Introduction


Now that Android smartphone manufacturers no longer have to be so focused on achieving a good level of performance or building a portfolio or unique software features, they can start thinking more about design and build quality – characteristics that are typically overlooked in the Android world, save for a few exceptions. One such exception is HTC – a company that has traditionally paid close attention to what its phones actually look like, as well as what they are made of. The Taiwanese have recently been joined by Sony – under their new CEO, Kazuo Hirai, the Japanese company's mobile division is going through a small renaissance of sorts, which is evident if you look at their recent offerings, such as the Xperia Z, Z1 (Z1S) and the Z2.

Introduced in the second half of last year, the Sony Xperia Z1S (US version of the Z1) offers an impressive exterior design that sets it apart from most other Androids. True, it's fairly big in comparison to most of its rivals, but it also has that valuable quality of feeling like an exquisite product. Just like the brand new HTC One (M8). Oh boy, so many awesome handsets, so little time to play with them all!

Anyway, let us not drift away in our SoC-powered thoughts, because we now have two very high-end smartphones to compare. Yes, the Z1S is a late-last-year model, but it's still more than capable in each and every respect. And with it being quite a popular smartphone, it'll surely be interesting to see if the new One (M8) by HTC can outdo it!

Design

In this fight of metal versus glass, there can be not just one, but two winners.

This is one of the areas where both the HTC One (M8) and Sony Xperia Z1S hope to captivate consumers the most. Yes, they are both very ambitious in the design department, but interestingly, they have gone down two completely different paths, when it comes to appearance and construction.

First on the line is the One (M8), which mostly stays true to its predecessor's aluminum body. However, the M8 builds on it by featuring even more metal – gone are the polycarbonate (plastic) sides which the original One (M7) had. Now, the One (M8) sports a smoother, almost all metal exterior that is every bit as slippery as the M7, but has become even more exquisite-looking!

Meanwhile, the Sony Xperia Z1S utilizes tough glass surfaces for its front and back sides, all surrounded by a metal frame that adds some much needed contrast and an extra touch of class to the phone's overall appearance. Neither phone is especially comfortable to hold, but the Z1S seems to be a bit better in this respect, as its glass back tends to be less slippery. On the other hand, the One (M8) is a bit narrower, plus its rounded edges make it feel slightly more compact (5.76 x 2.78 x 0.37 inches (146.36 x 70.6 x 9.35 mm)), compared to its Sony rival (5.69 x 2.91 x 0.33 inches (144.4 x 73.9 x 8.5 mm)). As far as weight goes, both handsets are quite imposing, but the Sony Xperia Z1S' 6.00 oz (170 g) slightly outweigh the One (M8)'s 5.64 oz (160 g).

The Xperia Z1S features a well-made two-step camera shutter key, but overall, its hardware buttons aren't as clicky as those of the HTC One (M8). The original One had a problematic power key, but that issue has been fixed in the M8, as its power button is more protruding and easier to press. That said, the power/lock key of the Z1S is on the right hand side, which makes it easier to reach (the one of the M8 is on the top side). It's as if HTC was aware of this disadvantage, though, since the company has now implemented a double-tap-to-wake gesture, so reaching for the One (M8)'s power button is no longer mandatory, if you want to wake your phone up.

Taking a look at the visual peculiarities of the two devices, we can definitely point out the HTC One (M8)'s Duo Camera setup, as well as its plastic part on the top edge, which happens to hide the phone's IR blaster. In contrast, the Sony Xperia Z1S has a charging dock connector on its left hand side, but what we really like in this handset is the fact that it's IP 58 certified, adding a substantial degree of resistance against water and dust.


HTC One (M8)

HTC One (M8)

Dimensions

5.76 x 2.78 x 0.37 inches

146.36 x 70.6 x 9.35 mm

Weight

5.64 oz (160 g)

Sony Xperia Z1

Sony Xperia Z1

Dimensions

5.69 x 2.91 x 0.33 inches

144.4 x 73.9 x 8.5 mm

Weight

6.00 oz (170 g)

HTC One (M8)

HTC One (M8)

Dimensions

5.76 x 2.78 x 0.37 inches

146.36 x 70.6 x 9.35 mm

Weight

5.64 oz (160 g)

Sony Xperia Z1

Sony Xperia Z1

Dimensions

5.69 x 2.91 x 0.33 inches

144.4 x 73.9 x 8.5 mm

Weight

6.00 oz (170 g)

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



Display

With equal size and resolution, the One (M8)'s IPS LCD panel outclasses its opponent in terms of overall image quality.

At 5 inches and 1080x1920 pixels, the HTC One (M8) and the Sony Xperia Z1S have displays of equal size and resolution. Needless to say, both present us with more than enough viewing area, as well as perfectly fine resolution, thanks to the extremely high pixel density of 441 pixels per inch.

The devil is in the details, though, so if we take a look at our scientific display measurements, we can quickly notice that the HTC One (M8)'s IPS LCD screen is more accurate and balanced than the TN-LCD panel of the Sony Xperia Z1S. Maximum brightness is about the same for both handsets, at about 490 nits, but color temperature, gamma, and Delta E are all slightly better on the One (M8), suggesting an overall superior screen. The M8 can also get slightly dimmer than the Z1S, so it'll be just a bit more comfortable to view in the dark. Meanwhile, its viewing angles are also better, as the TN-LCD panels used by Sony on pre-Z1 Compact phones are notoriously poor in this respect.

Both displays have relatively large color gamut areas of 110% (compared to sRGB). This means they will be able to display some quite vivid and saturated colors, however, the One (M8)'s colors tend to appear significantly livelier more than those of the Z1S.




