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HTC One vs. Sony Xperia Z Comparison Smackdown
      #44538 - 04/17/13 06:48 PM

HTC One vs. Sony Xperia Z Comparison: Flagship Smartphone Smackdown

Sony's flagship phones haven't quite hit the mark in the past, but with the Xperia Z the company finally has a true contender. A fast quad core CPU, full HD display, and a classy all-glass casing that's water resistant make this a solid high end offering. But the HTC One manages to outclass it on a few important fronts like display quality and raw processing power. Both run Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean with light UI customizations, have significantly better than average cameras and LTE (though the Xperia Z lacks US LTE bands). For those in the US, the HTC One makes more sense since it will be offered by 3 major carriers complete with those carriers' support, subsidy/finance plan and LTE.

Design and Build

Which looks better? That's a matter of personal preference, but I suspect that most folks will gravitate toward the unibody aluminum HTC One. Not that the Sony Xperia Z isn't attractive, but it's yet another rectangular slab in a sea of like-minded smartphones. The HTC One has a unique and eye catching design that screams quality. We also feel safer with metal than glass.

Winner: HTC One


Both phones have large 1920 x 1080 displays. The Sony's measures 5" while the HTC is 4.7". Since the HTC One has capacitive buttons, it doesn't lose occasional screen real estate to virtual buttons along the bottom as does the Xperia Z. But the HTC does sometimes give up pixels along the bottom for apps that need a Menu option, because HTC left that button out of its capacitive lineup. These are small points of difference; just as the overall size difference between the actual panels is small. What does matter here is the display quality and the Sony Xperia Z's TFT panel with Mobile Bravia 2 looks quite nice... until you see it next to the superior Super LCD3 display of the HTC One. The HTC is brighter, has greater contrast and deeper blacks. It also has wider viewing angles. Both are quite viewable outdoors.

Winner: HTC One

Horsepower and Performance

We were thrilled to finally see Sony release a flagship phone with a current top end CPU, the Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro 1.5GHz quad core. It scores very well on synthetic benchmarks and feels fast too. But then the HTC One came out with its even newer Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 quad core 1.7GHz CPU, heralding a new level of speed. The Samsung Galaxy S4 will also use the Snapdragon 600 here in the US as with the LG Optimus G Pro, so the Xperia Z might soon seem a bit dated. That said, both phones are extremely fast, and our obsession with feeds and speeds can get in the way of practical thinking: both phones offer more speed than we can possibly take advantage of with current software. The Xperia Z and HTC One each have 2 gigs of RAM. The HTC One is available with 32 or 64 gigs of storage and the Sony Xperia Z has 16 gigs.

Sony Xperia Z: 7851
HTC One: 12,252

Sony Xperia Z: 20,403
HTC One: 24,589

Sony Xperia Z: 1306
HTC One: 1155

Winner: HTC One


The HTC One suffers here with no microSD card slot and no removable battery. The Xperia Z battery is sealed inside but it has an SDXC microSD card slot to house your awesome music and video collection. Both phones have USB host OTG and work with USB flash drives (micro USB OTG cable required to make use of USB host).

Winner: Sony Xperia Z

Battery Life

Our Sony Xperia Z's battery life has been weak, even with LTE disabled (LTE is power hungry and since it doesn't work on our US LTE bands there's no point to enabling it). While calling time is on par with and even a bit better than some other smartphones, any activity where the screen is turned on results in shorter battery life (even with display brightness set relatively low). Our AT&T HTC One with LTE enabled lasted us two hours longer for actual use time with the display on.

Winner: HTC One

There's much more to cover, so watch our HTC One vs. Sony Xperia Z Comparison Smackdown video to find our more.


Sony Xperia Z Video Review

HTC One Review


Lisa Gade
Editor in Chief, MobileTechReview

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