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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Five alternatives to the HTC One M8


HTC One M8

The new HTC One M8 is now official, and it’s already available for purchase on most major US carriers. But before you spend your hard-earned dollar on HTC’s latest and greatest, you may want to take one of the alternatives to HTC's flagship available on the market.

The HTC One (M8) is an impressive device with its polished design and powerful hardware, but it seems that HTC could have offered a little more in the camera department. Moreover, other devices offer some unique features that you won’t find on the new HTC One.


Samsung Galaxy S5

Samsung Galaxy S5
The Samsung Galaxy S5 is clearly the biggest rival to the HTC One M8. Samsung has outfitted their newest flagship with value added features like a heart rate monitor and a fingerprint scanner. The handset also comes with a superior camera (based on preliminary tests), as images we have seen so far from it are richer in detail, and with a great color balance.

The Galaxy S5 is also water and dust resistant, something that the HTC One (M8) is not. Samsung’s phone is also slightly faster, and its TouchWiz user interface has its specific allure (TouchWiz alone is not an advantage in itself, though). The Galaxy S5 clearly emerges as a worthy HTC One (M8) alternative. To top things off Samsung will certainly put all the power of its marketing machine behind its latest flagship, something that HTC has failed to master with their handsets.

However keep in mind, though, that the Galaxy S5 is not available yet in retail stores - you’d have to wait until April 11th for that.


Sony Xperia Z2

Sony Xperia Z2
Sony may have switched to 6-month release cycles with its recent smartphones, and the Xperia Z2 fits in that pattern, coming just half a year after the Xperia Z1. In that short time span, Sony has managed to improve the Z1 greatly, fixing all the broken little pieces. First, the screen on the Xperia Z2 no longer suffers from poor viewing angles, a crippling issue that has persisted in the Xperia Z and Xperia Z1. 

Sony has also packed its flagship Android smartphone full with the latest specs, including a speedy Snapdragon 801 system chip with 3GB of RAM, while the HTC One (M8) features just 2GB. Sony also sticks to its excellent 20-megapixel camera with a large sensor, while HTC’s UltraPixel experiment seems to lack behind in terms of image quality. All of that makes the Xperia Z2 an excellent alternative to the HTC One (M8). Just as the Samsung Galaxy S5, though, the Xperia Z2 is not yet available in stores - it’s expected to launch around mid-April.


LG G2


The LG G2 launched a few months back, but in that short period, LG has already slashed the price of the phone hugely. Now, you can get the G2 for a much lower price than the HTC One (M8), and still end up with a device with similar specs to HTC's flagship. The G2 has another trump card in the form of its 13-megapixel rear-facing camera (with optical image stabilization), which at first sight seems to have the slight edge over the UltraPixel (4-megapixel) camera on the One (M8). 

Price and camera make a strong case for the LG G2, but keep in mind that it’s plastic build is nowhere near as solid as the unibody aluminum HTC One (M8). If you want a larger device, you could consider the LG G Pro 2.



Google Nexus 5

The Google Nexus 5 comes with the latest Android 4.4 KitKat, it’s first in line for future Android updates, and it sports stock Android with no custom skins on top. Moreover, just like the LG G2, the Nexus 5 is much, much cheaper - it’s actually half the price of the HTC One (M8) Google Play edition! At the same time, the trade-off in power is minimal, as the Nexus 5 runs on just a slightly less powerful chip than the M8: the N5 has got the Snapdragon 800, while the new One comes with the Snapdragon 801. In terms of cameras, the difference is not all that huge either, but the Nexus 5 still seems to have the slight edge if you count image quality alone (and it’s got OIS). Finally, all of that combines to make the Nexus 5 a worthy alternative to the new HTC One.


Apple iPhone 5s

Apple iPhone 5s
The Apple iPhone 5s remains the world’s most popular smartphone thanks to both Apple’s huge iOS ecosystem, its performance power and excellent craftsmanship. The iPhone 5s also has a much more compact footprint than any other high-end smartphone on the market. Compact, however, does not mean slow, and in fact the iPhone 5s is roughly on par with the new HTC One in terms of processing power. Both handsets are almost evenly matched in terms of design quality, so your choice will come down to size and platform preference - if you want to go Apple and prefer a compact phone, the iPhone 5s is an obvious choice, while if you prefer Android and a larger display, the new One is more suitable.


Nokia Lumia Icon

Nokia Lumia Icon
Lets step away from Android for a moment and look at the Windows Phone ecosystem, namely the Nokia Lumia Icon. Now that Windows Phones are no longer restricted by the strict hardware requirements the Lumia Icon has stepped forward to match its Android counterparts with powerful hardware. Its 20MP PureView camera is provenly one of the best in the market and Windows Phone has shown that its ability to perform across hardware better than Android.

If you are willing to give up on the emmensive Android app ecosystem for the smaller (but quickly growing) Windows Phone platform, you may want to consider the Lumia Icon. If you want something even bigger, you can consider the Nokia Lumia 1520.


So what do you think of these alternatives? Would you consider owning one of them instead of the HTC One M8? Leave us a comment let us know your thoughts on all these handsets and how they compare to the new One.
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