Video Performance

Now that we've discussed how the HTC 10 does on still images we can go over how well it does for video recording. There have been a lot of cases where a smartphone can take great images but the video quality is often appalling and pretty much an afterthrought. In order to try and see how the HTC 10 does we can start by looking at the kind of encode settings that the HTC 10 uses.

HTC 10 Video Encode Settings
  Video Audio
1080p30 20 Mbps H.264 Baseline 192 Kbps, 48 KHz AAC
24 bit, 96 KHz FLAC
4K30 56 Mbps H.264 High Profile 192 Kbps, 48 KHz AAC
24 bit, 96 KHz FLAC
720p120 24 Mbps H.264 Baseline 192 Kbps, 48 KHz AAC

Right off the bat things are a little concerning here. For some reason HTC is using AVC Baseline for encode in 1080p30 and 1080p60 is absent altogether. I'm not sure why this is but really neither of those things should be the case. 720p120 also uses AVC Baseline which really shouldn't be the case. Interestingly enough, HTC has also included the ability to record video with FLAC audio which results in an mkv file output instead of an mp4 but as far as I can tell nothing else seems to change as far as video encode settings go.

1080p30 Video

In 1080p30 video HTC manages to pull off an interesting trick, which is that their video is actually properly stabilized instead of whatever is going on with the Galaxy S7 and G5. I would say that the color is also a little more accurate from what I saw at the time of recording but without a proper ColorChecker chart I can't really prove this assertion. At this point the HTC 10 and OnePlus 3 both have strange issues with artifacting around the sky that makes me wonder whether the Snapdragon 820 has some sort of issue with the encode blocks leading to such poor quality. Audio quality with FLAC is just clearly superior here though.

4K30 Video

In 4K30 the HTC 10 unfortunately loses the software stabilization so the result is basically just as shaky as the Galaxy S7 and by extension the Note7. Even using AVC High profile I can still see strange artifacts in the sky which is really strange. Audio capture continues to be better as far as suppressing wind noise goes than Galaxy S7, likely due to the use of dual level microphones similar to what we saw in the One M7. I would say color rendition is more accurate here as well but this is a subjective observation. The iPhones 6s continues to be one of the best phones for 4K30 capture almost entirely because it actually has the ISP throughput to process 4K video properly.

Slow Motion Video

In 720p120 the HTC 10 really starts to show its weakness. I suspect we're dealing with some kind of sensor limitation here because 4K30 is possible but for some reason 720p240 isn't. Color rendition is mildly cooler here as well relative to the Galaxy S7 but detail isn't great here and obviously it isn't going to be able to capture motion as well as anything with 240 FPS capture. The iPhone 6s would obviously beat it here by virtue of its 1080p120 capture.

Overall, video capture is somewhat disappointing on the HTC 10. It definitely isn't unusable and the FLAC audio is a compelling addition along with proper 1080p30 video stabilization, but things like poor slow motion capture and some strange artifacting and poor encode profiles mar the experience. Relative to something like the Galaxy S7 I would say that 1080p30 and 4K30 capture are clearly superior, but 720p120 and the utter lack of 1080p60 video means that depending upon what you use the camera for the HTC 10 can end up falling short of the competition. 720p240, 1080p60 for next year as well as AVC High Profile across the board would be great to see and would resolve a lot of the issues here.

Looking at the camera overall, I think the HTC 10 is very much the equal of the Galaxy S7 as far as camera goes. The Galaxy S7 and Note7 have incredible user experience due to the sheer speed of capture and focus, but the image quality, oil painting-esque processing, and somewhat off color rendition in a lot of cases means that the HTC 10 can give you a better result if you can tap to focus properly and possibly adjust the exposure metering. It definitely could use some work to clean up the details and loose ends, but HTC has finally shipped a camera that they can be proud of and lives up to the promise of the marketing and specs.

Still Image Performance Software UX: HTC Sense
Comments Locked


View All Comments

  • eek2121 - Monday, September 19, 2016 - link

    That's actually not true. Quite a few people wait for their contract to be up (STILL). I was able to snag an HTC One M8 several months after it's release for FREE. Note that I pay $62.99/mo on Verizon for 2 gb of data (unlimited T&T). It would cost me more to NOT do contract pricing, so I keep doing the 2 year contract thing.
  • rabidkevin - Monday, September 19, 2016 - link

    I bought an HTC 10, I pick up a new phone every 2 to 2.5 years. I'm not part of your statistic nor is my brother.
  • djc208 - Monday, September 19, 2016 - link

    Maybe, but then again I got a One M9 for free basically, and while I knew the M9 wasn't really an update it's still a great phone other than the camera, and honestly HTC has been really good about supporting software updates. Even now the One M9 is supposed to get Android N, and they were pretty quick with marshmallow even with the carrier in the middle.

    At this point if you can keep me in software updates for more than a few months it means more than most of this hardware gimmickry. Lost of fast, quality phones out there now as this shows, question is who will still be supporting it a year from now. It's why I didn't want another LG phone.
  • philehidiot - Tuesday, September 20, 2016 - link

    I've just had an M9 update. Whilst there are camera issues and it takes a lot of time and effort to get the shot you want sometimes, the results can be damned good and the updates for a good two years make a HTC phone a worthwhile investment. With some manufacturers the initial review is what you'll get even if you get the phone a few months down the line. HTC addresses problems throughout the lifecycle of the product which is one reason I prefer them. As stated in this review, the camera section is more representative of what you'll get compared to initial reviews based on early software.
  • TheMysteryMan11 - Monday, September 19, 2016 - link

    Also there is OnePlus 3. Excellent phone even if Pixel fails to impress.
  • goatfajitas - Monday, September 19, 2016 - link

    "if your only measure of a quality of device is how many units its marketing is capable of selling, then you're reading reviews on the wrong site."
    That might have been true many years ago, but this site "sold it's soul" in recent years. It's kind of an "Apple rah rah" site now. Not that the volume of articles are all about Apple, but Apple products don't get the same critical analysis that competing products get. That was true a few years before Anand went to work for Apple, and still true today.
  • Meteor2 - Monday, September 19, 2016 - link

    Oh shut up.
  • JKJK - Monday, September 19, 2016 - link

    What? Anand works for apple?
  • goatfajitas - Tuesday, September 20, 2016 - link

    Not sure if you are baiting or not, but in case not yes, Anand went to work for Apple a few years ago.
  • Sand6man - Wednesday, October 5, 2016 - link

    Just cause you hate Apple products you want to discredit this site, get a life. They are just stating the numbers and results.

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now