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Up close with the streamlined metal HTC 10 (pictures)

HTC isn't trying to redesign the wheel with its new flagship phone. We checked out its familiar metal design and simpler software.

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Andrew Hoyle
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1 of 14 Andrew Hoyle/CNET

HTC's brand-new phone is called the HTC 10 -- and it'll probably be familiar to many of you already. Its curved all-metal design isn't much changed from previous models such as last year's One M9, but HTC reckons that every aspect of the phone, from the outside in, has been subtly improved.

Beyond its 5.2-inch display, you'll find a powerful quad-core chip, the latest Android Marshmallow software -- which HTC has tweaked with its Sense interface -- and a new camera too.

There's no word on pricing yet, but the HTC 10 is due to go on sale in May so expect to hear more in the coming weeks.

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It's available in black, silver and gold. The curving back panel is instantly recognisable as part of the HTC One family. It felt sleek and comfortable to hold.

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HTC has given the edges a deep chamfered finish.

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On the front is a 5.2-inch screen. It has a 2K resolution -- double full HD -- and it looked bright, crisp and vivid during my testing.

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It runs Android Marshmallow at its core, but HTC has made some heavy tweaks to the software. It's running its Sense interface and HTC has apparently done a lot to make the experience of using the phone more streamlined.

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The biggest help is in getting rid of the duplicate apps. HTC's phones typically arrived with their own email, calendar, contacts and Web browser apps, alongside Google's own versions of the same. It made it quite difficult for new users to know exactly which app to use for a particular task.

HTC says it's got rid of much of this useless chaff, leaving behind only the best of Google and HTC. This has also apparently helped speed the phone up, with HTC boasting marked improvements in both touchscreen responsiveness and app load times.

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On the bottom of the phone is a home button that doubles as a fingerprint scanner. You'll also find touch-sensitive navigation keys.

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It charges using the latest reversible USB-C connector.

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The camera has seen a whole heap of updates too. It's a 12-megapixel affair, and HTC says it uses the same "Ultrapixel" technology as on previous generations. What that means is that the individual pixels on the sensor are physically larger, allowing them to take in much more light and therefore produce better looking photos with greater dynamic range.

At least, that's the theory. I've not been impressed with HTC's recent camera phones, so I'm keen to see how the new one performs.

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It seemed quick and responsive.

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There are a range of shooting modes, including the ability to shoot files in raw format.

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There's a "Pro" mode too, which allows you to take full control over ISO and shutter speed.

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A 5-megapixel camera sits on the front of the phone. HTC says it's the first front-facing camera that uses optical image stabilisation. In theory, that will allow the phone to use slower shutter speeds to capture shots in low light, but still keeping the image of your smiling face looking crisp.

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It's a good-looking phone, but the competition in the premium phone category has never been more fierce. Whether HTC has done enough to offer any kind of real challenge to Samsung and its swanky Galaxy S7 remains to be seen.

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