After months of rumors and speculations, the folks at Google finally unveiled the highly-anticipated Nexus 5 earlier last week. Since this year the high-end smartphone market is more competitive than ever, we though we should put the Nexus 5 in a head-on fight against its main competitors.
Last week the Nexus 5 fought bravely against Samsung’s Galaxy S4 and won the fight, but is the smartphone co-developed by Google and LG powerful enough to win a fight against HTC’s One flagship?
The HTC One was announced a few days ahead of MWC 2013 event and it was one of the first smartphones to pack Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 600 chipset. Its main strength is the design, being considered one of the best-looking smartphones currently on the market.
The Nexus 5 was recently made available and just like its predecessor it’s a high-end smartphone that comes at a pretty low price point, which is also the handset’s main strength.
If you were with us for our previous Versus articles you would probably know that the Nexus 5 vs HTC One battle will be split into ten rounds where we’ll be judging the smartphone’s performance when it comes to Display, Dimensions, Design, Processor, Memory, Operating System, Camera, Price, Connectivity, and Battery Life.
The winner of a round gets one point and, after the Nexus 5 vs HTC One battle is over, the smartphone that managed to score most points is declared the winner of the encounter.
The full HD screens have pretty much became the standard for the high-end Android smartphone market and, as you’ve guessed already, both the HTC One and the Nexus 5 come with full HD displays.
The HTC One packs a 4.7-inch Super LCD3 display with 1080 x 1920 resolution (469 ppi), while being protected by a Corning Gorilla Glass 2 layer. The Nexus 5 features a 5-inch True HD IPS Plus with 445 ppi pixel density coming from a resolution of 1080 x 1920. The screen of the smartphone manufactured by LG is protected by a Gorilla Glass 3 layer.
Well, both screens bring great brightness and contrast, sharp color reproduction and almost 180 degree viewing angles. Still, the Nexus 5 packs a slightly larger screen which will be more useful when it comes to web browsing, watching videos, or playing games. This round goes to the N5.
You can barely find a high-end Android smartphone that doesn’t have a 4.7+ inch display and because the screen size is increasing almost every year (hopefully they will stop after 5 inches), so are the phone dimensions.
HTC One measures 137.4 x 68.2 x 9.3 mm and has a weight of 143 grams. Even though it has to accommodate a larger display, the Nexus 5 is only 0.5 mm taller (137.9 mm) and 1 mm wider (69.2 mm) than the HTC One. The Nexus 5 is even thinner and lighter than its rival being 8.6 mm thin and weighing 130 grams.
Because the Nexus 5 is thinner and lighter than the One the LG terminals wins another point.
The design is the first thing you notice about a smartphone and that’s what we’ll be comparing next in the Nexus 5 vs HTC One battle.
While its predecessor was built using glass for both the front and the rear panels, the Nexus 5 is only using glass for the front side, while the back lid is manufactured using the same soft-touch plastic as the Nexus 7 2013 tablet. In fact, I personally prefer the soft-touch plastic as it confers improved grip, therefore minimizing the risk of accidents.
The Nexus 5 doesn’t excel when it comes to design or materials, but it’s not an ugly phone, not even one that looks cheap.
On the other hand, the HTC One is one of the best-looking smartphones I’ve ever laid my eyes on. It is manufactured using aluminium and ceramics for the frame around its body, while the curved back that measures only 5.4 mm at its thinnest point and 9.3 mm at its thickest makes it very comfortable to hold.
The HTC One is a wonderfully crafted smartphone and this is what you would call an elegant smartphone.
For the Design round I see no other winner than the HTC One.
Qualcomm are currently dominating the mobile computing segment and the Snapdragon 600 and Snapdragon 800 chipsets are their latest creations.
As I was mentioning in the beginning of the article, the HTC One is one of the fist smartphones to sport a Snapdragon 600 chipset, a unit based on four Krait 300 cores clocked at 1.7 GHz and an Adreno 320 GPU.
Because the Nexus 5 had the advantage of being launched in the second half of the year (Qualcomm didn’t supply the Snapdragon flagship earlier than July 2013), it comes with a Snapdragon 800 SoC powered by a quad-core 2.26 GHz Krait 400 CPU and an Adreno 330 GPU.
The Snapdragon 800 chipset is more powerful than the Snapdragon 600, therefore the Nexus 5 wins another round in the battle against HTC One.
Last year’s Nexus smartphone annoyed many of the customers because it was only available with 8 or 16 GB of storage, but Google decided to fix this problem in 2013.
The Nexus 5 has either 16 or 32 GB of internal storage, but, unfortunately it doesn’t come with microSD card support. Well, the HTC One doesn’t support microSD extension either, but at least the Taiwanese flagship comes with 32/64 GB of storage.
It’s pretty obvious that the HTC One wins the Memory round, because it has a higher amount of storage than it’s rival.
Even though both smartphones are running Android, you will notice that there are enough differences between the two due to the different user interfaces the come with.
