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Spec showdown: HTC 10 versus the competition

We pit the new HTC 10 against the best 2016 flagship smartphones from LG, Huawei, Samsung and Sony in a battle of the hardware specs.
By
April 12, 2016

Hardware certainly isn’t everything, but when you’re in the market for a high performance smartphone you’re almost bound to wonder how your hardware stacks up with the competition and if you’re getting value for money. Today we’re going to compare how the newly unveiled HTC 10 stacks up, at least on paper, against rival flagship smartphones from Samsung, LG, Huawei, and Sony.

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Let’s dive right on into the display tech. While other manufacturers were relatively quick to hop on the Quad-HD resolution display train, HTC had kept a 1080p resolution for all of its previous flagships. This all changes with the HTC 10 though, as the manufacturer moves up to a competing QHD Super LCD display, that will offer up that little extra sharpness to match the likes of the Galaxy S7 and the LG G5.

At 5.0 to 5.5-inches, the difference between 1080p and QHD is not massive, but it’s not a minor con that can be held up against HTC’s latest flagship any more. Pixels per inch calculations for 5.2-inch QHD and 1080p displays come out at 564 and 424 respectively, which are both right around that very roughly approximated 450PPI sweet spot for typical smartphone viewing distances. The more telling question will be to see how this resolution upgrade impacts on performance and battery life, which we’ll find out once we get to our full review.

Fortunately, HTC has managed to pack in a suitable sized battery. The handset features a 3,000mAh cell, which stacks up well against the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge’s 3,000 and 3,600mAh sizes. It’s also slightly larger than the LG G5’s 2,800mAh and the Xperia X Performance’s 2,700mAh batteries.

HTC 10 Galaxy S7LG G5Xperia X PerformanceHuawei P9
Display
HTC 10
5.2-inch LCD
2560x1440 resolution
Galaxy S7
5.1-inch Super AMOLED
2560x1440 resolution
LG G5
5.3-inch LCD
2560x1440 resolution
Xperia X Performance
5.0-inch LCD
1920x1080 resolution
Huawei P9
5.2-inch LCD
1920x1080 resolution
SoC
HTC 10
Snapdragon 820
Galaxy S7
Snapdragon 820 / Exynos 8890
LG G5
Snapdragon 820
Xperia X Performance
Snapdragon 820
Huawei P9
Kirin 955
CPU
HTC 10
4x 2.2GHz Kryo
Galaxy S7
4x Kryo / 4x Samsung M1 + 4x Cortex-A53
LG G5
4x 2.15GHz Kryo
Xperia X Performance
4x 2.15GHz Kryo
Huawei P9
4x Cortex-A72 +
4x Cortex-A53
GPU
HTC 10
Adreno 530
Galaxy S7
Adreno 530 / Mali-T880MP12
LG G5
Adreno 530
Xperia X Performance
Adreno 530
Huawei P9
Mali-T880MP4
RAM
HTC 10
4GB
Galaxy S7
4GB
LG G5
4GB
Xperia X Performance
3GB
Huawei P9
3GB/4GB
Storage
HTC 10
32GB/64GB with microSD
Galaxy S7
32GB/64GB with microSD
LG G5
32GB with microSD
Xperia X Performance
32/64GB with microSD
Huawei P9
32GB/64GB with microSD

Unlike last year, most of this year’s flagship smartphones have settled on a single processor – the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820. There are still some exceptions though. The Samsung Galaxy S7 offers up the company’s own Exynos 8890 SoC in many regions outside of the US. The new Huawei P9 also opts to use its own in-house Kirin 955 processor, which is much more like the octa-core processors that dominated last year’s field. We’ve seen some performance differentials between these processors, but overall it’s a much closer field this year when compared with the medley of Snapdragon 810, 808, and Exynos models that appeared last year.

There’s also not much to tell between the handsets in terms of RAM or memory options, although the Xperia X Performance is a little behind with just 3GB of RAM. Unfortunately, manufacturers don’t often come out and tell us the exact speeds of their memory configurations, although we do know that the G5 uses LPDDR4 RAM and Samsung is making use of UFS rather then eMMC flash storage. All of which can make minor differences to app loading times and the like.

Performance should be very similar, if not virtually identical across all of these handsets. Although the lower resolution of the Sony Xperia X Performance’s and Huawei P9’s displays might lend them an edge in some gaming situations. UI optimizations may also make some minor differences. Samsung has stripped back TouchWiz a little, while Sony and HTC have typically offered slightly more lightweight default launchers. Regardless, consumers are unlikely to be dissatisfied with the performance offered by any of this year’s flagship smartphones.

htc 10 by autom3otives (17 of 28)

Smartphone camera technology remains a big selling point this year and all of the manufacturers in our list are touting notable improvements over their previous generation flagships.

HTC has long used its Ultrapixel terminology to describe its larger light collecting sensor pixels but there’s a surprising similarity between the image sensors found inside the HTC 10 and the Galaxy S7 this time around. Both handset’s boast a 12 megapixel main camera with similar f/1.8 and f/1.7 apertures and 1.55um versus 1.4um pixel sizes for additional light capture. The Galaxy S7’s camera is proving to be a real winner, so there’s a lot to be excited about with the similarly specced HTC 10. However, the HTC 10 does not feature the fast auto-focusing sub-pixels found in the Galaxy S7. Although you will find a laser autofocus module in the HTC handset, a feature that LG has had for a while now and one that Huawei has just adopted with the P9.[related_videos align=”right” type=”custom” videos=”679964,674935″]

The Sony Xperia X Performance features a higher resolution 23 megapixel sensor, but with much smaller pixels. The LG G5 is arguably the strangest of the bunch, with a 16 megapixel f/1.8 sensor and a separate 8 megapixel sensor with a wide angled lens. The new Huawei P9 also boasts a dual-camera setup with one monochrome and one color sensor, along with Leica designed lenses. So there’s some major diversity in the market place right now.

