In Depth

HTC 10: New handset boasts an 'Ultraselfie' camera

Smartphone will help you take a steadier self-portrait – but is that enough to boost the Taiwanese firm's fortunes?

Taiwanese smartphone-maker HTC has revealed its latest flagship handset - and it has some interesting new additions over the firm's outgoing M9 model.

The 10 gets an anodised metal body available in grey, silver and gold, with a thickness ranging from 0.11ins to 0.35ins, due to the curved design of the backplate. It weighs 5.6oz, so it's one of the heavier smartphones out there.

At the front, the handset gets a 5.2ins super LCD display with 564 pixels per inch, stepping up to the same Quad HD standard as rival devices from Samsung and LG.

HTC claims that the new display is 30 per cent more colourful than that of the M9 and is 50 per cent more responsive to touch. The fingerprint scanner takes 0.2 seconds to unlock the phone.

The Boomsound speakers have been moved. A large subwoofer now sits in the bottom, with a tweeter speaker up top so low and high frequencies come from both ends of the handset. According to Gizmodo, the new approach isn't as "eye-opening" as the last device, but the sound is "loud and crisp" and better than most other phone speakers.

HTC is keen to play off the audio quality - the handset can record in high-quality 24-bit audio and a pair of "high-res" earphones is supplied.

Other highlights include the battery - a 3,000mAh unit capable of charging to 50 per cent in 30 minutes thanks to Quick Charge 3.0 compatibility -a USB-Type C port, an SD card slot for upping the 32GB internal memory and Qualcomm's latest Snapdragon 820 chipset mated to 4GB RAM.

Sense 8.0, HTC's latest customisation of the Android software, makes changes by removing duplicate apps and bloatware and optimises apps so they launch faster.

The most notable difference is the level of customisation the new software has brought, though. Rather than being set in a fixed grid, app icons can now be placed anywhere on the screen and in any size or orientation. The HTC 10 is also one of the first Android phones to be compatible with Apple's AirPlay audio-streaming service.

Of particular interest is the camera hardware, which features a front-facing five-megapixel sensor dubbed an "Ultraselfie" camera.

The 10 is the first smartphone to offer a front-facing camera with Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS), which counters shaky hands for cleaner shots.

A 12-megapixel camera also with OIS sits at the back. While not remarkable in comparison to the competition, new additions include the power to capture photos in the RAW format, making them easier to edit than jpegs, and a laser-based focusing system fast enough to work in burst mode.

According to The Guardian, HTC's phones have always been of the highest quality, but have been uninspiring and failed to capture the attention of buyers, "something the company must address".

The BBC adds that five years ago, the firm was the world's fourth best smartphone-maker with a market share of around nine per cent. That figure dropped to one per cent in 2015.

The outlook could still be grim, says the broadcaster, claiming that "analysts are doubtful" whether features such as OIS are "enough to improve the Taiwanese company's fortunes".

Additionally, the phone lags behind key rivals such as the Samsung Galaxy S7 in some areas – it's not waterproof and doesn't support wireless charging.

Prices for the 10 will start from £569, the same as the Samsung handset, and it will go on sale later this month.

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