We compare the HTC 10, Samsung Galaxy S7, Sony Xperia Z5 and LG G5 to see which is the best Android flagship phone you can buy so far in 2016. Here’s our full comparison review, to see which has the best camera, best performance, best battery life and more.
HTC has just launched its first flagship phone of 2016, the HTC 10, boasting some serious upgrades over last year’s One M9 handset. But how does the HTC 10 stack up against the best Android mobiles out there right now; the mighty Samsung Galaxy S7, the feature-packed Sony Xperia Z5 and the super-cool modular LG G5?
Here’s our full comparison review.
HTC 10 vs LG G5 vs Samsung Galaxy S7 vs Sony Xperia Z5: At a glance
|Phone||HTC 10||LG G5||Galaxy S7||Xperia Z5|
|Processor||Snapdragon 820||Snapdragon 820||Exynos 8890||Snapdragon 810|
HTC 10 vs LG G5 vs Samsung Galaxy S7 vs Sony Xperia Z5: Design
Premium Android phones seem to fall into two camps right now: the gorgeous glass-and-metal hybrids, and the pure, super-rugged all-metal handsets.
The LG G5 and HTC 10 are all about the full metal jacket, with hardy frames that can take a fair bit of punishment. The G5 is a rather chunky beast, mostly thanks to the funky modular design (more on this later), which makes it a struggle to use one-handed at times. Thankfully LG has added in the likes of a notifications pull-down button at the bottom of the screen to help out (see our LG G5 tips and tricks for more info). Meanwhile, the HTC 10’s metallic frame is more slender and easier to grip, with a smooth, chamfered edging.
Opting for shiny glass backs instead, the Xperia Z5 and Galaxy S7 are certainly lookers, although also more fragile; the Z5 in particular will scratch and crack under just a tiny bit of punishment. However, both phones are also water-resistant up to one metre, making them the perfect bath partners.
HTC 10 vs LG G5 vs Samsung Galaxy S7 vs Sony Xperia Z5: Screen and media
Sony’s Xperia Z5 may lose out when it comes to resolution, packing Full HD visuals instead of a Quad HD panel like the other handsets here, but the Z5 still produces perfectly crisp images. Any of these phones are up to the job when it comes to streaming high-def movies, and you’ll need eyes like the lovechild of an eagle and an owl to make out individual pixels.
By default, the Galaxy S7 offers up the most vibrant visuals here, pumping out rich colours rather than realistic hues. However, you can fiddle with the S7’s display settings to dampen the vibrancy, while the HTC 10 and Xperia Z5 also offer the option to boost or reduce colour ranges (and the HTC 10 offers manual control over colour warmth too).
The S7 and the HTC 10 offer the best viewing angles here and a strong maximum brightness too. The Xperia Z5 is also pleasingly bright, able to cut through irritating glare when you’re out and about.
When it comes to audio, the HTC 10 is a clear winner thanks to the dual BoomSound speakers. They put out some impressively powerful sound at maximum volume, with no distortion or other ill effects. The HTC 10 also supports Hi-res audio tracks, a feature found on the Z5 too.
HTC 10 vs LG G5 vs Samsung Galaxy S7 vs Sony Xperia Z5: Features
All four phones run Google’s Android OS, but they all feature a very different look and feel thanks to their manufacturers’ tinkering.
The G5, Galaxy S7 and Xperia Z5 have been altered the most, with LG, Samsung and Sony’s apps and services all stacked on for your ‘enjoyment’. This unfortunately often leads to duplicate apps, including multiple browsers, media apps and so on. By comparison, the HTC 10 features a pleasingly near-vanilla Android experience, beyond the easily-deactivated Blinkfeed interface.
That said, the HTC 10 also offers a feature called Freestyle Desktops which completely changes the Android experience – for the better, in our opinion. This dispenses with the typical grid-style Android layout and adds a funky, flexible theme to your handset. Check out our Freestyle feature for more info.
Gamers should turn their attention to the Xperia Z5, which offers ‘Remote Play‘ game streaming from a home Playstation console over WiFi. Great news if you love blasting aliens in the face while dropping the kids at the pool. The Galaxy S7 also has gamer appeal thanks to its Game Launcher feature, which allows you to easily record your gaming sessions and automatically sets a do not disturb.
Finally we have the slightly bonkers LG G5, which is one of the very first modular phones to hit market. You can prise off the bottom edge and snap on one of LG’s ‘Friends’, an accessory that expands the abilities of the G5.
HTC 10 vs LG G5 vs Samsung Galaxy S7 vs Sony Xperia Z5: Performance
The Xperia Z5 is sadly the slacker in this group, only because it was the first to launch. With the older Snapdragon 810 processor on board, it’s easily beaten by the Snapdragon 820 packing mobiles in this group.
That said, the Xperia Z5 is still a smooth performer, with only the rare stutter cropping up in everyday use. You can still play the latest games too, without a struggle. However, the Z5 will show signs of ageing before the super-slick S7, G5 and HTC 10.
HTC 10 vs LG G5 vs Samsung Galaxy S7 vs Sony Xperia Z5: Battery life
Sony’s Xperia Z5 just about wins this category, offering close to a day and a half of life between charges. The HTC 10 and LG G5 come close with over 24 hours of play, while the S7 will just about make it through a 24-hour period.
However, if you’re streaming video non-stop then the Galaxy S7 is the marginal winner, offering over eight hours of playback per charge. The HTC 10 and LG G5 come close, while the Z5 drops to last place, burning through a full charge in around five to six hours.
When it comes to charging, the HTC 10 and LG G5 are the quickest thanks to their Quick Charge 3.0 support. They’ll reach full charge in an hour and a quarter, compared with over an hour and a half for the other Androids here. And the G5 has another advantage over the other phones here, as you can pull out the battery when it’s depleted and replace with a fresh cell.
HTC 10 vs LG G5 vs Samsung Galaxy S7 vs Sony Xperia Z5: Cameras
The Galaxy S7 still boasts the best camera out of these Android phones, able to take sharp, colourful, attractive photos in almost any conditions. You get the best possible low light performance too, and all on the full auto mode, for a stress-free experience.
That said, the Z5 and HTC 10 cameras are also good, producing detail-packed pics in most conditions, which look great when viewed back on a big screen. And the G5 is probably our second favourite camera right now, packing two lenses which can be quickly swapped between; a standard 16-megapixel snapper that’s super-reliable and an 8-megapixel wide-angle lens that’s awesome for vista shots and large group photos.