Interface and functionality

The flat and squarish LG UX 4.0 is no match for the sleek Sense 7, but when it comes to functionality, LG has the upper hand.

Both handsets offer their own take on the default Android 5.1 Lollipop interface, painting it over with LG UX and HTC Sense UI, respectively. The new LG UX 4.0 interface of the G4 follows in the flat, colorful and minimalistic manner that was introduced with the G3. Functionally, it bears many of the same core features of LG’s experience – such as Knock On to turn on/off the screen by performing a double tap, QSlide apps that get placed over whatever we’re doing, and Dual Window for true multi-tasking with apps running side-by-side. There are some other useful tricks in tow, too, like the pull-down gesture when the screen is off to quickly peek at the time, or the so-called Smart Notice that dish up useful tidbits. For example, Smart Notice reminds us that there’s rain in the forecast, so it’s a good idea to bring an umbrella. Alternatively, if there’s an app in the background that’s not being used, but is taking up some processing power, the G4 will recommend ending it to conserve power.

As for the M9, HTC uses its latest Sense 7 UI custom interface, and it remains one of the fastest Android skins out there: with zippy, to-the-point animations, HTC’s improved BlinkFeed social news aggregator, and a few more HTC touches. The biggest innovation in HTC Sense 7, however, is in the plenty of customization options built right in with Themes - an easy way to change the appearance of Android. Each theme carries its own wallpaper, fonts, sounds, icon style, and it even allows you to tweak the look of the Android navigation keys. The HTC One M9 lockscreen now integrates with services like Yelp and Foursquare to automatically offer you places for dinner, a touch that will please the gourmands. Then, there is the new home screen: it is now a smart home panel that changes with your location, displaying one set of icons when you are at work and a different one when you are home, for instance.

Processor and memory

LG went with the 64-bit hexa-core 1.8GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 to power its latest flagship in the G4. This particular setup breaks down to four ARM Cortex-A53 and two ARM Cortex-A57 cores that are complemented by 3GB of RAM and the Adreno 418 GPU. The HTC One M9, on the other hand, was one of the first devices around with the latest Snapdragon 810 system chip, coupled with 3 GB of RAM as well. The RAM memory technology is DDR4, however, while the G4 is paired with the less power-efficient DDR3 tech.

Given the potential for overheat and the subsequent throttling that comes with Snapdragon 810, though, LG might have been wise to go with 808. Still, looking at the benchmarks, it’s easy to notice that the One M9 is above and beyond when it comes to the graphics screen-on tests, making it a better choice for gaming. Overall, HTC’s conservative choice of screen resolution and powerful GPU, allows the phone to run the latest games at high frame rates with ease.

Both phones start you off with 32 GB of internal storage, and have microSD slots should you need more space, and HTC also offers the One M9 in a 64 GB version, which will run you a Benjamin more.

AnTuTu Higher is better
LG G4 50330
HTC One M9 56896
Vellamo Metal Higher is better
LG G4 2369
HTC One M9 2218
Vellamo Browser Higher is better
LG G4 3948
HTC One M9 4195
Sunspider Lower is better
LG G4 730.2
HTC One M9 721.3
GFXBench T-Rex HD on-screen Higher is better
LG G4 25
HTC One M9 49
GFXBench Manhattan 3.1 on-screen Higher is better
LG G4 9.4
HTC One M9 24
Basemark OS II Higher is better
LG G4 1549
HTC One M9 1413
Geekbench 3 single-core Higher is better
LG G4 1112
HTC One M9 1209
Geekbench 3 multi-core Higher is better
LG G4 3559
HTC One M9 3738

Internet and connectivity

Gone is the choice of two browsers we’ve had for years – both the LG G4 and the HTC One M9 come with Google Chrome only as the default browser. In Lollipop, Chrome defaults to opening every tab as a separate process, so that you can switch between tabs using the multitasking key, but – if you're not a fan of that - there is also the option for it to work in the same way as before. Surfing the web is a fast and smooth experience on both devices: it’s hard to notice any slowdowns when scrolling or panning in a page, or zooming in and out.

Both being devices with Snapdragon chipsets, you can rest assured that the G4 and M9 have multi-band LTE support, 42 Mbps HSPA+ to fall back on, and a plethora of other radios, like dual-channel Wi-Fi, aGPS with Glonass, Bluetooth 4.1, and NFC. The phones also have infra red (IR) blasters, along with dedicated apps that allow consumers to use the handset as a TV, AC, or home stereo remote.
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