Google Nexus 5 vs HTC One
Google uses an 8-megapixel optical image stabilized camera in an attempt to prove a Nexus phone can serve as a good camera, while HTC made a bold bet with a 4-megapixel camera with larger pixels.
Let's start with the camera experience. Firing up the camera app is definitely quicker on the HTC One whereas the Nexus 5 takes a bit more to start. Focusing and actually capturing an image is also a much speedier, almost instant process on the HTC One. The Nexus 5 in comparison has a particularly lazy auto-focus and the whole shooting process is slowed down by a tedious animation after the shot. All this adds up to make shot-to-shot time excruciatingly long on the Nexus 5.
The actual camera apps could not have been more different. The HTC One has large separate buttons for image still and video recording so you can start shooting right away, while the Nexus 5 only features a single button so if you’re in image still mode, you have to switch to video and only then shoot. We definitely prefer the One’s camera app in that regard as you won’t miss any opportunity to take a shot or capture a video. The HTC One also allows you to select 60fps recording (at 720p resolution) and slow motion videos, two things the Nexus 5 lacks. The HTC One also has more settings like ISO, face detection, a grid and others to manually adjust or enable, while the Nexus 5 lacks a lot of these finer settings in the stock camera app.
When it comes to the actual still image quality, we like the Nexus 5 much better. It’s not a perfect camera, but it does very well all around. The HTC One suffers from constant and thorough blue-ishness in images whereas the Nexus 5 has generally more natural colors and images on it look sharper, with lots of detail compared to the mediocre one on the One.
Indoors, the Nexus 5 handles itself better keeping noise in check and managing to get sharper images, while the HTC One struggles. The built in LED flash on the Nexus 5 lights up the scene much better, while the One's flash feels underpowered and cannot lighten even relatively close objects.
Both devices are also capable of shooting panoramas (the Nexus 5 can also shoot 360-degree shots) and the experience is relatively quick and hassle free. The panoramic images actually turn out better on the HTC One – although both are mediocre, the Nexus 5 has very low resolution and pale, washed out look.
There is a hugely important new setting in the Nexus 5 that improves the dynamic range. It’s HDR+. When you select it, the phone fires multiple shots and combines them into one. Usually HDR shooting is slow and often results in blurry/ghost images, but the Nexus 5 is a huge improvement as its HDR+ mode works quickly and shots are very good. Try it out - it’s so good you might leave HDR+ as the default shooting mode.
Both devices record video at up to 1080p at 30 frames per second. Since the two handsets feature optical image stabilization the recordings turn out very stable. Both devices seem to fare a bit better in capturing video rather than stills. Still, both have trouble locking focus, even in well lit conditions. The Nexus 5 has the upper hand with warmer and more pleasing colors, as well as more details in video, but the HTC One stands out with very clean sound recording whereas the Nexus picks up wind noise and is not all that clean. At night, when light gets extremely low, the HTC One captures more light and records actually usable footage, while the Nexus 5 recordings are too dark.
The HTC One features a 2-megapixel front facing whereas the Nexus 5 has a 1.3-megapixel front shooter. The HTC One is the more practical front shooter with a much wider field of view meaning that a lot more content ends up in the shot. At an arm’s length, the Nexus 5 will only capture your face and shoulders while the HTC One can easily fit more of you and your surroundings. The pure quality of the image is not great (it’s a low-res front camera after all) on both, but still better on the Nexus 5 that manages to keep noise in check and colors more or less accurate. The HTC One this time has the advantage of more fine detail, but images on it often turn a bit washed out.
Both come with a basic built-in media players that chew through most popular video formats with ease, except for Dis hardly any big downside - a quick trip to the Play Store and you can get a third-party app like the free MX Player that enables 1080p video playback for all common formats with no slowdown.
The Google Play Music app on the Nexus 5 now takes up your whole lockscreen with album art and is a pretty experience, but apart from that it is the same as on the One. We prefer listening to music on the HTC One, though. Its dual stereo speakers are powerful and very clean adding even some depth to sound and generally a notch above any other competing smartphone. There is a big difference between the tinny and quiet audio from the single speaker on the Nexus 5 and the loud and clear One. The HTC One also comes bundled with decent in-ear headphones, while the Nexus 5 does not include any headset in the box.
Headphones output power (Volts)
Higher is better
Loudspeaker loudness (dB)
Higher is better
Google Nexus 5 vs HTC One - Camera and Multimedia