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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.