HTC One vs Apple iPhone 5

Introduction and Design

The just launched HTC One is among the best looking Android devices out there. Apple’s iPhone on the other hand has set the gold standard in phone design in recent years. Two gorgeous devices, the HTC One and iPhone 5 differ drastically - big screen versus a small screen, Android versus iOS, so which one should you pick? Read on to find out.


The One is a crucial launch for HTC. The ailing company has put its best effort in designing its 2013 flagship. The HTC One is made out of two aluminum plates, with a slight curve on the back, fitting comfortably, almost organically in the hand. Its bigger that the iPhone but does not feels awkward to hold because of its size.

While the HTC One is 9.3mm thin, the iPhone 5 has a merely 7.6mm thin body, and while the One weighs 143 grams, the iPhone 5 tips the scales at the featherweight 112 grams.

You can tell HTC cared about every detail - the chamfered edges, the metallic volume rocker, the large centered camera eye, all of that feels well composed, solid.

The iPhone 5 also has a preference for aluminum. It is solid, well built with meticulous attention to detail. But it also looks tiny in comparison. Great for those who value single-handed use, and not so great for those who want a bigger display. It’s all about priorities.


Speaking of screens, the HTC One comes with a noticeably larger, 4.7-inch display, compared to the 4-inch screen on the iPhone 5. Both displays are of the LCD variety, and both are among the very best out there.

First, the HTC One. It packs a 4.7-inch 1080x1920 Super LCD3 screen with amazing viewing angles and great colors. It’s stunningly sharp, coming with a pixel density of 468ppi. It is however a little dimmer than the iPhone 5 (and than what we’ve seen from HTC before), and pretty reflective, and combined this might make it a bit hard to use outdoors.

The iPhone 5 has a smaller, 4-inch Retina display, a term that now seems a bit strange to use as most other rivals like the HTC One have sharper screens. Still, the iPhone 5 screen looks very sharp and viewing angles are great. Colors are nearly perfectly calibrated, whites are white, blacks are deep, both devices are comparable in their near-perfect color quality. With its 500 nits of brightness everything looks bright and vivid, very legible even under direct sunlight.

HTC One 360-Degrees View:

Apple iPhone 5 360-Degrees View

Interface and Functionality

The HTC One and iPhone 5 are not just different in size, they are different in their very core. While the One runs on the customizable Android, the iPhone 5 runs on the closed iOS.

Android has improved by leaps and bounds in recent years adopting modern looks and a much more user-friendly face. HTC’s One is based on Android 4.1 Jelly Bean with a sprinkle of the Sense interface on top, which has both its pros and cons. s HTC introduces some key improvements when it comes to the photographic aspect of the OS - the gallery is rich in options, offering plenty of tweaks like automatic creation of video highlights out of your camera roll videos and images. It also integrates photos from Facebook and adds plenty of editing capabilities.

HTC’s take on the home screen with BlinkFeed (a tile-based news and social updates aggregator like Pulse) and app drawer however are a bit of a mixed bag. Habitual actions like long holding an empty space on the home panel to add a widget or an icon are not supported. Quick settings are not easily available from the notification shade. The back button in Sense is simply unpredictable. All of this compromises Google’s efforts on making Android more consistently user-friendly.

Apple’s iPhone 5 on the other hand runs iOS 6.1. Most recently, Apple’s operating system has been evolving in very small steps - it has retained its simple user-friendly icon grid, but offers little customization and sharing options.

Processor and Memory

The HTC One has just started rolling out across the globe, nearly half a year after the iPhone 5. In those six months the silicon industry did not sit still and the One arrives with the latest and greatest from chip makers.

The HTC One runs on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 chip with a 1.7GHz quad-core Krait 300 processor. Built on a 28nm manufacturing node, and running along 2GB of RAM and with more level 2 cache, it definitely looks like the more powerful setup. It has to actually, having to drive many more pixels. Good news is performance was nearly always buttery smooth on the device.

Apple’s iPhone 5 is running on a custom-made A6 system-on-a-chip with a 1.3GHz dual-core Swift processor. Graphics are taken care of a PowerVR SGX543MP3 chip. Performance is traditionally well polished, smooth.

Trying to isolate graphics, Apple’s chip seems to have a very slight advantage over the Adreno 320-powered one, but it is negligibly small and you probably won’t notice much of a real difference when playing games.

When it comes to the internal storage, the HTC One ships in a 32GB and 64GB version. The iPhone 5’s basic version sells for slightly more and offers 16GB of storage. You can also get a 32GB and 64GB iPhone 5. Both devices have non-expandable storage.

SunspiderLower is better
HTC One977.9
Apple iPhone 5712.7
Basemark X on-screenHigher is better
HTC One8.236
Apple iPhone 517.961
GFXBench Fill Rate off-screenHigher is better
HTC One883.7
Apple iPhone 51779.7
GFXBench T-Rex HD off-screenHigher is better
HTC One15
Apple iPhone 56.8
GFXBench T-Rex HD on-screenHigher is better
HTC One14
Apple iPhone 513
Mozilla KrakenLower is better
HTC One14598
Apple iPhone 513888

Internet and Connectivity

The web is one of the things that brought us the smartphone boom, and while Apple was the first one to emphasize this with the original iPhone nearly six years ago, now it has a lot of rivals.

