HTC One (M8) vs Google Nexus 5
With competition in the flagship tier reaching unprecedented levels, it's more intriguing than ever to watch out for manufacturers' next moves. Looking at HTC and Google, however, it's obvious that neither is looking to deviate from their well-established values.
HTC, then, is sticking to a stylish aluminum unibody, with the now signature BoomSound speakers, and there's even a plot twist: Duo Camera. Like with the previous One, it's obvious that HTC has, once again, focused on crafting as beautiful a device as they possibly could.
In contrast, Google's subsidized Nexus 5 was brought into this world with a profoundly different goal set. It's not as fancy-looking as the One M8, and it doesn't need to. Instead, the $350 flagship is hell-bent on squeezing the most out of your buck, all the while providing an unmistakeable high-end experience.
Such obvious price disparity (the One (M8) is almost twice as costly) begs the question: does HTC's top shelfer offer enough of an edge as to dissuade buyers from picking the far more affordable Nexus 5? Let's find out.
The new HTC One is in a league of its own when talking looks. In comparison, the Nexus 5 is very ordinarily-looking.
It's quite advantageous for HTC that we get to start off with design, as that's undoubtedly one of its key selling points. There's no fight here, the One (M8) is, hands down, the more stylish choice between the two. By far. Simply put, the design-centric approach, along with the craftsmanship that went into the aluminum unibody of the One M8, is uncontested by essentially nobody, much less a “budget flagship” like the Nexus 5. The curved aluminum body, the BoomSound front-facing speakers, the sturdy buttons on the sides of the HTC, all add up to one seriously compelling and fairly ergonomic phone.
In contrast, the Nexus 5's outlines are far more conservative – there's nothing bespoke about the device. At the same time, the Nexus 5 isn't your typical-looking, cookie-cutter Android smartphone, either. First and foremost, it's a significantly more compact device than the One M8, even though they share the same screen diagonal. The Nexus 5 also has a few moves of its own when it comes to design – the overstated camera lens on the rubbery back and the ceramic buttons on the side both add character to what could have easily been a cheap job. What's more, said rubber back is just slightly curved towards the edges and that truly helps with ensuring a secure, comfortable grip.
Neither of these two gorgeous displays will leave you wanting, but the Nexus 5's has a slight edge.
Looking back at the original HTC One and its screen in particular, it should be noted that HTC has basically improved the One M8's display on pretty much every major front. Color temperature, at 7182K, is still colder than optimal, but blue-ish whites no longer get in your face as assertively. Color reproduction is very satisfactory, even if colors are a tad overblown (especially reds). Gamma, at 2.21 is excellent, and we're happy to report that with a peak brightness of 490 nits, the One M8's display is visible even in direct sunlight.
Despite the good work HTC has done, however, the Nexus 5 is standing its ground, steadfast. With a color temperature of 6786K, the Nexus 5 is still on the cold side, though it is noticeably closer to the optimal value of 6500K. Color reproduction is more conservative and correct, though it should be noted that reds are actually understated and lack the required saturation. The rest of the color spectrum, however, is very much on target. Moving on, gamma, at 2.05, isn't excellent, but that fortunately doesn't result in blacks being washed out. Lastly, the Nexus 5's peak brightness of 485 nits provides just as capable outdoors viewing experience.