HTC 10 vs iPhone 6S: Should Apple be worried?

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HTC 10 vs iPhone 6S: Should Apple be worried?
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HTC 10 vs iPhone 6S: Should Apple be worried?

Like every big phone we’ve seen so far this year, it’s a powerhouse in the specs department. But it also signals a slight change in design philosophy from HTC. It’s a lovely looking phone with a bunch of interesting and genuinely useful features.

How does it compare to the iPhone 6S, though? Let’s take a look.

CAMERAS AT THE FOREFRONT

Of all the features touted by these two, it’s the cameras that take center stage.

Both have 12-megapixel rear-facing sensors, but there’s quite a lot to differentiate these two very capable snappers.

Let’s start with the HTC 10. While it ditched the feature for last year’s poorly received One M9, the Taiwanese brand has restored the UltraPixel branding for the 10. What’s an UltraPixel we hear you cry? Well, it just means the pixels inside the sensor are larger than you’d normally expect to see on a phone. They’re larger than those inside the fantastic camera on the Galaxy S7 and it should give this phone some serious low-light shooting capabilities.

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Apple uses something similar on its iPhone 6S called Focus Pixels. These work together with the image signal processor inside the phone to improve skin tone accuracy and stabilisation.

One important feature the HTC 10 has that the iPhone 6S doesn’t is optical image stabilisation (OIS). This again helps reduce blurriness in night-time photos and keeps video footage stable.

We’ve only spent a short time with the HTC 10 so far, but our initial impressions about its camera are as follows: It’s fast, accurate, and takes nice looking daytime shots. Auto-focus is of the laser variety, like the LG G5, and again it’s fast to lock onto your target.

But, the iPhone 6S also has a stunning camera, even though it’s six months old now. The app might lack some of the snazzy pro features the HTC 10 has, but it’s fast and captures great pictures in a variety of conditions.

Around the front both phones have a 5MP sensor, HTC is again using those larger UltraPixels, but HTC’s handset benefits from OIS for smoother video. Apple’s iPhone 6S does have one trick up its sleeve for improving those sefies however. It uses the Retina display as a True Tone flash to brighten up the pictures, which works surprisingly well.

Both phones shoot video in 4K too, and they each have a set of slow-mo modes available.

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TWO CLASSIC DESIGNS

While it’s not the peak of Apple design, the iPhone 6S is still a well designed phone that has influenced a load of other devices on the market (hello, HTC One A9). Its combination of metal and glass feels great, the slightly curved sides mean it’s easy to hold and the compact dimensions keep it usable in one hand.

The antenna lines that snake their way around the back are not to everyone’s tastes and the camera bump means texting on a table is a rocky experience, but we’re fans of the iPhone 6S design.

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HTC also uses a lot of metal and glass in the construction of the HTC 10, and the clean logo-free front with a home-button below the display is reminiscent of Apple’s devices. The back, though, has much more of a curve while the heavily chamfered edges show a touch of design flair missing from Apple’s latest flagship.

5.2-INCHES VS 4.7-INCHES

Big phones are great, but in our eyes the screen sweet spot for most people still lies between 4.7 and 5.2-inches. Exactly where these two phones fit.

Apple’s iPhone 6S is the smaller of the two at 4.7-inches, while HTC’s 10 is a far from pocket-busting 5.2-inches. Both are just about usable with one hand, the iPhone slightly more for obvious reasons.

While the screen-sizes are quite similar, the amount of pixels packed into each display isn’t.

The LCD IPS panel on the iPhone 6S uses a 1,334 x 750 resolution, meaning it’s only marginally better than 720p. The HTC 10 on the other hand has a quad-HD LCD 5 display, which equates to 2,560 x 1,440. Basically, it has a load more pixels packed into the screen. HTC is also saying that the 10 boasts fantastic colour accuracy.

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Specs don’t tell the whole story and you really shouldn’t write off the iPhone simply because there are less pixels. As it’s an IPS panel, the iPhone has great viewing angles and it’s tough to pick out individual pixels. Colours lack the vibrancy of AMOLED screens like the Galaxy S7, but they are much truer to life.

The HTC 10 though should still beat the iPhone 6S for sheer screen quality. It’s bright, vibrant, detailed and a pleasure to look at.

PLENTY OF POWER, AND HOPEFULLY BATTERY

If you’re worried that either of these phones might not be able to handle the day-to-day smartphone toil, don’t be. These are two super-speedy devices, powered by the latest silicone.

HTC has kitted the 10 out with a load of high-end specs. You’ve got the Snapdragon 820 CPU, 4GB RAM, and 32GB or 64GB worth of internal storage. From our brief hands-on we felt the phone was really quick, with smooth multitasking and a complete lack of lag. It didn’t get hot either, something the One M9 was known for.

The iPhone 6S is powered by Apple’s own A9 chip, along with 2GB RAM. That might be half of what’s inside the HTC 10, but iOS is known for its much better RAM management than Android so don’t let that bother you too much.

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It’s a shame that the iPhone 6S still starts at 16GB of storage. It should be at least 32GB and unlike the HTC 10 it doesn’t have any sort of expandable storage.

As we haven’t spent enough time with the HTC 10 to judge its battery yet, we’ll have to stick to the specs. The 3,000 mAh cell will, according to HTC, last two days and you’ll recoup a day’s worth of use with just a 30-minute charge using the included USB-C Quick Charge 3.0 enabled adaptor.

Tucked inside the iPhone is a much smaller 1,715 mAh cell and there’s a lack of any sort of fast charging, but you should still just about make it from breakfast to bedtime on a single charge.

EXTRA FEATURES TO SWEETEN THE DEAL

One particular feature the HTC 10 has in its locker that the iPhone 6S simply cannot compete with is audio quality. Along with supporting Hi-Res 24-bit Audio and coming bundled with a pair of Hi-Res earbuds, the HTC 10 has BoomSound stereo speakers that pump out rather impressive audio.

You’ll also be able to buy a set of noise-cancelling JBL headphones that take power from the USB-C port. Apparently Apple is planning to do something similar with the Lightning port on the iPhone 7.

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The middling single downward facing speaker on the iPhone 6S simply can’t beat this set-up.

3D Touch though, the tech that makes the display pressure-sensitive, is exclusive to the iPhone 6S. It’s a neat trick that’s great for sneaking a look at a webpage before it fully loads or quickly snapping a selfie through the icon of the camera app.

Of course, the biggest difference between the two phones is the operating system these phones run. The iPhone 6S runs on iOS, the HTC 10 on Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow.

Both have their merits, of course, but what’s good to know is that unlike a lot of Android phones HTC hasn’t messed around too much with the Google OS. Yes, some things look a bit different, but HTC has cleaned up the software and ditched a load of useless bloatware to make a cleaner experience.

EARLY IMPRESSIONS

2015 wasn’t the best for HTC’s phones, but things should be a lot different this time around. The HTC 10 is shaping up nicely, but we’ll have to spend much more time with it to know for sure. What we do know is that it looks good, has the usual array of high-end specs, and the bunch of audio centric features are a nice touch.

The iPhone 6S is always going to be the top-dog for a lot of people, but the HTC 10 shouldn’t be dismissed.

Buy Now:   iPhone 6s 64GB ($250) VS HTC 10 32GB ($256)

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