HTC announces the midrange Desire 10 Pro and Desire 10 Lifestyle

Not every phone need achieve blockbuster status to be considered successful. There’s demand enough for phones at the margins, specifically for the sort of mid-range devices that don’t sport the hardware or command the prices of high-end handsets like the Apple’s iPhone, Samsung’s Galaxy S7, or LG’s V20 but nonetheless deliver good, if not great, user experiences.

According to market analysts at Gartner, they’re quite the crowdpleasers: 85 percent of users in Asian markets are replacing their middle-of-the-road phone with the same category of phone. Unsurprisingly, it’s a segment manufacturers are happy to supply. Taiwan-based smartphone manufacturer HTC is among them, and on Tuesday, it took the wraps off its latest efforts: Desire 10 Pro and Desire 10 Lifestyle.

Design is one of the pair’s headlining characteristics. The Desire 10 Pro and Desire 10 Lifestyle feature an understated matte black-and-gold aesthetic that HTC described as “inspired by the Art Deco movement”: a sloping, curving unibody with chamfered edges not dissimilar to HTC’s high-end HTC 10. It’s a familiar configuration of buttons and ports: on the bottom is a micro USB charging port and single loudspeaker, on the top is a microphone jack, on the left is a textured gold power button and bifurcated volume rocker, and around back is a single camera sensor with a flash and sensor module. It’s minimalism of the best kind.

That philosophy of simplicity extends to the Desire 10 series’ software. Both the Pro and Lifestyle ship with the latest version of HTC’s Sense, an overlay atop Android 6.0 Marshmallow. As such, they feature HTC’s Freestyle Layout, a digital grid that lets you place homescreen widgets, stickers, and doodads anywhere you please. And both pack HTC Themes, HTC’s theming engine, which provides options to “thousands” of icons, backgrounds, sounds, and more.

But while the Pro and Lifestyle share a body and software in common, it’s a different story under the hood. The Pro is the decidedly more premium of the two, sporting a 5.5-inch 1080p (1,920 x 1,080 pixels) IPS screen and an octa-core MediaTek Helio P10 processor paired with either 3GB or 4GB of RAM, depending on configuration. The rear-facing camera is a 20MP, f/2.2 model that that sports, in HTC’s language, “DSLR-like controls”: electronic image stabilization, high dynamic range (HDR), and laser autofocus. The 13MP on the Pro’s front isn’t quite as well-endowed, but packs a bright flash and a Selfie Panorama mode that lets you capture an ultra-wide, 150-degree photo “[big] enough to fit a whole football team with room to spare.”

Beyond the stellar pair of cameras, though, the Desire 10 Pro doesn’t pack much else in the way of surprises. It has a 3,000mAh battery that HTC that supports fast charging, plus a bass-boosting BoomSound audio profile for headphones and an “ultra-fast” fingerprint sensor that triggers selfies on demand. It has a fairly standard array of sensors including a ambient light sensor, proximity sensor, gyroscope, and compass. And its storage comes in the form of either 32GB or 64GB internal modules, both paired with a micro SD slot that recognizes cards up to 2TB in size.

The HTC 10 Lifestyle, meanwhile, compromises in some areas and excels in others. It trades the Pro’s 1080p screen for a 720p (1,280 x 720 pixels) model, and the octa-core processor for a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 400. The RAM’s a bit of a downgrade, too, from the Pro’s 3GB/4GB to 2GB/3GB. The battery’s a tad smaller at 2,700mAh. And both cameras on the Lifestyle have been swapped for less capable sensors than those on the Pro: 13MP on the rear (down from 20MP), and 5MP f/2.8 on the front (from 13MP f/2.2).

But it’s not all bad. Audio’s a step up, for one: the Lifestyle sports the same BoomSound technology as that of the HTC 10 — 24-bit Hi-Fi audio with Dolby Audio certification and a noise-canceling dual microphone array. And most of the sensors on the Pro, including an ambient light sensor, proximity sensor, gyroscope sensor, and compass, are present and accounted for on the Lifestyle.

“HTC’s Desire line has always stood for fresh, youthful, and fashionable designs that are focused on delivering a great experience,” HTC President of Smartphones and Connected Devices Chialin Chang said in a statement. “Our Desire line is about to make its biggest leap since the original Desire. Inspired by many of the same innovations that have made the flagship HTC 10 so popular, we’re bringing these innovations to the Desire 10, making it the most brilliant Desire ever.”

