Apple iPhone 5s vs. HTC One: quick look

by: Brad WardSeptember 21, 2013

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Apple just recently announced the new iPhone 5S, though some argue it doesn’t really bring that many improvements over the iPhone 5. Nonetheless, just how well does this newer model do compared to HTC’s giant, the One? That’ll be up for you to decide. Let’s take a look, shall we?

Here’s our iPhone 5s vs HTC One quick look. In a hurry? Jump straight to the video.

Design and build quality

Much like the HTC One, the iPhone 5S is clad in aluminum, giving it a nice hefty feel. Build quality is great, and as for unique design features it has chamfered edges and the home button is made of laser-cut sapphire crystal with a stainless steel detection ring circling it.

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The HTC One also has a nice hefty feel to it. Build quality is fantastic, and with it’s sleek design, the HTC One is a really nice looking device.

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The iPhone 5S features the usual 4-inch Retina display with full sRGB standard and widescreen video. It’s capable of 640 x 1,136 resolution, rated at 326ppi.

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As for the HTC One, we have a 4.7-inch Full HD Super LCD 3 screen, capable of 1,980 x 1,080 resolution, rated at a record breaking 468ppi.


The iPhone 5S has 8-megapixel optics strapped to its back, featuring f2.2 aperture. It also has a two-LED flash, one cool and white, while the other is warm and amber. This should give more natural tones when taking pics in low light. Finally, the camera has 15% larger active sensor area (1.5microns pixels) compared to the previous generation, iOS 7 optimizations for nicer images (auto image stabilization, new burst mode that takes 10 frames per second) and 720p video recording at 120fps.

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In the other corner, we have the HTC One with a 4 UltraPixel rear camera, which features OIS (Optical Image Stabilization). Thanks to Sense 5, you get a host of camera app features, too. This includes things like HDR, Panorama mode, and HTC Zoe, among many other features.


In the iPhone 5S we have a non-removable Li-Po 1,570 mAh battery, allowing up to 10 hours of battery on LTE and Wi-Fi browsing.

The HTC One’s non-removable battery is a much larger Li-Po 2,300 mAh unit. How much you get out of it really depends on what you’re doing (e.g. media consumption, browsing Facebook, and etc).

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Other Specs

The iPhone 5S features a Apple A7 64-bit dual-core chip, clocked at 1.3GHz, which the company claims will offer 40x CPU performance and 56x faster graphics than the original iPhone. It also has 1GB of RAM and will come in 16/32/64GB storage options. Finally, it features a fingerprint scanner, which can be used to unlock the device and for buying stuff on the App Store.

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As for the HTC One, you get a quad-core Snapdragon 600 processor, clocked in at 1.7GHz. It has 2GB of RAM and comes in 32GB and 64GB options, however, the latter model is an exclusive through AT&T.


In the iPhone 5S, you get the latest version of Apple’s mobile operating system, iOS 7. It has been pretty much completely redesigned, and it comes with quite a handful of new features, which you can read about here.

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Looking at the HTC One, you get Sense 5 atop of Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, with rumors of update to 4.3 just around the corner. You can expect to see a handful of preloaded apps from HTC and a few other useful features built in to the OS, such as battery saving options.

Hands-On Video

Wrap Up

For the most part, the iPhone 5S is an impressive device, at least for the OS it’s running. It doesn’t need to be super powerful, as iOS just isn’t as demanding as Android, nor are there apps that will put the device’s specs to the test.

Nonetheless, the HTC One is a fan favorite among Android users, and it has its own strong points, from a larger and nicer screen, to the camera, and powerful speakers.

Either way, both devices are fantastic in their own ways, though we do have to admit, the iPhone 5S hasn’t changed much from its predecessor, which is a bit disappointing, as expectations were quite high for this year’s iPhone refresh.


  • Nick Tsiotinos

    It comes down to which OS you prefer. In terms of hardware, HTC has caught up to and in some areas beaten Apple.

