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Sony Xperia Z1 vs HTC One



The Sony Xperia Z1 arrived amidst hype and huge expectations as it aimed to deliver an outstanding camera and powerful performance, all in one sleek package. However it has yet to prove it can do better than one of Android’s finest, the HTC One.

Sony Xperia Z1 vs HTC One
Sony Xperia Z1 vs HTC One
Sony Xperia Z1 vs HTC One
The Xperia Z1 and the HTC One, the two ‘ones’, are devices that are actually similar in one way - they both feature exquisite designs on Android, something that was a bit of a rarity on Google’s platform. The glass on the Xperia Z1 and the unibody aluminum frame of the HTC One are both great, however they also differ a lot.

Most importantly, the Xperia Z1 comes with a key advantage - it’s released half a year after the One and features way beefier specs. Will this swing the scales its way? Or can the HTC One still take a beating? Let’s find out.


The HTC One was among the first Android devices to become popular not just for its under-the-hood power, but also for its exquisite design. Sturdy and stylish, the phone features an aluminum unibody frame. It is not the only one to boast a great design, though. The Sony Xperia Z1 is equally very well made, but instead of curved shapes and aluminum, it bets on flat lines, boxy looks and glass. It’s hard to compare apples to oranges, or aluminum to glass in this case, so we’ll just settle on saying that it’s a matter of personal preference. What we like about both is that they feel very solidly put together, with no screaking parts.

One important difference between the two is their size. Both are too large for single handed use, but the Xperia Z1 just feels huge. It’s almost as large as a phablet, and it’s definitely larger than the HTC One. The Z1 is a bit thinner, but its the size that makes it a bit harder to operate. It is also way heavier at 6 ounces (170 grams), while the HTC One is 5.04 ounces (143 grams).

A huge advantage the Sony Xperia Z1 has is its water and dust resistance. Unlike any other Android flagship (HTC One included), the glass frame of the Z1 is sealed and protected from the elements. It has the IP58 certification and that means it is well protected from dust and you can immerse it in water beyond 3 feet deep for prolonged periods of time.

The HTC One features two capacitive navigation buttons, while the Sony Xperia Z1 relies on on-screen keys. In terms of physical buttons, the One has got a very well made, large and convenient to press aluminum volume rocker on the left, and a plastic lock key that is a bit hard to reach on top. The Xperia Z1 buttons are all located on the side and are easy to reach and press, but a bit small. The Z1 features the signature rounded Sony lock key that is stylish but with a bit shallow travel, a volume rocker, and a bonus button in the form of a dedicated camera shutter key.

Sony Xperia Z1
5.69 x 2.91 x 0.33 inches
144.4 x 73.9 x 8.5 mm
6.00 oz (170 g)

Sony Xperia Z1

5.41 x 2.69 x 0.37 inches
137.4 x 68.2 x 9.3 mm
5.04 oz (143 g)


To see the phones in real size or compare them with other models, visit our Visual Phone Size Comparison page.


Sony Xperia Z1 vs HTC One
The HTC One wowed us with one of the best displays we’ve ever seen on a smartphone - a 4.7” 1080 x 1920 pixel screen with crisp image and vivid colors. The Xperia Z1 features a slightly larger, 5-inch 1080 x 1920 pixel display that is even brighter, but colors on it seem just a bit washed out comparatively. Blacks are not that deep as well. Both screens are very sharp, featuring 1080x1920-pixels resolution; resulting in 468 ppi for HTC One and 441 ppi for the Xperia Z1.

The HTC One uses a Super LCD 3 display, while the Xperia Z1 features something that Sony calls a “Triluminous” display. The screen of the Xperia Z1 is quite impressive almost every way you look at it. With its natural and realistic colors, the Z1 is among the more accurate screens out there right now. Its gamma still has some issues, though, resulting in some lost detail in the brighter areas (since some brighter levels are actually brighter than they should be), but overall, it's a great screen. The viewing angles are disastrous, though. . The HTC One has slightly colder, bluer tonalities, but is still very high quality screen with color representation that is perceived as quite realistic.

The two displays are bright enough to be legible even under direct sunlight, but the Xperia Z1 is a bit more luminant and easier to read.

