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HTC One vs Nexus 5 smartphone comparison review - which great Android phone should you buy?

£449 inc VAT

Manufacturer: HTC

We compare the Nexus 5 and the HTC One. Two great Android phones - but which should you buy? Read our HTC One vs Nexus 5 smartphone comparison review to find out.

HTC One vs Nexus 5

The Nexus 5 is here, and it is on the face of it an amazing deal. A spec similar to the table-topping LG G2, for a price around half of that you would expect to pay for a high-end smartphone (and remember that LG makes the Nexus 5 for Google). So we wanted to pit the Nexus 5 against one of our favourite Android phones: the HTC One.

See also: Nexus 5: Where to buy.

We haven't yet had chance to properly test the Nexus 5, so this article is based on the specifications of both smartphones. It is intended as buying advice: if you are in the market for a new phone should you choose the HTC One of the Nexus 5? Read on to find out. (For a full review of HTC's flagship, check out: HTC One review: great high-end Android matches, but can't beat the best. A good deal.)

HTC One vs Nexus 5: UK price

Let's get straight down to it: if you buy it SIM free the Nexus 5 is a staggeringly good deal. So good it is unfair, in fact - which it is. Nexus devices are subsidised by Google's massive advertising revenues. But, hey, you might as well benefit.

Bought direct from Google Play you can pick up the 16GB Nexus 5 for £299 inc VAT, and the 32GB Nexus 5 for £339. Compare that with the HTC One for which you have to shell out £467 inc VAT to pick up the 32GB flavour. SIM-free there is no contest, I'm afraid. Unless you really want the HTC, the better deal is the Nexus 5.

Look at contract deals - which always cost you more in the long run - and the contest is more nuanced. You can get the both the HTC One and Nexus 5 with 1GB of data for around £30-35 from a variety of providers, including O2, Vodafone, EE, Three and Orange. (But do yourself a favour and buy SIM free.) For more see: The 7 best high-end smartphones of 2013.

HTC One vs Nexus 5: Design and build

Nexus 5The HTC One shares the metallic straight sides and rounded corners of the iPhone 5. It looks rather like the back of the iPhone 5 but with a screen in between the top and bottom strips. The Nexus 5 by contrast is a big slab of black. Straight at the sides but with curved rounded top and bottom.

The HTC measures 68 x 137 x 9.3mm and 143g. Indeed, both handsets stretch to 137mm tall, but the Nexus 5 is lighter, at 136g, and thinner at a little under 9mm. But it's also wider at 69mm.

In terms of build quality, these are two of the best smartphones around. The HTC One is put together beautifully with a combination of aluminium and glass. The Nexus 5 by contrast has more of a plastic look. We haven't yet spent sufficient time with it to judge how robust it will bem but generally Nexus products are built to be bashed about. We hope that the issue of the Nexus 4's glass back and its propensity to crack when bashed has been fixed. (See also: The 14 best smartphones of 2013.)

HTC One vs Nexus 5: Screen

Screen size is an important thing to consider when buying a smartphone. Although the HTC One has a 4.7in screen, the handset doesn't feel too large in the hand. And that display is worth the extra bulk. It's a Full HD (1080 x 1920) resolution display, giving a pixel density of 469pp. It is a staggeringly sharp display.

But then there is the Nexus 5. The Nexus 5 has a 5in display, as the name suggest. Technically it is a 4.95in display with a massive resolution of 1920x1080. That gives pixel density of 445ppi on this full HD IPS display. It will be tough too, being made of Corning Gorilla Glass 3.

Thus the Nexus 5's is a bigger display, but the HTC One's is marginally sharper.

HTC One vs Nexus 5: Processor and performance

HTC OneHTC's One smartphone continues to impress with its benchmark results. Thanks to its Qualcomm Snapdragon 600, 1.7GHz quad-core processor and 2GB of RAM, it aced our GeekBench 2 test with a record clinching score of 2721 points.

It also managed outstanding results in GLBenchmark. The HTC One got 34fps which suggests it will play high-end games nicely. And a Sunspider test result of 1213ms suggests that javascript performance is no problem.

As we mentioned at the outset we haven't yet had the opportunity to test the Nexus 5, so we'll take a look at the specs. Performance is looked after with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800, 2.26GHz quad-core processor paired with 2GB RAM, and an Adreno 330, 450MHz GPU. Expect a similar level of performance  to that produced by HTC's excellent smartphone.

HTC One vs Nexus 5: Storage

Neither of these smartphones has a microSD slot for expanding the storage so you'll have to pick your model carefully.

The HTC One has two storage options, offering just 32GB and 64GB capacities. The Nexus 5 offers up only two options, too. These are 16GB and 32GB. If you need lots of storage the HTC One is the handset to choose.

HTC One vs Nexus 5: Cameras

The HTC One's main camera is rated at 'just' 4Mp. But this Ultrapixel camera lets in more light and is great in low-light situations. It can record video at 1080p. There's also a front-facing camera  with a 2.1Mp sensor - this can also capture 1080p video at 30fps.

The Nexus 5 has two cameras: a 1.3Mp front-facing webcam and an 8Mp rear-facing main camera blessed with Optical Image Stabilization.


HTC One vs Nexus 5: Connectivity

As you would expect from two flagship smartphones, the Nexus 5 and HTC One both offer dual-band Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, DLNA, GPS and support for 4G LTE networks. Both use standard microUSB and NFC, too.

HTC One vs Nexus 5: Software

The HTC One comes with Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean with HTC's Sense 5 overlay. This is a great operating system in its own right, but the Nexus 5 trumps it with the first sight of the all-new Android 4.4 KitKat OS. As a Nexus device there is the added benefit of knowing that the Nexus 5 will be updated to the latest  Android OS as and when that launches, too. Each offers a slick user experience with similar features, however.

HTC One vs Nexus 5: Battery

The HTC One has a non-removable battery rated at 8.5Wh, a 2300mAh-capacity cell. The Nexus 5 has an eerily similar non-removable Li-Po 2300mAh battery cell. Expect normal smartphone battery life from both - basically the ability to get through a day of moderate use, and not much more. (See also: The UK's best Android phones of 2013.)

HTC One Expert Verdict »

4.7 inch, Full HD 1080p, 468 PPI
Qualcomm Snapdragon 600, quad-core, 1.7GHz
Android with HTC Sense, HTC BlinkFeed
32GB/64GB, available capacity varies
2 GB DDR2 RAM
Internal GPS antenna + GLONASS, Digital compass
Gyro sensor, Accelerometer, Proximity sensor, Ambient light sensor
3.5mm stereo audio jack
NFC
Bluetooth 4.0
Wi-Fi
micro-USB 2.0 (5-pin) port with mobile high-definition video link
HTC BoomSound
Dual frontal stereo speakers with built-in amplifiers
Studio-quality sound with Beats Audio
HDR Microphone
Sense Voice
HTC UltraPixel Camera
137.4 x 68.2 x 9.3mm
143g

You should buy SIM free, and therefore you should buy the Nexus 5. Both are great handsets, but the Nexus 5 is priced to shift. However, if you are likely to purchase on contract, you have a choice to make between two brilliant Android phones. Either way you'll be happy.


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