  • Chris

    Htc one rules

  • bob

    how can a dual core be so much faster than quad? in a much smaller phone? its sad really

    • not a spark

      I wonder for the I phones battery consumption and heat production

      • bob

        well, i wouldnt, its still 1.3ghz

        • not a spark

          Its not just about clockspeed…

          • bob

            how are they getting the same battery life then? clockspeed is a major factor in cpu power consumption

          • not a spark

            The architecture plays a massive role in power consumption. For example cotex a7 at 1ghz use a lot less power than cortex a15 at 1 ghz

          • bob

            apparently it does. same battery life with twice as much transistors, same clock and voltage

          • leozno1

            The battery in the 5S is slightly larger than the on in the iPhone 5.

    • Seed Commander

      Optimizations aside, most apps use only 2 cores. A faster dualcore can therefore outperform quadcores whose cores have to be powered up and down to accommodate battery life.
      Probably the biggest reason why iOS apps will gain much from 64bits (passively).

      • Balraj

        It’s like a dual core s4 pro vs quad-core mediatek processor
        But snapdragon 800 n 5s are in par
        But 5s gpu is the new king in gpu performance,beatingeven the ipad 4

        • bob

          Not really, snapdragon gets around 2000 vs iphone 2500, not to mention single core performance – the one that actually matters

          • Balraj

            No lol
            S800 beats a7 by a small margin but a7 wins in one benchmark
            I have read anandtech article…but I strongly believe the guy who reviewed it was a fan boy cause he made light of few drawbacks 5s had..over all 5s is not a good phone

          • lesportif

            The fanboy you’re speaking about is Anand Shimpi, likely the most competent guy in the place when it comes to tech. A7 is better than s800, that’s no drama, get used to facts.

          • Balraj

            No lol
            Then you must have seen the benchmark..a7 gpu is best but s800 is in par with a7 in cpu.actually a7 falls short many times..btw don’t forget s800 is a 32bit processor…it’s a win for s800

          • lesportif

            I don’t understand. Are we speaking about the same benchmarks ?

          • Balraj

            Yes..s800 (32 bit) is in par with a7(64 bit)
            A difference of few hundreds won’t hurt real life performance.
            Both are equally matched

          • lesportif

            Ok. I still find it very impressive for a 1.3ghz dual core, and considering power consumption is at least as important as raw compute power, this Apple chip reigns alone on ARM SoCs.

          • Balraj

            When I read a7 is made up of 1.3ghz dual core processor.I was totally shocked.that’s the advantage Apple will always have throughout its life cycle:hardware n software tightly integrated..
            Android Will never get that advantage….
            Be ready for 3ghz quad-core n eight core processor next year lol
            Android oems are more into spec battle than customer satisfaction

          • Brad Kane

            Android will never have a hardware advantage? What exactly is that based on? While the processors are pretty close, the clear advantage is 2GB RAM over 1GB. have

          • Balraj

            I was not talking about spec battle lol
            I was talking about hardware and software tightly integrated
            If you have hardware and software tightly integrated then you don’t need eight core or 3ghz quad-core processor..more ram more better for multitasking..but cpu? Why eight core processor?

    • carlisimo

      Anandtech explained in their iPhone5s review that mobile processor architecture isn’t ready for quad core yet:
      “In such a thermally constrained environment, going quad-core only makes sense if you can properly power gate/turbo up when some cores are idle. I have yet to see any mobile SoC vendor (with the exception of Intel with Bay Trail) do this properly, so until we hit that point the optimal target is likely two cores.”

      They also liked the Moto X’s CPU performance when they reviewed that phone.

  • Balraj

    Design & build quality-HTC one
    Display-HTC one
    Battery-HTC one
    Camera-iPhone 5s
    Internal-both are almost equally matched
    End result HTC one wins
    IPhone design is outdated…seriously

    • Omran Terro

      Internal: HTC one wins because:
      quad core vs dual core
      2GB RAM vs 1GB RAM

      • Dynamite

        Did you saw iPhone 5S benchmarks ?
        Even snapdragon 800 falled behind, sometimes a lot !
        HTC one doesn’t even come close.
        A7 is the SoC of the year.

        • Omran Terro

          These are Geekbench benchmarks.
          The HTC one is slightly lower but the S4 is much higher.
          So the exynos 5410 (S4) is the best SOC.

