Interface and functionality

No hogwash. Both devices offer a minimalist interface that is all about speed.

Manufacturer-made Android skins are nothing new, but when it comes to it, we've always appreciated HTC's light touch. Its Sense UI is minimal, straightforward, and down to the point, and that didn't change with the transition to the Android 5.0.2 Lollipop-based Sense 7.0, which debuted with the One M9. It's not in any way a departure from what we've come to expect from HTC's layout, but instead builds upon it and adds a few noteworthy features.

For starters, the Home screen of the M9 now features a dynamic apps folder that will automatically switch its contents depending on whether you're working or at home. HTC's dedicated BlinkFeed pane will now also serve lunch recommendations when the time is right, and even push them to your lock screen. Perhaps most notably, however, HTC is adding comprehensive support for theming, so you have a wide array of choices available to you, not to mention that you can even create a theme yourself and use it after.

But there's an upside to vanilla Android on the Nexus 6, and its name is speed. Speed in terms of both navigational performance and timely updates to the latest firmware. Indeed, unlike manufacturers who need months to squash out bugs from new builds, the Nexus 6 is among the very first devices on the planet to get the new stuff. For some, that last part is all there is to talk about when choosing a device, and we get it.

Processor and memory

Benchmarks are unanimous – the One M9 packs the bigger guns.

Neither HTC nor Google held back when it was time to choose the type of hardware that will power their respective flagship. As is to be expected, however, due to being released more recently, the One M9 packs superior silicon.

We're talking about the 64-bit, octa-core Snapdragon 810 – Qualcomm's latest and hottest (literally, too). The chip puts together two clusters of four cores (ARM Cortex A57 and A53, respectively) in a big.LITTLE config, and pairs them with potent Adreno 430 graphics and 3GB of LPDDR4 RAM. In comparison, the Nexus 6 makes use of the Qualcomm's previous hard-hitter, the quad-core Snapdragon 805 with Krait 450 CPUs and an Adreno 420 GPU. Google's phablet also touts 3 gigs of RAM, but is using slower and less power-efficient LPDDR3 chips, again giving the edge to the One M9.

Objectively, it's hard arguing that the One M9 packs the bigger guns and synthetic benchmarks reflect that. However, it should be pointed out that virtually no task that can be thrown at the Nexus 6 will ever make it struggle, and that is likely to be the case for many months to come.

In terms of storage, the Nexus 6 has a hand over the M9, as it can be bought in 32GB and 64GB flavors, while the latter is limited to the smaller option only. On the other hand, HTC's handset does offer a microSD card slot, so you can expand beyond that easily, and more cheaply.

AnTuTu Higher is better
HTC One M9 56896
Google Nexus 6 49480
Vellamo Metal Higher is better
HTC One M9 2218
Google Nexus 6 2731
Vellamo Browser Higher is better
HTC One M9 4195
Google Nexus 6 3644
Sunspider Lower is better
HTC One M9 721.3
Google Nexus 6 797.6
GFXBench T-Rex HD on-screen Higher is better
HTC One M9 49
Google Nexus 6 27.9
GFXBench Manhattan 3.1 on-screen Higher is better
HTC One M9 24
Google Nexus 6 12
Basemark OS II Higher is better
HTC One M9 1413
Google Nexus 6 1470
Geekbench 3 single-core Higher is better
HTC One M9 1209
Google Nexus 6 1062
Geekbench 3 multi-core Higher is better
HTC One M9 3738
Google Nexus 6 3295

Internet and connectivity

Fat connectivity stacks with both these flagships.

Like other manufacturers as of late, HTC has ditched its own 'Internet' browser app and has now moved to Google's Chrome full-time, same as the Nexus 6. With powerful chipsets driving both devices, Chrome ensures top notch, lag-free experience that leaves little to desire. Extra features, however, aren't its strongest suite, so some of you might want to consider picking an alternative off the Play Store.

As for the connectivity stack, again – neither device disappoints. We've got LTE support over a comfortable number of bands with both devices, Bluetooth 4.1, 5GHz Wi-Fi, NFC, support for TV-out technologies like MHL and SlimPort (Nexus 6 only), and even an infrared blaster for control over home electronics with the One M9.

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