Clash of the titans: HTC One (M8) vs the competition

March 25, 2014
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htc one m8 launch aa (8 of 27)

We’ve already given our first impressions as to how the new HTC One (M8) stacks up against the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S5, the iPhone 5S, and the last gen HTC One (M7), but that barely scratches the surface of high-end smartphones. To save a little time, let’s throw each manufacturers current high-end smartphone into the arena and see who comes out on top, shall we?

Here you’ll find a closer look at how the new HTC One (M8) compares to the rest in each major hardware category.

Display

 
Display (inches)
Resolution
PPI
Display Type
HTC One (M8)51920x1080441LCD
HTC One (M7)4.71920x1080469LCD
iPhone 5S41136x640326LCD
LG G25.21920x1080424LCD
Moto X4.71280x720312AMOLED
Nexus 54.951920x1080445LCD
Oppo Find 75.52560x1440538LCD
Samsung Galaxy S451920x1080441AMOLED
Samsung Galaxy S55.11920x1080432AMOLED
Sony Xperia Z25.21920x1080424LCD

1080p Full HD has been the standard display resolution for high-end smartphones for the past year or so, and the HTC One (M8) fits right into this category. With a 1080p 5.0 inch display, it’s positioned snugly in between the slightly larger Samsung Galaxy S5 and Xperia Z2, whilst offering up a plenty more screen space than smaller 4 inch devices like the iPhone 5S.

PPI is a relatively good measure of display clarity, and so far Oppo is still the only major manufacturer to have released a handset with a display resolution greater than 1080p. This has had a hugely positive effect on the handset’s PPI number, and puts the smartphone at the head of the pack by quite a margin.

HTC One M8 PPI compared

As for the HTC One (M8), it sits comfortably in the middle ground with a PPI of around 441. There’s very little to compare between any of the major flagships handsets in the 5-inch display bracket, and the HTC One easily keeps pace with the new Sony Xperia Z2 and Samsung Galaxy S5. If you’re looking for a super crisp display, the Oppo Find 7 can’t be beaten. If you’re less picky or happy with the status quo, then you’re spoilt for choice already.

As you can see from the table, LCD is a common choice among smartphone manufacturers. If you’re looking for AMOLED, Samsung or the Moto X are your only real choices, the rest of the manufacturers are all using various LCD implementations.

CPU and GPU

Qualcomm is the dominant chip manufacturer in the high-end smartphone market, with Oppo, Samsung, and Sony all announcing handsets that make use of Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 801 CPUs. Not one to be left out, HTC’s latest handset also offers a similarly clocked 2.3GHz quad-core Snapdragon 801 CPU, or 2.5GHz if you’re living in Asia or China.

Despite the additional digit in the name, there’s actually not much of a performance difference between this new chip and slightly older Snapdragon 800 CPU devices, a topic that we covered extensively a little while ago.

 
SoC
CPU Speed (MHz)
CPU Cores
GPU
RAM (GB)
HTC One (M7)Snapdragon 60017004Adreno 3202
HTC One (M8)Snapdragon 80123004Adreno 3302
iPhone 5SApple A713002PowerVR G64301
LG G2Snapdragon 80022604Adreno 3302
Moto XSnapdragon S4 Pro17002Adreno 3202
Nexus 5Snapdragon 80023004Adreno 3002
Oppo Find 7Snapdragon 80125004Adreno 3303
Samsung Galaxy S4Snapdragon 60019004Adreno 3202
Samsung Galaxy S5Snapdragon 80125004Adreno 3302
Sony Xperia Z2Snapdragon 80123004Adreno 3303

As the Snapdragon 801 still uses the same Krait 400 CPU cores as the Snapdragon 800 and is built on the same manufacturing process, clock for clock performance is going to be virtually identical to handsets already on the market. The graph below details the differences in clock speed between the current range of and upcoming flagship smartphones which utilize Qualcomm Snapdragon 8XX processors.

HTC One M8 CPU freq comparison

There might not be a lot to tell between all of these high-end handsets, at least in the performance department. But compared with the last generation HTC One (M7) and Galaxy S4 (both using the Snapdragon 600 with four Krait 300 CPU cores), you’re looking at a more substantial performance improvement.

The HTC One (M8) sits comfortably near the top of the performance table, along with quite a few other Qualcomm powered handsets, so performance isn’t going to be the device’s defining feature. If it’s performance that you’re after, any of the current and future crop of flagship models will suit you just fine.

LG G2 vs Samsung Galaxy S5 Hands On -1160916

The Galaxy S5 may have the fastest processor right now, but it doesn’t offer a massive performance jump over slightly older Snapdragon 800 handsets, like the LG G2.

On the graphics side of things, the Adreno 330 will be familiar to any current Snapdragon 800 handset owners, however there is a decent clock speed increase to at least 550MHz with the Snapdragon 801 SoC, up from the standard 450Mhz. This puts the handset slightly above smartphones like the LG G2 and the Nexus 5, although we’re currently not sure exactly how the GPU stacks up against the Samsung Galaxy S5 and Oppo Find 7. It’s going to be very close by any measure.