          • bob

            this is the old geekbench.

            geekbench 3.0:

            iphone 5s cca 2500

            galaxy s4 cca 1800

            pretty sad, actually…

          • FertilizerDetector

            Respected technology Website, Anantech,
            has confirmed that Samsung has placed software inside its Galaxy S4
            that serves to increase processor clock speed only when the device is
            being put through certain benchmark tests. Hard to trust benchmarks, but I would suspect that the S4 is closer to HTC One with them both using very close hardware, while Samsung has more bloatware.

          • FertilizerDetector

            How does a Dual Core outperform a Quadcore only in benchmarks…control what it can do and make it do less. Same strategy that’s gone on for years. I respect the companies who can use the latest hardware and aren’t afraid to tout it rather than renaming it to something proprietary as they are afraid of suffering by hardware comparison

        • Oli72

          Stop drinking and the apple juice.

          • lesportif

            Stop living in denial. Whatever bob says is bare fact.

        • Did you see the 5s multitasking… O yeatthat’s right iPhones can’t do that because ios will close the apps.

          • lesportif

            No. It freezes the app’s UI but low-level services like gps turn by turn, music, mail and stream updates, apps notifications, network download, apps and OS updates, music streams, video uploading, video rendering and cloud syncing… keep on living in the background. It’s targeted multi-tasking, done in a very thoughtfull and meticulous way. On Android, well, everything keeps on ruining the battery in the background. Great.

          • Thyme Cypher

            It’s developer responsibility here. Don’t blame Google when iOS apps crash pretty often due to poor code.

          • lesportif

            No. It’s the OS responsibility to give the frame and make sure battery consumption is managed. These are mobile devices, not PCs.

          • Graham Banzer

            Ironic since my iPhone 4 and iPad 2 never have app crashes – despite how old they now are…
            It’s also worth noting, many apps that were written both for Android and iOS – they were made for iOS first and then ported – yes PORTED to the Android OS – as in not actually written for Android.

          • allan kluttz

            I use both devices, often neither devices have true multi-tasking in the sense that computers have it. Please don’t start this stupid discussion. The reason neither of them have it is simple, they still don’t have the processing capability. But yes in android applications running in the background occurs more frequently and causes slow downs. Often these do not need to be running. But android has to shut them off once it crawls.

          • Sean Molin

            Not true. Apps run in the background and can easily be swapped.

      • Alex Zhao

        If you understand how Android works, then single core performance matters more than how many cores you have

      • Balraj

        I was so stupid
        I made a one has snapdragon 600
        Sry Apple wins in hardware
        Maybe in ram HTC has upper hand but in cpu 5s wins :-)

    • Farbod

      Even if it had s800 it would still be slower than a7

    • raj

      what about os…
      the best os in current market…..ios

      • Thyme Cypher

        No, that would be Windows Phone, but you wouldn’t buy a full price Ferrari that didn’t have a radio or AC, would you?

        iOS and Android’s market share fluctuates pretty wildly but Windows Phone slowly rises as developers adopt – just give it time – once Nokia has a deeper involvement, we might see a 10% market share in a few years.

    • seyss

      this comment just shows how stupid you are. a bigger battery in a phone doesn’t mean the phone battery life is better. android phones suck more battery, that’s why they advertise battery in mA instead of hours of usage, to hide you the real useful information. same goes with RAM. android needs more RAM than iOS because it is not optimized for the hardware it runs on.

      you want specs? get a 41MP camera placebo

  • abazigal

    I suppose the 5s could be construed as a disappointment if the only thing you were holding out for was a larger screen, but I am personally quite impressed with all the work that has gone into making the 5s, to be honest.

    There is the new processor, which Apple designed in-house (and its investment pays off in the form of faster performance and better power efficiency compared to quad-core processors with higher clock speeds). This is neither cheap nor easy.

    You have a 64-bit OS. Much as people criticise it for being little more than a marketing ploy (since the iphone comes with just 1gb of RAM), it helps pave the road for a smooth transition to 4gb of ram in a future IOS device (in 2015/2016). Also, the 64-bit apps are reportedly running a little faster as well. This is one area where Apple has an unique advantage due to its tight control over hardware and software integration.

