HTC 10 vs. iPhone 6s

25 pictures

HTC has thrown everything it's got into making the HTC 10, but how does it hold up against Apple's flagship?

View gallery - 25 images

From what we've seen of the HTC 10, this is a phone capable of getting Apple and Samsung looking worriedly over their shoulders, in terms of specs, design, features and overall experience. Here's everything that makes the HTC 10 such a seriously good flagship, compared with Apple's most recent 4.7-inch iPhone.

Size

The iPhone 6s is a few millimeters smaller than the HTC 10 and 21 percent thinner. HTC has managed to shave off 0.6 mm from the thickness of last year's HTC One M9, however, and it is rocking a larger screen than Apple's phone (more on that in a minute).

Weight

The iPhone wins in the lightness stakes too, coming in 21 percent lighter than the HTC flagship. The latter phone still feels well-built and premium in the hand though, and does have a bigger display and battery to carry.

Build

Both HTC and Apple have stuck with aluminum as the chassis material for several successive models now, and there are no big surprises with the latest flagships.

The HTC 10 does have a revamped front, though, ditching the front-facing speakers from the last three models. This clears the way for a fingerprint sensor flanked by two capacitive buttons (similar to Samsung's flagships).

Colors

We have four choices each, though it appears that in the US the HTC 10 will only be available in gray and silver for the time being.

Display size

The HTC 10 has ditched the front speakers and replaced them with a recessed/capacitive home (fingerprint sensor) button, and as a result the forehead and chin bezels have shrunk down. And those capacitive buttons mean the HTC 10 now makes full use of its screen real estate, no longer using up space on virtual navigation keys.

The iPhone 6s display is a full 18 percent smaller, though in terms of chassis size it's only 5 percent shorter and 7 percent narrower.

Display resolution

This year HTC finally makes the jump to QHD but Apple has shown little interest in keeping up with the pixel density race happening between Android handsets. Even at a lower resolution the iPhone screens can hold their own (things like color accuracy, brightness and viewing angles are stellar on the iPhone), but they're lagging behind in terms of pure pixel count.

Display type

We have IPS LCDs across the board here, with both manufacturers continuing to shun AMOLED in favor of the alternative technology.

Pressure-sensitive display

Android doesn't have anything to compete with 3D Touch at the moment, but maybe Apple isn't even fully sold on it yet, as it's missing from the iPhone SE and the latest iPads.

Processor

Apple's mobile chips often seem inferior on paper but thanks to their internal hardware and software optimizations, the iPhones usually end up matching the Android flagships for speed. With that said, the Snapdragon 820 – found in most 2016 Google-powered handsets, including the Samsung Galaxy S7 and the LG G5 – is blazing fast.

RAM

Another win for HTC, but again be wary of assuming the HTC 10 trounces the iPhone 6s as much as the raw specs might suggest. More RAM is definitely preferable, but Apple typically bridges the gap with the quality of its all-around engineering and iOS' memory management.

Storage

More options for iPhone owners, especially considering the 64 GB HTC 10 is unlikely to ever be available in the US, but the Android handset a) starts at a higher tier and b) has an ace up its sleeve...

MicroSD

External memory cards are supported by the HTC 10 (up to 2 TB in size) as is Android Marshmallow's Adoptable Storage that treats microSD cards as internal memory. Perhaps our biggest gripe with the iPhone 6s is that in 2016 Apple continues to sell the 16 GB configuration without any option to expand it.

Camera megapixels

On pure pixel counts, these two are neck-and-neck, though HTC has brought back its Ultrapixel tech where bigger pixels are used to let in more light (see below). Based on our early impressions, the HTC 10 has a camera that's capable of beating the excellent snapper on the iPhone 6s and matching the one in the previously leading Galaxy S7.

Camera aperture (rear)

Aperture is only one factor in a camera's quality, but it's an important one, and the HTC 10 has a significant advantage in this department.

Camera pixel size (rear)

The bigger pixel size on the HTC 10 means more light can be captured (at least in theory), and that should lead to better photos, particularly in low light.

OIS

HTC has added Optical Image Stabilization to the back and – in a first – front cameras (to improve your selfies) but it's missing all-around from the iPhone 6s. If you want IOS on an iPhone you need the iPhone 6 Plus or the iPhone 6s Plus.

Laser focus

Another improvement HTC has made to the camera in its 2016 flagship is laser-based autofocus, which should lead to faster shots.

Battery

We'll have to wait for our full HTC 10 review to put the battery through its paces, but it's impressive on paper and matches the capacity of the one inside the Galaxy S7.

Quick charging

Like most Android flagships, the HTC 10 features fast charging technology, in this case the latest Quick Charge 3.0 standard from Qualcomm. As yet the iPhone doesn't offer anything similar.

Fingerprint sensor

Following on from the A9 mid-ranger, HTC brings fingerprint sensor technology to its flagship line at last. Of course Apple has included Touch ID on its handsets since the iPhone 5s appeared in 2013.

Charging/data port

The HTC 10 adopts the newest USB-C standard while Apple sticks with its familiar Lightning connector and port. Both are reversible, so you don't have to fumble around, trying to find the right direction.

Software

Android Marshmallow is on board the HTC 10, and HTC has cut down on the bloatware and the extra bells and whistles in its Sense UI so it's almost like using a Nexus. As for the iPhone 6s, it has the latest iOS 9 software.

Release

The HTC 10 pre-orders are open now with shipping expected in May. The iPhone 6s launched last September, and it's worth factoring in the eight-month gap, because the iPhone 7 (assuming that's what it's called) will provide the HTC flagship with some fresh competition later this year.

Starting price (full retail)

You will pay slightly more for the entry-level HTC handset, although remember you do get double the internal storage – plus expandable storage – for that price.

After even more detail on these two powerhouses? We've got a hands-on look at the HTC 10 (full review coming soon) and a detailed review of the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus.

View gallery - 25 images

Top stories

Recommended for you

Latest in Mobile Technology

Latest phone comparisons

Editors Choice