Unlike last year, Taiwanese smartphone manufacturer HTC has managed to win great accolades with its latest Android flagship smartphone, the HTC 10. While the HTC One M9 suffered from quite a few major issues, the company’s latest flagship has many strong selling points that make it one of the best Android smartphones available in the market currently. While the product itself is definitely pretty solid, HTC does face a strong challenge from Samsung’s Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge as well as the iPhone 6s duo from Apple. We have already compared the HTC 10 against the Galaxy S7 Edge in an earlier versus comparison, so we thought it would be a good idea to pit it against the Apple iPhone 6s Plus and find out if the latest Taiwanese flagship has got what it takes to beat the highly popular phablet from the Cupertino-based firm.

The Apple iPhone 6s Plus may be due for replacement soon but it still remains more popular than most Android flagship smartphones on the market currently. It isn’t very shabby in the hardware department either and is definitely a pretty strong rival to the HTC 10 or any other 2016 Android flagship smartphone for that matter. However, being an older device, it does have quite a few disadvantages when compared to the latest crop of Android flagships. In our versus comparison today, we will be comparing the HTC 10 and the Apple iPhone 6s Plus against each other in order to find out which of these two smartphones is more deserving of your hard-earned cash. We will be putting them head-to-head across ten different categories, with the winning device scoring 1 point in every category. At the end of our versus battle, the device with maximum wins will be declared the winner. So let’s get started.

Dimensions

We will begin our versus battle today by comparing the dimensions of these two flagship devices.

The HTC 10 is 145.9mm tall, 71.9mm wide, and 9mm thin. As far as weight goes, the device tips the scales at 161 grams, which is slightly on the heavier side for a smartphone with a 5.2-inch sized display. Apple iPhone 6s Plus on the other hand measures 158.2mm tall, 77.9mm wide, and 7.3mm thin. It weighs in at 192 grams, making it a pretty heavy device.

Not only is the HTC 10 much lighter than the Apple iPhone 6s Plus, it also happens to have a higher screen-to-body ratio and is thus a more compact smartphone. That means the clear winner of the dimensions round is the HTC 10.

Connectivity

Since we’re comparing a 2016 flagship smartphone against a 2015 flagship, the HTC 10 definitely has a slight advantage here.

The latest HTC flagship comes with Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac dual-band MIMO, GPS with A-GPS, GLONASS, Bluetooth 4.2 Low Energy, DLNA, Wi-Fi Direct, Wi-Fi hotspot, USB Type-C, NFC, Display Port, native AirPlay support, and LTE Cat.9 connectivity with maximum download speeds of up to 450 Mbps.

The Apple iPhone 6s Plus is quite impressive too with support for Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac dual-band MIMO, GPS with A-GPS, GLONASS, NFC (Apple Pay only), Bluetooth 4.2 Low Energy, Wi-Fi hotspot, Lightning connector, and LTE-Advanced Cat.6 network support with download speeds of up to 300 Mbps.

As you can tell, the HTC 10 does have the upper hand on the connectivity front with a USB Type-C port, faster LTE speeds, DLNA, and more. That means the winner of the connectivity round is the HTC 10.

Display

Will the newer HTC 10 manage to leave the older Apple iPhone 6s Plus behind in the display department as well? Let’s find out.

Some of you might be a little surprised to know that the HTC 10 is actually the company’s first global flagship smartphone to feature a Quad HD resolution display. While rivals such as LG had started offering a Quad HD resolution display on their flagship smartphone in 2014, HTC decided to stick to 1080p resolution panels until this year. The 10 features a 5.2-inch sized 1440 x 2560 Quad HD resolution Super LCD 5 display with a pixel density of 564 pixels per inch. While most people aren’t going to spot a major difference in sharpness between a 1080p and a 1440p resolution display, it is still a welcome change nonetheless. The company claims the display on the HTC 10 is a major upgrade over the one on the One M9 with higher peak brightness, excellent contrast, and 100% sRGB color gamut coverage. It also uses a layer of Corning Gorilla Glass 4 on top to help protect it against scratches and other forms of damage. While the HTC 10 display is quite impressive in most areas, tests have revealed that the panel isn’t the best out there as far as color accuracy is concerned. However, you do get display color personalization feature out of the box, which allows you to choose between different display modes to tweak the color reproduction, somewhat similar to what you find on flagship Samsung Galaxy devices.