Display measurements and quality

Maximum brightness (nits)Higher is better Minimum brightness (nits)Lower is better Contrast Higher is better Color temperature (Kelvins) Gamma Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better Delta E grayscale Lower is better
Sony Xperia Z1 495
HTC One 460
View all

  • Options

posted on 26 Sep 2013, 09:28 8

1. LetsBeHonest (Posts: 1526; Member since: 04 Jun 2013)

Xperia Z1 Seems better choice...
HTC One was always unique in android land because of their premium design
but now Xperia one stepped in, its equally looks premium just like HTC One but better with snapdragon 800 and a great camera

posted on 26 Sep 2013, 09:32 6

2. LetsBeHonest (Posts: 1526; Member since: 04 Jun 2013)

And HTC One seems more compact ,Z1 is too big for 5 inch smartphone
also bezels on HTC are well used (boomsound) unlike Z1, true its water resistant, still it should've been better like Xperia Z and not to mention weight of Z1

posted on 26 Sep 2013, 09:36 4

3. XperiaFanZone (Posts: 2226; Member since: 21 Sep 2012)

The Z1 should have had the (capacitive) buttons on the bezels.

posted on 26 Sep 2013, 09:39 5

5. Immolate (Posts: 310; Member since: 17 Jun 2011)

The Z1 could have been subsidized to free on contract by renting out advertising space on the bezel.

posted on 26 Sep 2013, 09:40 3

6. XperiaFanZone (Posts: 2226; Member since: 21 Sep 2012)

Same can be said on all the Iphones.

posted on 26 Sep 2013, 10:17 2

10. Immolate (Posts: 310; Member since: 17 Jun 2011)

iPhones are too small to make much from advertising space. They aren't even good for coasters--too narrow.

posted on 26 Sep 2013, 10:26 2

15. XperiaFanZone (Posts: 2226; Member since: 21 Sep 2012)

Their bezels take up around half of their screen sizes, so no problem there.

posted on 26 Sep 2013, 10:26

14. PunyPoop (Posts: 752; Member since: 18 Jan 2013)

The Z has no shutter button, and small battery..

posted on 26 Sep 2013, 12:45 2

22. yudi.nemesis (Posts: 1127; Member since: 14 Mar 2013)

I know you didn’t mean to say anything bad, but I think you're a little biased against the Z1 by saying this.

“Z1 is to big for 5” smartphone
Also the bezels on HTC are well used (Boomsound) unlike Z1”

Because HTC One is also to big for 4.7” smartphone.

There is very rational reason why Z1 is bigger, havier, and thicker than Z.
1. 1/2.3” camera sensor.
2. 3000 mAh battery.
3. IP58 (IP57 Xperia Z).
4. bigger and better speaker than Xperia Z.
5. Aluminum and durable glass.
And you also must remember that Z1 is also thiner than HTC One and until this day you can’t find any waterproof phone with slim and bezelless body.

posted on 26 Sep 2013, 09:38 1

4. Immolate (Posts: 310; Member since: 17 Jun 2011)

Z1 is bulky, ungraceful and its visual aesthetic is uninspired and boring. Not half as bad as the ultra though. It's a better phone by spec of course, but pretty much every phone out there is better than the One by spec. I think of the One like I think of the Moto X, a phone that is far greater than the sum of its components. Conversely, I think of the Z1 as a phone that fails to live up to the promise of its spec, by putting all that wonderful gear in a form factor from yesteryear.

posted on 26 Sep 2013, 09:42 3

7. XperiaFanZone (Posts: 2226; Member since: 21 Sep 2012)

"in a form factor from yesteryear." It hasn't been a year since Sony's used the same design. Can't be "yesteryer", as it was THIS year. Same for the One.

posted on 26 Sep 2013, 10:18

11. Immolate (Posts: 310; Member since: 17 Jun 2011)

I think the rectangle came out a couple of years earlier. It may have taken longer for someone to invent the black rectangle, but that couldn't have been later than 2012.

posted on 26 Sep 2013, 10:25 1

13. XperiaFanZone (Posts: 2226; Member since: 21 Sep 2012)

I assumed that you were talking about the design when you've mentioned "form factor"'. Most touch screen these days have the same form factor, and been used since over half a decade ago.

posted on 08 Dec 2013, 09:52

28. Gonzonator (Posts: 2; Member since: 08 Dec 2013)

The black rectangle came out in 2001 and was invented by Stanley Kubrick.

posted on 26 Sep 2013, 10:04

8. datphoneguy (Posts: 155; Member since: 15 Sep 2013)

