The HTC One and the iPhone 5s are at the top of the list for many smartphone buyers and as we start 2014 both remain great smartphone choices that users can feel good about carrying for the next two years.
If you find yourself asking, “Should I Buy the HTC One or the iPhone 5s?”, Gotta Be Mobile is here to help with a comparison of these smartphones including features, design, price and capabilities in 2014.
The HTC One is almost a year old which means it is available at bargain basement prices on contract, offering a steal for the features it offers consumers. It also means the HTC One 2, code named HTC m8 is already making the rounds so shoppers may want to consider waiting a few months for a new HTC One model.
Apple’s iPhone 5s is a little over 100 days old and thanks to specials, it is available for as low as $125 during special sales, which helps make the iPhone 5s more affordable, even if most of the deals are limited to the 16GB model.
The comparison below looks at the iPhone 5s and the HTC One with the latest software updates as of early 2014 to help you figure out which phone is a better fit for your needs.
iPhone 5s vs HTC One Video
The short video below will help identify features of the iPhone 5s and the HTC One and offer a comparison to design, screen size and capabilities that will ultimately help you buy the best smartphone for your needs.
The iPhone 5s is the latest in a long line of metal and glass smartphones from Apple. The HTC One on the other hand sparked a new trend in the Android world of combining MacBook Pro looks with a curved back and Android software to deliver a nice looking phone that offers all the benefits of Android. With the HTC One or the iPhone 5s consumers don’t need to worry about ending up with a sub par design as both phones offer quality materials and design.
Apple sticks with the tried and true design of the iPhone 5, but improves the finish of the aluminum to prevent scratches and offers new colors for iPhone owners to pick from. The new space gray iPhone 5s is much better at resisting scratches than the iPhone 5 black model was, and the new Gold iPhone 5s is a popular choice.
The iPhone 5s is 123.8 x 58.6 x 7.6mm and weighs 112 grams. This is exactly the same as the iPhone 5. Many users will put the iPhone 5s in a case which covers up the beautiful aluminum finish and takes away from some of the tactile feel that Apple delivers, but if you carry the iPhone without a case you will get a premium experience.
The HTC One also blends aluminum and glass to deliver a great looking finished product. the HTC One is heavier than the iPhone 5s, but the best description of the difference is to say the HTC One feels substantial but not too heavy. Like the iPhone 5s the HTC One features a chamfered edge that makes it look almost like a piece of nice jewelry. The HTC One actually looks more like a phone Apple would make as it pairs perfectly with the fit and finish of the MacBook Pro.
The HTC One is 137.4 x 68.2 x 9.3 mm and weighs 143 grams. That is bigger and heavier than the iPhone 5s, but the thickness isn’t as much of a deal as the phone offers a curved aluminum back that nestles into the user’s hand. HTC includes a notification LED tucked behind the top front-facing speaker. Unlike the iPhone and most competing devices the HTC One offers two front-facing speakers that blow away the competition. The inclusion of speakers on the front and a larger screen leads to the size difference between these two devices.
Winner – Draw. Both phones offer a great design that delivers a superior user experience with attention to detail and a beautiful mix of glass and aluminum.
When it comes to features, the display is one of the most important on a smartphone as it is what the user will look at all day and all night. Both Apple and HTC offer a nice looking display, but HTC earns a slight edge with a bigger screen and higher resolution in a package that is not much bigger than the iPhone 5s.
Apple offers the same 4-inch Retina display on the iPhone 5s as it did on the iPhone 5, with an 1136 x 640 resolution. This packs in 326 pixels per inch for a nice looking screen for reading, photos and watching movies.
The display is large enough for many users and still small enough to use with one hand, which is a feature Apple likes to point out about the screen size, which is almost an inch smaller than the HTC One.
The HTC One features a 4.7-inch display with a 1920 x 1080 resolution that matches what is commonly found on a HDTV in your living room. This display delivers 468 pixels per inch, much more than the iPhone 5s. To the average user, the HTC One display may look slightly better, but in months of asking friends and family to pick a best screen based on quality alone thanks to dark blacks and bright whites.
What does stand out is the larger overall display which allows users to see more on-screen at once. It is not possible to use two apps on-screen at the same time like on some Samsung phones, but the larger display shows more text at once and is a nicer canvas to show photos to others or to watch a movie on.
Winner – HTC One. While the overall quality is similar, HTC delivers a larger screen that is still usable with one hand and combined with front facing speakers is a better option for a pocketable entertainment companion.