Apple iPhone 6s Plus comes with a larger 5.5” display, although it isn’t very impressive in terms of resolution as it runs on 1080 x 1920 Full HD resolution and Quad HD. This means the pixel density on the iPhone 6s display is a lot lower at 401 pixels per inch. The IPS Retina display of the phablet is protected by a layer of custom protective glass that is manufactured using a dual ion exchange process. While no conclusive tests have been carried out yet, Apple does claim that its custom glass is even more durable than Corning Gorilla Glass 4 that is used on the HTC 10 and pretty much every other recent flagship smartphone out there. Key highlights of the display include a static contrast ratio of 1300:1, maximum brightness of 500 nits, and 100% sRGB color space coverage. It also comes with the same dual-domain pixels as the iPhone 6 Plus display, which helps improve viewing angles. What is new however, is the 3D Touch feature. Apple has added additional capacitive sensors under the display to allow users to access various shortcuts using different levels of pressure on the display. Users can get real-time feedback as well, thanks to an all-new Taptic engine. As for the quality, the iPhone 6s Plus display is definitely right up there with the best. It may not have the highest pixel density, but Apple has done a fantastic job with calibrating it almost perfectly out of the box. If you love accurate colors, the iPhone 6s Plus display is definitely going to impress you.

So on one hand you have the HTC 10 display with its higher pixel density and punchier color reproduction, while on the other hand you have the Apple iPhone 6s Plus with a less pixel dense yet more accurate display. Which is why we think it is fair that call this one a tie.

Memory

While we’ve seen manufacturers make a lot of progress when it comes to the displays, processors, and cameras on latest flagship devices, we haven’t seen any significant change as far as memory goes.

HTC is one of the few manufacturers this year to have not brought anything new to the table in the memory department. The HTC 10 is essentially identical to the One M9 as far as storage goes. You get 32GB of eMMC internal storage, which can be easily expanded further by up to 2TB thanks to a microSD card slot. While it is good to see a microSD card slot being offered, we’re definitely disappointed in HTC’s decision to go with eMMC 5.0 storage as opposed to faster UFS 2.0 storage that we have seen on quite a few other 2016 flagship Android smartphones. As a result, the HTC 10 is a little behind its rivals when it comes to opening 3D games and other apps. Even though it is not a vast difference, we really do not think it is acceptable on a 2016 flagship smartphone. On the plus side, HTC 10 comes with the adoptable storage feature, which allows you to use the microSD card as internal storage. Moving on to RAM, the HTC 10 is equipped with 4GB of LPDDR4 RAM, again identical to the One M9 from last year. However, the HTC 10 Lifestyle version only includes 3GB of RAM.

Apple iPhone 6s Plus comes in three different storage variants, just like its predecessor. You can choose from 16GB, 64GB, and 128GB options. Quite obviously, you do have to pay more for the higher storage variants, in fact the premium is slightly higher than what most Android OEMs charge. Like any other Apple mobile device, there is no microSD card slot for memory expansion. So if you really do plan to get the iPhone 6s Plus, do make sure you get the 64GB variant at the very least as the base 16GB is just not going to be enough. Apple uses a custom TLC NAND flash memory on the iPhone 6s Plus, which performs similarly to a solid state drive. That means transfer speeds on the iPhone 6s Plus are rapid fast, even faster than the UFS 2.0 memory chips. What helps performance further is that the iPhone 6s Plus includes 2GB of LPDDR4 RAM, making multitasking a much better experience than its predecessor. Even though on paper it does sound a lot less, you have to keep in mind that iOS handles memory in a different way.

It is not easy to pick a clear winner here as the HTC 10 offers memory expansion and comes with twice the amount of RAM, while the iPhone 6s Plus offers more options when it comes to storage. The iPhone 6s Plus storage is much faster too. We’re calling the memory round a tie as well.

Camera

Both the HTC 10 and the Apple iPhone 6s Plus feature a 12MP camera at the back. However, apart from the resolution, the two cameras are very different from one another.

HTC received harsh criticism last year for the disappointing camera on the One M9. The One M9 performed significantly worse than its rivals both in good as well as low-lighting conditions, despite packing higher maximum resolution. The HTC 10 is a pretty significant upgrade over the One M9 in the camera department and is in no way a disappointment. HTC is in fact using the same 12MP 1/2.3” type custom camera sensor used on the Google Nexus 6P and the Google Nexus 5X. Thanks to a relatively low resolution and large sensor size, the pixel size is quite impressive at 1.5 microns. The sensor is paired with a bright f/1.8 aperture 26mm lens, which does help capture more light and aids low-light performance. For faster autofocus speeds, the rear camera on the HTC 10 uses laser autofocus. It also includes optical image stabilization (OIS) and a dual-tone LED flash. Moving on to the software side, the new camera app on the 10 comes with a Pro Mode that lets advanced users tinker with various settings in order to capture a better image. In addition to JPEG, pictures can be saved in 12-bit RAW format as well. Other highlights include support for 4K video recording, Auto HDR, Burst mode, slow-motion video capture (720p) at 120fps, hyperlapse, panorama shots, and Zoe capture. For selfies, the HTC 10 comes with a 5MP shooter on the front, with 1.34 micron sized pixels. It too gets an f/1.8 aperture lens with a 23mm 86-degree wide angle lens. Key features of the selfie camera include Auto HDR, 1080p video recording, voice selfie, auto selfie, live make-up, and optical image stabilization. In fact, the HTC 10 is the world’s first smartphone to have OIS on both the rear and front-facing cameras.

