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HTC One vs. iPhone 5


February 20, 2013

We compare the specs - and other features - of the HTC One and iPhone 5

We compare the specs - and other features - of the HTC One and iPhone 5

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Three years ago, one of Apple’s prime competitors from the Android side of the pond was the HTC EVO 4G. How times have changed. While Apple and Samsung duke it out at the top of the smartphone heap, HTC’s profits have dropped off the face of the earth. But everyone loves a good comeback story, and HTC is pulling out all the stops with its new flagship, the One. Read on, as we compare it to Apple’s top-selling iPhone 5.


There are bigger phones than the HTC One, but it still follows the recent trend of super-sized Android phones. The iPhone 5, meanwhile, is larger than its predecessors but small compared to the One.

The iPhone may be more comfortable to hold and use with one hand, while the One gives you a larger window into your apps and media.


The iPhone 5 is about 22 percent lighter than the HTC One. Both devices live in tightly-constructed aluminum bodies.


The One's screen has an extra (diagonal) 0.7 inch of screen real estate, and many more pixels.

Many high-end Android phones in 2013 are going to have 1080p displays, and the One is a card-carrying member of that club. It might be overkill, and – with some handsets – it might lead to crappy battery life. But your eyeballs may ultimately decide that it’s all worthwhile.


On paper, the One’s Snapdragon 600 chip wins hands-down. Its benchmarks will likely agree. Apple, though, prioritizes experience over specs, and it’s hard to argue that the iPhone 5 doesn’t blaze through iOS and most apps.


The HTC One also comes out looking good here, with double the iPhone’s 1 GB of RAM.


HTC skipped a 16 GB option, but otherwise flash memory is even. Neither device supports microSD cards for expandable storage.


In regions where it’s available, both phones support LTE networks. This is practically a given with modern high-end handsets (the Nexus 4 is a rare exception).


The HTC One’s battery holds a lot more juice than the iPhone’s. Take this with grains of salt, though. Many other factors determine uptime, and the One’s battery has to power a display with over a million extra pixels.

Neither phone's battery is removable.


Four megapixels doesn’t sound like a lot for the One’s shooter, but they’re what HTC calls “ultrapixels.” There are less of them, but they’re bigger. Combined with its f2.0 aperture and 1/3-inch backlit-CMOS sensor, HTC says the One’s camera will perform better in low light than competing smartphones.

On the software side, HTC’s handset introduces Zoe: a feature that simultaneously takes still-shots and records 1080p video. This gives you a plethora of options – including an animated “Living” image gallery, and the ability to choose the best from several shots.


HTC is emphasizing its custom software skin – Sense – and its intriguing new features. The most memorable part is BlinkFeed, a Flipboard-esque feed reader that sits front and center as a sort of home screen. It’s a bold departure from the standard grid of icons.

Hidden as it may be, the One still runs Android: 4.1.2 Jellybean to be exact (one full version behind Google’s latest major release). Like most Android devices, you’ll get your apps from Google’s Play Store.

The iPhone 5 runs iOS 6 (6.1.2 at the moment), Apple’s newest version of its mobile OS. You get iCloud for (sometimes) easy syncing, the Siri virtual assistant, and – gaspApple Maps. Perhaps the biggest highlight, though, is the App Store – with over 750,000 apps and games.


Here we have two high-end smartphones with premium aluminum builds. The One’s specs come out ahead in many categories, but – at least if you jive with Apple’s philosophy – specs are but means to the end of experience.

No matter how you look at it, these are probably two of the best phones around (or will be – the One launches in mid-March). If you want to hold the magnifying glass to another killer handset, you can check out our comparison of the One with Samsung’s Galaxy S III.

About the Author
Will Shanklin Will Shanklin is Gizmag's Mobile Tech Editor, and has been part of the team since 2012. Before finding a home at Gizmag, he had stints at a number of other sites, including Android Central, Geek and the Huffington Post. Will has a Master's degree from U.C. Irvine and a Bachelor's from West Virginia University. He currently lives in New Mexico with his wife, Jessica. All articles by Will Shanklin

The comparison shot of the screens leaves the impression that the Apple is almost as large.

It appears that the clock and the app icons across the bottom steal space.

Is that true??


Lewis Dickens

I really need a phone now but with all the news of phones coming out, I am not sure when I will ever pull the trigger! Samsung S4, iPhone 5s and now Motorola X!! I guess I'll just buy Chinese knock off android until these phone comes out?? Then maybe by June more news from other manufactures the next generation phones?? I can't keep up!!


Unlike Samsung, HTC has licensed a substantial amount of Apple technology. As a result, expect a resurgence in HTC phones. And expect more creativity. No more stealing and copying, at least not at HTC.

Roger Mercer

You forgot to mention the HTS has got NFC for easy sharing and smart tag reading, just like most new Android devices. Also check out the new Sony Xperia Z; waterproof, 13 mp camera...


Your comparison is a bit odd. When Apple released "Retina" this was considered innovative and market leading and "wow", etc. Yet the HTC One blows the iPhone with Retina away and your comment is "maybe overkill"??? I can't believe you actually put a negative spin on this better display.

