iPhone 6 full review
The HTC One M8 is unique in the Android world in that its design- and build-quality shares a great deal with the iPhone 6. HTC really focuses on making its flagship handset feel like a premium-quality smartphone. And it works.
Whether that means that the iPhone-toting Macworld reader should plump for an Android-running HTC is another matter altogether. In this article we are going to compare key features of the excellent HTC One M8 with the also outstanding iPhone 6. This is a Macworld UK article so we are going to presume that readers are pre-disposed to prefer Apple products: but it is interesting to see how one of the best Androids stacks up by comparison. (See also: iPhone 6 review.)
iPhone 6 vs HTC One M8 comparison: Price and UK availability
The iPhone 6 is available in the UK, at least nominally. At the time of writing there are supply issues, but likely these will pass in a few weeks. The iPhone 6 starts at £539 inc VAT for the 16GB model. You will likely need more space than that, and the 64GB will set you back £619, £699 gets you a 128GB iPhone 6.
The iPhone 6 offers greater onboard storage options of 16GB, 64GB or 128GB. But it allows for no expandable storage. You'll see the significance of this when you look back to the UK price section.
At launch, the M8 cost a classic £550 on a SIM-free basis – since we are talking about a 16GB device that matches key rivals like the iPhone 6. Since the device has been around for a few months now, you can find it for less, too.
Amazon has the smartphone for £519 in the glacial silver colour but you can get it for just £459 from Simply Electronics. And it is worth considering that the HTC One M8 - unlike any Apple iPhone - includes expandable storage in the shape of an SD card slot that accepts up to 128GB storage. So if you are looking for a reason to move on from iPhone to Android, value is one: you could buy a large SD card and have a huge amount of storage for £550 or less. But remember that expandable storage can have a negative effect on performance. See also: iPhone 6 vs LG G3 smartphone comparison.
iPhone 6 vs HTC One M8 comparison: Design and build
At 138.1 x 67 x 6.9 mm the iPhone 6 is certainly not a small phone, but it is uncommonly thin.
The iPhone 6 is a very different device from the iPhones of the past four years. The new phones have rounded edges - not just the metal, but the edges of the glass front are curved. This and the overall thinness make it a very comfortable fit in the hand. The iPhone 6's 129 g is very light for a larger-screen smartphone: much as you would expect from Apple. The iPhone 6 lacks any dust- or waterproof credentials, but then so does the HTC One M8.
The HTC One M8 has a uni-body aluminium design. At 146.4 x 70.6 x 9.4mm and 160g it is bigger, thicker and heavier than the iPhone, but it doesn't feel too large in the hand. Of all the Androids the HTC One M8 is the only one that feels like an iPhone-like premium smartphone. Ergonomic, but also sturdy. This is important because, as well as feeling like a device which has been carefully designed and put together, it doesn't feel overly delicate which is a downside to iPhones. There is a case for the HTC One M8, but we doubt you would need it. Can you say the same for the iPhone? From launch, the M8 itself is available in three different colours. The most popular is likely to be 'Metal Grey' but there's also 'Artic Silver' and 'Amber Gold' – a line-up reminiscent of the iPhone 5S colour options.
The HTC is the phone that most closely matches Apple's excellence in design and build. But the iPhone is thinner, smaller and lighter. In our view that makes it a win for Apple, but if you are the sort of person who doesn't want to use a phone case, the HTC may be the choice for you. (Related articles you might like: iPhone 6 review | iPhone 6 release date | iPhone 6 Plus release date | iPhone reviews.)
iPhone 6 vs HTC One M8 comparison: Display
In the case of the iPhone 6 we have 4.7in display. It is an LED-backlit IPS LCD, capacitive touchscreen with 16M colours. You get, as you would expect, shatter proof glass with an oleophobic coating. Into this display is packed 750 x 1334 pixels, making for a pixel density of 326ppi. This is very much an iPhone screen: sharp and colourful, with realistic colour reproduction and good viewing angles.
HTC has given the One M8 a 5in display, so there's a little more real estate for whatever you're doing but the difference isn't too noticeable. The screen's resolution, as with rival flagships, remains at Full HD (1920x1080). The larger screen size means a dip in pixel density to 441ppi but that is still noticably sharper than is the iPhone 6. (I'm sorry Apple, but I trust my retinas more than I trust the Retina HD theory.) The HTC One's display is crisp, vibrant and looks stunning. The new panel has an improved contrast ratio and viewing angles.
One thing we particularly like about the M8's screen is its silky gloss finish which, more than other phones, means your finger glides brilliantly across its surface. It's just another detail which makes this phone feel so premium.
Again this is a close run thing and it would be impossible to say that either phone clearly bests the other. They have excellent displays. See also: iPhone 6 vs Sony Xperia Z3 comparison.
iPhone 6 vs HTC One M8 comparison: Specs
The iPhone 6 comes with an Apple A8 processor - a dual-core chip running at 1.4 GHz. And it has only 1GB RAM. As with other high-end Android handsets, the M8 has been given the Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor. The 801 quad-core chip has a clock speed of 2.3GHz. And there is 2GB of memory.
We've spent quite a while with the HTC One M8 and performance was excellent. Both of these handsets offer outstanding performance, as is evidenced by great benchmark results and - more important - real-world experience. Honestly it would be foolish to claim that one is significantly faster than the other. Suffice to say that as a newer handset it is likely the iPhone 6 is more future proofed: but you probably won't keep it beyond a year or two anyway. Also read: iPhone 6 Plus rivals
iPhone 6 vs HTC One M8 comparison: Cameras
Both Apple and HTC have clearly eschewed the megapixels arms race in speccing up the cameras for the iPhone 6 and the HTC One M8. And that has to be a good thing.
The main, rear-mounted camera is an 8Mp snapper that captures 3264 x 2448 pixel images. It has a 1/3in sensor, and offers face-detection, autofocus, and a dual-LED flash. Video is captured at 1080p and 720p, at 60fps and an amazing 240fps slo-mo.
The HTC One M8 has a HTC UltraPixel Duo Camera including a 5Mp front camera with wide angle lens. There isn't as much detail in photos compared to the M8's rivals but because its pixels are bigger the phone is better suited to low-light situations. The dual-focus feature is interesting and fun. Sadly video quality is poor.
These are two of the more interesting phone cameras on the market. The HTC's offers a cool array of interesting features, but is let down by video quality which makes us err toward the iPhone's. But it would be unfair to say that it is a clear-cut decision. See also: iPhone 6 Plus vs Galaxy Note 4 comparison review.
iPhone 6 vs HTC One M8 comparison: Software
Android vs iOS is a conundrum. Android isn't like it used to be: if you are new to the smartphone game there's no obvious winner. These are the two most popular and best mobile operating systems around so it's about picking which one is right for you.
In essence, if you are a long-term iOS user you are probably best off sticking with what you know. You have after all almost certainly spent a lot of cash on apps that you'll have to spend again in Android. But it is worth considering that your iTunes music files will work in Android, and Android offers the opportunity of shopping around for music, movies, books and TV shows. See also: Just another opinion about Apple's new iPhones.