The HTC One, next to the Galaxy S4, is one of the best handsets of the year. The hardware is extremely impressive, and the new and fresh look that Sense 5 brings was much needed. The HTC One is truly one of the best handsets that Android has to offer.
On the other side, we have the Lumia 928 — one of the best devices that Windows Phone has to offer. Some might consider its hardware to be mid-range in the Android space, but it’s no doubt a high-tier phone in the Windows Phone ecosystem, due to a much less demanding operating system.
So, we’re going to put these two devices against each other. If you’re in a rush, jump straight to the video, otherwise, stick with us as we take a deeper look into these two great performers.
This just might be the closest battle I’ve ever done when it comes to design. It’s no secret that the HTC One is great in terms of build quality, with its aluminum chassis and unique form factor. The sides are flat, and despite being angled, they help with the overall grip.
The aluminum body adds to the phone handling, and even though it’s not really fingerprint prone, it can be quite slippery. Two capacitive keys can be found on the front side below the display, and the power button is up top with the volume rocker on the right side.
The opinion that HTC hit a home run with design here is pretty unanimous. The only real complaint here is the rounded thickness. The back is very curved, making it rock back and forth if you use it on the table.
Nokia’s Lumia 928 is built with plastic, and that actually isn’t a bad thing. Covered in a nice, glossy plastic the Nokia 928 is thicker than the HTC One, but is less rounded. This rectangular profile brings quite thick and flat sides that makes it very easy to grip. Holding it in your hand, you can tell that its build quality is of the highest order.
There are three capacitive keys on the front, and there is a simplicity here similar to that of the HTC One. Looking around the back, you have an all white surface, with only the camera optics atop a black line down the middle. All the buttons are placed on the left — volume rocker, power, and the two stage camera button. The device is pretty fingerprint prone, due to the glossy plastic, and the gloss does give it the potential to slip around just as much as the One.
When it comes down to it, it’s a preference of materials — plastic or metal? Both handsets benefit from smaller screen sizes, and their small profile makes for easy handling. There is an elegant simplicity to both of these handsets that make them very attractive.
The HTC One and Lumia 928 may not sport the standard 5-inch screen, but these displays still do very well. Starting with the smaller one, the 928 has a 4 and a half inch Super AMOLED screen capable of 1280x 768 resolution rated at 332ppi.
Coming at around 720p helps make this display a really good performer, as it greatly compliments the high contract, colorful motif of Windows Phone 8 with its high saturation. A lower pixel density doesn’t hurt text viewing too much, so this screen is an easy handler made for work and play.
Next, we have the HTC One’s more powerful, 4.7-inch Super LCD screen. As being pretty much the only screen under 5-inches capable of 1080p, this display is rated at a whopping 469ppi. As you might expect, you can get great resolution in this very accessible size.
Since the device uses a Super LCD panel, you won’t get as much saturation as an AMOLED display, but it does handle the darker tones of Sense 5 wonderfully. All in all, media looks great due to the resolution, but that pixel density makes text look razor sharp.
When it comes down to it, how much do you want out of your smartphone’s screen? If you’re in the market for high performance, the HTC One is the way to go. Don’t discount the Lumia 928, though — it’s specs are still more than adequate.
And here we are at the performance, a category that might widen the gap between these two phones. Starting off with the HTC One, it was one of the first handsets to sport the powerful Snapdragon 600 CPU that clocks in at 1.7GHz. It’s a very fast processor package that is backed by the tried and true Adreno 320 GPU and 2GB of RAM.
Benchmarks put the HTC One among some of the best phones available in the Android market, and through the use of BlinkFeed and Sense 5, you can truly see how fast this device is.
The Lumia 928 sports a package that might feel more mid-range in the Android space. It has a dual-core Snapdragon S4 Plus clocked in at 1.5GHz, backed by the Adreno 225 and 1GB of RAM. While us Android users might lament this package in current Android experiences, it actually works really well, as Windows Phone 8 is nowhere near as demanding as Android.
The graphics offering works well enough to satisfy your gaming needs, though it’s worth mentioning that there aren’t enough high power games to truly put the Adreno 225 GPU to the test.
When comes down to it, the HTC One and Lumia 928 are top performers for their respective ecosystems. You’ll experience slick and fast speeds with either device.
The hardware situation starts off pretty simple, though a lot of power users out there aren’t going to appreciate the lack of expandable memory and non-removable batteries in the HTC One and Lumia 928. Both handsets come with 32GB of internal storage, though if you’re looking for something with a little more capacity, the HTC One can be found with 64GB.
That’s pretty much where the similarities end. Starting off with the HTC One, you’ll notice that these two handsets are very different from each other. The HTC One comes with the usual functionality — Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, and NFC. The extra bells and whistles include Beats Audio, which can’t be customized, but it does a good job of adding more richness and volume to music. An IR Blaster is equipped on the HTC One to enhance your TV experience.
The phone speaker is good, if not exceptional. Speaking of speakers, BoomSound is what really shines on this device. Obviously these are getting a big mention as they are exemplary front facing speakers, and there’s a good reason for that. The front facing speakers are phenomenal, and are probably much better than any speakers on handset you’ve heard before.
