At a Glance
Without speed-testing, or using the final camera, we cannot be too prescriptive in our verdict on the HTC One M9. But we can safely say that it is a winner. And, of course, so is the iPhone 6. When comparing the two the differences are key, but largely down to personal preference: in particular if you are buying on contract at which point the prices are going to be broadly similar. The HTC One M9 offers greater software customisation, as an Android phone. And although it is bigger and chunkier, it is more robust. The iPhone is more pretty but more delicate, and offers the curated but locked down experience of an iPhone. You pays your money, you takes your choice.
Price When Reviewed
HTC One M9: $549
iPhone 6 vs HTC One M9: Price UK
Apple iPhone 6 has been on sale since last September, starting at £539 for the 16GB model. It then costs £619 for the 64GB and £699 for the 128GB. It is not a cheap phone.
You’ll be able to get your hands on the new
HTC One M9 at the very end of the month: it will be released on 31st March. The firm hasn’t announced a price but we expect that it will have a typical flagship Android price, which is currently around the £549 mark.
When matching storage, like-for-like we expect the iPhone to be more expensive (the HTC One M9 has 32GB onboard). Typically this is how it works out with iPhones and the best Androids. But is it worth the extra cost? Let’s find out.
iPhone 6 vs HTC One M9: Design
Apple loves making its devices thinner and lighter with each new generation and the iPhone 6 is pretty slender at 6.9 mm and 129 g. If you’re looking for desirability and build quality then you’ve come to the right place as the iPhone 6 has the feel of the most luxurious and premium smartphone money can buy. It uses a brushed aluminium case, and has an ergonomically curved design.
HTC know when it is on to a winner, and hasn’t much altered the design of the M9 compared to its predecessors. It’s made from the same metal block as the M8 and uses the same curved shape and hairline finish while using angular features from the HTC One M7 (the original HTC One). You get a scratch-resistant coating (which we’ll have to test over time when we get a review unit), machine drilled buttons and a sapphire glass lens on the rear camera. The power button is now on the side instead of the top which we think is a much better place for it.
Colour options are similar but HTC has employed a new two-tone look with the back and sides getting contrasting adonisation. In our photos you can see the rear cover has a silver finish while the sides are gold. If this model doesn’t float your boat then there will also be ‘gold on gold’ and ‘gun metal grey on grey’. See also:
Samsung Galaxy S6 vs HTC One M9 comparison.
All in all the HTC One M9 is a very desirable smartphone when held in the hand. It’s one of only a few phones on the market to compete with the iPhone on build quality. It screams of craftsmanship but the stepped design might not be to everyone’s taste as at certain angles it looks like a case. And measuring 144.6 x 69.7 x 9.6 mm, with a weight of 157 g, it’s a bigger beast than is the iPhone.
And this is the kicker question here. The iPhone 6 is probably marginally the better finished handset, but we wouldn’t use one without a case. The HTC One M9, by contrast, feels like it could withstand life in your pocket without having to wear a profilactic. That makes me prefer the HTC, but your views may differ.
Coincidence or not, both phones are available in the same three colours (under different names): silver, grey and gold.
iPhone 6 vs HTC One M9: Screen
The big news with the iPhone 6 is a larger screen, following the trend we’ve seen in Android and Windows Phones. It’s 4.7in up from 4in. Apple has opted for an odd sounding 750 x 1334 resolution which means the 326 ppi of the Phone 5s is retained. HTC has stuck with a 5in Full HD screen stating that a screen this size doesn’t require a resolution higher than 1920 x 1080. This means a pixel density of 440 ppi. And, honestly, it shows. If you want a bigger, more detailed display, opt for the HTC.
iPhone 6 vs HTC One M9: Processor, memory, performance
Apple has introduced its new A8 chip with the iPhone 6 which it claims has 25 percent more CPU power and 50 percent better efficiency than the A7. The new M8 co-processor can identify what type of activity you’re doing, estimate distance and, with the introduction of a barometer, knows details on elevation change.
Apple doesn’t state the amount of RAM but we understand that it’s 1 GB. Performance wise the iPhone 6 is exactly as sharp as you might expect. It’s a superfast phone.