With very little to tell between each manufacturer’s flagship devices in terms of processing horsepower, let’s take a look at some other areas which might help separate the pack.

Camera

Camera technology has continued to advance with the latest generation of handsets, with virtually every major manufacturer managing to cram even more megapixels into their devices year on year. That is, apart from HTC.

 
Rear Camera MP
Front Camera MP
4K video fps
1080p video fps
HTC One (M7)42.1n/a30
HTC One (M8)45n/a30
iPhone 5S81.2n/a30
LG G2132n/a60
Moto X101.3n/a30
Nexus 582.1n/a30
Oppo Find 71353060
Samsung Galaxy S4132n/a30
Samsung Galaxy S51623060
Sony Xperia Z220.72.23060

It might be disappointing to learn that the new HTC One (M8) is still using the same 4 UltraPixel image sensor from the older M7 handset, which didn’t really blow us away when we tested it before, although some improvements have been made. The new Duo Camera configuration might open up the handset to some interesting effects, but it’s disappointing that not more has been done to improve the camera’s overall quality, given that Sony and Samsung are both making big strides with their own technology.

Compared with the likes of Sony’s 20.7 MP Exmor sensor, Samsung’s new ISOCELL, and Oppo’s impressive 50MP shooting capabilities, the HTC One’s clarity and level of detail could turn out to be disappointing.

Oppo Find 7 50MP Samples-20140105014616 1

The Oppo Find 7’s 50MP software shooting option creates some highly detailed snaps. Click to enlarge.

HTC’s rear snapper is also missing 4K video capture, which is now a common feature found in upcoming flagship smartphones like the Z2 and Find 7.

HTC One M8 camera vs

The handset does have a saving grace in the impressive 5MP front facing camera, which HTC rates as ideal for “selfies”. The 88-degree wide angle lens should also help capture a wider image with the front facing camera, allowing photographers to capture a bit of more the background. The only smartphone with a comparable front image sensor is the Oppo Find 7.

Perhaps HTC’s new software features will offer amateur photographers something more substantial to get their teeth into. While the Z2 and the Galaxy S5 also feature selective focus functionality, the One (M8)’s ability are far more impressive thanks to the addition of the depth sensor above the main camera.

Storage options, batteries, and more

Pfew, what else is there? Storage wise, there’s the familiar choice between 16GB and 32GB options, depending on your budget and storage needs. HTC has finally gone back to including a microSD card, a feature which separates it from its predecessor and some of the other high-end handsets currently on the market. However, Samsung, Sony, and Oppo have all announced microSD card slots for their next handsets too.

 
Max Internal Storage
Micro SD
Fingerprint Scanner
Water Resistance
Thickness (mm)
Weight (g)
Battery
HTC One (M8)32GByesnono9.41602600mAh
HTC One (M7)32GBnonono9.31432300mAh
iPhone 5S32GBnoyesno7.61121560mAh
LG G232GBnonono8.91433000mAh
Moto X32GBnonono10.41302200mAh
Nexus 532GBnonono8.61302300mAh
Oppo Find 732GByesnono9.21713000mAh
Samsung Galaxy S464GByesnono7.91302600mAh
Samsung Galaxy S532GByesyesyes8.11452800mAh
Sony Xperia Z216GByesnoyes8.21633200mAh

The Xperia Z2, LG G2, and Find 7 hold the largest battery charges by quite a margin, although the M8 has received a slight increase in battery capacity from the older M7. Better yet, HTC is boasting an extreme power savings mode, that allows the M8 to last 40% longer than its predecessor, but we’ll have to wait and see how that holds up in real world tests.

In terms of additional features, the HTC One (M8) doesn’t offer up any water or dust resistance, or fingerprint scanning technology, but the Duo Camera feature and the BoomSound speakers should be enough to tempt media focused consumers. If you’re concerned about weight or thickness, the One (M8) is one of the heavier 5 inch devices on the market, weighing in at a hefty 160 grams, but the new Find 7 and Xperia Z2 are also quite heavy compared with Samsung’s handsets.

And the winner is…

I’d struggle to pick an absolute winner, as it’s not clear than any one handset dominates every category, although the Xperia Z2 and Galaxy S5 are very strong all-rounders. Sadly for HTC, its new handset appears to be struggling for an identity when stacked up against the other big players.

htc one m8 launch aa (7 of 27)

Performance wise, the One M8 is right at the top, along with a variety of other handsets, and is a worthy upgrade to the last gen M7. However, the smartphone doesn’t appear to have made the same strides in areas like camera technology, waterproofing, or unique features, as some competitors have. If you’re in the market for a decent camera, you’re likely to prefer the Z2 or Find 7, or if you’re looking for additional features then the Galaxy S5 is a much more fleshed out smartphone. BoomSound is HTC’s headline grabber, but nothing important appears to have changed since the M7, apart from loudness.

The HTC One M8 is certainly a good handset, but it lacks a defining or ground breaking feature that would have made it great. How do you feel about HTC’s new flagship, and do you prefer any of its competitors?

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