Apple iPhone 6s Plus too happens to be a pretty major upgrade over its predecessor in the camera department. After using an 8MP iSight camera for four successive generations, Apple decided to upgrade the camera on the 6s Plus to 12MP. The new 12MP iSight camera is still of the 1/3” type in terms of size, so the pixel size has actually dropped to 1.22 micron. Apple sadly decided to leave the lens largely unchanged, so we still have a five-element lens with an f/2.2 aperture. Like its predecessors, the iPhone 6s Plus lens is also protected using a Sapphire crystal lens cover. Thanks to the upgraded resolution, the iPhone 6s Plus camera can shoot videos at up to 4K resolution, a first for an iPhone. In addition to recording 4K videos, you can record slow-mo videos as well, at up to 120fps in 1080p Full HD resolution. The camera also includes a dual-tone True Tone LED flash, phase detection autofocus (PDAF) Auto HDR, exposure control, face detection, panorama shots (up to 63 megapixels), and a burst mode for continuous shooting. For selfies, the iPhone 6s Plus includes a 5MP FaceTime camera on the front with Retina Flash feature and video capture at up to 720p resolution.

Even though the HTC 10 has a serious advantage on paper, real world results are more or less comparable. However, the HTC 10 does perform slightly better in low-light, thanks to its larger sensor and brighter f/1.8 aperture lens. Overall though, both the smartphones are pretty much on par as far as the camera is concerned. That means the camera round ends up in a tie as well.

Battery Life

Both of these smartphones are equipped with a battery of similar size. So, is this round going to end up in a tie as well?

The HTC 10 is the company’s most impressive flagship smartphone in recent years as far as battery life goes. It comes with a non-removable 3000mAh capacity battery inside, which is pretty decent for a modern flagship smartphone. Fast charging is supported as well, thanks to the Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 standard. HTC claims it only takes 30 minutes for the battery to reach the 50% mark when plugged in. Official figures point to 27 hours of talk time on 3G/4G networks and up to 19 days of standby time. If you wish to extend the battery life further, you do have the option of trying the power saving and extreme power saving modes included with Sense 8.0. Most tests have revealed that the HTC 10 is a very solid performer in the battery life department, so most of you should be very pleased with the battery life on the HTC 10. The one thing that we do miss is that the handset does not support wireless charging.

The Apple iPhone 6s Plus, despite being thicker than its predecessor, packs a smaller 2750mAh capacity non-removable battery inside. However, thanks to the more efficient Apple A9 chipset and other components, the iPhone 6s Plus is actually no worse than the iPhone 6 Plus in the battery life department. Apple claims the phablet delivers up to 12 hours of continuous browsing over a 3G network, up to 14 hours continuous HD video playback time, and 80 hours of audio playback.

Surprisingly, the Apple iPhone 6s Plus with its smaller 2750mAh unit manages to outlast the HTC 10 on a single charge. That means if battery life your priority, the Apple iPhone 6s Plus should be your pick. Even though the difference isn’t very significant, we’ll still have to give this round to the HTC 10.

Processor

The HTC 10 is powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 820 chipset under the hood, much like most other 2016 flagship Android smartphones. Unlike the Snapdragon 810 chipset from last year, the Snapdragon 820 is a very impressive chipset and performs on par or better than any other current mobile SoC. It is a quad-core 64-bit SoC with four custom Kryo cores arranged in a dual-cluster configuration. The two cores aimed at performance are clocked at 2.15 GHz while the energy-saving cores are clocked lower at 1.6 GHz. Graphics are handled by the Adreno 530 GPU, which is a major upgrade over the Adreno 430 GPU from last year. The Snapdragon 820 is also a lot more efficient compared to its predecessor, mainly because it is manufactured by Samsung on a second-gen 14nm FinFET low power plus (LPP) node. It integrates the new Hexagon 680 DSP, Snapdragon X12 LTE modem, and Quick Charge 3.0. Be it CPU or graphics benchmarks, the Snapdragon 820 performs admirably and doesn’t suffer from severe throttling issues like the Snapdragon 810 did.

Apple’s iPhone 6s Plus is powered by the company’s own Apple A9 dual-core chipset. The A9 features two Twister cores that have been clocked at 1.85 GHz. Even though the A9 is just a dual-core SoC and doesn’t have a very high clock speed, it is a beast of a performer when it comes to benchmarks and was among the most powerful mobile SoCs to have released last year. The “desktop class” chipset is claimed to be up to 70 per cent faster in terms of CPU performance and up to 90 per cent faster in graphics performance when compared to the Apple A8 chipset. The integrated PowerVR GT7600 6-cluster GPU delivers fantastic performance in graphics benchmarks and is not far behind the Adreno 530 GPU despite being older. The chip is manufactured by TSMC on a 16nm FinFET node and by Samsung on a 14nm FinFET node.

