HTC One M9 vs Apple iPhone 6



Apple and HTC have something intimately in common with one another, they seriously know how to design some gorgeous looking phones. When we first saw the iPhone 6 last fall, we were quick to draw comparisons to the HTC One M8 – mainly because they’re constructed mostly out of metal, and have similar design characteristics. Between them, though, it was the iPhone 6 that garnered more attention and adulation, both from consumers and critics alike, which is made more poignant by the amount of units Apple was able to ship out and sell of its prized phone.

For HTC, they’ve had the time to analyze some of the M8’s opportunities and delivered a more refined product in its successor – the HTC One M9. Having seen what Apple has done with the iPhone 6, one can presume that the M9 will at least one-up its rival in some aspects, but does it really?


The M9 feels more ergonomic in the hand, but the iPhone 6 is more compact. However, they’re premium in every way!

Hands down, these are two meticulously designed phones that radiate with star power! There’s a lot to like between the two flagships here in this comparison, as they both embody the characteristics we want to find in flagship devices. For one, they boast metal bodies that feel solid with their constructions – while also meeting the criteria in being premium phones.

HTC made some minor tweaks to the M9’s design, evident mostly by its jewelry grade dual-tone finish – one that features a pleasant, contrasting colored bezel around its sides. Add in the fact that the new finish makes it grippier, and that there’s a subtle arch to its construction, it clearly has more of an ergonomic feel in the hand. To be fair, however, we have to give the iPhone 6 credit for its skinnier chassis, lightweight feel, and overall compact size. Size, that’s what arguably is at stake the most here when looking at their respective designs.

HTC One M9

5.69 x 2.74 x 0.38 inches

144.6 x 69.7 x 9.61 mm


5.54 oz (157 g)

Apple iPhone 6

5.44 x 2.64 x 0.27 inches

138.1 x 67 x 6.9 mm


4.55 oz (129 g)

HTC One M9

5.69 x 2.74 x 0.38 inches

144.6 x 69.7 x 9.61 mm


5.54 oz (157 g)

Apple iPhone 6

5.44 x 2.64 x 0.27 inches

138.1 x 67 x 6.9 mm


4.55 oz (129 g)

See the full HTC One M9 vs Apple iPhone 6 size comparison or compare them to other phones using our Size Comparison tool.


Pixel density is higher with the M9’s screen, but the iPhone 6 Retina Display is more color accurate and brighter.

If we’re to look at specs alone, one would probably be more impressed by the M9’s screen – a manageably sized 5-inch 1080 x 1920 S-LCD 3 display. In comparing it to the iPhone 6’s Retina Display, a 4.7-inch 750 x 1334 IPS-LCD based panel, the M9 presents itself with the higher pixel density count of 441 ppi. On paper, it’s undoubtedly a check-mark for the M9, but in practical usage, it’s really tough to distinguish this “superior” quality, as the detail and clarity of the two displays are tough to differentiate from a normal viewing distance – leaving us to conclude that they’re both sufficiently sharp.

However, as we take a closer dive into other characteristics of their displays, it becomes apparent that it’s the iPhone 6 that’s bearing the higher quality panel. First and foremost, it shines stronger at close to 600 nits – easily eclipsing the 508 nit brightness of the M9. In addition, the iPhone 6’s 7200K color temperature is better than the 8100K value of the M9, and it’s also more color accurate on the whole too.

Interface and Functionality

Simplicity is the core foundation of both software experiences, but Sense 7.0 has an unprecedented level of personalization.

Comparing the experience of Android and iOS isn’t new for us, but with this particular comparison, we have to give HTC the nods for having a more complete and engaging experience. Appeasing us both with its visual presentation and function, we find HTC Sense 7.0 to be the more flexible piece of software, especially when it comes to customization. We do appreciate the utmost simplicity and reliability of Apple’s interface, but when it comes to personalization, there's simply more you can do with Sense 7.0. Nearly everything with the interface can be customized, including the usual Android menu buttons – plus, it’s wonderful that there’s a centralized hub where additional themes can be downloaded.

When it comes to function, it’s again the M9 providing us with more tools and features that make it more versatile for a variety of occasions. Whereas Apple takes a minimalist approach in this particular area, HTC goes a step above. Specifically, you have things like the M9’s various Motion Launch gestures, the new HTC Sense Home widget, and of course being intertwined with all of Google’s services – for the power user, these features may prove to be of value.