    Apple also chose to eschew the more common route of simply increasing the number of megapixels in their camera. It’s interesting that they chose to focus primarily on improving low-light photography. I guess they felt that the quality of photos taken in daytime is “good enough” that they can afford to devote their energies to tackling other issues.

    Then there is the fingerprint scanner, which Apple has clearly put in a lot of effort in getting right, yet remain easy to use. I think they may have erred on the side of caution, in that I find its implementation quite limited (I was expecting something like 1password authentication for secure websites as well). Hopefully, we will see it extend to more apps and services in future iterations of IOS.

    Lastly, there is the revamped IOS, which Apple has also invested a ton of time and resources into. Contrast this with other companies, which simply layer their own skin on top of Android. Apple also clearly intends for their OS to remain very appliance-like in nature, to maintain its simplicity. I see this more of a feature, rather than a drawback.

    The end result is that Apple gets to control and deliver an end user experience that no other company can. I feel it is truly a monumental undertaking, one that is both risky and costly, but can also pay off very high dividends.

    It’s a shame all these tend to get buried beneath meaningless spec comparisons.

    • Mohammed Sahib

      Well said.

      • this guy

        A7 is made by Samsung

        • Not this guy

          All RnD and Design was done by Apple and manufactured by samsung.. Samsung just manufactured it(like printing the paper, all the material to be printed was given by apple).. Please don’t be a dumb ass fandroid…

          • j¤n Gårrëtt [5,000+]

            R&D and design was NOT done by apple. apple licensed the technology and customized it.

            Google up some FACTS before you start spreading misinformation and talking about things you don’t even understand.

            Same goes to the 3 iDiots who upvoted your misinformation.

          • abazigal

            Either way, Apple is able to first define the user experience they want the consumers to have, then work with the hardware, software and processor teams on how best to deliver that experience.

            It’s still a custom ARM core, and Apple is still involved in its design. I think credit should be given where it’s due.

            Which is a lot more than what can be said for pretty much every other smartphone OEM out there, which simply use off-the-shelf processors (The A15, for example, was originally conceived for servers).

          • carlisimo

            Since the A6 (in the iPhone5), Apple has licensed ARM’s architecture, but designed the CPU cores themselves. It’s equivalent to what Qualcomm does, while NVIDIA and Samsung are licensing ARM-designed cores (e.g. Cortex A15) and designing the rest of their SoC around them.

          • lesportif

            No, no, no. Apple licenses the instruction set, like Qualcomm.

        • lesportif

          Ridiculous. Samsung is just the fab. Every bit of design comes from Apple.

  • holdthiscat

    Wondering why the reviewer was so generic in talking about the HTC One’s camera, and much more specific about the iPhone. HTC’s optics beat iPhones in nearly every category. It features an f2.0 aperture and much larger (2.0 micron) pixels. Even Apple admits that “Bigger Pixels = Better Pictures”. Then they skim over the Image Stabilization. Big difference between iPhones digital image stabilization and the optical image stabilization found on the One.

    • Tamadrummer94

      The HTC One’s camera is pretty disappointing. I wish the actual experience of a phone could be compared with numbers on a spec sheet, but it can’t. The A7 is faster, the battery life is better, the camera is better. The One has a larger, more pixel dense screen, better speakers, but is thicker and heavier. Apple seems to be a god of engineering.

      • ΚωσταΣ Γιαν

        Thicker and heavier? HTC One has 44% more screen space but is like 10% heavier and thicker. A7 ,who cares is its faster or not, on a 4 inche screen you cant see, play /whatever much anyway. Battery it will be the same i quess, but noone knows 5s battery life. Camera will have better i agree. But in everything else 5s is dissapointing and so far behind its not even fun.

      • Cao Meo

        It amazes me everytime Apple does something their fans roar with approval, but they criticize others for doing the same thing.

        I remember how they praised iPhones “felt substantive” when HTC and Samsung made bigger but lighter phones.