Then there is the comment on Apple "...at least if you jive with Apple’s philosophy – specs are but means to the end of experience" yet you seem to downplay the innovation with the camera on the One while simply noting the iPhone specs.

There really is no differentiation in apps stores, both have everything you want/need. This comparison only works when comparing with Windows Phone/BlackBerry.

Lest I be considered just a fandroid, the negative things about the HTC One is that BlinkFeed can never fully be turned off even if removed from the screen and that HTC has a dismal record of updating their phones and customer support after sale.

In conclusion, the HTC One blows the iPhone 5 away and the only reason to go with the iPhone is if you are already invested with that ecosystem or you are recommending this phone to your mom who or friends who would be confused by all the options of Android.

Rann Xeroxx

Epic fail, seriously, comparing HTC ONE with IPHONE, At least you could have compared HTC 1 with SGS3. Comparing powerful HTC with just an iPhone is not competition. Thumbs up for Rann Xeroxx for, iPhone is excellent for technologically challenged people, while to use HTC u need something more than that. For information HTC used to make smartphones for other companies even before Apple ever heard of smartphones.


Honestly, type of screen (AMOLED, Retina, ....) and performance in full daylight matter more to me than any of the tiny differentiations in processor etc. and it is the one thing this author never talks about. Also, let's all agree to stop pretending that manufacturer overlays add value to a phone. If they did, they would be on Google Play making money - but really they are just a feel-good for a company trying to sell second rate specs (we already know the S4 and others will blow this phone away on power and be at least as good on other specs - and by the way my year old nexus does fine in the dark) and crummy customer service on the same two year contract trap as an actual premium phone. Without wireless charging, or a truly amazing processor, or stock android, or something truly new, this phone is a black hole.

Charles Bosse

The HTC1 is easily the best phone available when it comes out, the S4 will likely have a better processor ( Same in North America Though ), but Sammys build quality is slacking. I have a Note 2 currently and will be buying the HTC1 as soon as i can here in Canada. Once boot loader is unlocked, ROM flashed this thing will be a beast in an aluminum body, no cheap plastic here.

Brock Ferens

Definitely a biased writer! The HTC ONE blows the iPHONE away in EVERY category yet the writer always has to throw a defending but in there trying to hype the iPHONE....guess what Apples reign is long over..this is the time of Android!! And the HTC ONE is top of the entire smartphone food chain!! Pick one up n try it, guarantee ull say the same

Kristopher Davis

Upgraded to the HTC One on Friday night, So after a weekend with it and having been around iPhone5 enough since it was out, the HTC One has by far convinced me that I made the right choice to go with the HTC.

One thing about the weight of the phones, throw that 112 to 143 g advantage out the window. The One feels sturdier and distributing the weight over the larger body really makes holding the One feel like it's lighter. Add that with both these phones, the first thing you do is buy a case that is as close to Otterbox Defender/Armor or Lifeproof protection anyway. So sleek becomes bulkier for both and heavier.

HTC gets a good day and a half before recharging, where as a day for the iPhone and I have to add that the One was being explored and set up for heavy use. And connected to wifi as well.

I have to agree with others, unless Apple comes up with a 5s or 6 that is vastly improved, I see Android really taking over at this point, Samsung & HTC with hardware that is superior in function & elegant beauty. HTC not only hit a home run, but a grand slam with the One.

Software, HTC once again has made their Android version feel every bit as intuitive, simple & clean as Apple claims iOS to have that advantage over the others. Windows 8 might be nice, but I tried HTC's Windows phone out and simply hated the tiles. So for now, for a phone I'll shamelessly plug the Android or iOS over Windows 8 or Blackberry's Z10.

As for video quality, unless these get hooked up to a monitor or tv, 4.7" or less is a miserable video experience. I guess it beats watching nothing ? 7-8" isn't much better, but at least can be done at a coffee shop or airport. And 10" is going to feel like a big screen cinema for these devices. When I attached the 32" 1080p tv I have to the HTC Flyer that was like going to the movie theater and that was far short of the 60-80" tv's.

One thing that wasn't mentioned, the One has Beats, not sure what the audio on the iPhone5 is, but this phone really sounds incredible thru the speakers and earphones. Apple has the base speaker stations, not sure what the One can connect to in that regard ? The HTC's port connection is almost as proprietary as Apples. So look to upgrade accessories for connectivity.

My review/comments are almost as long as the Authors. But I felt an honest opinion is worth the read ? The iPhone has been such a smash hit in terms of sales and that might be too much for consumers to want to make the switch over. I really hope the One is a smash hit, HTC really has had some very high quality Android products.

James Camp

OMG what bunch Android Fanboys!

I have just purchased an iphone 5s, which is my first iphone. Up until I have had Android phones. Guess what? I bought the iphone specifically because of all the stupid reasons you are all poo-pooing it about. I'm an adult. I don't care if the speaker are on the front or bottom. It's a phone, not an mp3 player. I already have a tablet. I don't need another one that can make phone calls. I want a phone, and I picked the iphone specifically because it's smaller. I wanted a good camera, and the iphone trounces the HTC One in clarity and resolution. The iphone also far surpasses the HTC One is every bench/geek test that can be done. You all sound like a bunch of kids on the playground arguing about who's dad can beat up the others.

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