There is no doubt that both the Apple A9 and the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 chipsets are highly capable and neither smartphone is going to disappoint you as far as performance is concerned. That said, the Snapdragon 820 is definitely more powerful than the Apple A9. So the processor round goes to the HTC 10.

Design

The HTC 10 features a similar metal unibody design that we have seen on previous ONE branded flagship smartphones from the manufacturer. However, the design isn’t completely identical either, as the 10 includes quite a few new design highlights that set it apart. The front of the handset for instance is made entirely of glass. There are no speaker grilles on the top and bottom bezels anymore, as HTC has adopted a different kind of “BoomSound” audio on the 10. In place of the speaker grille on the bottom, you get a physical home button that also embeds a fingerprint scanner. The sides of the handset have a new dual-textured finish with chamfered edges that give it a more premium appearance. Another key design element is the new power button that has been exquisitely carved. The build is quite durable too, with HTC claiming to have put the 10 through rigorous testing under extreme temperatures. It is IP53 certified as well, so you don’t have to worry about accidental liquid damage. For buyers in US, HTC offers the smartphone in Carbon Grey and Glacier Silver color options.

The iPhone 6s Plus too features a unibody design, made out of Series 7000 aluminum. Thanks to the use of Series 7000 aluminum, the iPhone 6s Plus body isn’t prone to bending and is a lot more durable than the iPhone 6 Plus. Design wise, Apple hasn’t made any significant changes with the 6s Plus, except for adding a new Rose Gold color option. That’s not a bad thing though, as the iPhone 6s Plus design is quite attractive and looks quite premium as well. It is also available in the traditional Space Gray, Gold, and Silver color options.

In the design department, both smartphones are equally impressive, making it very difficult to pick a winner. We are going to go with a tie in the design department.

Operating System

HTC 10 runs on Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow, which happens to be the latest available version of Android currently. Being the company’s flagship smartphone for 2016, it is the first to ship with the latest version of HTC’s custom UI layer, Sense 8.0. Taking a cue from other major Android OEMs, HTC too has cut down on bloatware with Sense 8.0 and as a result, made it a lot closer to stock Android than ever before. It still does include quite a few features though. Some of the key new features include customizable UI elements, new Themes, new App Manager, App Lock, and Boost+.

Apple iPhone 6s Plus runs on Apple’s iOS 9.3 platform, with iOS 9.3.2 being the latest available release at the time of writing this comparison. The latest version of iOS 9 includes improvements to Siri, Low Power Mode to extend battery life, support for third-party extensions in Safari browser, revamped Spotlight search, Night Shift, new Dashboard in the Health app, Touch ID-secured notes, and more.

The winner of the operating system round is definitely the HTC 10 as Android Marshmallow does have a lot more to offer and it doesn’t have any major restrictions that are present on iOS 9.

Price

The HTC 10 is currently available in the United States via three of the four major US carriers – Verizon Wireless, Sprint, and T-Mobile. AT&T is not carrying the latest HTC flagship for some reason. Verizon Wireless is selling the handset for a full retail price of $648 or $27 monthly for a period of 24 months. T-Mobile has the smartphone available for a full retail price of $679.99 or 24 equal monthly installments of $28.34 each. Sprint is selling the HTC 10 for $624 outright or a monthly installment of $21 for a period of 24 months.

Apple iPhone 6s Plus on the other hand is available from all four major carriers as well as most of the smaller carriers in the US. The 16GB iPhone 6s Plus is currently available for $199 on a 2-year contract, while the 64GB version is available for $299. If you are interested in the flagship 128GB variant, be ready to shell out $399. The three variants cost $799, $899, and $999 respectively when purchased outright.

As you can tell, the HTC 10 is definitely more affordable than the Apple iPhone 6s Plus, despite being a newer device. That means the price round goes to the HTC 10.

Conclusion

We’ve finally reached the end of our HTC 10 vs Apple iPhone 6s Plus versus battle. It is now time for us to do a quick recap and find out which of these two devices has managed to win our specs comparison today.

Out of the ten categories that we compared the HTC 10 and the Apple iPhone 6s Plus against each other in, four rounds ended up in a tie – Memory, Display, Camera, and Design. The Apple iPhone 6s Plus emerged as the victor in only one category – Battery Life. That means the winner of our comparison today is the HTC 10 with an upper hand in five categories – Dimensions, Connectivity, Price, Operating System, and Processor.

Which of the two devices would be your pick? Leave a comment down and below and tell us what your choice is.

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