Apple iPhone 6 vs HTC One (M8)
Once again, it is iPhone season in gadgetland, but we're pretty sure that you're aware of that already. After all, our feed has been pretty generous on iPhone 6 news ever since the new model got officially announced. And it is easy to figure out why – the new iPhone is now on sale, and people are eager to learn what makes it tick. In fact, we've already gone over that in detail in our iPhone 6 review.
But our work is not yet done. It is time to stack up Apple's smartphone against its rivals, and one of them is the HTC One (M8). Now, this might not seem like a fair fight – it has been seven months since the One (M8) was announced, while the iPhone 6 is a brand new model. But knowing what HTC's flagship has to offer, we're confident that it won't go down without a fight.
With “premium” written all over them, the iPhone 6 and HTC One (M8) stand in the same design league. Yet Apple's phone is lighter, thinner, and more compact.
Technically, the iPhone 6 and the HTC One (M8) are different on many levels, but when it comes to design, there's a number of striking similarities between the two. Firstly, they are both metal-made, as our fingers can instantly tell by the material's distinctive cold feel and smooth texture. Another trait making the two phones stand out is their immaculate, solid build quality – you pick up either one and you instantly know that you're handling a high-end product. Also, we can't help to notice the bands of plastic at the top and bottom sides of both phones' backs. These aren't there merely for decoration, you know. Antennas are placed along their lengths as plastic is better than metal at letting radio waves pass through. HTC has managed to blend these better with the design of the M8, however.
Size-wise, the iPhone 6 is taller and wider than any other iPhone before it, yet smaller and more compact than the HTC One (M8) (and most other flagship phones, for that matter). We find it neither too large, nor too small, and we can effortlessly navigate through its menus with a single thumb. Plus, the rounded sides and corners of the iPhone 6 make it fit nicely in the palm. As for its thickness, the new iPhone is just 0.27 inches (6.9 millimeters) thin, which is an impressive engineering achievement. The slim profile contributes to a stylish look, but it is somewhat spoiled by the protruding camera lens.
In comparison, the HTC One (M8) is slightly more uncomfortable to wield and carry in a pocket as it is larger than the iPhone 6 in every dimension. But we can't call its size a deal-breaking issue. The phone's proportions are easy to get used to, and its curved back allows for a nice, palm-filling grip. Besides, thanks to its tapered edges, the One (M8) creates the illusion of being slimmer than it actually is. It measures 0.37 inches (9.35 millimeters) at its thickest point, 35% more than the iPhone 6.
Unlike previous iPhone models, the iPhone 6 has its power/lock button placed on its right side. And that makes sense – having the key on the top would have made it harder to reach. In contrast, the lock key on the HTC One (M8) is on its top, which makes reaching it somewhat inconvenient. Also, we'd take the iPhone's elongated volume buttons over the M8's volume rocker any day. They're much easier to feel and respond with a satisfying click when pressed. And the iPhone's mute switch on the side is a much-appreciated little bonus.
Speaking of buttons, in the iPhone's signature home key is embedded the Touch ID fingerprint scanner, which is a very practical security feature. It allows one to use a fingerprint scan instead of a lock-screen PIN, for authorizing App Store purchases, and for confirming payments through Apple Pay – the company's upcoming payment service. The scanner itself is very accurate and takes no more than a second to read a fingerprint. As for the HTC One (M8), it doesn't have a fingerprint scanner, but it has a few awesome perks of its own. HTC's phone stands out with its pair of front-facing stereo speakers, which are much more suitable for listening to music than the iPhone's mono speaker. Also, unlike the iPhone 6, the M8 comes with an infra-red blaster, which enables the phone to be utilized as a universal remote control.
Size and resolution place the One (M8)'s display ahead of the iPhone 6's Retina HD panel. But the latter is brighter and with slightly better color accuracy.
The average size of smartphone screens has grown tremendously over the past few years, and Apple is following the trend. On the iPhone 6 we find a 4.7-inch display, which is bigger than those on iPhone models before it. But the HTC One (M8) has the upper hand with its even larger, 5-inch display. And having a larger screen has its benefits – typing on it is easier, there's more room for your apps, videos are more convenient to watch, and so on. Now, we can't deny that we're content with the iPhone's 4.7-incher as it is suitable for any every-day task. But on the other hand, having those extra 0.3 inches that the M8 delivers is an advantage to anyone who doesn't mind the extra bulk.
Display resolution is another factor that puts the HTC One (M8) ahead of the iPhone 6. With its 1080 by 1920-pixel display, the former packs a whopping 441 pixels per inch, while the latter has 326 pixels per inch on its 750 by 1334-pixel screen. Undeniably, there's a difference in how much detail these two screens can produce, and the advantage is in favor of the M8. But it is far from significant. In fact, neither screen exhibits visible pixilation from a typical viewing distance. You need to look carefully from up close in order to notice that the iPhone's screen isn't as detailed as the M8's.
But size and resolution aren't the only factors determining whether a screen is good or not. Display technology and its characteristics must be taken into account as well. The iPhone 6 has an IPS LCD panel while the M8 has a similar, Super LCD 3 display - both are known for their wide viewing angles and accurate color representation. Our display measurements tend to agree – both the iPhone 6 and the HTC One (M8) produce a color temperature of under 7200 kelvins, which is close to the reference point of 6500K. In plain words, both displays exhibit just a slightly cold tone, but this inaccuracy is barely noticeable with a naked eye. The Delta E figures are in favor of the iPhone 6's display. This means that it produces more balanced colors across their various intensities, although the M8's screen is sufficiently accurate as well..
In addition, we measured the brightness output of both display panels. The iPhone 6 produces an impressive 606 nits of brightness, which ensures its excellent outdoor visibility, especially when the screen comes with an even better polarizer than the previous iPhone model. With its 490 nits of brightness, the HTC One (M8) lags behind the iPhone, but it still falls within the acceptable norms. As for their minimum brightness, the iPhone 6 can go down to as little as 7 nits of brightness, whereas the M8's minimum level stands at 16 nits. Therefore, the iPhone will go easier on your eyes when it is used in the dark.