HTC's 2016 flagship was announced some weeks after the Samsung Galaxy S7 and LG G5 were unveiled. The device specifications had been widely leaked in the months prior to the official announcement and there were no major surprises: the handset is based around a 1440p, or QHD, fifth generation Super LCD panel, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 System-on-Chip paired up with 4 GB of RAM, a 3,000 mAh battery that is recharged using the USB C port, and a new generation rear facing camera with 12MP and optical image stabilisation. The device runs Android 6.0 Marshmallow under the HTC Sense software overlay. For 2016, HTC picked high quality audio and photography as two key strengths of the HTC 10. The device features 24-bit high resolution audio and what HTC is calling the "Ultra Selfie Camera," meaning the front facing camera on the HTC 10. This unit features optical image stabilisation to keep the 5MP sensor steady, which greatly improves low light performance.
Optical image stabilisation is not a new technology for smartphones or HTC: the 2013 HTC One, also known as the One M7, came with a 4MP rear facing, optically stabilised sensor. Image stabilisation typically suspends the sensor and lens assembly in an arrangement designed to remove the small camera movements that can ruin a picture if they occur when the shot is being taken. The lower the light, the more vulnerable an image is to camera shake because the sensor is capturing the image for longer. When recording video, optical image stabilisation can also remove some of the "jitter" often experienced with a smartphone. Camera assemblies are more expensive and require more space to accomodate the optical stabilisation mechanisms and the HTC 10 is the first smartphone featuring an optically stabilised front sensor: clearly, HTC are taking selfies - and we suppose, video calling - seriously.
Since the HTC 10 was announced, the device has been comprehensively reviewed and tested. The front camera is indeed good, but why take a reviewers' opinion? Instead, the embedded YouTube video commercial below was entirely filmed on the HTC 10's front facing camera in a number of different circumstances. Meanwhile, the device is expected to start shipping to customers from this week, depending on the carrier concerned.