Much like Sony, HTC has paid additional attention to the front facing camera this time around, boasting a f/1.8 aperture, 1.34µm pixel size, and, for the first time, optical image stabilization. It’s going to be quite interesting to see how this seemingly low resolution 5 megapixel selfie snapper compares to the Xperia X’s 13 megapixel front facing sensor. Video enthusiasts are also going to face a conundrum here, as choosing between the HTC 10’s OIS or the Galaxy S7’s QHD front cam option might be tough. There really is something to like about each of these smartphone cameras, but no two setups are completely identical. We’re going to need to conduct some camera shootouts I think.

HTC 10 Galaxy S7LG G5Xperia X PerformanceHuawei P9
Rear camera
HTC 10
12MP, 1.55µm pixel size, F/1.8 aperture, OIS, laser autofocus
Galaxy S7
12MP 1.4µm pixel size, F/1.7 aperture, OIS
LG G5
16MP 1/2.6" sensor, with F/1.8 aperture, OIS and laser autofocus
8MP wide angle lens
Xperia X Performance
23MP 1/2.3'' Exmor RS
with Predictive Hybrid AF.
Huawei P9
dual 12MP, 1.25µm pixels, F/2.2, PDAF, laser autofocus
Front camera
HTC 10
5MP, F/1.8 aperture, 1.34µm pixel size, OIS
Galaxy S7
5MP, F/1.7 aperture
LG G5
8MP, F/2.0 aperture
Xperia X Performance
13MP 1/3'', Wide Angle Lens, F/2.0
Huawei P9
8MP, F/2.4
Battery
HTC 10
3,000mAh
Galaxy S7
3,000mAh
LG G5
2,800mAh
Xperia X Performance
2,700mAh
Huawei P9
3,000mAh
Dimensions
HTC 10
145.9 x 71.0 x 9.0mm
Galaxy S7
142.4 x 69.6 x 7.9mm
LG G5
149.4 x 73.9 x 7.7 mm
Xperia X Performance
143.7 x 70.4 x 8.7 mm
Huawei P9
145 x 70.9 x 7 mm
Weight
HTC 10
161g
Galaxy S7
152g
LG G5
159g
Xperia X Performance
164g
Huawei P9
144g
Extras
HTC 10
USB Type-C, fingerprint scanner, stereo Boomsound speakers, Quick Charge 3.0
Galaxy S7
fingerprint scanner, wireless charging, Quick Charge 2.0, IP68
LG G5
USB Type-C, fingerprint scanner, Quick Charge 3.0
Xperia X Performance
fingerprint scanner, Quick Charge 2.0, IP68
Huawei P9
USB Type-C, fingerprint scanner, Force Touch, Leica optics

The HTC 10 wouldn’t be a flagship smartphone without a suite of extras to woo us over, and HTC doesn’t disappoint here. Fingerprint scanner technology sweeps the board here, with all of this year’s flagships offering up biometric security. USB Type-C is not quite so universal, with the Galaxy S7 and X Performance opting for the more widespread micro-USB ports, but this won’t be a deal breaker to many.

The HTC 10 doesn’t boast an IP rating for dust or water resistance, so it’s either the Xperia X Performance or Galaxy S7 if you’re looking to take your smartphone for a quick dunk. Speaking of more unique features, the Galaxy S7 and LG G5 feature Always-On display technology, which can help save battery when glancing at your phone to simply check the time or see if you have a new notification. While the Huawei P9 is the only option if you want a “Force Touch” display.

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Audio remains a key selling point for HTC’s flagship series, and the HTC 10 boasts Hi fi audio across the board. We’ll have to see how the phone sounds when stacked up against the LG G5’s Bang & Oulfson modular DAC, as the promises of 24-bit playback mean nothing on their own. However, the 10 doesn’t feature front facing speakers any more. BoomSound returns, but there there’s one speaker on the front top and one on the bottom, making it a more familiar setup to other phones on the market. The inclusion of a dedicated sub-woofer is an intriguing design choice, but I’m sceptical about how much of a difference this will make due to the limited speaker size.

The LG G5 and HTC 10 boast Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 3.0 technology, while the other phones have settled for last year’s 2.0 version. The 3.0 upgrade doesn’t make a notable difference to change times, but it is more efficient and might mean that your phone doesn’t heat up as much during charging. Fans of wireless charging still really have just one option though, and that’s the Samsung Galaxy S7.

htc 10 by autom3otives (10 of 28)

We won’t say too much about build quality until we have the phones side by side, but it’s safe to say that the HTC 10’s metal body is very well made. The glass back on the Galaxy S7 is certainly nice too, but we have not been so won over by the LG G5’s design and the recent metal primer fiasco hasn’t helped either. Aesthetics are certainly going to be one of the more subjective points, but HTC looks to be back on form with the 10.

The HTC 10 certainly matches up well against the best that Android has to offer, on paper at least, and could well be the handset that fans of the manufacturer have been waiting for. How do you think the HTC 10 compares with the very best on the market right now?