HTC One vs iPhone 5

Vs Paul Briden 18:20, 20 Feb 2013

How does the HTC One compare to Apple's iPhone 5? We find out in our head-to-head comparison

So it turns out the rumours were true, the HTC M7 is actually the HTC One, the company’s latest Android flagship.

We previously wrote a rumour-based comparison between these two devices and while some of the pre-release murmurings proved pretty close to the mark the real-world spec has turned out to be even more competitive than we’d been led to believe.

So, here we are again.

The HTC One sports Qualcomm’s cutting edge Snapdragon quad-core processor, a truly fantastic display panel and some slick styling on the outside. It runs Android 4.1 and carries HTC’s new Sense 5 interface overlay.

The iPhone 5 is Apple’s current premium flagship. While the overall experience will be familiar to users of older iPhone models the new variant does have some changes to its design.

Most notably, it’s a bit bigger with an enlarged 4-inch display. It’s also lighter and features an aluminium unibody in place of the old glass back panel.

HTC One: Key specs and what’s hot

Straight out of the gate the three most impressive things about the HTC One are the display, design and build quality.

The design and build are perhaps not surprising, we’ve come to expect this level of polish from HTC’s other flagships. The fit and finish is, as usual, excellent.

HTC has used anodised aluminium with a matte finish for the unibody chassis, which features an altered design from earlier One range models, though staying in the spirit of the brand at the same time.

The edges are tapered and it’s a more elongated, angular shape than earlier HTC models overall, though the corners are still rounded-off in typical HTC style.


The back panel is slightly curved and the bezel on either side of the display is virtually non-existent while the unibody follows round at the top and bottom to ‘cap’ the display at either end.

While there’s been plenty of talk of new flagships with 5-inch 440 pixel-per-inch (ppi) displays, HTC has opted for something ever-so-slightly smaller but with a bit more clarity.

It's a 4.7-inch Super LCD3 with a Full HD 1920x1080 pixel resolution at 468ppi. SLDC3 at this sharpness and pixel density is something to behold, it’s crystal clear, but also has excellent brightness and colour depth, in part due to HTC’s usual resin-injection trick.

It’s not just the outside that’s special though. The processor is Qualcomm’s brand new Snapdragon 600 chipset clocked at 1.7GHz with 2GB of dual-channel RAM and an Adreno 320 graphics processing unit (GPU).

This setup places it on the top of the current pile in terms of performance.

On the subject of performance, Android 4.1 has its usual set of perks with great smoothness and responsiveness, as well as stability, multitasking and a strong app ecosystem.

Other areas are less spectacular but are still good, solid stuff in terms of spec. The HTC One has a decent amount of storage space with 32GB and 64GB options, plus there’s 4G connectivity and infrared TV control functionality.

iPhone 5: Key specs and what’s hot

The iPhone 5 is now looking a bit small and pokey compared to much of the competition, but regardless of this it’s still an great piece of kit in terms of build quality.

The aluminium unibody and Gorilla Glass 2 display mean it’s one of the lightest smartphones we’ve ever handled – almost unnervingly light – it’s like handling a large USB stick, but don’t let this fool you into thinking it lack substance.

It still feels solid and robust, with no give or flimsiness to the chassis.

We must admit we’ve no particular love for Apple’s continuation of a very similar looking iPhone design in terms of shape and details.

However, this is personal preference. If you like the iPhone style it’s going to be as rewarding a handset to look at as it is to handle.

Performance is, as usual, excellent, thanks to Apple’s precision engineered optimisation between processor, operating system and app ecosystem. Everything works in perfect harmony and it’s an improvement on older models in terms of top-tier performance for higher-end games with more impressive graphics.

Direct spec comparison: Shootout

Device HTC One
iPhone 5
Dimensions 137.4mmx62mmx9.3mm 123.8x58.6x7.6mm,112g
Display 4.7-inch LCD,1920x1080 pixels,468ppi

4-inch IPS 'Retina' LCD,1136x640 pixels,326ppi

Camera 4-megapixel,LED flash,1080p video 8-megapixel,LED flash,1080p video
Storage 32GB/64GB 16GB/32GB/64GB
Processor, RAM, Graphics 1.7GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 600 quad-core,2GB RAM,Adreno 320 GPU 1.2GHz dual-core Apple A6,1GB RAM,PowerVR SGX 543MP3 GPU
Operating System, Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean iOS 6.1
UI  HTC Sense 5 n/a
Connectivity microUSB,Bluetooth,NFC,Wi-Fi,4G,GPS Bluetooth,Lightning,Wi-Fi,Wi-Fi Hotspot,GPS
Battery 2,300mAh 1,440mAh

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