HTC 10 Evo review: How to ruin a solid flagship’s good name

Price when reviewed

At this point, you might be wondering what redeeming features the HTC 10 Evo has, and I suspect this might be why the company has been shouting a lot about the bundled earphones.

HTC boasts the Evo offers (deep breath): “the world’s 1st USB Type-C dual adaptive earphones that tailor sound to your ears’ unique structure for a truly illuminating audio experience.” In layman’s terms, HTC has decided that because not all ears are the same shape, one-size-fits-all earbuds aren’t a great solution. So when you configure the earbuds, they send out small soundwaves to the ear canal, and then collect how these noises are reflected through the in-built microphone, allowing future music and sound effects to be tailored to your ears’ shape via a sound profile stored on the phone. Clever.[gallery:4]

On this score I do have to give them some credit: the bundled earbuds are good. Once configured, the sound does genuinely feel better to the ear, with more detail immediately noticeable. Better still, whenever you’re playing any audio, a notification sits at the top of the phone: tap it, and it’ll recalibrate for your current environment, meaning your audio experience will be tailored to your ears, wherever they are.

That’s a good feature, no question. But is it worth the expensive price of entry? Not in a million years.

HTC 10 Evo: Camera

The camera is okay, but not in a £450 smartphone kind of way. If you just go by the raw number of megapixels, the HTC 10 Evo is a rare forward step over the HTC 10, but that’s why we don’t always trust the numbers. It’s gone from 12 megapixels to 16, and provides optical image stabilisation with an aperture of f/2.0.

First, let’s start with the good: the colours tend to be well balanced and bright, and the camera app itself is nice. It’s fast-loading and easy to tinker with for beginners, with a myriad of advanced features for pros. But ultimately, the results are generally a little lacking, chiefly down to a lack of detail, and focus that struggles to stay locked on. As a result, shots are often a touch on the murky side, unless you manage to stay unnaturally still.

As a consolation prize, the front-facing “selfie” camera is pretty good. It has a resolution of eight megapixels, which is more than even the most vain person should need. It takes good selfies, and is fine for video calls.

HTC 10 Evo: Verdict

The Evo is the title is supposed to stand for “Evolution” apparently, but while this is demonstrably different from the HTC 10, it’s almost always through long strides backwards. It’s slower and less comfortable to hold, with a weaker screen and battery. It actually has more in common with 2015’s HTC One M9 than the HTC 10, and that was a flagship we struggled to recommend at the time.[gallery:1]

Despite being bigger than both, it also manages to lose the useful headphone jack, but without any of the design panache that would make such a sacrifice worth even momentarily considering.

Why HTC would put this Frankenstein’s monster of a smartphone out with the same branding as the company’s return to form is beyond me. Sure, it might get a few sales from people hoodwinked into thinking this is as good as its flagship handset, but the long-term effect will be a bunch of people who don’t buy HTC phones in future, because they assume its phones will disappoint. 

The HTC 10 Evo isn’t bad as such, but at £500 it’s very far from good value for money. If this is your price bracket, take my advice: save yourself £100 and buy the OnePlus 3T instead – or try to find a good deal on the HTC 10.

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