Back in November 2016, HTC unveiled its two new smartphones, the Desire 10 Pro and the HTC 10 Evo. While the HTC 10 Evo is yet to make it to Indian smartphone market, the Desire 10 Pro was made available from December 15 for Rs 26,490. The device is available via both offline as well as online market channels. Priced just over Rs 26,000, the Desire 10 Pro is already in a pool of death as we have the OnePlus 3 and OnePlus 3T in that price range. However, let’s not presume things and head on for our review for the HTC Desire 10 Pro.
The design on the HTC Desire 10 Pro shouts new and fresh. Unlike every other smartphone manufacturer going with an aluminium unibody shell, HTC decided to go with the polycarbonate design with a matte finish at the back. The build quality is up there with any metallic smartphone and the device does feel premium in hands. The gold lining around the edges and the camera sensor gives it an even more distinct look. At the back, we have some HTC branding along with a matte finished fingerprint scanner and the primary camera with LED flash. The antenna lines are inspired from HTC trademark design and we also get the secondary microphone for better voice capture and noise cancellation while shooting videos. Up top we get the traditional 3.5 mm headphone jack and moving towards the bottom is where we get the speaker grill, the primary microphone and microUSB 2.0 port for charging and data syncing. On the right, we get the volume rockers and the gold coloured power button which is texturized while on the left is where we insert the SIM cards via hybrid Dual SIM tray. The SIM tray can either take in two Nano SIMs or One Nano SIM and a microSD card. Coming to the front, we get three capacitive touch-sensitive buttons at the bottom whereas the front facing camera, earpiece and come sensors are located just above the screen.
The aesthetics on the Desire 10 Pro is one of its unique features as it really makes the device feel light yet premium in hands. The gold lining extends to the front edges as well and I really liked the amount of grip this smartphone offers. However, the matte back is easily scratchable and is prone to a lot of smudges which sometimes dampens the overall premium look of the device. The device is just 7.9 mm thick which is why the camera at the back protrude a little bit making it almost impossible to type when the device is on the desk. Nevertheless, HTC Desire 10 Pro has all the potential to grab people’s attention in public, especially with the Black and Gold colour option. There is also a Polar Blue and Valentine Lux colour options available.
Complimenting a pretty unique design is a 5.5-inch Full HD 1920 x 1080 pixels IPS LCD display with Corning Gorilla Glass protection. The display is vivid and sharp offering a great experience, however, it did get a bunch of scratches in our testing so we would recommend you put a screen guard just in case you are not that careful with the screen. The brightness level is somewhat average but it does the job. The auto brightness was accurate most of the times and you can also customise the colour temperature as per your liking. Apart from this, HTC has also given some motion gestures as well including Double tap to wake and sleep, Swipe to unlock etc. All in all, the display on the HTC Desire 10 Pro is on par with the displays present in similarly priced smartphones.
Performance and Specifications
Listing the figures first. The Desire 10 Pro is powered by an Octa-Core 1.8GHz MediaTek Helio P10 chipset along with Mali-T860MP2 GPU. The device comes with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage which is further expandable via microSD card. Converting these numbers in real life, the performance on the HTC Desire 10 Pro solid if not the best in this price range. The Helio P10 does a good job of running through day-to-day tasks and the 4GB RAM manages to hold up most of the apps in memory for multitasking. HTC’s Sense 7 layered on Android 6.0 Marshmallow is probably one of the lightest Android skins we have right now.
HTC has also removed all duplicate apps making more room for users to store their data in the given internal storage. I didn’t notice any hiccups or lags during my testing whereas the apps do tend to take a little longer to load up sometimes. The gaming performance on the device was decent for most of the games whereas I did notice some minor frame drops while playing Asphalt 8 on this device. However, games like Subway Surfers, Dead Trigger 2 and even the Nova 3 ran smoothly on the Desire 10 Pro. Moreover, the polycarbonate shell didn’t get much warm after a roughly 25-minute session of continuous gaming. The fingerprint scanner at the back of the device is quick but it tends to struggle with the accuracy. A lot of times, I had to enter the fingerprints more than a couple of times for it to get it right.
HTC’s Sense has come a long way and happens to be one of my favourite Android skins after stock android layout. The Desire 10 Pro comes with Sense 7 build on Android 6.0 Marshmallow. The UI is pretty snappy and responsive with the traditional HTC app drawer coming with a vertical swipe to navigate through different installed apps. You also get Blinkfeed which now takes all its content from an app named ‘News Republic’.
The Indian variant of the device does come with some preinstalled apps such as Facebook, Messenger etc., however, most of it is removable. HTC has also included its own Themes app since Sense 6 which offers a tonne of themes available online. Further, you can take different elements of the user interface from different themes. For instance, you can edit the icon pack, font, weather clock, colour accent, wallpapers etc individually from a given applied theme. The fingerprint scanner at the back can also be used to quickly click selfies. HTC BoomSound is still here and works well when the device is connected with headsets. HTC Sense is not that battery heavy as well, nevertheless, you still get a regular power saving mode and an Extreme Power saving mode to extract a little more juice when the smartphone dips in terms of battery percentage.
The camera on the Desire 10 Pro looks solid on papers as long as you click pictures in good lighting conditions. The device sports a 20-megapixel rear-facing camera with f/2.2 aperture, laser autofocus, dual-tone LED flash whereas, at the front, we get a 13-megapixel selfie camera with f/2.2 aperture. The rear-camera on the Desire 10 pro does a good job of colour reproduction while the images appear to be a little warmer in temperature.
The camera interface on the Sense 7 is neat and simple and we do get modes like Pro mode, Panorama and Zoe camera. While the images taken from this camera comes out to be decent, the shutter speed is not up to the industry standards even in good lighting conditions. Other than this, the camera manages the dynamic range and different exposure levels pretty well. However, when we move to low-light situations, the camera apparently struggles. The f/2.2 apertures doesn’t let in enough light and most of the images clicked under low-light conditions lack detail. The front 16-megapixel sensor delivers some good performance as well but struggles in low-light conditions. Most of the selfies clicked are extremely noisy and grainy. The video shooting experience was surprisingly good given the fact that the device doesn’t have Optical Image Stabilization (OIS). The rear-camera can only record videos up to 1080p, however, the videos shot with this device came out to be quite stable despite heavy movements while walking.
Battery, Connectivity and Audio
The battery on the Desire 10 Pro is of 3000 mAh capacity. Based on our testing, the battery performance of the smartphone is average at best. The average Screen On Time (SOT) I got while using the device was 4.5 hours. Starting the day with 100 percent in the morning, I had to charge the device by 7 PM almost every day. The built-in power saving mode does help extract a little more battery out of the device, however, it does compromise on the performance and CPU speed.
For the connectivity, the HTC Desire 10 Pro comes with Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, 4G with VoLTE, Bluetooth v4.2, NFC, GPS with A-GPS etc. The call quality through the device was on par and we had no problems talking over the phone on this device with Reliance Jio Network as well.
Whereas, the audio on the Desire 10 Pro is certainly better despite the device has just a single bottom-firing speakers. The earphones given in the box is also quite good and enabling the BoomSound does make a difference irrespective of which earphones are you using.