Sony Xperia Z1 vs. HTC One quick comparison (video)

by: Brad WardSeptember 6, 2013

Sony Xperia Z1 vs HTC One_ Quick Look - YouTube 28 000844

Sept. 4 was a really big day for the Android world — Samsung announced the Galaxy Note 3 and a smartwatch, the Galaxy Gear. There was a lot of hype surrounding that event, but something more impressive happened that day — Sony announced the Xperia Z1, their second flagship device for this year.

Put frankly, it’s an insane device, but just how well does it perform against some of the other flagships we’ve seen earlier in the year? The HTC One is a powerful handset that everyone was really excited over. So, how does the Z1 stack up against it?

Let’s find out, shall we? In a rush? Jump straight to the video, or otherwise stick with us as we take a closer look at the Sony Xperia Z1 and HTC One in this comparison.

Design and build quality

sony xperia z1 aa 2

The Xperia Z1 is made out of aluminum, giving the device that well built and durable feel we all long for. However, Sony took it a step further by covering the device in glass. So, not only is it a sturdy device, but it’s also stylish. Of course, you have to  keep in mind that glass breaks much easier than other materials, so dropping the smartphone may not be ideal.

Nonetheless, the glass gives the Xperia Z1 a slick and comfortable feel in the hand, and though it is a bit slippery, you can get a nice, tight grip on the Z1.

samsung galaxy s4 vs htc one one aa

The HTC One’s body is made out of aluminum, making the device feel well built and durable. One of the reasons many people like the HTC One is because of the metal chassis, as the glossy plastic on most devices feels cheap and, well, not as durable as we’d like it to be. That said, the HTC One, as demonstrated in our drop test, can take quite a beating before becoming unusable.

Not only is the metal chassis stylish on the HTC One, but it also makes for an easier grip, reducing your chances of actually dropping the device. It also feels comfortable in the hand.

sony xperia z1 htc one aa 5

Verdict: HTC and Sony did an excellent job in build quality for the One and Xperia Z1. Both are very durable and stylish devices. It’s a tie.



Sony’s Xperia Z1 features a 5-inch Full HD Truliminous display with the X-Reality engine, capable of 1,920 x 1,080 resolution, rated at an impressive 440ppi. Colors are vibrant, and viewing angles are much better than they were earlier this year with the Sony Xperia Z.

In the other corner, we have the HTC One, sporting a 4.7-inch Full HD LCD display capable of 1,980 x 1,080 resolution, rated at a whopping 468ppi. Colors in the HTC One are vibrant, making Sense 5 look really slick on this device, and viewing angles are also really good.

Verdict: With the Truliminous display meshed with the X-Reality engine, the Xperia Z1 takes the win. It’s an absolutely stunning display.


sony xperia z1 aa 27

In one hand, we have the Sony Xperia Z1, sporting the 20.7-megapixel Exmor RS CMOS image sensor with G Lens (27mm wide angle and F2.0 aperture). When it comes to optics, this is certainly one of the best cameras you’ll see in a smartphone. While we weren’t able to do a whole lot of testing, picture quality is fantastic, color reproduction is very good, and the sensor is able to capture a lot of detail.

As for the HTC One, we have a rear camera with 4 Ultrapixels, intended to capture more quality photos by taking in more light. Picture quality is good, though it certainly isn’t as good as HTC made it out to be. Nonetheless, it’s a good camera with a wide range of modes and scenes available, such as HTC Zoe. Color reproduction is done very well, and it captures a nice amount of detail.

Verdict: It’s going to be hard to compete with Sony’s 20.7-megapixel camera optics, especially with the wide range of modes available to make your photo really pop. The Xperia Z1 wins, though the HTC One’s camera is no slouch.


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The Sony Xperia Z1 features a massive non-removable 3,000 mAh battery — that’s only 100 milliamp hours less than the Galaxy Note 2’s capacity. Of course, you’re going to need some serious power to support that Full HD Truliminous display and X-Reality engine working in tandem. When you look at the specs the Xperia Z1 is sporting, 3,000 mAh isn’t that much, but it’ll certainly get you through the work day, possibly even longer.

htc one google play edition aa back profile

As for the HTC One, it has a much less powerful non-removable 2,300 mAh unit, although, the device just isn’t as demanding as the Xperia Z1. It’ll get you through the work day and more easily, and if you don’t have enough power left, the battery saving features will help you eek out that last bit of needed juice.

Verdict: Both the Xperia Z1 and HTC One have impressive batteries. However, they don’t perform on the same level. The Sony Xperia Z1 needs a larger capacity because of all of the latest and demanding hardware it’s sporting. The HTC One has some high end specs, but they aren’t nearly as demanding as the Z1, thus it doesn’t need nearly as much power. It’s a tie.


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Inside the Sony Xperia Z1 we have a Snapdragon 800 processor clocked at 2.2GHz, backed by a Adreno 330 GPU and 2GB of RAM. It comes in 16GB of onboard storage with support for a microSD card, should you need to expand that storage. Finally, it has its IP55 and IP58 certifications for water and dust resistance.

htc one vs nokia lumia 928 aa one performance

On the other hand, we have the HTC One with its Snapdragon 600 quad-core processor clocked at 1.7GHz, backed by an Adreno 320 GPU and 2GB of RAM. The downside here is the lack of a microSD card slot, but it does come in 32GB and 64GB models, though the 64GB version is exclusive through AT&T.

