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.

Size

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.

Weight

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

Display

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.

Processor

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.

RAM

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

Storage

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

Wireless

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).

Battery

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.

Cameras

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.

Software

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.

Wrap-up

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.