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HTC One M8 Review Comapring With Google Nexus 5

Design and build quality

The M8's single biggest selling point is the way it looks and feels—it's mostly aluminum where the Nexus 5 is mostly plastic (albeit a nice, solid plastic and not that flexy, slippery stuff you'll find elsewhere). It's all curves where the Nexus 5 has boxy edges. It's a phone that looks just as good in person as it does in pictures, where the Nexus 5 is a serviceable-but-bland slab. The Nexus 5 also has a weak, ineffectual vibration motor, while the M8's is like a firm handshake.
You get the point. We could wish the M8 was a little smaller and that its top-mounted power button was in a place where you could actually reach it with one hand, but there's no denying that HTC is making some of the prettiest, sturdiest smartphones you can buy today.
Like other Google Play edition devices, the M8 also has one perk that no recent Nexus has: a microSD card slot for expanding the phone's 32GB of internal storage. KitKat limits the ways in which applications can interact with that storage, but if you just want to dump a bunch of video files on it and then watch them you'll be very happy.


Strictly speaking, I can live without the M8's twin front-facing "BoomSound" speakers—if I'm watching or listening to anything on my phone, I'm usually doing it with headphones in—but there's no denying that they're both louder and clearer than the single tiny speaker on the bottom of the Nexus 5. The M8 can fill a small room with decent-sounding tunes. The Nexus 5 can't even spell "bass."

Battery life

The M8 has a nice, roomy 2,600mAh battery, a smallish but significant increase from the Nexus 5's 2,300mAh battery. According to our Wi-Fi browsing test, this should buy you around an hour and a half of extra runtime, which is nothing to sneeze at.


The M8 Google Play edition is sold through Google, but since it's still an HTC phone, it benefits from the HTC Advantage program the company announced in February. One of the program's promises—two years of Android updates following a phone's launch—doesn't really apply here, since Google Play edition phones get those anyway. The others—50GB of free Google Drive storage for two years, and one free screen replacement if you crack the thing in the first six months—are still applicable. It's too bad that the screen replacement offer isn't good for the entire 12-month warranty period, but that's a bit like getting a free piece of cake and complaining that it's not two free pieces of cake.

Where the Nexus 5 wins

Size and weight

As nice as the M8 looks and feels, it's about 23 percent heavier than the Nexus 5. The difference is only about an ounce (30 grams, for those of you on the metric system), but for extended bouts of one-handed use you'll notice the extra heft.
More annoying is the M8's extra height—those nice front-facing speakers and the bulky bezel add about a third of an inch (around 9mm) to the phone's height, making it that much harder to interact with the entire 5-inch screen without using two hands.

Price, price, a million times price

The primary weakness of the Google Play edition devices is that the OEMs get to set the prices, and those prices are far higher than those of comparable Nexus gadgets (the Moto G excepted, though its specs are a sight lower than either the M8 or the Nexus 5). You can buy two 16GB Nexus 5s for the price of one 32GB M8, which is kind of outrageous.


The phones draw even in the screen department—both have 5-inch 1080p LCD displays. Both use onscreen buttons that normally consume a slice of that real estate. Each has different strengths that become evident when you place the two phones next to each other: the Nexus has the brighter screen, but blacks stay blacker on the M8. The M8's colors are a bit more vibrant and saturated, but they're more accurate on the Nexus. Look at either phone individually and you won't notice a problem with either.
As we pointed out in our regular review, the M8's screen is flanked by larger-than-necessary bezels. HTC moved its Android navigation buttons onscreen but didn't reclaim the area they used. It's a minor quibble, but since it increases the surface area of the phone's face it makes the M8's screen a little more difficult to interact with.


The M8 and its Snapdragon 801 are faster than the Nexus 5 and its Snapdragon 800, but only by a very small amount. I believe the technical term would be a "smidge."
The 801 raises maximum CPU, GPU, and memory bus clock speeds compared to the 800, but the chips are architecturally identical. The 801 most obviously outshines the 800 in graphics performance, but even then it's a small hop.
Graphics performance increases the most thanks to a 28 percent GPU clock speed boost, but you're unlikely to see much of a difference in actual games available in the Google Play store right this minute (or for the foreseeable future—remember, the bulk of Android phones being sold at this point aren't using top-end chips). Either phone should perform just fine for the entirety of its useful life.


We wish there was one Android phone camera to end all Android phone cameras, one that was a solid all-rounder like the one in the iPhone 5S and low-light champ like the ones Nokia puts in its Lumia phones. The Nexus 5 and M8 are a microcosm of the wider Android camera landscape—neither are terrible, both can excel in individual situations, but neither is always better than the other.
In short, the M8 uses the same 4MP "UltraPixel" camera as the old HTC One with the optical image stabilization (OIS) feature removed and a second camera lens added to provide extra depth information. The Nexus 5 has a more conventional 8MP camera with a single-LED flash and OIS included. The M8 tends to perform better in low-light scenarios than the Nexus 5, but in well-lit scenes its low megapixel count cuts down on the amount of fine detail it can capture.
The two are just a bit too close to call. The Google Play edition M8 is also stuck with Nexus camera interface, which remains the only area in which I consistently like OEM interfaces better than Google's. You lose the ability to control some more advanced settings like ISO, and the settings that are available are nested in Google's confusing nested circular menu.
The Google Play edition M8 retains some of the extra post-processing capabilities of the Sense version, too. Going to edit a photo brings up an "HTC Photo Edit" app that isn't normally visible from the main app drawer. From there, you can still do a subset of the kind-of-neat photo manipulation stuff you can do on the regular M8: the fake depth-of-field effect and the "Dimension Plus" feature that warps your photo as you move the phone to simulate a 3D, Google Street View-esque image are the two big ones. A few touch up and filter effects are also available, as are the basic editing options included in the stock Google Photos app (the AOSP Gallery app that's still available on the Nexus 5 is missing from the M8 GPe).

The good

  • The M8 is a great-looking, great-feeling phone.
  • Nice 5-inch 1080p screen.
  • Fast Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 SoC.
  • Stock Android 4.4 with the Google Now Launcher installed, which is generally more consistent and more usable than most OEM skins.
  • Guaranteed updates.
  • The HTC Advantage program gives you free cloud storage and some peace of mind if you shatter your screen.

The bad

  • Kinda big, kinda bulky.
  • Like all Nexus and Google Play phones, there's no Verizon option.
  • The camera hardware still isn't great, and the software has fewer options than on the standard M8.

The ugly

  • At $699, there are precious few reasons to get this instead of a $349 or $399 Nexus 5.
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Item Reviewed: HTC One M8 Review Comapring With Google Nexus 5 Description: Rating: 5 Reviewed By: TechPrev
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