HTC One was launched with Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean on board, but it has recently received the Android 4.3 update, which also brought a couple of improvements to the Sense UI. Anyway, the most notable features of the HTC One are BlinkFeed (content streamed on your homescreen, including Facebook Updates and World News), HTC Zoe, Zoe Share, and HTC Video Highlights.
The Nexus 5 leaves the factory gates pre-loaded with Android 4.4 KitKat which is the biggest updated Google brought to its mobile operating system since Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. The new Android 4.4 KitKat brings a new launcher called Google Experience, OK Google command now works from homescreen, Immersive mode, improved multitasking, a new Phone app, smart Caller ID, improved Keyboard, and cloud Printing. Well, these are just a couple of KitKat’s new features.
The greatest thing about the Nexus 5 is that it brings an unaltered Android experience, which is far greater than the one provided by Sense 5/Sense 5.5. Moreover, the Nexus 5 will always be among the first devices to get the latest Android updates. That’s why the Nexus 5 wins the Operating System round.
I know most of you like to take photos with your smarthpone’s camera, that’s why it would be a shame not to have a high-quality shutter mounted on the back of the handset.
While most Android phone makers are using 13+ MP cameras for their flagship smartphones (see Galaxy S4, LG G2, Xperia Z1, Xperia Z), HTC has fitted a 4 MP “UltraPixel” camera on the back of the One. Well, the Taiwanese phone maker said that UltraPixel will outmatch most of its rivals when it comes to taking photos in low-light conditions. The real-life tests have proved otherwise.
HTC One’s primary camera packs autofocus, optical image stabilization, and LED flash, while bringing 1/3” sensor size, 2µm pixel size, simultaneous HD video and image recording, geo-tagging, face and smile detection. The unit is capable of recording 1080p videos at 30 fps and 720@60 fps.
The Nexus smartphones were never about camera performance, but at least the Nexus 5 is definitely an improvement from its predecessor. Even though they both come with 8 MP cameras, the Nexus 5 has optical image stabilization and improved performance in low-light conditions.
The 8 MP shutter mounted on the back of the Nexus 5 brings Geo-tagging, touch focus, face detection, photo sphere, autofocus, LED flash, 1080p@30fps video recording and Photo Sphere.
The HTC One has the higher-quality camera, therefore this round goes to the Taiwanese flagship smartphone.
In the price round I will try to keep it as simple as possible: the cheaper smartphone wins.
The Nexus 5 is currently available for purchase through Google Play Store at a price of $349 for the 16 GB model and $399 for the 32 GB variant.
After a quick look on Amazon.com and other US retailers we’ve been able to find out that the cheapest HTC One starts at $549. Since we are talking about a 32 GB unlocked HTC One it would be fair to compare it to the 32 GB Nexus 5. Even so the Taiwanese handset is about $150 more expensive than the Google + LG counterpart.
The Nexus 5 is definitely cheaper than the HTC One, therefore it wins the price round of the Nexus 5 vs HTC One battle.
As the 4G LTE networks are spreading this connectivity standard is almost like a must-have for any high-end smartphone. In fact most of the connectivity features of the modern smartphones are pretty similar.
The HTC One brings LTE, Cat3, 50 Mbps UL, 100 Mbps DL, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Wi-Fi Direct, DLNA, Wi-Fi hotspot, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC, IR blaster, and microUSB 2.0.
On the other hand the Nexus 5 comes with LTE, Cat3, 50 Mbps UL, 100 Mbps DL, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Wi-Fi Direct, DLNA, Wi-Fi hotspot, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC, and microUSB 2.0.
The only major difference between the two is that the Nexus 5 doesn’t have an infrared port, but this isn’t enough for the HTC One to snatch this round, so it’s a tie.
Besides the phablets and Droid Maxx family, which are really impressive when it comes to battery life, most of the modern smartphones can barely make it through 24 hours on a single charge.
The Nexus 5 brings a non-removable Li-Po 2300 mAh battery, which, in our tests, did a pretty good job. It averaged 16 hours of battery life of moderate usage, which is enough for the phone to last from morning till night.
HTC One also comes with a Li-Po 2300 mAh battery and, believe it or not, its autonomy is about the same as the one of the Nexus 5, namely around 16 hours.
We couldn’t separate the two smartphones when it came to battery life, so let’s call this a tie.
Here we are at the end of the Nexus 5 vs HTC One specs battle and we are bound to find out which of the two handsets has won the fight.
Out of the ten rounds, two were equally matched and declared tie, as the Nexus 5 and HTC One are similar when it comes to connectivity and battery life.
The HTC One has managed to score three points after it won the Design, Memory, and Camera rounds courtesy of its unibody aluminium case, higher storage capacity, and higher-quality primary camera.
The Nexus 5 outmatched the HTC One five rounds, therefore scoring 5 points for Display, Dimensions, Processor, Operating System, and Price, because it has a slightly larger screen, is thinner and lighter, has faster CPU, runs stock Android, and because it’s cheaper than One.
We believe that the Nexus 5 is better than the HTC One, but this is just our opinion. Yours can be different than ours, that’s why we are inviting you to use the comments section below to tell us how this battle should have ended. Is the HTC One better in your eyes? We are looking forward to hear from you.