Can the Xperia Z Stand Up Against the HTC One?

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Call it the Battle of the Power Houses, HTC and Sony are lined up toe-to-toe with their latest top-tier smartphones. In the Sony corner we have the Xperia Z. In the HTC corner is the HTC One.

We showed you the Sony Zperia Z from CES 2013 and were quite impressed with it. As Brandon said, “it’s a darn nice phone”. And it should be. Sporting an S4 Pro quad-core processor clocked at 1.5GHz and backed up by 2GB RAM, it’s very snappy. The skin Sony has opted for is fairly light-weight but distinctively different from the stock Android experience that you’ll get from a Nexus device. This phone is one of the flagships that are introducing us to 1080P displays on sub-5-inch devices. With that comes high PPIs and extremely crisp images and text.

HTC, on the other hand, has their HTC One which we were able to show you from their announcement event. It also runs a Snapdragon processor, but it’s the Snapdragon 600, not the S4 Pro, through they’re pretty closely spec’d. The clock speed in the HTC One is a little faster than the Sony Xperia Z, coming it at 1.7 GHz, still in quad-core configuration. It also sports a 1080P screen as well as a new version of Sense UI that HTC is simply calling “the new Sense”. It’s lighter weight that all of the previous iterations and looks like something I wouldn’t mind running — with is saying a lot coming from an Android purist like me.

What does the Xperia Z have the HTC One doesn’t?

These phones aren’t clones of one another. Let’s start with their construction. Like it or not, the Xperia Z has an “all glass” chassis — front, back, and even sides. HTC went with their traditional aluminum uni-body build. I guess it comes down to preference, but it’s interesting to see Samsung with their plastic phones, Sony and LG with their glass phones, and HTC sticking with metal. Since this is personal preference, we’ll call this one even.

Sony might have HTC beat in terms of cameras. Inside the Xperia Z is a 13MP shooter that should take some amazing shots. HTC is going with an “Ultrapixel” configuration that essentially marries two 4MP sensors together to come up with some impressive results. We’ll hold off final judgement until we’ve seen what they both can do in real-world scenarios, so we’ll call it a draw.

HTC has moved their rear-facing speaker to the front, which makes sense (no pun intended). You’re the one who wants to hear whatever it is you’re playing, not the person standing in front of you. That’s a point for HTC.

HTC has also included an IR port and released an API for developers to make it do cool things. We’ve seen IR before and it didn’t go anywhere due to its limited speed and distance. Sorry, no points here, HTC.

Sony fired back making the Xperia Z water proof. To do this they had to include rubbery flaps over every opening, including the headset jack and microUSB port. I doubt the “water proof” aspect will cancel out the inconvenience of having to fight open a little door every time you want to listen to your music or recharge your phone. Wireless charging could have remedied at least half of this concern, but it’s not included in the Xperia Z. Unless you have a high probability of subjecting your phone to water, no points here.

Moving over to displays, the screens on both devices are both 1920 x 1080 for a full 1080P resolution, but the viewing angles aren’t quite what we’d hoped for on the Xperia Z. The HTC One doesn’t seem to have the viewing angle limitations that the Xperia Z has, edging the HTC One ahead in this category.

All in all, the Xperia Z looks like it’s going to be a tremendously well-built phone with specifications right where we’d expect them to be on a flagship device. Will it stand up against the HTC One? Though it falls a few points behind, the Xperia Z is a definate contender.. The nominal increases in processor speed notwithstanding, both phones will certainly impress. This decision between the two is ultimately going to come down to how each phone feels in your hand rather than what each has packed inside its shell.

Your turn

Now that you’ve heard my opinion on the two phones, based purely on specifications and what we’ve been able to see with the limited in-hand experiences with each, I’m curious to hear your impressions and thoughts. If you were offered either of these smartphones for your next device, which one would you pick, and why? Let us know in the comments!

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About The Author
Joe Levi
Joe graduated from Weber State University with two degrees in Information Systems and Technologies. He has carried mobile devices with him for more than a decade, including Apple's Newton, Microsoft's Handheld and Palm Sized PCs, and is Pocketnow's "Android Guy".By day you'll find Joe coding web pages, tweaking for SEO, and leveraging social media to spread the word. By night you'll probably find him writing technology and "prepping" articles, as well as shooting video.Read more about Joe Levi here.