Both the HTC One and the iPhone 5 feature 4G LTE connectivity, but surfing the web is definitely more enjoyable on a larger display, and that’s one of the key advantages the HTC One has.

The HTC One brings HTC’s own browser which is a solid performer. It does support Adobe Flash, and a wealth of options - from desktop view support, to incognito mode and saving pages to read later. Android has the widest selection of browsers out there including Google’s own Chrome with its amazing syncing capabilities. With a very capable processor, scrolling and zooming around in pages was buttery smooth.

Apple’s iPhone 5 comes with the mobile Safari browser. It does not support Adobe Flash, but it does load and render pages quickly. Scrolling around is also lag-free.

When it comes to connectivity, both are packed with features including Wi-Fi a/b/g/n support (with Wi-Fi ac support on the HTC One), Bluetooth 4.0 and A-GPS.


The HTC One comes with a brand new UltraPixel camera and it has a daunting task as it goes against the Apple iPhone 5, one of best cameraphones out there. HTC is going against the market trend of adding more megapixels, and instead goes with a 4.3-megapixel UltraPixel Camera. The name UltraPixel comes from the larger than usual, 2-micron pixels on the One’s camera. It also has a wider than usual aperture of f/2.0, allowing it to gather more light.

After extensive testing, we’d say the HTC One has a very good, but not a revolutionary camera. Still images are sharp in contrasting areas but somewhat spongy otherwise. Sometimes colors look a bit bleached on the One, and detail is not plentiful. The iPhone 5 has an edge here capturing consistently accurate colors with great dynamic range and better detail.

When it comes to video recording, the HTC One is on par or sometimes better than the iPhone 5. In daytime footage is comparable (we do prefer the more realistic colors on the iPhone), but when night falls and you go indoors the HTC One just captures way more light without noise. In a club or at a party when light is low, the One records usable footage, while recording on the iPhone 5 look too dark . HTC also uses optical image stabilization which makes a big difference for impromptu videos on the go.

Taking a picLower is betterTaking an HDR pic(sec)Lower is betterCamSpeed scoreHigher is betterCamSpeed score with flashHigher is better
HTC One3.4
No data
Apple iPhone 52.7

HTC One Sample Video:

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Apple iPhone 5 Sample Video:

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There is a huge difference in the recorded sound on both devices. The HTC One records a full, rich sound with a surprising depth for a smartphone, even at loud events like a concert or a party. Recording on the iPhone 5 on the other hand is loud but it lacks that precious depth.


Watching videos on a smartphone is a lot about how much screen real estate you have. The HTC One has a lot more and that instantly puts it in a favorable position. Both devices have great screens, and can play 1080p video in all formats (natively or via third-party players) without a stutter.

HTC brings a small revolution in smartphone sound with its front-facing stereo speakers. It calls it BoomSound and it definitely delivers lots of oomph. Combined with Beats Audio magic in the lower tonalities, sound is rich and it sounds clear at even its loudest.

The iPhone 5’s speakers are luckily not on the back as on many other phones but on the bottom so sound is not muffled when you lay the device on a table. It delivers loud sound, but it is very plain when it comes to the lower notes.

Headphones output power(Volts)Higher is better
HTC One0.68
Apple iPhone 50.54
Loudspeaker loudness(dB)Higher is better
HTC One78
Apple iPhone 571

Call Quality and Battery Life

Call quality is excellent on both the HTC One and Apple iPhone 5. Both handsets have noise cancellation that works great and our callers reported hearing us in the natural tones of our voice, with sufficient loudness. The earpieces are again performing on par with clear and loud sound output.

The HTC One comes with a big, 2300mAh battery required by its large display and quad-core chip running at high clock speeds. The Apple iPhone 5 in comparison only features a 1440mAh battery. Neither batteries are removable.

Using the HTC One for around a week, we can say that it easily gets us through a day of moderate usage and the iPhone typically lasts a bit longer.

We measure battery life by running a custom web-script,designed to replicate the power consumption of typical real-life usage.All devices that go through the test have their displays set at 200-nit brightness.
hoursHigher is better
5h 45 min(Poor)
Apple iPhone 5
4h 22 min(Poor)


The HTC One and Apple iPhone 5 bring out the best of modern smartphones. Both stand out with their distinctive, gorgeous design and solid aluminum build. Both have stunningly sharp, vivid, amazing displays.

Despite all those similarities, though, there is an equally clear difference. The HTC One has a larger display with higher resolution and runs on Android, while the iPhone 5 is a small handset made for convenient one-handed use and living on Apple’s iOS ecosystem.

The iPhone 5’s camera is the better all-around performer while the HTC One performs admirably in low-light videos because of its superior clarity and sound.

It’s quite clear that you can’t go wrong with either of these amazing smartphones. At this point, picking one of the two all boils down to your personal priorities...

HTC One vs Apple iPhone 5:

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