Apple iPhone 5s vs HTC One

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How does HTC’s gorgeous flagship smartphone square up to the new offering from Apple?

A few months ago we dubbed the HTC One a superior phone to the iPhone 5. But with the 5’s successor the iPhone 5s out any day now, has Apple managed to pull ahead of its rival? Read on and we’ll give you the answer.

DESIGN

The iPhone 5s’ exterior is almost identical to that of the iPhone 5: save the upgraded home button (now a Touch ID fingerprint scanner) and larger flash, only the slightly different colour schemes allow you to tell them apart. It’s a fantastically well-made phone, and very easy on the eyes too – but just as its predecessor lost out to the HTC One by a whisker, it does too.

The HTC One is, basically, the best-looking, best-constructed smartphone ever made. A fuss-free, seamless aluminium unibody, ergonomically-sound curved back (it feels lovely in your hand) and Gorilla Glass screen that seems to bleed right into the handset’s edges make it, in our opinion, the most desirable phone in the world right now.

Winner: HTC One

SCREEN

Like the exterior design, the iPhone 5s’ screen is largely carried over from its predecessor: a 4in, 1136 x 640 LCD Retina display that delivers a pixel density of 326ppi. Apple has made some improvements to contrast and black levels, and motion seems a touch smoother too.

The HTC One’s 4.7in full HD screen, blows it out of the water when it comes to detail: its pixel density is a staggering 469ppi. It’s substantially larger the the 5s’ display too, which for some (especially the tiny of hand) is a drawback but for most a benefit. The brightness and contrast packs a nice punch too. No doubt about it: HTC takes this round too.

Winner: HTC One

POWER

The HTC One has, until recently, been in the top two or three smartphones in the world when it comes to processing power. Its quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 CPU, running at 1.7GHz and 2GB of RAM is a formidable setup, and only the likes of the LG G2 (with a Snapdragon 800) and Samsung Galaxy S4 (with a quad-core Exynos CPU) are speedier.The iPhone 5S has an all-new proprietary A7 chip (dual-core, 1.7GHz) that Apple claims is twice as fast as the iPhone 5’s A6 chip. It may be substantially beefier than the 5 on paper, but in practice you’ll struggle to see the difference – largely because the 5 was already so smooth in everyday use. As more demanding apps appear, that’ll change.

This is a tough round to call, because it’s difficult to really assess how good the iPhone 5S’ A7 processor is until we see a new raft of 64-bit apps: games like Infinity Blade III should help paint a picture of just how significant Apple’s leap to 64-bit architecture really is. Certain cross-platform benchmark apps put the iPhone 5S in front, but in ral-world use these two are neck-and-neck.

The 5S also has an M7 coprocessor which can measure motion and orientation of the phone even when it’s in sleep mode. It should make the 5S able to run Fitbit-style all-day health trackers without draining the battery excessively. Then there’s the Touch ID fingerprint scanner, which makes unlocking the iPhone 5S a breeze and should come into its own as more apps and service support it.

On the storage front, the HTC One offers 32GB and 64GB options, while the iPhone 5S comes in 16GB, 32GB and 64GB. Neither has expandable memory.

Winner: iPhone 5s (just)

CAMERA

The iPhone 5 had an 8MP camera and so does the 5s, but it’s been significantly improved. Each pixel on the sensor is 15 percent larger than those on the 5’s sensor and the aperture has been widened from F2.4 to F2.2, which equates to 33 percent extra light sensitivity. That makes the camera a lot handier in dimly-lit conditions, and colour and contrast are noticeably improved too. There’s also a new True Tone flash which allows you to take much more natural looking nighttime photos, particularly when it comes to the colour balance of skin tones. Overall it’s a classy camera and a significant step up from its predecessor.  The HTC One features only 4MP but they’re larger than most phone camera’s (2 microns across to the iPhone 5s’ 1.5). Images are crisp and low light performance is excellent – but we think the iPhone 5s has the edge on both image quality and usability (and it can film 120fps slo-mo video, which the HTC cannot).

Winner: iPhone 5S

IOS 7 VS ANDROID 4.2.2

iOS7 is a major upgrade to Apple’s mobile OS, with flat (dare we say it, Android-style) icons and textures replacing the skeuomorphic approach of past versions. New features like Airdrop and an improved Siri make it a big advantage, as does its superior roster of apps. Read our full review of it here.  The One uses Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean which, while it isn’t the very latest iteration of Google’s OS, is still very swanky – and more customisable than iOS. The HTC Sense UI is laid over the top of it, and some might prefer the incoming “Nexus” edition of the One, which sticks with the cleaner, less adorned version of Jelly Bean.  This is really a case of which OS you prefer. And to be honest, if you’re already in love with either iOS or Android, you’re probably going to stick with the handset that features it.

Winner: Draw

VERDICT

It’s really a very close call as to which of these two fantastic smartphones is “better”. But decide we must – and we’re calling this a win for the HTC One.  The iPhone 5S is lighter, thinner and more compact, equipped with a better camera and, thanks to its 64-bit architecture, possibly geared up for better app support in the near future. If the camera is a priority, you want the best selection of apps on the market or you feel the need for Touch ID in your life, you’ll be very fond of the iPhone 5s.   But the HTC One has a sharper, larger screen, arguably better looks and comes at a cheaper price. That’s reason enough to opt for the HTC One over the iPhone in our books, as the extra screen space makes it that bit more versatile in use, and all the better to enjoy a hi-def game or video on.

This feature first appeared on Stuff.TV

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