Arguably one of the biggest surprises last year in Android land, the Huawei-made Google Nexus 6P flexed its muscles to win the adulation and support from consumers. Seriously, it was – and continues to be – one of the darling gems with its incredible specs sheet, killer industrial design, and oh-so sweet pure Android experience. Slapped with a killer price point, too, the Nexus 6P is a force to be reckoned with and a challenge to all Android smartphones.

Prior to the Nexus 6P, very few phones were close to matching the designs that HTC has been stellar at doing over the years – especially when it comes to designs that employ metal bodies. Now that HTC is the underdog that everyone is rooting for there’s a lot of anticipation riding on HTC’s latest effort, but how does it stack up to the might of Google and is the HTC 10 the metal phone you’ve been waiting for? Let’s find out in this HTC 10 vs Nexus 6P quick look.

Design

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Like we said, the Nexus 6P is an impressively good looking metal phone! Not only is it incredibly solid with its construction, but the design by itself is an original, refreshing one that doesn’t look like anything else we’ve seen previously. Some folks have even gone on to say that Huawei has supplanted HTC as being the king of metal phones. However, this kind of competition is seemingly putting good old HTC back to what it does best: designing metal phones.

True to that claim, the HTC 10 is sure to please with its one-of-a-kind metal design that HTC claim is “inspired by light and sculpted to perfection.” Not only does it appears to be a more meticulously designed phone, but it’s also considerably more compact and easier to handle with a single hand. The Nexus 6P, despite its slick metal design, is quite a handful to operate at times – requiring more two-handed operations than most other smartphones.

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As much as we’d like to say that the HTC 10 has once again reclaimed its position at being the best at phone designs, we’ll have to play around with the two a bit more before we can make a reasonable claim. Similarities aside, both of these devices offer incredible looks, feel great in the hand and have excellent spec lists that will likely keep most people happy.

Display

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Naturally, their overall footprints directly dictates the size of their screens as well. Due to its larger size, we have a bigger 5.7-inch 1440 x 2560 AMOLED screen in the Nexus 6P. That, of course, makes the 5.2-inch 1440 x 2560 Super LCD 5 display of the HTC 10 quaint by comparison. Nevertheless, we can agree that the two displays produce plenty of sharp visuals and incredible detail – albeit, the HTC 10 technically has the edge with this one, thanks to its higher pixel density count of 564 ppi.

As an AMOLED panel, the Nexus 6P’s display tends to appear over-saturated unless you’re in Developer’s Mode and set its color calibration to the sRGB mode – wherein colors then proceed to appear more natural in tone. In contrast, the HTC 10’s screen also appears to be saturated, but not as much as its rival. It’s tough to gauge the two panels indoors where artificial and natural light are conflicting, so we’ll leave our final judgments until we can better inspect what the HTC 10 has to bring to the table with its new screen.

Hardware

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It’s been a while since we’ve seen a fingerprint sensor on an HTC-made device, so it’s quite refreshing to see HTC employing a modern one with the HTC 10. It’s pretty much the same fingerprint sensor we found already in the HTC One A9, but regardless, it works in the same capacity as the rear-mounted fingerprint sensor of the Nexus 6P.

Being a last-generation device, the Google Nexus 6P leverages the Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 SoC for its firepower, which is undoubtedly more than equipped to handle the most of intensive tasks. As most of us have seen, its hardware is still quite capable by today’s standards, even in the face of newer, more powerful equipped smartphones like the HTC 10 coming to the scene.

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Speaking of the HTC 10, it’s no surprise that it’s utilizing the latest and greatest from Qualcomm’s camp – the Snapdragon 820 SoC – paired with a generous 4GB RAM and the Adreno 530 GPU. Much like its distinguished predecessors, the HTC 10 maintains a pretty smooth operation, especially for a phone running a customized skin. In comparison, the stock Android experience of the Nexus 6P has been traditionally fluid, but overall, the two devices offer very similar performance.

Both devices are configured with 32GB of base storage, but it’s the HTC 10 that benefits from having expandable storage thanks to its inclusion of a microSD card slot. Yes, Nexus 6P users should be jealous about that because there’s no room for expansion with Google’s flagship. Therefore, if you plan on getting the Nexus 6P, just know that there’s no room for expansion once you’ve used up all the space.

Briefly checking out the two phones, it’s really tough to say which one delivers the better performance. Basic tasks don’t test them out a whole lot, so it’ll be interesting to see how the new HTC 10 can handle graphics processing – something that the Nexus 6P has shown to be good at.

Software

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This is where things get interesting, as Google’s interpretation of the Android experience is showcased in full form by the Nexus 6P. It’s clean, direct, and logical with its layout, but best of all, you can count it to receive the latest, most up-to-date updates as soon as they become available. Again, that’s the main benefit of going with the Nexus 6P.

HTC, on the other hand, does a few things to simplify the latest Sense UI experience. Depending on your taste, you might continue to take fancy in Sense’s peculiar style, which of course, offers users even more personalization with the addition of stickers. While some folks might be swayed in how the Nexus 6P will receive updates faster, we can’t neglect to point out HTC’s impeccable track record of getting its devices up-to-date. Given that the HTC 10 is the flagship, you can expect that it will adhere to this hasty process.

Camera

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If there was a phone that totally wowed many by its performance, it has to be the Nexus 6P’s 12.3-megapixel camera. Quite frankly, it showed us that cameras don’t need beefy megapixel counts in order to win the approval of users. Rather, it’s the combination of things that helped propel it to snap better-than-average photos – like its f/2.0 aperture lens and 1.55 μm sized pixels. Most surprising, though, is that it manages to even do a handy job under low light.

As for HTC’s newest flagship, they’re reimagining the “UltraPixel” camera by gracing it with an attractive new configuration. This time around, it’s a 12-megapixel camera with a wide f/1.8 aperture lens, 1.55 μm sized pixels, laser auto-focus, BSI, and a dual tone LED flash. All of this is making the team over at HTC a little bit excited, as they might finally shed the “UltraPixel’s” unsavory reputation. There’s a strong emphasis with low-light performance, so it’s shaping up to be a strong contender to the Nexus 6P.

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With a DxOMark score of 88, the Nexus 6P has something to be worried about, because the HTC 10 might potentially live up to the expectations. In our quick look at the new camera interface of the HTC 10, it already seems to be a bit more comprehensive than what the Google Camera app offers with the Nexus 6P. Not only are there a bunch of shooting modes to choose from with the HTC 10, but there are also manual controls for still capture that enthusiast will find useful.

Is the HTC 10 camera better than the Nexus 6P? That remains to be seen but we’ll be testing these fully in the coming weeks so be sure to stay tuned for our findings.

Conclusion so far

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The last piece to the HTC 10 is its final price point. The official word places it at $700 outright through HTC directly which means it’s hovering around the usual flagship price point we’re used to seeing. It’s obviously competitive against all the other existing flagships out there, but if there’s one area where the Nexus 6P is untouchable, it’s none other than pricing.

Factoring in that metal design with a healthy specs sheet, the Nexus 6P absolutely offers a ton of value at $500 outright and unlocked. That’s a statement like no other, since it undercuts the pricing of most flagships. Even if the HTC 10 does indeed come in at a higher outright price point, there might still be a lot of reasons why HTC’s champion might be the superior one.

Is the HTC 10 better than the Nexus 6P or does Google’s king reign supreme still? Only time will tell and we’ll be sure to test both further for a full versus, but in the meantime, let us know your views in the comments below!