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Google Pixel phone vs HTC 10: Which is best for me?

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Google’s new Pixel phone is manufactured with help from HTC, who earlier this year produced one of the best Android mobiles of 2016 – the HTC 10. So what’s the difference between the Google Pixel phone and the HTC 10 and which is best for you?

The Google Pixel phone and the HTC 10 have an awful lot in common, as you might expect from two premium Android handsets crafted by the same company. However there’s plenty of difference too, as we’ll see in our full Google Pixel vs HTC 10 comparison review.

Google Pixel phone vs HTC 10: Specs at a glance

PhoneGoogle PixelHTC 10
Screen size5-inches5.2-inches
Screen resolutionFull HD 1920×1080Quad HD 2560×1440
Weight143g161g
Fingerprint sensor?YesYes
Water resistant?NoNo
OSAndroid 7.1 NougatAndroid 6.0.1 Marshmallow
ProcessorSnapdragon 821Snapdragon 820
Memory4GB4GB
Storage32/128GB32/64GB
MicroSD?NoYes
Battery2770mAh3000mAh
Rear camera12-megapixel12-megapixel
Front camera8-megapixel5-megapixel
PriceFrom £599From £500

Google Pixel phone vs HTC 10: Design

The Pixel phone and HTC 10 sport similar-sized screens, but the HTC 10 is clearly the bulkier, heavier handset. That rugged, chunky full metal jacket feels good in the hand thanks to its curved rear end, but the Google Pixel is a little bit more comfortable to wield and use one-handed. And it slips more easily into a pocket or bag too.

As much as we love the cool metallic frame of the HTC 10, we slightly prefer the funky, original aesthetics of the Pixel phone. The rear end is an attractive blend of glass and metal, with a glossy top half breaking up the brushed matte surfacing below. You can get the Pixel phone in white or ‘quite black’ finishes, but it’s all about the in-your-face blue model for us. Shame that one’s a US exclusive.

Neither of these phones are water-resistant, but they are pretty rugged. The HTC 10 has taken a real hammering over the past few months and that metal body isn’t showing any signs of scuffs, wear or tear. We’re not sure if the Pixel will be as hardy, but we’ll find out soon.

Google Pixel phone vs HTC 10: Screen and media

While the HTC 10 sports a super-crisp Quad HD screen, the Pixel phone scales this back to a Full HD panel. Still, visuals are pleasingly sharp on either handset and media fans will enjoy kicking back with a movie or their favourite show, helped by the rich, punchy colours that really bring images to life. And both phones will be easy to use in harsh sunlight, thanks to the powerful brightness levels.

When it comes to audio, the HTC 10 is the inevitable winner. Those stereo BoomSound speakers are some of the best mobile blasters you’ll hear, although of course they’re no substitute for a decent pair of headphones. If you’re trying to watch some YouTube in a noisy place, however, they’re impressively powerful and pump out some decent quality sound.

If you want to carry a massive collection of music and video around, the HTC 10 is your best bet as it boasts expandable storage courtesy of a microSD memory card slot. The Pixel goes up to a mighty 128GB, if you’ve got a tasty £699 to spare, but there’s no card slot.

Google Pixel phone vs HTC 10: OS and features

While the HTC 10 still uses Android Marshmallow, the Pixel phone comes with Nougat pre-installed. That means you get access to Google’s new Assistant AI, which is a step beyond Google Now with its context-aware helpfulness. Check out our guide to the best Android Nougat features for more.

While the HTC 10 should be receiving an update to full Nougat soon, you won’t get the Assistant annoyingly – that’s a Pixel exclusive. Still, the HTC boasts the very cool Freestyle desktops, which allows you to completely change the look and feel of the handset. We like, a lot.

Both phones boast a fingerprint sensor, to quickly and securely unlock to your desktops. You also get built-in NFC, although there’s no IR blasters on either Android.

Google Pixel phone vs HTC 10: Performance and battery life

The HTC 10 is a powerhouse, thanks to its Snapdragon 820 processor and 4GB of RAM. Everyday use is pleasingly smooth and stutter-free, while the latest games play with perfect frame rates. We’re not expecting to see any sign of slowdown any time soon.

Of course, the new Pixel phone uses the latest Snapdragon 821 processor, which promises a ten percent increase in performance over the 820 chipset. In benchmarking tests the Pixel will therefore likely have a slight edge over the HTC 10. But in terms of real-life operation, there’s unlikely to be any real difference.

As for battery life, the HTC 10 consistently delivers a day and a half of life per charge. And of course it supports fast charging, to get you powered up and ready to rock in no time at all. We’re yet to test the Pixel phone’s battery life, but we’re hoping it’s at least as good. You once again get fast charging, and both handsets use Type-C USB for power and data transfer.

Google Pixel phone vs HTC 10: Cameras

We’re big fans of the HTC 10’s 12-megapixel camera, which is easy to use and almost always churns out good-looking photos. Full auto mode is dependable in a range of conditions, so you won’t have to manually fiddle to get the right results – although manual controls are available if desired. It’s not quite as capable in low light, but the powerful dual LED flash sorts that out.

We’re yet to fully test the Pixel phone’s 12-megapixel camera, but it again appears to shoot clean, detailed photos even in tricky lighting conditions. There’s a new HDR+ mode to help out with difficult contrast too. And either of these phones can capture up to 4K resolution video, with strong image stabilisation to cut down on shakes and judders.

As for selfie cams, both phones boast wide-angle lenses for capturing group shots. The Pixel can capture more detail with its 8-megapixel lens, so make sure you’re not too bleary eyed when you hit the shutter button.

Take a look at our HTC 10 camera review, where we compare the camera tech to the Galaxy S7’s best-in-class smartphone snapper.

Google Pixel phone vs HTC 10: Price and verdict

The HTC 10 is as close to perfect as you could possibly hope and still boasts strong performance and battery life, several months after release. At £500 it ain’t cheap, but it’s worth it.

Google’s Pixel phone also has a lot of promise, and we’re looking forward to checking out that funky camera tech. However, at £100 more than the HTC 10, it’ll have to be seriously impressive to warrant a purchase.

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