HTC One M9 vs Apple iPhone 6 Plus
The HTC One M9 and the Apple iPhone 6 Plus: both metal-made, stylish and sturdy phones that bring top-level silicon under the hood, but which one is better?
The HTC One M9 is the newest member on the Android flagship block and one of the first Android 5.0 Lollipop devices, sprinkled with some new Sense UI flavor, a brand new, 20-megapixel main camera, and running on Qualcomm’s hot new octa-core Snapdragon 810 system chip. The Apple iPhone 6 Plus, on the other hand, shows the best of iOS 8 on a phablet-sized device, and rather than going with the trendy high-megapixel cameras and octa-core chips, prefers to stick with a more conservative, 8-megapixel main camera and a dual-core Apple A8 SoC.
Less does not necessarily mean worse, though, so we take a look at the HTC One M9 versus the Apple iPhone 6 Plus with no prejudice to numbers, measuring the pros and cons of both devices to try and answer the ultimate question: which one should you buy? Read on.
The One M9 and iPhone 6 Plus are two of the most stylish phones available to buy right now. Both feature a sturdy aluminum construction: the One M9 stands out with its curved back and comfy fit, while the iPhone - with its thinness.
Both HTC and Apple take pride in the design of their flagship phones: the One M9 and the iPhone 6 Plus are both meticulously crafted and both use a high-quality metal construction that
makes them stand out. One has to admit that the competition has ramped up its design efforts, and we’re no longer drowning in a sea of me-too plastic phones, but the One M9 and iPhone 6 Plus still hold a special place for those who value stylish looks and a more premium feel.
The new One M9, in particular, inherits the looks of last year’s One M8 to a huge degree: the same curved unibody metal frame, the same ‘dual-chin’ design with BoomSound speakers on the top and bottom - the similarity is actually so big that some have called out the M9 for being boring for practically repeating a largely similar design for a third year in a row. There are slight changes: the lock key is no longer on top, but at the much easier to reach right hand side, the camera module occupies a larger and more dominant position on the back of the phone, and HTC has also added a dual-tone silver version with a splash of gold paint on the side, a change from the all-silver One M8.
The iPhone 6 Plus, on its part, is often quoted to have borrowed a bit of HTC’s thunder, as there is a very obvious similarity in the way two strips of plastic are located on the back of both phones to allow for better signal reception. The iPhone 6 Plus is also made from metal, but the similarities end here: finish is different, a smooth one on the iPhone versus a brushed metal styling on the HTC, and the iPhone is also noticeably thinner, with a flat rather than a curved body.
In terms of size, the phablet-sized iPhone 6 Plus is much larger than the more regularly proportioned One M9. The iPhone 6 Plus is taller (6.22” vs 5.69”), wider (3.06” vs 2.74”), but much thinner (7.1mm vs 9.61mm).
It’s also worth mentioning that the iPhone has a fingerprint scanner built right in the home key, while the One M9 only has virtual on-screen navigation buttons and no fingerprint reader.
Both phones come with fairly nice displays, but neither is perfectly calibrated. The One M9, however, is the one that suffers worse from colder whites and colors that are often off.
One of the biggest and most obvious differences between the One M9 and the iPhone 6 Plus is in their screens: the M9 features a 5-inch S-LCD 3 display with a resolution of 1080 x 1920 pixels, while the iPhone sports a much larger, 5.5-inch IPS LCD screen with the same resolution. The S-LCD (Super LCD) name denotes that there’s no gap between the protective glass and the display panel (the same applies for the iPhone 6 Plus, which uses an in-cell panel), while being a third generation of the technology signifies greater power efficiency and improved contrast.
Both screens are very sharp: the One M9's pixel density of 441ppi is slightly higher than the 401ppi on the iPhone 6 Plus, but in effect the difference is hardly noticeable at all, as everything looks crisp on both.
Color quality, however, differs quite a lot between the two: neither of the phones is perfectly color calibrated, but the One M9 has some very noticeable deviations, while the iPhone 6 Plus is much closer to the industry standards for good colors. In particular, the One M9’s display features very cold-looking (bluish) whites and the primary and secondary colors are way off the reference targets. Display quality is not bad per se, but this is not a color-accurate screen either, far from it. The iPhone 6 Plus, on its part, also features slightly colder whites (not as cold as on the M9 though), but colors are calibrated much closer to the sRGB standard.
The iPhone has also got the slightly brighter screen, which makes it a bit more comfortable to use outdoors, under direct sunlight.