joins a growing number of phones choosing to ditch the 3.5mm headphone jack, pushing users to use the Type-C USB port at its base. The reasoning in this instance, however, feels as though it holds greater weight than Apple’s claims of ‘courage.’

Like the company’s flagship, the 10 Evo is another smartphone that offers support for 24-bit Hi-Res audio and comes bundled with new (and apparently the world’s first) Hi-Res audio certified adaptive earphones which, powered by way of that Type-C USB connection, are able to analyse the wearer’s ears and adjust the EQ to tailor the audio experience accordingly with a single button press (simplifying the more arduous multi-step process of the 3.5mm headphone jack-based experience on the HTC 10). The 10 Evo doesn’t come with a Type-C USB to 3.5mm headphone jack adapter, but you will be able to buy one from the company’s online store.

HTC’s also claims that the 10 Evo achieves another world first as the debut metal-unibodied waterproof smartphone, however, we suspect the iPhone 7 may have beaten it to the punch). It comes packing IP57 dust and water resistance along with one of the first examples of Gorilla Glass 5 on the market.

Beyond the design, the HTC 10 Evo sports a 16-megapixel OIS-laden camera with phase-detection autofocus and a dual (not dual tone) LED flash, along with an 8-megapixel front-facing snapper that supports panoramic selfies and shoots in HDR by default. The 10 Evo can also shoot video at up to 4K resolution and boasts a quick-launch time of 0.6 seconds.

We were surprised to learn that the SoC powering this phone is actually Qualcomm’s 2015 flagship chipset, the Snapdragon 810 – the same chip found in devices like the Nexus 6P and that made headlines for all the wrong reasons after early iterations of the processor suffered from overheating issues.

HTC opted for the 810 over one of Qualcomm’s high-end mid-range 2016 chips for a number of reasons in order to accommodate the 10 Evo’s capabilities, but also reaffirmed its confidence in the silicon a year on from its initial launch as the company is now well-versed in working with the processor and has taken steps to tune it for this latest handset, including the addition of new cooling elements to improve its thermal efficiency.

Along with the octa-core processor, the HTC 10 Evo packs 3GB of RAM, 32GB of internal storage, microSD expandability up to 2TB and a sizeable 3200mAh battery boasting up to 23 hours talk time, up to 20 days of standby time and Quick Charge 2.0. Unsurprisingly, despite the larger battery (compared to the standard HTC 10), this does mean the Evo is a little less power efficient and its fast-charging tech is slower, but it’s still not to be sniffed at overall.

There’s little to say about the software experience right now, other than it offers the same highly customisable HTC Sense user interface, running atop Android 7.0 Nougat. There will also be an Ice View case (just as with the HTC 10) to give users easy access to notifications without having to unlock their device and a new alternative case (unofficially titled the Attach Case) that allows for modular accessories like a kickstand or a front cover to be snapped on and off easily.

The HTC 10 Evo is an intriguing handset in more ways than one, with initial availability tied exclusively to HTC’s own e-shop and the handset arriving in three colourways (depending on market) called Glacial Silver, Gunmetal and Peal Gold. In the US this phone is a Sprint-exclusive handset named the HTC Bolt.

Read next: HTC 10 Review: In Depth

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