The HTC One impressed us with its elegant aluminum design and amazing stereo speakers when it launched nearly half a year ago, but a lot of time has passed since then and it's starting to show its age. The Nexus 5 on the other hand has just arrived fresh with the latest Android 4.4 KitKat treat and the ambition to finally bring a good camera to the Nexus series. Moreover, all of that in an irresistible price much lower than that of the HTC One.

Putting the HTC One against the Nexus 5 is a battle of old versus new, and in technology even a relatively small time frame like just half a year can make a huge difference. Is this the case this time as well and does the Nexus 5 live up to all the hype, or has its lower price taken its toll?

We will be comparing HTC's UltraPixel camera against the new optical image stabilized shooter on the Nexus 5, the brilliant 4.7” display on the One against the 5 incher on the Nexus 5, the aluminum unibody frame against the soft touch plastic of the Nexus 5, Android with HTC Sense versus pure KitKat, and of course look under the hood to find which one is more powerful.

After all of this, we should finally be able to tell which one is the device to get right now. Let's start right away.


The Nexus 5 has a modest, understated design. An edgy rectangular block with soft touch plastic on the back and a giant Nexus sign on its back, it feels utilitarian rather than inspiring. The HTC One is nearly identical in size, but a complete opposite in design. A unibody aluminum frame with a curved back makes it better fit in your hand despite it being a bit thicker. The One also does not pick up fingerprints, while just after a short while with the Nexus 5 its back was a complete smudgy mess. Both devices are not excruciatingly large, but using them single-handedly is quite a stretch.

The two feature large and clicky physical buttons, but while the Nexus 5 places them in easy to reach places (volume rocker on the right and lock key on the left), on the HTC One the lock key is way out of reach at the top. That same lock key however doubles in function on the One with an infrared blaster built-in. This allows you to use your phone as a TV remote, a function the Nexus 5 does not have.

Google Nexus 5

Google Nexus 5


5.43 x 2.72 x 0.34 inches

137.84 x 69.17 x 8.59 mm


4.59 oz (130 g)




5.41 x 2.69 x 0.37 inches

137.4 x 68.2 x 9.3 mm


5.04 oz (143 g)

Google Nexus 5

Google Nexus 5


5.43 x 2.72 x 0.34 inches

137.84 x 69.17 x 8.59 mm


4.59 oz (130 g)




5.41 x 2.69 x 0.37 inches

137.4 x 68.2 x 9.3 mm


5.04 oz (143 g)

To see the phones in real size or compare them with other models, visit our Visual Phone Size Comparison page


The Nexus 5 and the HTC One feature two of the best displays on the market, but we like the screen on the HTC One a bit better. The Nexus 5 has a slightly larger, 4.95-inch display, while the One features a 4.7” screen.

However, the on-screen controls of the Nexus 5 take up some of the space, while HTC uses capacitive control buttons below the screen, so in terms of actual usable screen space, we’d say the two are nearly the same.

Both are extremely sharp with resolutions of 1080 x 1920 pixels, but the One features more natural, vivid colors. We'd say the Nexus 5 has a slight yellowish tint and looks very slightly washed out.

The technology on both is LCD - the Nexus 5 uses an in-cell touch LCD display and the One boasts a Super LCD3. Viewing angles are great on both devices as colors don’t wash out even when you view them at an angle.

Google Nexus 5 360-Degrees View

HTC One 360-Degrees View



1. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

Nexus 5 makes the the HTC One look bad in every single category (besides build quality).

2. zuckerboy

Posts: 898; Member since: Dec 22, 2011

htc one nearly 1 year old. I think this is normal...

3. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

8 months old. Just a simple observation that's all.

6. Shatter

Posts: 2036; Member since: May 29, 2013

Yes saying 1 year old is wrong because in 4 months something better than the s800 will be out.

14. zuckerboy

Posts: 898; Member since: Dec 22, 2011


24. chocolaking

Posts: 495; Member since: May 22, 2012

PA says "the One features more natural, vivid colors. We'd say the Nexus 5 has a slight yellowish tint and looks very slightly washed out." Then I saw the battery life and the audio output comparison graph. Then PA says "Nexus, a device that is superior in almost every way" What a brilliant comparison article and conclusion. [applaus...] :)

5. Synack

Posts: 688; Member since: Jul 05, 2011

The HTC One is surprisingly almost as good as the N5 for being 8 months old. Although the N5 price tag is nothing.

7. FiddyPence

Posts: 21; Member since: Aug 08, 2012

lol. The conclusion doesnt match the comparison. The One won ,Build, Screen,Sound,Battery,Interface/Apps(Sense) and only lost benchmarks and camera which is debatable as the One is still king in low light and as Reviewer says f the lag on the N5 means you will probably miss photo's in real life use. N5 is amazing for the price but not better than the One.

10. metalspy101

Posts: 105; Member since: Dec 15, 2012

you must be referring to marques brownlee review, where he points out the camera software lacking on camera speed/

30. niterain

Posts: 1; Member since: Oct 10, 2014

Yeah, I had to read the conclusion second time. Perhaps the price tag was a deciding factor. It rarely matters when making the decision to purchase a phone. Still loving my HTC.

13. AliNSiddiqui

Posts: 382; Member since: Sep 19, 2012

What about speakers. display, photography in low light, IR, larger storage, wide front facing camera and battery? HTC One may not have all the bells and whistles of Snapdragon 800 and KitKat (for 30 days only btw which isn't a long time if they succeed), but, for my usage, it is a much better fit than the Nexus 5. HTC did a really good job here and all I hope for their next flagship is that they focus a lot more on the camera.

