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

  • jfallen - Monday, September 19, 2016 - link

    I don't use screen protectors, as I find them irritating. I just can't imagine how such an obvious issue would pass the design room. Speaks of careless/rushed design to me.

    I understand some screen technologies produce polarized light, nothing wrong with that. Just cut the panel in such a way that orientates so that it doesn't appear black in the upright position. I know not everyone wears polarized sunglasses, but come on...
  • Impulses - Thursday, September 22, 2016 - link

    I actually wouldn't mind this much... Being able to see the display outdoors without raising my sunglasses or turning the screen isn't nearly as annoying as having to do it while driving and having it mounted in landscape orientation (for nav)... So I would in fact prefer this, largely for driving/navi.

    It's a preference thing to an extent IMO, same scenario happens with cameras and rear displays and/or EVFs... You either deal with it, or you go get something with an OLED panel instead.
  • Panic_ - Monday, September 19, 2016 - link

    Who's making the Pixel phones again?
  • Impulses - Thursday, September 22, 2016 - link

    HTC, both of them apparently, Huawei is making the next small tablet.
  • jaden24 - Tuesday, September 20, 2016 - link

    Negative. I have been waiting for it to come out in black for Sprint.
  • itsjustaprankbro - Friday, September 23, 2016 - link

    It was too pricey. It still is.
    You can get an LG G4 for 280$.
    While this device costs 750$ still.

    It's crazy.
    HTC somehow also forgot about carriers here.
    Back then I was able to buy the One X and the M7.
    Now they sold (only a few carriers) the M9, but no M10 whatsoever.

    It's like HTC is trying to kill itself.
    If they fixed the carrier and price situation (lower it as device gets older), I would have bought a few for the company already.
    BUT, currently, this thing is 750$, meanwhile an S7 Edge is 160$ with plans.
    Now, which one would you pick? Even if you are not a Sammy fan... ?
  • The Gonz - Monday, September 19, 2016 - link

    Hey're not a hand model anymore. Let it go.
  • fanofanand - Tuesday, September 20, 2016 - link

    The hand in the picture provides a sense of scale. It doesn't bother me one bit, though your Costanza reference isn't all that bad.
  • tipoo - Monday, September 19, 2016 - link

    Among explosions and all the debate over the headphone jack debate, this all rounder really seems to have fallen off the collective consciousness, hasn't it? Just HTCs lack of marketing power, or does the very fact that it's so just "good" in every area make it forgettable in the Androidscape?
  • Cliff34 - Monday, September 19, 2016 - link

    Partly is a marketing issue and the other part is that it looks so similar to S7 that why would people choose this over that? I would rather pick the S7 (which I am using a S7 Edge) bc I know it is a good phone for what it is worth.

    Unless HTC or other phone company does something that really stands out, their phones will be lost in the crowd.

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now