Sony Xperia Z3 vs HTC One (M8): first look


The Sony Xperia Z3 has just gone official, and it ups the ante in terms of style with a curved edge all around, while retaining the great-looking glass on the front and back. But even with such a great design, the Xperia Z3 is not alone in the market of premium and good-looking Android devices. The first rival phone that comes to mind is the HTC One (M8). HTC’s creation has established a standard in the Android market with its good looks and unibody aluminum styling.

However, the newer Xperia Z3 should have an advantage in terms of pure silicon power, and it’s got the largest camera sensor of any Android smartphone. How does that compare against the HTC One (M8), and which is the better device? Let’s find out.

Design


Speaking of design, both Sony and HTC are among the most admired companies in the Android market. The reason is simple: they both make some of the best looking gadgets: the Xperia Z3 continues on the tradition of the Z series with glass body, but this time around it adds rounded edges, while the HTC One (M8) is already there with its curvy forms on the back and the sides. At this point, it’s hard to say which of the two is better - it all depends on your own personal preference.

In terms of size, the Xperia Z3 is the one with both the slightly larger display, and the slightly larger body. The One (M8), on the other hand, is narrower and easier to handle, plus its curves make it fit a bit more comfortably.

Display


Both handsets feature similarly large displays: the Xperia Z3 has the slightly larger 5.2-inch one, while the M8 features a 5-inch, and both feature a 1080 x 1920-pixel resolution. The difference in resolution is really minute: 424 ppi on the Z3 versus 441 ppi on the M8, a level of variance that is practically non-distinguishable as both look more than sufficiently sharp.

Both phones use LCD displays, and while we are yet to test the one on the Xperia Z3 in greater detail, it’s obvious that it has vibrant and pleasing colors. The HTC One (M8) has already proved to be one of the best out there - not perfectly color-accurate, but with vibrant, impressive tones.

Interface


Both the Xperia Z3 and One (M8) come with Android 4.4 KitKat on board, but the skins they use are very different. The Xperia Z3 comes with a slightly polished Timescape UI with plentiful, but short and snappy animations, and with icons that look stylish without being over the top cartoonish. The One (M8) is similar in the mature looks of the Sense skin. Both, however, are not bloated with too many additional apps like the skins from, say, Samsung and LG.

What struck us also is that both skins are very snappy, working without a hiccup (something you can’t say for, say, Samsung).

Processor and Memory


The rule of thumb for silicon is ‘the newer, the better’. Of course, that’s exactly the case with the Xperia Z3 and One (M8). The Z3 comes equipped with the Snapdragon 801 MSM8974AC running at up to 2.5GHz, while the M8 features a different variation of the 801 with a 2.3GHz processor. RAM is also a bit more on the Z3 - 3GB for it versus 2 gigs on the M8, and this could make some difference for heavy multi-taskers.

The one area where HTC has a clear advantage, though, is the amount of internal storage available: a plentiful 32GB on the One (M8) versus just 16 gigs on the Sony handset. Both support memory expansion via microSD and that’s a plus.

Camera


The Xperia Z3 has been the champion of Android camera sensors for a long while - its 1/2.3” sensor is the largest in the market. It also takes excellent pictures, and the Xperia Z3 features it again, after the Xperia Z1 started that tradition. This time around, Sony claims that in low-light situations the camera is capable of capturing shots at up to 12,800 ISO, more than any other smartphone camera. Plus, it’s fixed all bugs around 4K video recording crashing.

The HTC One (M8) has a very humble 4-megapixel (or UltraPixel, if you prefer) shooter with a smaller 1/3" sensor that simply cannot match the Sony one in terms of level of detail. Images it captures are clearly sub-par when compared to those from the Z3, and even the neat background-blurring effects from the secondary rear camera don’t help much (the Z3 has got a similar trick up its sleeve).

For selfies, we have a whopping 5-megapixel high-res camera on the M8, while the Xperia Z3 has decided to turn a blind eye towards the trend and continues shipping with a 2.2-megapixel front shooter.

Expectations


With all this in mind, it’s time for a wrap-up: which one is the better phone, the new Xperia Z3 or the oldie and goodie HTC One (M8)? Design boils down to personal preference as both are very good looking, and performance is also not hugely apart, plus the screens are similar. However, camera junkies would definitely turn out much happier with the more detailed and powerful 20-megapixel camera on the Xperia Z3.


Related phones

Xperia Z3
  • Display 5.2 inches 1920 x 1080 pixels
  • Camera 20.7 MP (Single camera) 2.2 MP front
  • Hardware Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 3GB RAM
  • Storage 16GB, microSDXC
  • Battery 3100 mAh
  • OS Android 6.0 Marshmallow
One (M8)
  • Display 5.0 inches 1920 x 1080 pixels
  • Camera 4 MP (Dual camera) 5 MP front
  • Hardware Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 2GB RAM
  • Storage 32GB, microSDXC
  • Battery 2600 mAh
  • OS Android 6.0 Marshmallow HTC Sense UI

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