The HTC 10 is a worthy successor to HTC's old flagship, the HTC One M9. It dropped part of its moniker but made room for powerful hardware, a revamped metal unibody build, a new focus on camera performance, and reduced bloatware. However, competition is stiff this year—the Samsung Galaxy S7 and the LG G5 also come with powerful specs and strong features. To help you decide which to buy, we put together a comparison between the three titans.
Design and Features
The new HTC 10 retains the phone maker's most distinctive design element—a solid, premium metal build. However, there are some notable design changes from previous iterations of HTC flagships. There's a large, distinctive chamfered edge, while the much-hated black bar with the HTC logo on the front is gone. Instead, you have a fingerprint sensor with capacitive buttons on either side. The placement is in the same location as the S7's fingerprint scanner, with the G5 as odd man out since its fingerprint scanner is on the back. All three are integrated with the home button, however.
|Name||HTC 10 (Unlocked)||Samsung Galaxy S7 (Verizon Wireless)||LG G5 (AT&T)|
|Operating System as Tested||Android 6.0||Android 6.0||Android 6.0|
|CPU||Qualcomm Snapdragon 820||Qualcomm Snapdragon 820||Qualcomm Snapdragon 820|
|Dimensions||5.74 by 2.83 by 0.35 inches||5.61 by 2.74 by 0.31 inches||5.88 by 2.91 by 0.3 inches|
|Weight||5.68 oz||5.36 oz||5.61 oz|
|Screen Size||5.2 inches||5.1 inches||5.3 inches|
|Screen Type||IPS LCD||Super AMOLED HD||IPS LCD|
|Screen Resolution||2,560 by 1,440 pixels||2,560 by 1,440 pixels||2,560 by 1,440 pixels|
|Screen Pixels Per Inch||564 ppi||577 ppi||554 ppi|
|Camera Resolution||12MP Rear; 5MP Front-Facing||12 MP Rear; 5 MP Front-Facing||16MP + 8MP Rear; 8MP Front-Facing|
|802.11x/Band(s)||802.11 a/b/g/n/ac||802.11 a/b/g/n/ac||802.11 a/b/g/n/ac|
|Read the Review||Read the Review||Read the Review|
Measuring 5.7 by 2.83 by 0.35 inches (HWD) and weighing 5.6 ounces, the 10 is the same size as the LG G5, but feels far more solid and weighty since it has a full unibody, rather than the G5's semi-modular build. The Samsung Galaxy S7 (5.61 by 2.74 by 0.31 inches; 5.36 ounces) is smaller, with a slick glass-and-metal build. The larger, Editors' Choice S7 Edge variant comes with a unique curved display on both sides. All three devices are premium, attractive, and easy to use one-handed, so you really can't go wrong in the looks department.
When it comes to features, there are different selling points for each device. The S7 has IP68 water and dust resistance, allowing it to be submerged under 6 feet of water for 30 minutes. The LG G5 has a semi-modular build letting you slide the battery out of the bottom to replace it and attach new modules (see the Vine below). In a first, all three flagships support microSD cards, allowing expansion up to 200GB. However, HTC is the only one that supports adoptable storage, allowing you to treat the SD card as the same as internal memory. Samsung and LG have disabled that feature, preventing you from moving apps to the SD card.
For the HTC 10, the unique selling point is its audio setup. It has a front-facing tweeter on the top and a bottom-facing woofer on the bottom. The sound is separated, but mono, resulting in less distortion than many other phones. The 3.5mm audio jack also supports 24-bit DAC, resulting in a more powerful amp than you'll get on the S7 and the G5 (if you aren't using the 32-bit DAC module). But the single most unique feature is the fact that the 10 is the first Android phone to support Apple's AirPlay for audio, so it will work on any Apple-certified speaker.
This is the year of Quad HD, and you'll find that the 10, S7, and G5 all have 2,560-by-1,440 displays. The 10 has a 5.3-inch Super LCD 5, which gets as bright as the S7's 5.1-inch AMOLED display, and should have good outdoor visibility. The G5's 5.3-inch IPS display is the same quality, but it doesn't get nearly as bright as Samsung's panel. When it comes to the difference among the panels themselves, naturally, you'll get a higher pixel density on the smaller Samsung panel, but all three are of excellent quality.
AMOLED gives you true black and richer colors, IPS gives you better viewing angles and starker whites, and Super LCD 5 is lower power and has better visibility outdoors. Picking between the three is a matter of personal preference, but it's worth noting that only the S7 and G5 have the always-on feature that gives time, date, weather, and notifications on the display. Samsung implements this feature best, with highly customizable designs and widgets (see Vine below). The G5's always-on display is very dim and has poor viewing angles.
Processor and Battery
Under the hood, all three phones are identical. You'll find a Snapdragon 820 processor with 4GB of RAM, meaning blazing-fast performance across the board. Intensive tasks and gaming should be no trouble for any of these devices.
The bigger differentiator will be battery life. We haven't had enough time with the 10 to get an idea of what its battery life will be, but it boasts a sizable 3,000mAh battery. That's the same capacity as the S7 and a bit bigger than the G5 (2,800mAh). Given that the S7 clocked 9 hours in our video streaming test and the G5 clocked 6 hours and 6 minutes, we can expect the 10 to have solid battery life.
Both the 10 and G5 come with USB-C charging ports, while Samsung retains micro USB, but all three come with fast-charging capabilities. Only the G5 has a removable battery.
HTC has committed to improving its camera after two years of relatively lackluster camera performance. To that end, the 10 has a 12-megapixel rear-facing camera with a 1.55-micron pixels and optical image stabilization (OIS). That's the same as the S7, which pared down the megapixels in favor of improved low-light performance. The G5 has a 16-megapixel rear sensor, with OIS and laser autofocus. Only a camera shootout among these three devices will really determine which one is the camera king, but on paper the 10 has the potential to match the S7.
All three phones run Android 6.0 Marshmallow with their own custom UIs. HTC has Sense, which is generally well regarded among the custom skins. HTC has pared down its changes to Android, removing its own redundant apps in favor of Google's while retaining well-liked features like Blinkfeed. Samsung continues to redesign app icons and settings, but has reduced the heavier elements of its changes like the Briefing screen. LG has done the opposite and added Smart Bulletin and removed the app drawer, making it the heaviest skin of the three.
The HTC 10 will be available later in the month from T-Mobile, Verizon, and Sprint. It can also be purchased from HTC unlocked for $699, which is about the same price as the S7 ($672) and G5 ($688.99). It is compatible with AT&T's network, but will not be sold by the carrier. AT&T customers will have to buy it unlocked at retail price and activate it on the carrier.
As to which of these three phones you should buy, it's not an easy choice. This is the most competitive lineup of flagship phones we've seen in a long time. The Galaxy S7 has proved popular so far for its impressive package of performance and design. The G5 is a compelling option because of its semi-modular build that offers you more flexibility than the typical smartphone. We're going to need to put the HTC 10 through our full round of testing before we pass judgment, but so far it seems to be a premium alternative for customers that want a metal unibody phone that's a bit bigger and more solid-feeling than the G5 or S7. Check back soon for a full review and buying advice.