It wasn’t that long ago when HTC was challenging Samsung for the title of most popular Android device.
First came Desire, the Taiwanese company’s 2010 flagship – awarded best phone of the year – followed later in the same year by the Desire HD with a giant (at the time) 4.3-inch screen.
Next up were the excellent Sensation of 2011 and One X of 2012.
In 2013 HTC really lifted its game, releasing the One M7, a beautifully crafted device that was powerful, had a great camera and the best Android skin available. It was the closest you could get to the time to a perfect phone.
The following year, HTC released the One M8, essentially the same phone, with a slightly different design and faster insides. It was accepted in the same way Apple’s “s” line of phones are almost identical.
In 2015, HTC had the One M9, which was pretty much same phone again, except this time, HTC changed the camera from the lauded UltraPixel unit to a terrible 21-megapixel.
Welcome to 2016, and the HTC 10. It’s 2013’s One M7, just a bit faster, with a better camera and a fingerprint reader. It’s not a bad phone by any means and almost as good as Samsung’s Galaxy S7 too, only trumped in the camera and screen departments.
It would be worth checking out, based on the assumption that HTC is now well and truly back into challenger brand status and thus would charge less. But they aren’t.
At $1,099, the HTC 10 is $50 cheaper than Samsung’s flagship, the fact is that most Australians buy their phones on a 24 month carrier contract.
And that’s when the HTC phone is disappointing.
On Telstra, you can get the HTC 10 on the telco’s $95 per month plan, with $2 monthly phone repayments, 6GB of data and unlimited calls and texts.
But there’s no handset repayment cost for Samsung’s phone on that same plan, so the saving over 24 months if you get a Galaxy S7 is $48
On Optus, you get the HTC 10 for $7 monthly on top of the $80 plan, which includes 6GB of data. The Galaxy S7 is free and even comes with a free $149 Gear VR headset.
Savings over 24 months if you get a Galaxy S7 = $168
And on Vodafone, the maths are similar. For $70 monthly, plus $10 handset repayments you’ll get 7GB of data. The Samsung Galaxy S7, it’s just $7 a month on top, so the S7 savings over 24 months are $72.
Even Virgin Mobile wants $5 per month for the HTC on top of its $80 per month plan, while the Galaxy S7 has no repayment. Savings over 24 months = $120.
SO while there’s nothing wrong with the HTC 10, the question boils down to could I recommend anyone pay an extra $168, even $48 over Samsung’s Galaxy S7, the best Android phone money can buy?
Not a chance. And that’s a shame.
If HTC priced the 10 right, it could have been a real winner, not just for them, but for consumers, too.