HTC One (M8) full review

HTC One M8 vs iPhone 5s

HTC has improved an already excellent smartphone to create the HTC One M8, but can it take on the iPhone 5s? Find out how these two flagship smartphones differ in our HTC One M8 vs iPhone 5s comparison review.

The iPhone 5s is one of the best smartphones around, but it's no longer the clear winner in the market with many worthy rivals. The latest of which is the HTC One M8 which costs a little cheaper at £530 SIM-free compared to £549.

See also: 21 best smartphones: The best phone you can buy in 2014.

HTC One M8 vs iPhone 5s comparison review: Design and build

The iPhone 5s and HTC One M8 are similar in design yet very different at the same time. These are two of the most well-made smartphones which money can buy with truly premium design and build. Both offer stunning metal chassis which feel very desirable and you can opt for grey, silver or gold no matter which way you go.

HTC's One M8 is much bigger and heavier than the iPhone 5s so is less suited to anyone with small hands. It's not too heavy though and has a reassuring weight and feel to it. On the other hand, the iPhone 5s is small, light and easy to manage. However, it is delicate and really needs a case to ensure its good looks last.

HTC One M8 colours

HTC One M8 vs iPhone 5s comparison review: Video review

HTC One M8 vs iPhone 5s comparison review: Screen

The HTC One M8 is much bigger than the iPhone 5s because of its 5in screen, a little larger than its predecessor. That's a normal size for a flagship Android smartphone but Apple hasn't yet gone to a large screen. The 5s has a comparatively small 4in display.

As we mentioned above, the iPhone is more manageable so you can use it one-handed much better than its rival, but users might find it restrictive. Users will find the HTC One M8's five inches of real estate provide a better experience for tasks like gaming, watching video and web browsing.

In terms of quality, as we expect from any flagship smartphone, the HTC One M8 and iPhone 5s have excellent displays. If you're wanting to play top trumps then the HTC wins on resolution and pixel density with Full HD and 441ppi against the iPhone's 'Retina' 640 x 1136 resolution and 326ppi.

Although there are subtle differences, it's the size which is the main factor here.

Apple iPhone 5s

HTC One M8 vs iPhone 5s comparison review: Processor and performance

The iPhone 5s brought with it a 64-bit processor and although the same tech will appear in rival smartphones soon, it hasn't happened yet. Like other Android flagships launching this year, the HTC One M8 is equipped with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 which is a quad-core processor clocked at 2.3GHz.

We could publish benchmark results here but they are only really a distraction and various companies, including HTC, choose to use high performance modes for these kind of apps to get the best results.

What we'd rather tell you is that both the iPhone 5s and HTC One M8 possess high-end performance. Each phone runs smooth with apps launching quickly and responsive zooming. The bottom line is you're better off choosing between them by way of other areas.

One thing to note before we move on is that the HTC One M8 emulates the iPhone 5s in that is has a co-processor. This low-power chip each phone can run sensors without having a large effect on battery life. It means you can count your steps with the Fitbit app and, for the M8, use motion launch gestures (see software).

HTC One M8 vs iPhone 5s comparison review: Storage

A key difference between these two smartphones is storage. How much storage you need will depend on how you intend to use your device, but here's how they compare in this category.

HTC has opted to only launch a 16GB One M8 in the UK so the iPhone 5s provides more choice with additional 32- and 64GB models. However, the HTC has a microSD card slot for up to 128GB cards and comes with 65GB of Google Drive cloud storage – that makes a total of 209GB.

HTC One M8 vs iPhone 5s comparison review: Unique hardwareApple iPhone 5s TouchID

As well as a 64-bit processor, the iPhone 5s introduced a fingerprint scanner called Touch ID. It's hidden in the home button and can be used to unlock the device instead of a passcode. The HTC One M8 does not have a fingerprint scanner but it's debatable whether it's worth paying extra for this by opting for the iPhone 5s.

The HTC One M8 does have motion launch gestures (see software) which allow you to do things like unlock the phone with a swipe even though the screen is switched off.

Even though the M8 doesn't have a fingerprint scanner, it does have a trick up its sleeve which the iPhone doesn't. Like the previous model, HTC offers an infrared transmitter which allows you to switch on and control devices in your home like a TV or set-top box.

