HTC hopes to revive its smartphone fortunes with the release of the HTC 10. If our review of HTC's latest flagship is any indication, the phone maker is putting its best foot forward with a model that's a vast improvement over the HTC One M9, thanks to personalized audio profiles, improved cameras and some welcome tweaks to the Sense interface.
With the HTC 10 now available for sale, it's time to see if consumers also approve of these changes.
As of now, there are two ways to get your hands on an HTC 10 — buying from HTC directly or going through Verizon. But that's about to change starting on Friday, May 13 when Sprint begins to offer the HTC 10. T-Mobile follows suit on May 18.
Which option should you consider if you're in the market for an HTC 10? Here's a rundown of how much you'll pay for the phone with each carrier and what extras you might get in return.
Big Red's exclusive grip on the HTC 10 may be coming to an end, but you can still pick up the phone for 24 monthly payments of $27 a month. The HTC 10 costs $648 when you pay the full retail price through Verizon, which says it will waive its activation fee for online orders.
Buying the HTC 10 through Verizon also lets you take advantage of some current promotions the carrier is running. Switching to Verizon, upgrading your current phone or adding a line to your Verizon account gives you three months of free access to HBO Now, the standalone streaming service for the pay-TV channel. We may be a few episodes into the new season of Game of Thrones, but Verizon's offer will let you catch up with all the goings-on in Westeros.
For customers switching over to Verizon, Big Red's usual rebates apply. The carrier will give you up to $650 in the form of prepaid cards to buy out your existing contract and pay off your current phone.
If you're looking for the cheapest possible deal, look no further than Sprint. When the HTC goes on sale with that carrier May 13, you'll be able to buy an HTC 10 with 24 monthly payments of $26. That's $624 at full retail price — roughly $75 less than what HTC is charging, if you're willing to live with Sprint's network, which fared the worst of the major carriers in our network performance testing.
Sprint continues to offer a Cut Your Bill in Half promotion if you switch from other carriers. Move from a tiered data plan with AT&T, T-Mobile or Verizon, and Sprint will lower the cost of your bill through March 2018. (The offer's no good if you have an unlimited data plan.) Sprint offers a similar lower-your-bill promotion for prepaid customers switching from Cricket or MetroPCS.
T-Mobile adds the HTC 10 to its arsenal on May 18, and it's offering you a few extra accessories to make it worth the wait. The HTC 10 will cost $679.99 at T-Mobile, though you can pay for the phone with monthly payments of $28.34 over 24 months.
Now for the extras: If you buy the phone before March 24, T-Mobile will include an HTC Rapid Charger and an HTC Ice View case with your order at no extra cost. The carrier says that's an $85 value for the charger and case.
You may notice we haven't mentioned AT&T yet. That's because the carrier isn't going to offer the HTC 10. Instead, HTC is telling AT&T customers to buy the unlocked version of the phone and activate it with AT&T.
That's the costliest option, as HTC sells the unlocked phone for $699. On the bright side, an unlocked HTC 10 will work on either AT&T's or T-Mobile's Network, and the phone comes with a year of damage protection that will let you replace it once should the HTC 10 suffer a cracked screen or water damage.
Which Service to Choose?
Sprint offers the cheapest deal on the HTC 10 and a compelling offer for new customers to save money on their monthly bill, but its network isn't as strong as what other carriers can boast. The costliest option is to get an unlocked version of the phone — something you should do only if you're adamant about using AT&T's network or you want the flexibility of an unlocked phone.
That boils down the choice to either T-Mobile or Verizon. T-Mobile fared the best in our evaluation of wireless carriers, but Verizon finished right behind the Uncarrier in our rankings. You'll save roughly $30 on the phone with Verizon, though T-Mobile's offer of free accessories may make up the difference for some shoppers.