HomTom is no doubt a brand you will probably have never heard about but I’m here to give you my thoughts on the Homtom HT10 smartphone. Suffice to say it was an interesting ride.
Thanks to our friends at Dohaooe for sending this out to us to take a look at.
TLDR;? Take a look at the Video review.
So I had personally never heard of the brand HomTom and after doing a bit of research I found out that this is a subsidiary of Doogee which has a fairly wide line-up of smartphones.
The HT10 model is part of Series B line of smartphones which are mainly focused towards business people and this is probably due to the high multitasking performance, screen size and battery life that HomTom claims this phone excels at.
Unboxing Experience – Homtom HT10
The box is fairly slim with the HomTom logo embossed on the top in a silver material, the actual box has a wood grain pattern across the entire the top of the box in a navy blue colour. Something you don’t usually see is the IMEI information printed on some labels on the side and this reveals the fact that this is a dual SIM smartphone. Once you lift this you are presented with the phone on the top with its white plastic backing, a fast EU plug which can do 5V, 7V & 9V at 2.0A but I am not able to use this without an adapter due to the fact that I am in the UK. There is also a really basic Micro USB cable. Then if we turn to the front of the box, there is a little pull tab which allows you to remove a tray which has the wood pattern flip case alongside the user manual.
Taking the phone out, you have to take the plastic cover off from the battery which is a rare thing in a sea of internal, non-removable (1 is Micro, whilst the other is a full size SIM) batteries which are present in the market. The back also houses the dual SIM card slots and the Micro SD card slot which can house a card up to 128GB. The back is fairly flimsy and has a lot of flex in it, but it still has a sense of reassurance somehow that it won’t break when you are removing the back from the phone.
At this point I chose to use the wood flip cover instead of the standard white back and you have to clip all of the clips on the panel into the phone to ensure you have a secure fit.
Device Overview – Homtom HT10
Taking a look around the phone, you have the 3.5mm headphone jack on the top of the phone, the left side is bare, the right side has the volume rocker which is directly above the power button. The bottom houses the speaker grill which is on the right, the left set is just for aesthetics as the microphone is separately placed on the bottom. There is also the Micro USB port which means this isn’t a USB C phone which is a shame because USB C is the future of connectivity and if more and more devices adopt this now, the quicker the adoption rate is. The front of the phone houses the Iris scanning LED’s, ambient light sensors, earpiece and the 8MP front facing camera. The top is a bit more populated than other devices due to the extra features packed into the phone. Lastly round the back you have a fairly noticeable camera hump, a LED flash and a rear facing microphone.
The phone takes about 16 seconds to power off from shut down which is fairly fast as some Android phones take an eternity to turn on after they have been shut down as they are ‘optimising apps’ so this is a fairly quick time to be up and running after a shutdown of the phone. Once the phone is unlocked you are provided with a heavy skin on top of Android 6.0 which although isn’t the most modern version of Android, it performs well. This skin did become a bit cumbersome due to the fact that some elements such as the notification were in Chinese which was a strange thing and something I had personally never come across. Therefore, the first thing I did was install the Google Now Launcher because although my primary smartphone is an iPhone, the skin on the HomTom HT10 was a bit too heavy. Then I went through the phone and removed some of the apps included with the phone which somehow fixed the notification language issue and as I don’t use the apps included with the phone this isn’t much of an issue for me.
I initially thought that there was a dual camera setup on the front of the phone similar to the one that the LG V10 has but after doing a little bit of research I realised that this setup on the front with the extra dual LED’s was for the iris scanning built into the phone. After the huge calamity that was the Samsung Galaxy Note 7, this is the first phone that I have seen with iris scanning functionality. But this doesn’t mean that it is perfect. This function is kind of hit and miss, I don’t mean this in terms of performance, I mean in terms of usability. This feature requires you have the phone’s front facing camera at eye level with about a 45-degree allowance in all directions which is okay. But unlike a fingerprint sensor, this requires you to look into the lens whereas a fingerprint scanner can pick up your fingerprint from any angle. This although is a limitation with the entire type of security so this phone can’t be faulted with this. Whenever I have tried to unlock the phone within the approx. 45 degrees angle I have always had success so it means the technology is definitely up to par with other biometrics and to some extent maybe even better because it has been proven by even the police that they can recreate the fingerprint of somebody if they really want to whilst the retina is almost impossible to recreate. When you do press the power button, the top section of the screen is taken up by a box which is a live camera view and it is used to line up your eyes with the sensor and there is a bright red LED which allows the infra-red camera to identify your eyes. Some may question if this will work in the dark and I can confirm that it definitely will, the red LED is there to provide ample light to the camera no matter what your ambient conditions are.