The HTC One M8 also has its BoomSound front facing stereo speakers which provide a much better audio experience compared to the iPhone - and pretty much any smartphone.

HTC One M8 vs iPhone 5s comparison review: Cameras

With a rear camera twice the resolution of its rival, the iPhone 5s takes better photos and videos in most lighting conditions. However, the Ultrapixel camera in the HTC One M8 has larger pixels and produces better results in low-light. Each has a dual-tone flash which aims to prevent washout in photos by having a 'warmer' flash alongside a regular white one.

HTC One M8 Duo Camera

The magic trick which the M8 has is its Duo Camera – a second sensor captures depth information so you can refocus a photo after you've taken it. Now that's something that the iPhone can't do and although the feature isn't perfect, it can produce some pretty decent results.

If you're into selfies then the HTC One M8 will serve you better than the iPhone with a 5Mp front facing shooter which has the advantage of a wide angle lens to fit more people into the shot.

HTC One M8 vs iPhone 5s comparison review: Software

A major difference is, of course, software. The iPhone 5s has iOS 7 while the HTC One M8 has Android 4.4 KitKat with HTC Sense 6.0. They're very different and it would be silly of us to try and pick a winner so try them out for yourself and see which you prefer, but here's a rundown on how they differ.

Apple's iOS 7 is a big change from the previous version with a flatter, more colourful look with better multi-tasking. Like Android, there's a drop down notification bar and the Control Center (swipe up from the bottom) gives quick access to settings like screen brightness, Wi-Fi and music playback. Most users like iOS because it's simple and easy to use. The App Store is excellent with developers putting high priority on the platform and the apps are both plentiful and generally high quality.

HTC One M8 Android KitKat Sense 6.0

Android's app store, the Google Play store, is up there with Apple's with also a high level of priority for developers. However, it can be harder to find the apps worth downloading and keeping. Now up to version 4.4 KitKat, Android has plenty of neat features. Multi-tasking, notifications and quick settings have all been around for a while so newer features include a full screen mode and smoother performance. Users like Android because of its customisability and widgets which give you information without the need to open an app.

HTC uses its own interface called Sense 6.0 and it's one of the better 'skins' or 'overlays' around. It's stylish, easy to use and highly customisable. BlinkFeed is a unique feature giving users a news feed of their interests from websites and social networks. Those who don't like it can switch it off.

A key new feature is motion launch gestures which we've mentioned a couple of times. Like the LG G2, you can switch the M8 on with a double tap even if the screen is off. You can also unlock, go straight to the home screen, launch BlinkFeed and open the camera app with different gestures.

HTC One M8 Extreme Power Saving Mode HTC One M8 vs iPhone 5s comparison review: Battery life

Battery life is important to any smartphone user and although the HTC One M8 has a battery which is a fair amount larger than the iPhone 5s. However, with an average usage (we don't know what you do during a day with your handset), each is going to typically last a day. In other words it's a classic smartphone charge every night scenario either way.

However, the M8 has an extreme power saving mode which gives you a basic interface with only essential apps and does all sorts of things to extend battery life. It limits CPU usage, reduces screen brightness, switched off vibration, stops the pedometer and switched off data when the screen is off.

Clever use of this mode will get you through more than one day of usage and will help avoid the phone completely dying which is never a good situation to be in. HTC says the phone can last up to 30 hours on 10 percent charge in extreme mode.


HTC One (M8): Specs

  • 5 inch, Full HD 1080p, 441 PPI
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 801, quad-core, 2.3GHz
  • Android 4.4 KitKat with HTC Sense 6.0, HTC BlinkFeed
  • 16GB, available capacity around 10GB
  • microSD (up to 128GB)
  • 2 GB DDR2 RAM
  • Internal GPS antenna + GLONASS, Digital compass
  • Gyro sensor, Accelerometer, Proximity sensor, Ambient light sensor, barometer
  • 3.5mm stereo audio jack
  • NFC
  • Bluetooth 4.0 with aptX
  • dual-band Wi-Fi up to 11ac
  • micro-USB 2.0 (5-pin) port with mobile high-definition video link (MHL)
  • Infrared
  • HTC BoomSound - Dual front stereo speakers with built-in amplifiers
  • HTC UltraPixel Duo Camera
  • 5Mp front camera with wide angle lens
  • 146.4 x 70.6 x 9.4mm
  • 160g