16. amiroo

Posts: 269; Member since: Sep 03, 2012

sorry look bad in which part do u mean? in mainly part one beats nexus 5. -build quality and designe -bit better screen -far better in sound / speaker and call quality -better night shot camera and video recording -better space -better battary !!?? maybe u make a mistake about names of both phone;-) before that one porchased the best phone 2013 in to many site liketeck-radar / pocket-lint / pcadvisor / t3 gadget award / phonedog and .....

20. Muayyad

Posts: 240; Member since: Oct 05, 2012

Just because SD800?

23. Eclectech

Posts: 360; Member since: May 01, 2013

Did you read the article? The HTC One edged the Nexus 5 out in a few of those categories (e.g. - battery life, display, build quality)

26. mqmorasch

Posts: 12; Member since: Nov 18, 2013

Did you actually READ the review?

4. medicci37

Posts: 1361; Member since: Nov 19, 2011

Well I'm sticking with my HTC 1. First Android phone I had that I didn't want 2 throw in the trash

8. generalAladeen06

Posts: 11; Member since: Oct 04, 2012

I think Nexus 5 is the best for its price tag ! but I prefer an aluminium build with better battery and multimedia experiece plus I think htc sense looks more clean than the stock UI , but that is just my opinion . Besides , Htc one still still one of the best phones out there . Can't wait for the 4.4 update .

9. generalAladeen06

Posts: 11; Member since: Oct 04, 2012


15. zuckerboy

Posts: 898; Member since: Dec 22, 2011

heil to grammar nazi

11. metalspy101

Posts: 105; Member since: Dec 15, 2012

google needs a premium phone with all the bells and whistles..

12. flynfree

Posts: 374; Member since: Jun 09, 2013

To know that my HTC One have fm radio, 32 gig of internal memory, front stereo speakers....I'm good with it! Gnote 3 is next in line.

17. .KRATOS.

Posts: 444; Member since: Mar 15, 2013

Could you jst stop aiming at the cheap price of the nexus 5 cz its jst cheap on some specific countries not all, it'll cast more than 600$ in my country n many countries too.

18. gallitoking

Posts: 4721; Member since: May 17, 2011

as much as I am a fan of pure Android I go with HTC here.. looks kill and HTC is One georgeous device... and goes better with my personality... put a bigger battery and is a coin flip on my iphone

19. szaboagoston

Posts: 43; Member since: Nov 28, 2012

Well, I haven't tried the N5 yet, but the HTC One is a great phone. Here in Denmark it has been running Android 4.3 for weeks, and 4.4. was promised within a month, if I remember correctly. Then we have the price: here the N5 will be around 4000 crowns, and the One is 4200, so no big difference there. The Ones build is absolutely stunning compared to the N5, and I'm not convinced that the camera is not better. If you take boomsound and the same battery capacity into consideration, I really don't think the N5 wins. Not mentioning that you can convert the HTC One into a google play edition (if you like hacking a little) and get the 4.4. update quick. The only thing clearly in favor of the N5 is the Snapdragon 800, but just 8 months ago everyone was praising the 600 the same way.

21. Professor

Posts: 223; Member since: Aug 02, 2013

I stop reading when I read " in terms of actual usable screen space, we’d say the two are nearly the same." Victor H. must be blind, drunk, or in something. Maybe if he looks at a video in both phones at the same time and compares them he can see the difference in screen size...

22. DimitriTech unregistered

where can i get the wallpaper on the this htc one for my nexus 5?

25. urbanism

Posts: 15; Member since: Sep 10, 2013

the conclusion you've come to is baffling. is it impossible for you here at phonearena to acknowledge that slightly older phones aren't always considered inferior? You yourself gave the One a considerable number of advantages, yet in the end it's not good enough because it's been out less than a year? I implore you to stop pandering to fanboys and actually give a fair comparison for once.

27. mqmorasch

Posts: 12; Member since: Nov 18, 2013

The conclusion and the actual review never met in the arena. This is the first review I have read that said the Nexus 5 call quality was anything other than muffled and hissing on speaker. The conclusion dealt with comparing the Nexus 5 improvements over the Nexus 4 and not the HTC One. This was poorly written and executed as a true head to head to the two phones on display in the article. Realistically the people that care about the ROM will be rooting and adding custom ROMs anyway and the CPU speed difference will only be noticeable to someone gaming on the device. The Nexus 5 right now is only beating the iPhone and Nexus 4(other than price point for everyone else).

28. mqmorasch

Posts: 12; Member since: Nov 18, 2013

Two best phones for this holiday season are the LG G2 and still HTC One, both also have amazing carrier pricing going on. Sammy is having upgrade issues thanks to their bloatware and fat memory hogging touch wiz, along with a higher PP.

29. jeromed

Posts: 1; Member since: Nov 26, 2013

i love my htc one looks great ,£200 more to buy than the nexus 5 . please don't put build quality down when describing the one as they are p_ss poorly put together even by htc own admission they have had big problems ,now i love the phone screen the beautifully milled body the lovely drilled top and bottom speaker grills but no quality control on these phones its a crap shoot if you get a good one. ee have replaced 4 for me now and still waiting to get one were the screen does not sit higher than the speaker grills or visa versa ,the holes on one looked loike they had been cut out with a craft knife all of these phones have been inspected by ee and they have agreed manufacturing faults with every one. this is my fifth htc phone (desire,sensation,wildfire for the little lady)never ever had probs before hope i get a good one. the photos do have a purple ting and very grainy if you try to enlarge power but is fiddley so is volume button the screen and sound quality are just awsome i like the blink feed and love the camera apps zoe ,hdr and slow mo loads of settings plus google now getting so much better. dont put build quality down as a plus put materials used are

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