  • Luka Mlinar

    I think i just got why the iPhone sells so well. It’s “the” prefix. If we referred to the HTC One as The One, that phone would sell like hot cakes.

  • Scott Ricketts

    Got my HTC One shortly after launch on T-Mobile and apart from something (would have never been right after flashing a ROM and then putting everything back to stock before RMAing it) mucking up the camera and doing a return inside my 90 day window, I really love this phone. Yes the megapixel count is lower, but I take really good looking pictures with it, HTC’s camera app is solid, the speed difference between a Sense 5 ROM and an AOSP ROM is negligible in my experience. I have been totally satisfied with it and barring a 32GB Nexus, I’m planning to hold on to this until at least next summer.

  • deepen03

    “The iPhone 5S features a Apple A7 64-bit dual-core chip”

    Um no, it’s MADE BY SAMSUNG.

    • lesportif

      Still an Apple chip. It’s like AMD chips : would you say they are not from AMD just because TSMC runs the fabs producing them ? An oven is nothing without a cook.

  • seyss

    I’m sure this is not a biased article

  • Moreck
  • Thyme Cypher

    I’m glad there’s no bias to this. I think the iPhone 5’s hardware and look is slightly better than the HTC One, and the UI responsiveness crushes Android simply because of how it’s designed (And neither Android nor iOS can compete with Windows Phone – but that’s another debate). That aside, I don’t think the iPhone 5s bring enough to warrant waiting in line or paying more than $50 to switch from the One to the 5s.

  • allan kluttz

    I have an HTC One now for a couple of months, coming from an iPhone 5. The argument that iOS doesn’t need that processor is completely bogus. You must not have used iOS enough to realize that. Still, from my experience iOS is much better optimized, and doesn’t need as much. Also, the only thing holding the iPhone 5S back is the screen size. I would say with a bigger screen and I would be back for sure. Call me whatever you want, but you have to walk on both sides of the fence to get a good judgment.

  • Dillon

    Can someone reply to this and tell me which phone honestly is the best. Is more ram good in a phone? Does the htc one best the iphone in speed and battery. Not good with this stuff. Thank you!

    • totalsmoshy

      Ram : HTC One
      Battery: HTC One
      Speed: (not sure)
      Build Quality: Tie
      Design: Subjective
      Screen: HTC One
      Camera: iPhone 5s
      Speakers: HTC One
      App Quality: iPhone 5S

      • Dillon

        Is the ram a amazing difference?

        • totalsmoshy

          Well, if you multitask a lot, then yes. But otherwise no, iOs doesn’t need much ram.

          • Dillon

            So if I go from Facebook to messaging a lot it would be slow?

          • totalsmoshy

            No. I do that all the time with my iPhone 4S.

          • Chris Martins

            What good is a smartphone if you can’t multitask?

  • Alessandro Monticelli

    If HTC one was better than iPhone 5, it is better also than 5s. The camera is the only better feature on the iPhone 5s. And i don’t think A7 processor is so better than snap600, it has only better graphics performances, and 64 bit brings no advantages with only 1 gb of ram

  • Zaafir A.

    I’m getting a new phone next weekend and I can’t decide between the 5s or the HTC one. My old phone was an iPhone 4 but I lost it back in august and I’ve been using my nexus 10 more often and I seem to love android equally or a bit more than iOS 7. But the fingerprint sensor is so damn cool. So which one should I get? BTW I live in Toronto, Canada and I’m with Rogers.

  • Joey

    I just ditched my iphone 5 for a htc one. I cant justify the price of a 5S.. both a great phones..

  • sliderman

    i own a htc one x + with 4.2 update and an i phone 5s. admittedly i am an android fan and i tend to use my htc more as i find it easier to use, however my 5s not as easy to use does seem to be more smoother and faster, i think the a7 64 bit chip is credited. android in my personal opinion is a better option. this really is about sides both phones are good, its just what you prefer!!!!!!!!! android all day, lets see if the 5s can chage this!!??????

  • Jamie Blatt

    The crappy phone dialer/app on the iPhone is the reason I am going back to HTC as soon as my upgrade time hits…

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