Verdict: The Sony Xperia Z1 and HTC One are both on the same level in the sense that they’ll get even some of the most demanding tasks accomplished, though the Z1 wins with its added water and dust protection.


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Sony’s known for being pretty simplistic when it comes to software. The Xperia Z1’s interface is similar to stock Android, echoing some of the design elements of Ice Cream Sandwich, while having all of the great enhancements of Jelly Bean. However, you still get a bevy of Small Apps and Sony’s preloaded apps on the device.

There really hasn’t been a whole lot of changes to the software since the Xperia Z’s release, which might be a good or bad thing. We’ll leave that up to you. The big part is that Sony’s UI isn’t lacking any responsiveness like TouchWiz and Sense 5.


Speaking of Sense 5, that’s just what’s loaded on the HTC One. While it doesn’t have nearly as many features and enhancements as TouchWiz, there’s still a certain amount of unresponsiveness, though if you can get past that, it’s a pretty slick UI.

Verdict: Sony’s Xperia Z1 is the champion here, offering a stock Android-like experience with a few minor additions, but still keeping things responsive and slick.

Hands-on Video

Wrap Up

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Sony’s Xperia Z1 is one wicked device, surpassing the quality of most flagships that launched this year. It’s packing some insane hardware, such as the Snapdragon 800 and its monstrous 20.7-megapixel camera, and, of course, the Exmor RS Sensor.

If there’s one device that’s ready to shake up the Android world, it’s the Xperia Z1, though that’s not to say devices like the HTC One aren’t good anymore. On the contrary, they’re great handsets!

What’s happened here is that Sony has set a new bar of expectations. Going forward, I’d expect to see companies echo the sheer amount of quality that went into the Z1 with their own future handsets.

  • stitch

    from the first picture, the difference in dimension is negligible(but on paper Z1 is clearly larger than One) , and Z1 is thinner than HTC one, though it’s much heavier at 170g vs 143g

  • willie013

    Xperia Z1 is just too good to compete with

  • yuse

    I have HTC one and very happy with it however if was to buy another phone I would wait untill everything calms down a little I’m sure there are phones coming out to better to compete with it

  • Dt Bell

    If they’re the same price, OK but I will never see myself with ANY phone beyond 18~24 months. These thing change too quickly. It’s a concrete newspaper

  • dre

    it’d be shocking if something new with new innards is beaten by an older device.

    • Timmy

      It would be like comparing the Note 3 with the iPhone 5…oh wait.

      • Aakash


  • APai

    “giving the device that well built and durable feel”
    Don’t agree with sony’s designers there. what use is a durable FEEL , if it’s not actually durable ?

  • Balvinder Makkar

    Sony support in india is pathetic.
    Recently bought xperia Z and i dropped it and the back glass got shattered.
    when taken to service center they said we are not trained to open this device and repair it and asked me to give 80% of the MRP to get it replaced.
    So before buying sony product in your country check whether it can be repaired.
    Lastly Htc one wins on build quality..

    • Pradeep Viswanathan R

      then do it yourself :)

    • Adi

      Lol, do you know how much money I spent to replacing my HTC Desire HD’s front glass? 250!

    • Sidhant Karmic Varun

      They’ve come out with a accidental cover policy for similar reasons
      Please check

  • spade

    are you sure that Z1 display is an absolutely stunning display? cause i read on PocketNow before they tell otherwise about Z Ultra with the same Truliminous display :/

    • Anonymous

      Pocketnow is always hilariously biased towards samsung and against sony. Not that samsung isn’t good…but take everything they say with a pinch of salt. And read other reviews.

      • spade

        Yeah, i did read elsewhere but kinda shocked by the “absolutely stunning display” and even better then HTC One? :/

  • NobleGeorge12

    Biased review!!

  • BMC

    Sorry another basic error from a struggling manufacturer again!! No removable battery….. Why do HTC and Sony make these decisions… Note 3 for me….

  • Simon t

    Personally I prefered the Z to the HTC ONE too lol

  • Akshat Jjw

    In Design and Build quality and also Display, HTC One is better. Sony phones have horrible after service and are less durable. I’d pick the HTC One anyday. But Xperia Z1’s camera tho. <3

    • Guest

      both are aluminum ; so how is the One better?

      • Akshat Jjw

        Umm. Not sure if you’re aware but Z1 just has an aluminium band around its edge, not the phone completely. Its almost identical to the Z, which I found had poor viewing angles. If you hold both these phones in your hand, you’ll know why the One is better.

        • Sidhant Karmic Varun

          Please see the device first
          Reading your comment in pretty sure you haven’t seen it

          *posted using my awesome z1

  • Fidel Benson

    This is the first time I have heard anybody describe Sense 5 as unresponsive.

  • brendan soliwoda

    Not surprised the Z1 basically destroyed the One, but the one is still a great phone in its own right.

  • алексей столяров

    Z1 bad display, HTC One up

  • Fox Gabann

    When does it release? Should I get a note 3 or iPhone 5s? Or this?

  • Vats

    Z1 lacks IR blaster

  • harryposter

    I was wondering which of these two devices I should buy until I read this…

    This review is so biaised that I will go for the HTC One without hesitation!

    Many thanks to the author.