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29 Comments

2. rawbow

Posts: 428; Member since: Mar 30, 2012

Good Comparison! Apart from the cam, the m8 is awesome

25. Bioload25

Posts: 213; Member since: Nov 12, 2012

Religiously waiting for the Z2's review and comparison.. *-*

3. Dthawk

Posts: 42; Member since: Feb 11, 2014

I've held the Z1S and the first thing I noticed was the display is very poor. I'm hoping the Z2 is a big improvement.

27. pyradark

Posts: 895; Member since: Jun 10, 2012

Z2 is the best display yet

28. jellmoo

Posts: 2660; Member since: Oct 31, 2011

Er... I'm pretty sure the S5 just took that award.

4. LetsBeHonest

Posts: 1548; Member since: Jun 04, 2013

Is HTC's duo camera is just used only for some eye catching effects??? No combining pictures for larger images??? It should have been 8MP UP this year at least . I would like to see a comparison of HTC M8's front camera with the rear. besides the camera M8 is pretty awesome. love the sense ui and fast auto focus.

5. YodhaMali

Posts: 49; Member since: Jan 05, 2013

The new HTC One should be pitted against the Z2 for a fair and exciting game, not its predecessor Z1/Z1s.

11. Amir1 unregistered

wrong. M8 is comparable to Z1. Z2 would smash it.

19. true1984

Posts: 870; Member since: May 23, 2012

from what i've seen, only in the camera department

13. papss unregistered

I'm sure they will once Sony releases it to the mainstream.

7. limporgyuk

Posts: 376; Member since: Nov 06, 2013

Right, can everyone agree now that a large battery rating doesn't mean a long battery life.

8. StraightEdgeNexus

Posts: 3689; Member since: Feb 14, 2014

As i told htc fanboys m8 was going to fail in camera. Lol 4mp dont tell me MP dont matter. 4k recording needs atleast 8.3mp sensor.

15. engineer-1701d unregistered

do you have a $5000 tv with 4k viewing if not no reason and if you do then you should have a pro camera, it should have been a 8up but we dont know what it takes to make a 8up camera maybe they will release a 2nd phone later like note and the 8up will be on it samsung held the tech for its notes maybe htc is going to put 2 high end units out a year.

9. hboy857

Posts: 367; Member since: Jun 03, 2013

Z1's display and battery sucks.

10. tech2

Posts: 3487; Member since: Oct 26, 2012

Why was my comment removed Ray S. ? Why even run a comment section if you guys only promote your views in comment section and simply remove the rest ? #growapair

20. g2a5b0e unregistered

I'm guessing your comment was removed because the S5 is irrelevant to this article.

21. tech2

Posts: 3487; Member since: Oct 26, 2012

Well, I wrote it as a joke and even mentioned 'jk' = Just kiddin' in the end. It was just to poke some fun as Samsung articles are full of praises of Z2 in the comment section. Also, my comment also consisted remarks about the phones in this article too. Irrespective of that, as long as I am not breaking any rules my comment shouldn't be just deleted without even mentioning the reason.

12. greyhulk

Posts: 184; Member since: Jun 30, 2010

Actually, a lot of the M8 sample photos look better to me than the Z1s. I'm sure there's less detail if you zoom in, but zoomed out, they look perfectly fine.

14. papss unregistered

My m8 will be waiting at my house tonight when I get off.. I can't wait to put it thru its test and see what it does great at and what it doesn't.

16. engineer-1701d unregistered

did you see the water test it was in the sink under water for 2 hours no problems. they should market that and all the phones features.

17. papss unregistered

I have not seen that one.. I'll have to you tube it..

18. true1984

Posts: 870; Member since: May 23, 2012

me too!!!

22. av911 unregistered

Looks like a bezel fight.

23. cai4651

Posts: 26; Member since: Mar 09, 2014

Take a look at this.... Samsung Galaxy S5 has the ‘best performing smartphone display’ DisplayMate compared the display on Samsung’s latest flagship to existing phones, and found it to have the best overall display, especially in color accuracy, brightness levels, viewing angles, and contrast. have the most accurate colors for any smartphone or tablet when Cinema Mode is activated, and it was also the brightest display ever tested by DisplayMate, having the ability to reach 698 nits of brightness

24. threeline

Posts: 322; Member since: Sep 11, 2011

Why are they comparing these two? Not fair to Sony.

26. techperson211

Posts: 1280; Member since: Feb 27, 2014

We all know Z1 is the winner here. Functionality durability technology . Oh wait m8 won coz of viewing angle. Who the hell watches video sideways? Oh wait the boom sound. Seems to me sound system of Sony is far more superior than any front facing speakers. They did these comparison just to emphasize how far is the difference between Htc and Sony. Sony>Htc.

29. vamp07

Posts: 1; Member since: Apr 14, 2014

I own both phones on my account. I don't agree that the M8 is a hands down winner. I definitely prefer the look and feel of the Z1s. The screen of the M8 is better but the screen on the Z1s is crisp and bright as long as you are looking at it straight on and not at an angle which is how we all use our phones 99% of the time. The speakers on both are fine. Yes the M8 is preferable but I would not use either phone to listen to anything like music without headphones. As far as battery life, in real life use they are equivalent. I never feel like these automated battery tests ever give true to life results. I would actually say that the Z1s give me better battery life if I gave an opinion based on gut use but the M8 definitely does not outlast the Z1s at the level this review implies. In either case it is a great thorough review. In my case the the camera and feel/ruggedness of the Z1s wins. on all other matters I would rate the phones as very equivalent without any clear winner that would sway my choice of phone. Steven

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

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