When we reviewed the HTC 10, we had the feeling that HTC is heading in the right direction after the last few flops. The HTC 10 Evo, however, seems like a step behind, especially considering the “Evo” branding that HTC chose — one would think that it is a more evolved and refined version than the HTC 10, but the reality is that the Evo is a strange combination of new and old tech. Many cuts have been made to produce a phone that is only marginally less expensive, but quite undesirable for its price point.
It’s rough around the edges
Phone design is crucial these days, and it’s tricky for companies to nail this one right. How can you create a design that is appealing, comfortable, and also functional? HTC has always been great in this front, but the Evo unfortunately falls flat here. Quite literally, as it were; the curved back has been flattened, and the bigger 5.5″ dimensions burrow the edges deep into your palms. It’s simply not comfortable to hold one-handed and to carry around. My colleague — with a bigger palm — didn’t find it as uncomfortable, but the original HTC 10 — for me at least — has a more natural design.
While the screen is bigger, the resolution isn’t, so there’s a drop in PPI from 564 to 534. It isn’t a massive drop and, in reality, hardly noticeable, so don’t expect to see fuzzy text here. What you’d notice, though, is a drop in quality — an issue unrelated to the PPI but rather the LCD technology used; the colour reproduction is just not good. I would expect this to be from a lower-tier phone, not one that’s priced just a bit less from its much superior brother.
The CPU, GPU, and RAM have also seen a cut — the Evo uses an older chip, and 3GB of RAM instead of 4GB. Though in most scenarios you will find a good performance, you’ll notice some stutter and dips in animations and applications that are power-hungry. It’s just fine for your average use, but again, it’s a matter of how you approach the Evo.
What is worth mentioning here is that the Evo ships with Nougat, which makes good use of the slightly lower specs and older chipset. While this is great news, the HTC 10 is scheduled for a Nougat update as well. From a pure hardware standpoint, the advantage the Evo has over the original HTC is that it is IP57 rated, meaning it’s dust resistant and waterproof up to one metre.
A theoretically better camera
The HTC took some good pictures — not really good pictures, but a definite improvement over its predecessors. The Evo steps it up a little notch and adds 4 more megapixels to a total of 16MP on the back camera, and the front-facing camera has been pumped up to 8MP. On paper, that looks like a fantastic upgrade already. In real life, however, I am not really sure if I can tell any difference in the outcome over the HTC 10. In some ways, some photos are sharper, in others, lacking a lot of detail. The software is still easy and intuitive — thankfully — but there doesn’t seem to be a tangible upgrade in the images. It’s also worth mentioning that while there was an upgrade in megapixels, the aperture dropped from f/1.8 to f/2, meaning that low-light performance on the original HTC 10 is better.
That audio jack again …
Seems like an audio jack is no longer necessary. That’s fine for me; I got used to it. You won’t find an audio jack on the HTC 10 Evo, though unfortunately you won’t get an adaptor bundled in, like Apple did. What you’re left with is a USB-C port, which many android phones have already adopted at this point. The bundled in headphones work really, really well, but naturally if you have other headphones you’d like to use, you’re out of luck unless you have an adaptor of some kind.
The Evo has no set direction
While HTC was making it clear where it was trying to go with the HTC 10, the Evo seems rather unnecessary. In the most important ways, it is a step backwards — bulkier, uncomfortable, lower-specced, average display — and in other ways it wants to be part of the future with improved camera and USB-C only port. For all the cut corners, though, the Evo isn’t significantly cheaper than the HTC 10 to warrant it an audience; the HTC 10 is priced at AED 2199, while the Evo is priced at AED 1999. For AED 200 extra, you’ll get a phone with a much better screen, a newer chipset, more RAM, and an audio-jack for those so inclined.
On its own, it’s a decent phone. It isn’t an evolution of the HTC 10, and if you can shell out the few extra bucks, I would recommend the HTC 10 over the Evo.