If there's a company that can challenge, if not top, Apple's standing as the leader in smartphone design, it's HTC. Last year's HTC One and the new HTC One (M8) just might be the two most beautiful mobile devices ever made. What happens when you put the One M8's features and specs next to those of the iPhone 5s? Read on, as Gizmag breaks it down.
Update: We've now published our hands-on look at these two phones.
There's nothing close about this category. The HTC One (M8) is 18 percent longer, 20 percent wider, and 24 percent thicker than the iPhone 5s. Android phones have created a new normal for smartphone size, but the iPhone isn't (yet) playing this new game.
But that isn't to say that there aren't also advantages to having a smaller phone. If you have small hands, or simply want something that will disappear in your pocket, then the iPhone's petite build could be just what you're looking for.
We have another huge discrepancy in the weight department. The One M8 is 43 percent heavier than the feathery iPhone.
You won't find two smartphones with more thoughtful and premium constructions than these two. Both are made of aluminum, and have an attention to detail that most other smartphones can't match.
Well isn't this awkward? Apart from some slightly different marketing terms, we're looking at the same basic color options with both phones. In fairness to Apple, the 5s launched six months before the One M8.
Screen size is, as you can see, a huge difference. The One M8 gives you 56 percent more screen real estate than the iPhone gives you. iPhones always sell like hotcakes, but I imagine its smaller screen size has led to more than a few customers defecting to Android.
HTC's phone also has a much sharper screen. The iPhone's Retina Display is supposedly sharp enough that the human eye can't differentiate individual pixels (according to the completely unbiased Apple marketing department). But my eyes always notice a difference when they look at razor-sharp 1080p phones like the One.
The iPhone 5s' big selling feature is its Touch ID fingerprint sensor. You can use your print to unlock your passcode-protected phone, as well as authorize iTunes and App Store purchases. Unlike the swipe-based scanners on rivals like the Galaxy S5 and HTC One Max, the iPhone's lets you simply rest your finger on the home button.
The One's Motion Launch is a handy set of sensor-based shortcuts offering such time-savers as swiping or tapping on your sleeping One's screen to jump to your lock screen or home screen, or pressing a volume button while you're holding the phone in landscape to launch its camera. You can even answer a phone call just by lifting the M8 to your ear.
The iPhone has solid battery life, but, in our video streaming test, the One M8 lasted 49 percent longer. It's another big strength for HTC's gorgeous powerhouse of a phone.
Extreme Power Saving Mode
A future software update is going to give the One M8 a feature similar to the one Samsung packed into the Galaxy S5. If your battery dips down too low, you can jump into Extreme Power Saving Mode, which desaturates the screen and limits background processes. You'll supposedly be able to squeeze hours of extra uptime out of just a small amount of juice.
The One's front-facing BoomSound speakers are the best in the business. Unless you like to throw dance parties with your smartphone pumping out tunes, this probably isn't something you'll want to base your decision on. But it is a nice bonus, if you're already leaning toward the One.
The iPhone's camera wins on megapixels, but the One's "UltraPixels" (larger pixels) help it to take brighter and more colorful shots under low lighting.
The One's second rear camera senses depth, so you can add a bokeh (blurred background) effect to portraits and other shots. The effect is a little hit-or-miss in the One, but when you get it just right, it can add an extra spark to your smartphone photography.
Dual LED flash
Both phones have dual-LED flashes, to help make your flash photography look a little bit less like ... well, flash photography. Expect more even lighting and richer colors than typical smartphone flashes will give you.
Both phones also let you capture videos in slow-motion, which is always a fun feature if you're filming children, pets, or other fast-moving creatures.
The iPhone caps out at a 64 GB option that HTC doesn't offer this year, but the One M8 also supplements that with a micro SD card slot.
On paper, the One's Snapdragon 801 looks to dominate. But the iPhone's 64-bit A7 system-on-a-chip is zippier than its dual core processor and 1.3 GHz clock speed might suggest. The bottom line is that both phones are very fast, and performance shouldn't be a concern in either case.
The One M8 does double the iPhone's 1 GB of RAM.
We won't go into the played-out iOS vs. Android debate here, but both phones do give you the latest versions of their respective operating systems. The One's Android 4.4 KitKat has HTC's custom UI, Sense 6, sitting on top of Google's core OS.
If Apple releases its next iPhone at about the same time this year, then we're now halfway towards the 5s' follow-up. The One just launched last week.
Typical off-contract pricing is tied up at US$650. If you live in the US and are buying with a new two-year contract, then you'll probably be throwing down $200 for either handset.