The phone has capacitive buttons on the bottom of the screen but these remind me of something from 2012 rather than a modern smartphone, I am not sure why but the icons used are very old-fashioned. These are reflective in a silver colour but unfortunately there isn’t any backlighting so you will kind of have to guess where the buttons are but the haptic feedback does help you.
The phone does use micro USB which I find is a shame because as the industry as a whole is moving towards USB C but maybe that is something the second generation of this smartphone can bring. The battery life on this phone is pretty great, I got about 5 days’ standby time with notifications coming through from social media and emails. The fast charger included inside the box was unusable without an adapter but once I connected an adapter I was able to charge the phone within 2.5 hours or so which is okay really and I didn’t see much boost with the pump express fast charging technology. But I think that even if you use a 2.1A charger, you will probably get the same speed in terms of charging as that’s the speeds I was getting.
The connectivity of the Helio phones have been an issue to many people and GPS is something that constantly flagged up as an issue, this has thankfully not been any issue with the HT10 which is a great thing. I went around using Google Maps as well as well as testing it with Pokémon Go whilst walking which is an incredibly GPS intensive program. I got incredibly accurate results on both programs which I think is great. The phone claims to be a global 4G phone and although I can’t roam the entire world to test this out, I can confirm that this worked on a variety of UK 4G networks including Vodafone, Three and EE and the phone does have the bands to work with the 4G bands around the world so next time I go on holiday I will definitely be testing this out.
The phone reception was also great and I also got identical connectivity to my iPhone 6S which is fantastic considering the HT10 cost less than half of the iPhone. The audio call performance was also great although it was a bit tinny although it was fairly loud under most circumstances, you might struggle to hear it outside.
The bottom facing speaker although loud, was tinny. The sound had a lot of echo to it which was incredibly noticeable at louder volumes at which it also started to distort. This is annoying because the large vibrant display would have made for a great media consumption device.
Camera performance is always a topic which these lower priced smartphones are separated from their competitors. The rear facing camera had a focusing distance of about 10cm which does mean you will have to use digital zoom when wanting to get up close which performed really well due to its sharp image but there was some noise even with good lighting. The colours on the other hand were under-saturated as well as not being incredibly accurate so the Sony IMX230 Exmor RS sensor used isn’t the best. The shutter speed leaves a lot to be desired, it takes about 1 second per shot which isn’t admirable but the multi shot feature does allow you to take multiple photos in quick succession. The front facing camera is mind-blowing, the colours were incredibly accurate as well as providing a sharp image although it did have a little bit of softness to it.
The screen is just phenomenal. The colours are tastefully vibrant with incredible viewing angles due to the IPS technology but it did mean the blacks weren’t as pure as something like a OLED but they were still pretty amazing. Even under intense bright lights inside and outside, the screen was still incredibly viewable.
The build quality is something I am a bit unsure about, the main frame of the phone is incredibly well-built with a durable metal band but the back seems a lot to be desired. The white back is made up of an incredibly thin and flimsy plastic and picks up fingerprints like there is no tomorrow and even your hands natural oils will show after multiple wipes against a cloth. Therefore, I would definitely recommend using the ‘wooden case’ which is included inside the box because this is perfect in terms of durability because I have dropped it and scratched it but the case doesn’t show any of these scars and looks brand new.
The buttons used on this are incredibly well fit, with minimum wobble which is a good thing as I have used some devices with incredibly wobbly buttons and have found that they fail after a short period of time because the button becomes looser and looser over a couple of months. This is something I don’t expect to have to deal with in the devices working lifetime.
Lastly, performance. This is a Helio X20 deca-core processor which means unlike the more popular Snapdragon 820 and 821 that are only quad core processors, this means that the performance should be great. So the Antutu score was 92186 which is about 1000 higher than the iPhone 6S which is phenomenal considering the price difference. The Geekbench score came out at 1570 for the single core score and 3131 for the multi core score. The single core score is equivalent to the score from the Google Pixel whilst the multi core score is ~150 points lower than the HTC 10. This proves that this smartphone really holds its own against the flagships from Samsung, HTC and Apple. Whilst this may not hold much relevance for some, in terms of real world performance, this flies through everything no matter what I threw at it.
Conclusion – Homtom HT10
The phone is an all-round excellent performer bar the camera which I find is just a repeating trend from these smaller brands but if you only want to take the occasional photo with the rear facing camera then you will just fall in love with this smartphone. You’ll fall in love with the price as well as for just under the £250 mark you’re getting a very capable device indeed.