On the other hand, the Lumia 928 has the usual connections as well, including NFC. Being a Verizon exclusive device, it connects up to the carrier’s impressive and fast LTE network. Both speakers suffer from the same problem — while they’re adequate, if they get too loud it starts to get fuzzy and down out details.
Aside from that, there isn’t much else that truly separates the 928 from the HTC One. Rest assured, the Lumia 928 is a very reliable device. It’s just not as exciting.
Battery and camera
In the battery department, the HTC One holds a 2,300 mAh unit, and the Lumia 928 a 2,000 mAh performer. As you can see, there’s not a big difference between the two here, as it mostly comes down to usage. The HTC One is reported to get up to 10 hours of web browsing and video playback, though I only managed to get around 8 hours. The Lumia 928 only made it a little bit above six hours, however, it really shines when it comes to standby time.
I’ve kept it sitting for hours on end without a big toll taken on the battery. Furthermore, power saving options are available on both devices, so while the HTC One will let you play for a little longer, you’ll get a good day’s work done on either phone.
As for the camera, both are equipped with a lot of special features to bring out only the best quality pictures. Sporting a mere 4-megapixels may make the HTC One’s camera sound unimpressive at first, but bigger things are at work here. HTC did this so they could focus on their UltraPixels to get the best possible photos. So while the megapixel count is low, HTC’s UltraPixels make for a beautiful photo.
The HTC camera app benefits from HTC Zoe, a camera feature that can put your photos and videos together in a lovely montage. Other scenes include HDR and Panorama. Picture quality is very good, especially when it comes to low light scenarios. The added 4 UltraPixels flood in a lot of light to make indoor shots really pop. Even if the pictures are smaller, HTC did a great job bring a unique and high quality camera to the table.
On the other hand, we have the Nokia Lumia 928, which takes on the common 8-megapixel camera, while throwing in a lot of enhancing features. The Carl Zeiss powered shooter adds PureView technology and even a Xenon flash to achieve some very high quality results.
The app is your standard camera app, but it can be enhanced with downloaded add-ons called Lenses. Overall, the pictures are great — the Carl Zeiss optics work well, while the PureView stabilization technology helps indoor and low light shots pop. The Xenon Flash assists with that, too, though.
If the size of a picture is really important to you, the Lumia 928 is probably for you, however, you’ll get the same, great picture quality either way.
And here we are, at the software. We’re looking at two exceptional mobile operating system contenders here — Windows Phone 8 and Sense 5 built off of Android. We’ll start with the Nokia Lumia 928 and Windows Phone 8. As you might have come to expect, it is an incredibly simple user interface — it manages to be simple, elegant, and highly intuitive at the same time.
What you get is a white or black background with primary colors on top. The Live Tiles are basically your shortcuts to others apps, but in the new version they give you some added information when you resize them. It gives you exactly what you need, but not much more than that.
As for apps, the Windows Phone ecosystem has a long, long way to go before it can rival Android, or even iOS. However, what is baked into the Lumia 928’s WP8 works very well, and social media integration is a big plus, in my book.
HTC took its love-it or hate-it Sense UI and gave it a major overhaul for the HTC One. It used to look bloated and somewhat too spaced, and now it seems to have been flattened a bit. It’s still a little spaced out, but cleaning things up really helped it feel more appealing. However, the big addition here is BlinkFeed, which pretty much replaces your home screens.
It’s a tiled amalgamation of your news and social networks. If you have a lot of subscriptions, things can get a bit chaotic and overwhelming, but it’s not hard to narrow it down. It also isn’t hard to get back to what you’re familiar with — good ol’ Android.
If this had been an earlier version of Sense, I honestly think the HTC One wouldn’t have gotten as much praise. Nonetheless, Sense 5 brings a new, fresh look and feel that HTC really needed — it’s a good leap forward.
So, it’s a battle of tiles! While Windows Phone 8 takes the simplistic style to the max, you get the same idea in BlinkFeed on top of the already powerful Android platform. As far as ecosystems go, Android is the obvious choice here, as it offers much, much more than Windows Phone 8. However, if you’d rather get back to the basics, the Lumia 928 is a fine choice.
Price and final thoughts
And finally, we come to price. An unlocked HTC One takes on a premium $699 price tag, which is far more expensive than the $500 price point of the Nokia Lumia 928. When it comes to contracts, you’re looking at a $199 price point for the HTC One on a new two-year agreement with a carrier. The Lumia 928 can be found for much less — $49, officially, though it just dropped to $29.99 on Amazon Wireless. It’s also important to keep in mind that the Lumia 928 is only available through Verizon Wireless.
When it comes down to it, the HTC One and Lumia 928 share some of the same philosophies. Both have great build quality, feature-packed cameras, and tiled operating systems. The two devices excel at what they set out to do, though if you want a bigger ecosystem, the HTC One is backed by Android. While the Lumia 928 packs reliable built-in software, its ecosystem leaves you wanting more, though it is growing, just not as fast as Android or iOS.
All in all, Windows Phone has its place in the mobile world, but the HTC One with Sense 5 is a great example of how diverse Android is. It’s also a great example of why us Android users don’t easily convert.