(For those who like to see benchmarks we ran the Geekbench 3 test. The iPhone 6 pulled in a single-core average of 1569, with a multi-core score of 2794. This is a minor improvement on the iPhone 5s’ scores of 1409 and 2549. And for what it is worth the iPhone 6 beats the Galaxy S5’s 926 points in the single-core test, but can’t match its 2869 points in the multi-core test. For further comparison the HTC One M8 scored 962 points in the single-core test, and 2761 points in the multi-core test. So the iPhone 6 is a superfast phone that can just about compete with the best Androids, in general use. And that backs up our experience.)
The HTC One M9’s memory has been boosted by 50 percent to 3 GB and there’s a new processor in the form of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 810 which is both octa-core and 64-bit. It comes with the Adreno 430 GPU and we’ll test performance properly with a final unit but signs look promising based on our hands-on time.
Ultimately, these are two superfast high-end phones, likely to be able to handle all productivity- and gaming requirements. Without testing the HTC One M9 more than we have it is impossible to truly compare, but also largely pointless. You won’t need more performance than either of these phones can offer. See also:
What’s the fastest smartphone 2015 UK?
iPhone 6 vs HTC One M9: Storage
Although you’ll have to pay a lot for it, the iPhone 6 is available in a new 128 GB storage capacity. It also comes in 16- and 64 GB so the 32 GB model has been dropped from the line-up. As per usual, Apple doesn’t offer expandable storage via a microSD card slot.
With the HTC One M9 you get 32GB of onboard storage, but also an SD card slot via which you can add up to another 128GB. In terms of value, that maes the HTC One M9 a winner in our eyes. See also:
Best Android smartphones of 2015: The 49 best Android phones you can buy.
iPhone 6 vs HTC One M9: Cameras
For photographers, it may be a surprise that Apple has stuck with an 8Mp iSight camera on the iPhone 6. However, it hasn’t been completely left alone and now has phase detection autofocus, digital image stabilization and slo-mo video at 240fps (double that of the iPhone 5S).
It has the usual features such as HDR and panorama but is limited to 1080p video at 60fps so there’s no 4K here.
HTC has gone for a 20 Mp rear camera with a dual-LED flash. It can record video in 4K resolution and uses a ‘dynamic exposure algorithm’ to mimic the human eye. Despite the lack of a second depth sensor, we’re told it can still produce similar effects to the Duo Camera. The front camera on the M9 is the rear camera from the M8 for selfies and although all of this seems promising HTC has asked us not to comment on photo or video quality as the handset we saw was pre-production and not running the final software.
Two good cameras. We can’t yet say which is the best: we know neither of them will be a disappointment for shutterbugs. See also:
Best smartphones of 2015: 49 best phones you can buy in the UK.
iPhone 6 vs HTC One M9: Software
It’s probably obvious but software is one of the major differences here and really the biggest decision to make if you’re deciding between the two.
The iPhone 6 comes pre-loaded with iOS 8 although the mobile OS will roll out to older iPhones, too. While the HTC One M8 runs Android 4.4 KitKat with the firm’s own Sense 6.0 user interface. Each has their pros and cons and its down to personal taste as to which is more suited. If you’re not already loyal and invested in one then we suggest trying both out to see which you prefer.
As you would expect, the HTC One M9 runs on Android 5.0 Lollipop which is the latest version. However, HTC doesn’t leave it as is so puts its own skin or user interface over the top. The M9 introduces Sense 7.0 which has some new features.
HTC largely does things its own way with BlinkFeed to the left of the main homescreen, a grid view recent apps menu and a vertically scrolling app menu. However, the stock dropdown notification bar is in use (with some HTC style added) and the good news is that you can customise which quick settings you want.
Talking of customisation, this is the main emphasis of Sense 7.0 so there’s a new Themes app where you can download various user interface themes. However, you can edit details yourself such as icon styles and fonts. The software will also generate a theme for you based on a photo.
iOS offers the ultimate in secure, curated computing. A locked-down world in which you know that every app and piece of media will work well – because it has been approved by Apple. Android is a little rougher around the edges, but comes with the advantage that you can purchase music and movies wherever you like, and if you already use Google for webmail, search or calender the tools come baked in. Really, it is impossible to pick a winner these days. See also:
HTC One M9 vs Sony Xperia Z4 comparison.