Even though it might seem as though the M9 is bubbling with an arsenal of features, they’re not redundant ones that sometimes paint other customized Android experiences as being too overbearing with their feature sets. On the flip side, however, we also can’t complain about how simple and straightforward iOS continues to be in the space, working reliably at blazing fast speeds.

Processor and Memory

Slowdown isn’t an issue here.

Slowdown or sluggishness isn’t a concern with either device, seeing that they scream at a fanatical pace with their performances. Graced with some of the best pieces of silicon under the hood, the M9 and iPhone 6 handle all sorts of tasks effortlessly – almost too perfectly to tell you the truth. For the HTC One M9, it’s powered by a 64-bit based octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 chip with a generous 3GB of RAM. In contrast, the iPhone 6’s 64-bit based dual-core Apple A8 processor with 1GB of RAM might not raise brows based on numbers alone, but don’t let that fool you because it’s a beast in itself.

When it comes to storage, we still absolutely love the idea about how we’re presented with expandable storage with the M9 thanks to its microSD slot, which supplements its 32GB or 64GB capacities. However, you’ll need to be picky in which model to pick with the iPhone 6 because it doesn’t have one – so you’re left to select either 16GB, 64GB, or 128GB.

SunspiderLower is better
HTC One M9721.3
Apple iPhone 6353.4
GFXBench T-Rex HD on-screenHigher is better
HTC One M949
Apple iPhone 648.9
GFXBench Manhattan 3.1 on-screenHigher is better
HTC One M924
Apple iPhone 625.8
Basemark OS IIHigher is better
HTC One M91413
Apple iPhone 61239
Geekbench 3 single-coreHigher is better
HTC One M91209
Apple iPhone 61630
Geekbench 3 multi-coreHigher is better
HTC One M93738
Apple iPhone 62927

Internet and Connectivity

There’s a lot to like when it comes to surfing the web, since they boast the necessary qualities in making the experience top-notch. From their speedy page loads, handling of complex sites, and buttery navigational controls, they both equally have the goods in making us happy in this area.

Available as global GSM smartphones, both the M9 and iPhone 6 have a decent amount of LTE band support – though, you get a smidgen more with the iPhone 6. Some will no doubt appreciate that, but it’s not really a deal breaker. On the surface, they share the same set of connectivity features, such as aGPS with Glonass, Bluetooth (4.1 with the M9, 4.0 for the iPhone 6), dual-band 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi, and NFC. However, the M9 gains a slight benefit with the inclusion of an IR blaster – enabling it to double as universal remote.


Details might be a smidgen more with the M9’s camera, but everything else goes to the iPhone 6’s exceptional iSight camera.

HTC’s opinions about going with the “UltraPixel” camera were always in vain, but as it turns out, it just couldn’t compete against the handful of other flagship devices with higher megapixel count cameras. As much as some would dictate that having a higher megapixel count camera would be more superior, the iPhone 6 seemingly squashes any notion of that with the results put out by its modest sized 8-megapixel iSight camera. Conversely, however, HTC has surprisingly ditched the “UltraPixel” camera for the rear snapper of its newest flagship – replacing it instead with a number crushing 20-megapixel camera.

Before diving straight into their respective qualities and how they stack up with one another, hardened shutterbugs will take fancy in how the M9 boasts a ton more shooting modes and manual controls than the iPhone 6 – there’s just no comparing the two. In particular, there’s a full manual mode in the M9 that allows us to alter the ISO, exposure value, white balance, shutter speed, and even focus, which are things we can’t modify with the iPhone 6.

Sure, there’s a disparity when we look at their cameras on paper, a 20-megapixel versus an 8-megapixel one, but don’t let the numbers deceive you for one bit. Generally speaking, we can’t find any fault using either smartphone when it comes to outdoor scenery – where there’s ample lighting around. That’s partly because they take some noteworthy shots that won’t disappoint. Analyzing the shots further, we realize that the M9 captures a little more detail than the iPhone 6, but it’s not by much. At the same time, colors appear cooler looking with the M9 – whereas it’s warmer with the iPhone 6.