I REALLY want to like the Z1, but the One seems much more sleek and compact...the Z1, on the other hand, seems downright bulky in comparison with ugly top/bottom bezels.

posted on 26 Sep 2013, 10:20

12. Immolate (Posts: 310; Member since: 17 Jun 2011)

LG G2 is gorgeous. If we could have the LG G2 with the Z1's solidness and camera, I think we'd have a winner.

posted on 26 Sep 2013, 10:27 3

16. PunyPoop (Posts: 752; Member since: 18 Jan 2013)

One thing that's missing on G2 is the micro SD slot. And that's a deal breaker..

posted on 26 Sep 2013, 10:14

9. Mube007 (Posts: 249; Member since: 24 Sep 2013)

Sony's z1 bazel????

posted on 26 Sep 2013, 10:28 1

17. PunyPoop (Posts: 752; Member since: 18 Jan 2013)

kid are you serious?? it's spelled BEZEL!

posted on 26 Sep 2013, 10:32 2

19. papss (unregistered)

You the grammar police? Come on now..

posted on 26 Sep 2013, 10:41 2

20. AliNSiddiqui (Posts: 382; Member since: 19 Sep 2012)

That's not grammar policing, that's spelling policing :P

posted on 26 Sep 2013, 10:30

18. papss (unregistered)

Still no US release date or pricing for the Z1? Sony come the f on! This is bordering on absurd.

posted on 26 Sep 2013, 11:09

21. shem2409 (Posts: 12; Member since: 16 Feb 2013)

Apparently you can get your hands on unlocked units in the US. Check GSM Nation and Negri Electronics websites

posted on 26 Sep 2013, 14:07 2

24. bugsbunny00 (Posts: 2195; Member since: 07 Jun 2013)

xperia z1 is king...maybe next time htc..

posted on 27 Sep 2013, 01:57

25. itsdeepak4u2000 (Posts: 3718; Member since: 03 Nov 2012)

Battle of bezels. :) Camera camera camera. Z1 over One.

posted on 27 Sep 2013, 07:07

26. jaytai0106 (Posts: 1888; Member since: 30 Mar 2011)

I want to lick both phones :D

posted on 31 Oct 2013, 12:11

27. ashouhdy (Posts: 57; Member since: 31 Oct 2013)

i came here for initial thoughts for swapping my Htc One with the Z1 after being manipulated with all the ads over the tv about the amazing Z1 camera ... BUT

Htc One Camera Samples are simply way better ... i cant understand how ppl say z1 is better.. i will comment on the most obvious pics:
Example: Pictures 5 and 6 ! htc sharper and warmer
Picture 13 and 14 look at the grass the scene is clearer brighter
Picture 17 and 18 MASSIVE difference the water is just amazing on the htc as if gonna splash on my screen

the pics here when i press view as One Page and scroll down the images is JUST very obvious the Htc is Sharper Brighter with correct white balance Look at the Pic with the Fountain Look at the water Droplets freezed ... thats amazing. i dont download pics and crop .. i care for the overall pic i usually see on my HDtv or laptop. (by the way my laptop screen is calibrated) Even low light pics.. the Z1 fired the flash from the very begining even in strong light adding cold blue wash ! the htc didnt fire the flash ONCe it basically dont need it... the pic is very natural and pleasing ... i just hoped that the photographer tabbed the screen to allow the htc one expose the needed area ... i guess it would be much brighter. (the one uses tab to capture and changes the expsoure and led strength dramatically with the desired point)

Yes the Z1 benchmark numbers are higher but i didnt notice once a lag on my htc one.
Z1 is better in benchmark numbers and water resistant ... but i will keep my ONE i love it just love it !

posted on 08 Dec 2013, 09:57

29. Gonzonator (Posts: 2; Member since: 08 Dec 2013)

"My God, it's full of stars!"

posted on 06 Aug 2014, 15:55

30. rsltwsl (Posts: 2; Member since: 06 Aug 2014)

Hi everyone.I must fall in love,and then to buy,already it happened for Nokia 701 & Lumia 520.i have both and are good enough.and I fall in love again,I must buy the one...htc one!

posted on 08 Feb 2015, 16:19

31. rsltwsl (Posts: 2; Member since: 06 Aug 2014)

I finally bought Xperia Z3 compact, 2 weeks ago, I think, it was best chchoice, because it's indeed awesome.

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