After comparing and contrasting Samsung’s Galaxy S5 with Sony’s Xperia Z2, the GS5 with last year’s S4, HTC’s One (M8) with the 2013 One and the S5 with the M8, it’s come down to this. The One (M8) against the Xperia Z2 for the final win.
Two apparent dark horses for the top-shelf Android crown, but ultimately better, handsomer, sturdier, solider contenders than what everyone thought was the shoo-in heavyweight world champion candidate. Sorry, S5, you’re simply too gimmicky and underwhelming to stay in the race.
Make no mistake, Samsung’s marketing juggernaut will help its latest flagship device probably top M8 and Z2 sales… combined. Yet those that know better and want to own the best of the best regardless of whose advertising campaign proves the most aggressive shall pick their next weapon after careful consideration and a thorough scan of M8 and Z2’s gifts and flaws.
But how about we do the heavy lifting for you, probing and scrutinizing the underdogs turned frontrunners, and you just pay the piper for whichever you end up liking more? Deal? Then let’s get cracking:
HTC One (M8) vs Sony Xperia Z2 – design and build quality comparison
To say both of these bad boys look amazing in their very personal own ways would likely be the understatement of the century. They’re born to live in the limelight, walk on the catwalk and prance around showing off their curves or, um, lack thereof.
But which one’s more pleasing to the eye? That’s a toughie. On the one hand, the Z2 is about as tall and heavy light as the M8 and actually thinner while also offering the larger usable screen real estate area. It’s less curvy too, with sharp edges rather than round ones, which at least in my book, helps its cause, sending a vibe of elegance and sophistication.
On the other hand, you’d be nuts to call the 2014 HTC One ugly, and as far as build quality is concerned, aluminum trumps glass every day. More aluminum equals higher reliability, and the M8 is reportedly 90 percent (!!!) metal.
Verdict: It’s an overall tie
As all major Android players except for Oppo (who’s not really major yet) have chosen the safe route in this particular department, sticking to Full HD resolutions instead of gambling on 2K, there’s genuinely nothing to choose between M8 and Z2’s panels. On paper.
Hoping Sony didn’t botch Xperia Z2’s display (a la last year’s Xperia Z), and it doesn’t look that way based on hands-on previews, the sole difference here is size. Either you go for the smaller 5 incher with the higher ppi (441), or the larger 5.2 incher with inferior pixel density (424). Your choice.
Verdict: Ties galore
Processing speed, RAM and cameras
Accused of gaming benchmarks via a speed-boosting “High Performance Mode”, HTC can’t really hope to edge out Sony performance-wise (in real life), as M8’s 2 GB RAM comes one gig short of Z2’s memory. And since the chips packed by the two rivals in their “international” renditions are virtually identical, 2.3 GHz Snapdragon 801, odds are you’ll feel the RAM gap right off the bat. Or, you know, as soon as you put some pressure on the handhelds, running a dozen or so different applications simultaneously.
The camera duel is, I’m afraid for HTC, even more disproportionate, as One’s UltraPixel rear snapper, complete with the gimmicky Dual Camera setup, is light years behind Xperia Z2’s state-of-the-art 20.7 MP main shooter, stuffed with goodies and add-ons like image stabilization, HDR, 4K video recording, video stabilization and so on and so forth.
Granted, selfie addicts find a more reliable partner in One’s manufacturer, as the 5-incher’s front cam carries a 5 MP sensor (vs. 2.2 megapixels), but at the end of the day, that’s surely not enough for a reversal of fortune.
Winner: Xperia Z2 by a landslide
HTC M8 vs Sony Xperia Z2 – software and battery life comparison
It’s weird, Z2’s user interface is clearly closer to stock Android, yet a bit laggy on occasion and, overall, not as sleek as HTC’s best Sense iteration ever, 6.0. And yes, you’re likely to get loads more pre-loaded bloatware on the M8, between BlinkFeed, Zoe, all the Kid Modes, Car Modes and fitness tracking Fitbit.
But BlinkFeed and Zoe are actually cool, useful, neat little KitKat supplements. Meanwhile, I can’t think of one single beneficial Sony-specific app found on the Xperia Z2.
Android 4.4 KitKat is of course available out the box with both devices, and as far as battery is concerned, it’s still early to reach a verdict. Theoretically, we’d expect Sony to prevail with ease, thanks to a juicer capacity advantage of no less than 600 mAh (3,200 vs 2,600).
However, after seeing M8’s relatively tiny ticker tested and pitted against monsters such as Samsung’s Galaxy Note 3, we’re not so sure anymore.
Audio, storage, connectivity and others
Although the Xperia Z2 is certainly no pushover when it comes to playing loud, crisp, clear audio, it ultimately has nothing on M8’s breathtaking BoomSound stereo speakers. Storage? No way to set them apart there, as you get 16 GB built-in and up to 128 GB external from both.
Connectivity and ports-wise, they’re also evenly matched, with NFC, Bluetooth 4.0, 4G LTE and microUSB 2.0 across the board, but one key “other” area where we can see a big difference is, let’s call it build quality supplements.
True, the One (M8) is probably more reliable in that it handles drops and whatnot better, but clumsy mobile users like myself often need a slab of silicon capable of withstanding a dunk in a bowl of water. You know the bowl I’m talking about. Well, the Z2 is obviously the king of the bathrooms, with IP58 certification for dust and water resistance.
Too bad you have to know a guy who knows a guy who knows Kazuo Hirai to score one of these water-shielded beauts by May. Meanwhile, the HTC One (M8) is up for grabs via three of the four major US carriers and a wide array of British retailers. Oh, decisions, decisions.