The iPhone 5s and HTC One both offer very nice camera experiences, but the iPhone 5s is more consistent at delivering a great photo. The iPhone 5s offers an 8MP camera with a f2.2 aperture and a new TrueTone dual-LED flash that delivers more natural looking photos when the flash is needed. The HTC One uses a 4MP camera with a f2.0 aperture but don’t let the lower MP count fool you, the camera users large pixels and capturing more light.
The HTC One and iPhone 5s camera samples below showcase the abilities of each camera in various conditions.
iPhone 5s vs HTC One Photo Samples
Another important thing to consider about each of these cameras are the features built-in to the stock camera apps. The iPhoen 5s offers a slow motion recording mode, 1080P video capture, a standard photo mode and a square photo mode with filter options and a panorama mode. Apple also uses the power of the A7 processor and the camera to capture 10 photos per second. These camera features perform as advertised, but users will need third-party iPhone apps to match the HTC One’s built-in features.
The HTC One offers HTC Zoe which takes 20 photos and a 3 second video with one push of the shutter. When this is turned on it is an easy way to make sure you get a great photo and a short video of a pet, kid or sporting event. Burst mode on the iPhone 5s is similar but not the same. The HTC One can also use this Zoe of 20 photos and a video to pick a smile for each person in a group photo, remove an unwanted person or object from a photo, show motion of multiple frames in one photo, add special effects and easily share a combination of photos and videos in a pre-made highlight reel.
Winner – iPhone 5s by a hair. The iPhone 5s delivers consistent quality with fewer features and the HTC One offers more options with a trade-off of requiring users to set up a photo better to deal with harsh lighting.
iOS 7 vs HTC Sense 5.5
The iPhone 5s runs iOS 7 with an update to iOS 7.1 in the works and Apple is very good about updating the iPhone with new software in a timely manner. The HTC One is running Android 4.3 with Sense 5.5 and should see an Android 4.4.2 update in the coming weeks.
The iPhone 5s experience on iOS 7 is similar to what users will experience on the iPad and on other devices, but users also get Touch ID as a method of logging in to the iPhone 5s with a fingerprint. If you own an iPad or iPod touch the apps on that device will also work on the iPhone 5s. Users have access to Siri for voice searches and voice commands and Apple’s iCloud backup as well as Photo Stream, iMessages and FaceTime to share photos and communicate with other iOS owners.
The HTC One offers the basic Android 4.3 features that are available on competing devices but with a HTC skin that is on top of the software. Some users love HTC Sense and the BlinkFeed screen that it puts front and center, while others will hate it. BlinkFeed pulls in news, social updates from Facebook and Twitter as well as information from other services that users choose into a scrolling panel of updates that appears when you unlock the HTC One. HTC also includes a new look on top of stock Android that some users will find more visually appealing than the user interface on the Nexus 5. HTC One owners can use Google Now to control some of the phone features by voice and to perform voice searches.
Winner – Draw. There is no clear winner here as the software is a personal preference for each user. The iPhone will get some apps first and enjoy more exclusivity, but many of the specific Google or Apple apps that used to offer a better experience on one device are not as big of an issue.
When it comes down to using the phone for entertainment, the HTC One offers several distinct advantages. These alone should not be the deciding factor in purchasing an iPhone 5s or HTC One, but it could be a swing factor.
The HTC One includes a larger display that is better suited for watching movies and TV shows. While it is not a tablet replacement like the Galaxy Note 3 the bigger screen does make a noticeable difference in watching a long show or movie. Also the front facing speakers deliver better sound than what you will get out of the iPhone 5s.
Another factor to consider is the HTC One’s IR blaster and remote control software that allows users to control a HDTV, home theater and cable box using the HTC One as a universal remote. The iPhone cannot do this without an expensive accessory.
The iPhone 5s still offers faster access to some movies and TV shows, but Google Play is catching up and delivering fast access to top movies and TV shows.
Shoppers who narrowed their buying choices down to the iPhone 5s and the HTC One are already on their way to a good smartphone. The iPhone 5s offers a more reliable user experience with a camera that delivers more consistent results. Meanwhile the HTC One matches the iPhone 5s on design and adds a collection of helpful and handy features to the camera and for entertainment that Apple doesn’t yet include on the iPhone.
The best advice is to take this information and stop in to a local carrier store to use each phone for 10 to 15 minutes to see which one you like best. The performance and overall user experience is good on both of these phones, but by checking out the camera and the entertainment features shoppers should be able to make a choice between the iPhone 5s and the HTC One.
The HTC One is available as low as a penny on Amazon and the iPhone 5s is $199 at carriers, though Best Buy, Walmart and Target often run deals that drop the price to $150 or $125.