Under low lighting, however, it becomes abundantly clear that the iPhone 6 is just the better handset. Unfortunately for the M9, it’s just a smudgy mess that’s underwhelming. For one, the iPhone 6’s snapshots are sharper looking – though, it’s significantly softer toned than its outdoor performance. One would presume that HDR would help to draw out for details for the M9, but that’s not the case because it becomes more prone to blurring in the process. In comparison, the iPhone 6’s HDR samples come out superior.

Taking a picLower is betterTaking an HDR pic(sec)Lower is betterCamSpeed scoreHigher is betterCamSpeed score with flashHigher is better
HTC One M93.75
No data
No data
No data
Apple iPhone 61.9

Comparing apples-to-apples, their 1080p video recording quality to be exact, it’s the iPhone 6 that continues to enthrall us more with its quality. Overall, there’s no comparing the two, as the quality from the iPhone 6 appears more defined, sharper, adept in quickly readjusting focus, and just plainly better in general. The point is made more obvious with their low lighting performance, since the M9’s performance is greatly diminished with its slower capture rate, duller looks, and heavier noise.

It’s really a shame for the M9, especially when the M8’s camera failed to give any sort of meaningful competition. Even though the camera in the M9 is for the most part an improvement over last year’s offering, it can’t come close to touching what the iPhone 6 is capable of doing – going to show that it’s always not all about the megapixels.


Dolby Audio Surround support gives the M9 a higher degree of audio fidelity.

Sense 7.0 adds more fun to the M9’s photo editing toolset, where the gallery offers us some cool and nifty artistic effects that we have fun using on our photos. In comparison, there are similar light editing tools available through the iPhone 6’s photo gallery, but it lacks the artistic touch that we see in some of the M9’s prismatic effects.

Looking into their music players, there’s more of a dynamic look and feel with the Sense music player. Our benchmark tests show that the iPhone 6’s internal speaker produces an output of 74.5 dB, which is slightly stronger than the M9’s mark of 72.8 dB, but it’s the dual and front-facing nature of the M9’s set, in conjunction with its Dolby Audio Surround support, that gives it a slightly pushier punch.

That realization is made more poignant when watching all sorts of video on the M9, as the Dolby Audio Surround kicks in to deliver greater depth with audio quality than the iPhone 6. Regardless, we can’t complain about using either device for the occasion – more so when they flawlessly play videos in the same manner.

Headphones output power(Volts)Higher is better
HTC One M91.022
Apple iPhone 61.017
Loudspeaker loudness(dB)Higher is better
HTC One M972.8
Apple iPhone 674.5

Call Quality

The iPhone 6 is good, but the M9 is nearly perfect.

This one is a no-brainer for us because the HTC One M9 is almost perfect when it comes to the call quality experience. Not only do voices sound more robust through the M9, both the earpiece and speakerphone, but there’s no problem having conversations in the noisiest of environments either. As for the iPhone 6, it’s able to offer a good experience too, but some distortion with the speakerphone doesn’t make it the better option over the M9.


Neither are really impressive, but technically it’s the M9 that’s longer lasting with its battery.

To tell you the truth, we’re confused at times regarding battery life with both phones. For starters, since they’re attached with that flagship status, we kind of expect some emphasis on their battery life performances. Wishful thinking on our past, as they’re both not as long-lasting as we’d want. Between them, it’s the M9 that pulls out slightly ahead in our benchmark test at 6 hours and 25 minutes – while the iPhone 6 falls shorter at 5 hours and 22 minutes. Sure, it’s a win for the M9, but we’re not really content with its mark.

Battery life(hours)Higher is better
HTC One M96h 25 min(Poor)
Apple iPhone 65h 22 min(Poor)
Full Charge(hours)Lower is better
HTC One M91h 46 min
Apple iPhone 62h 27 min


Apple has nothing to prove, especially to HTC. Already, the iPhone 6 is a highly coveted and sought out smartphone that’s always in demand by consumers all around – and there’s no surprise that it’s a big seller too! HTC knew what it had to do in order to keep pace and stay relevant against the iPhone 6, but even though it’s able to impress in some areas, namely its software experience, design, and call quality performance, the overall package doesn’t quite have the necessary firework to give demanding consumers the kind of spark to draw them in.

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