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HTC One vs Sony Xperia Z: spec comparison

MobileGuides
by James Laird
, 22 Feb 2013Guides
HTC One vs Sony Xperia Z: spec comparison

When the HTC One launched, it became more than just the latest premium handset to enter the highly competitive mobile market - it staked a serious claim to the title of best smartphone in the world.  The BlackBerry Z10 is an impressive enough effort, and while the Apple iPhone 5 still boasts peerless design, it doesn't offer best of class hardware by 2013's heady standards. CES star the Sony Xperia Z, however, is as cutting edge as it comes and a fitting sparring partner for HTC's latest hero phone. So how do the two new standard bearers stack up?

Size and weight

The slender but sturdy HTC One has a girth of 9.3mm and weighs 143g. Sony's Xperia Z is one of the thinnest devices available, sizing up at 7.9mm in depth but tipping the scales at a slightly heavier 146g.

Display

Both the HTC One and the Xperia Z look like they're really going to seduce the retinas, offering Full HD resolutions of 1,920 x 1,080 pixels on their LCD screens. By virtue of its smaller 4.7in display, the HTC One offers the sharper images at 469ppi, compared to the 5in Xperia Z's still-stunning 441ppi density.

Processor and battery

Under the hood, the HTC One packs Qualcomm's latest high-end SoC, the quad-core Snapdragon 600, comprised of Krait 300 CPUs clocked at 1.7GHz and an Adreno 320 GPU. Sony's new flagship sports an older Snapdragon S4 configuration with a processor speed of 1.5GHz. The HTC One features a 2,300mAh battery, while the Xperia Z features a 2,330mAh battery with a claimed 3G talk time of up to 11 hours.

Camera

The HTC One and Sony Xperia Z both claim to offer the best smartphone camera on the market, with the latter coming with a 13.1-megapixel Exmor RS sensor.  HTC, on the other hand, has sought to distance itself from the traditional megapixel race by serving up a 4-megapixel CMOS sensor consisting of what the company refers to as 'UltraPixels' - a marketing term to describe the sensor's 2 micron pixels. These are larger than the photosites typically found on cameraphone sensors and should improve low-light shooting (bigger is better when gathering light). The Xperia Z's 2.2-megapixel front camera marginally shades the 2.1-megapixel auxiliary snapper found on HTC's new hero phone.

Storage and memory

The HTC One will be available in 32GB and 64GB models, though hardcore content hoarders won't be pleased that there's no option of expanding the device's capacity. The Xperia Z, by way of contrast, comes with a standard 32GB of on-board storage but offers a microSD card slot for cheap and easy augmentation. Both handsets also come with 2GB of RAM.

Connectivity and wireless

Both the HTC One and Sony Xperia Z support the LTE standard and will join the 4G party when they arrive in March. They also come with NFC technology, though neither can charge up wirelessly.

Software

In the Xperia Z and the HTC One, the Android platform has two of its brightest stars. The One features Sense 5.0, the latest version of HTC's heavily customised Android skin (pictured, below), which is based on Android 4.1 Jelly Bean but offers a number of neat features including Zoe Highlights, which transforms your otherwise static image gallery into flowing cinematic media. The Sony handset ships with Jelly Bean 4.1, with an upgrade to the newer Android 4.2 "planned."

Extras

Until the Xperia Z arrived, ITProPortal's spec comparisons didn't really need a section for special features, but the water and dust resistant Sony flagship changed all that. The HTC One offers some unique features courtesy of Sense 5.0: as well as Zoe Highlights, there's also Sense TV, which sees your handset double as a remote control via an integrated infrared technology. More of an obvious "extra," however, is the amusingly named BoomSound - HTC's audio setup includes two-built in amplifiers based on Beats Audio technology and a pair of front-facing speaker grills.

Price, availability and opinion

The HTC One will start shipping from 14 March and is currently available for pre-order via Phones 4u - the handset can be had for naught on contracts starting from £36 a month. You can't officially buy the One outright just yet, but established online retailer Clove Technology lists the HTC One at £510 SIM-free, if that's the route you want to take.  The Sony Xperia Z broke cover at CES in January and will enjoy some quality European catwalk time at MWC  2013, before hitting the UK on 1 March. The Xperia Z can be pre-ordered via Amazon and off-contract pricing has been set around the £500 mark. 

With both mobiles priced very similarly and offering a full suite of new-generation features, it's difficult to pick a presumptive winner - this is as close as spec showdowns come and it will surely develop into a grudge match. However, it looks like the boasts of HTC EMEA president Florian Seiche, if not indisputable, are very close to the truth. The HTC One may well be the "best phone ever made," but if not, it's certainly king of the smartphone pile for now: the Jelly Bean-based Sense 5.0 UI looks like offering one of the slickest custom user experiences around, while the handset's full aluminium build feels sturdy but slender at the same time.

While the 'UltraPixel' term will only serve to confuse, we thoroughly approve of the way HTC is moving away from the 'bigger is better' megapixel race in the camera department, too, and it's difficult to find better than the 1.7GHz quad-core Snapdragon 600 SoC featured under the hood. Ultimately, it just feels great to hold, and while definitive judgment can't be passed until we've put the two devices through their paces in full - stay tuned for full HTC One and Sony Xperia Z reviews in the near future - we're fairly confident that the Taiwanese firm's latest and greatest effort will hold up admirably to more acute investigations. 

 

HTC One

Sony Xperia Z

Display

   

Screen size

4.7in

5in

Resolution

1,920 x 1,080 pixels

1,920 x 1,080 pixels

Pixel density

469ppi

441ppi

Type

TFT LCD

TFT LCD

Processor and battery

   

Family

Snapdragon 600

Qualcomm Snapdragon S4

CPU

Krait 300

Krait

Cores

Quad-core

Quad-core

Clock speed

1.7GHz

1.5GHz

GPU

Adreno 320

Adreno 320

Battery

2,300mAh

2,330mAh

Claimed 3G talk time

TBC

Up to 11 hours

Storage and memory

   

RAM

2GB

2GB

Internal storage

32GB / 64GB

16GB

microSD

No

Yes

Camera

   

Rear

 4-megapixel

13.1-megapixel

Video

1080p @ 30fps

1080p @ 30fps

Front

2.1-megapixel

2.2-megapixel

Wireless

   

Standard

4G LTE

4G LTE

Wi-Fi

802.11 a / b / g / n

802.11 b/g/n

NFC

Yes

Yes

Bluetooth

v4.0

v4.0

Integrated wireless charging

No

No

Dimensions

   

Size

137.4 x 68.2 x 9.3mm

139 x 71 x 7.9mm

Weight

143g

146g

Operating System

Android 4.1 Jelly Bean w/Sense 5.0

Android 4.1 Jelly Bean

Price (SIM-free)

£510 via Clove

£500 via Amazon

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