That’s no exaggeration. Historically, the handsets that have graced HTC’s Desire lineup have been equal parts exceptional and mediocre. But the Desire 10 Pro and Lifestyle appear to be an exception to the rule, and if the prices are right, HTC may well have a pair of smash hits on its hands.

Both the Pro and Lifestyle will be available in black, white, blue, and “Valentine Lux” when they ship to European, Middle Eastern, and Asian markets later this year. Mum’s the word on U.S. availability, unfortunately.

Computing

Latest Windows 10 update is causing random reboots and can break Visual Basic

The latest update for Windows 10, made available on Tuesday this week, includes patches against two critical vulnerabilities. But it is causing a string of issues including random reboots and failure to install.
Mobile

Galaxy Note 10 vs. iPhone XS: We expected more from Samsung

Samsung's Galaxy Note 10 is the smaller sibling to the Note 10 Plus, as the iPhone XS is to the XS Max. Unlike Samsung, Apple didn't leave anything out of the smaller iPhone when the pair came out. Can the Note 10 still compete?
Computing

The best Windows 10 keyboard shortcuts

Windows 10 has many useful new keyboard shortcuts for its various features. Check out some of the most useful Windows 10 keyboard shortcuts to improve your user experience and save time.
Computing

Windows 10 has two critical vulnerabilities; update now to avoid infection

Microsoft recently alerted users that it patched two critical remote code execution (RCE) "wormable" vulnerabilities, which could have allowed hackers to spread malware to PCs. If you haven't updated Windows 10 yet, get on it.
Mobile

The best iPhone car mounts to keep your smartphone in sight and stable

The best iPhone car mounts are designed to securely hold your device in place and keep it in view while on the road. Here are some of the mounts you should look into if you're in the market for a quality piece of equipment.
Deals

Amazon drops prices on refurbished Samsung Galaxy, Google Pixel, and iPhone

Break your smartphone or, worse yet, lose it? Tired of paying for a device you don't own? Amazon's got some great deals on unlocked and refurbished phones including the Pixel 3 XL, iPhone XS, and Samsung Galaxy S10 this week.
Mobile

Is the Apple Card any better than a regular credit card? We asked an expert

The new Apple Card is integrated with your iPhone and comes with a titanium backup card for places that don’t accept Apple Pay, but how does it stack up against the competition? We asked some experts to find out.
Mobile

Apple Card is finally available. Here’s everything you need to know about it

Apple is getting into the credit card business. Apple Card is a credit card you can sign up for directly on your iPhone, and it doesn't have fees. There's a lower interest rate and you can even get Daily Cash from all purchases.
Mobile

Save space and data with Google Go, now for regular Android devices

Google Go is the top app for space- and data-saving searches on the entry-level Android Go, and now Google is making those handy capabilities available on mainstream Android devices.
Mobile

Apple Card Review: Come for the titanium card, stay for the app

The Apple Card has a lot of buzz, even if it’s iPhone-only card management will leave you stranded should you lose your phone. Apple’s more concerned with getting reluctant Americans to use mobile payments.
Deals

Looking to upgrade? These are the best iPhone deals for August 2019

Apple devices can get expensive, but if you just can't live without iOS, don't despair: We've curated an up-to-date list of all of the absolute best iPhone deals available for August 2019.
Mobile

Safeguard your stylish ebook reader with the best Kindle Oasis cases

There aren't a lot of truly great options if you're looking to buy a case for your new Amazon Kindle Oasis ebook reader, but we're here to guide you to the ones worth looking at. These are our top picks for style, utility, and protection.
Deals

Get yourself an Amazon-renewed iPhone 8 Plus at a $135 discount

If you’re not keen about spending around $1,000 or more for the newest iPhone X series, then this Amazon-renewed iPhone 8 Plus is your best bet. Amazon is offering the 64GB unlocked version for only $465 instead of $600.
Computing

The best portable monitors for 2019

Portable monitors are smaller displays that can fit inside backpacks or cases. They're great picks for gaming sessions, extra screens on your desk, and more. Find the best portable monitors with our helpful list!