Android Smartphone Showdown: HTC One Vs Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Vs Sony Xperia Z1 Vs Sony Xperia Z Ultra

October 3, 2013 - Written By Chris Yackulic

Smartphone makers have pulled out all the stops this year, propelling competition in the Android arena to a whole new level. But which of these high-end offerings will hail as the best Android smartphone of 2013, and give the likes of the new iPhone a run for its money?

Features HTC One Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Sony Xperia Z1 Sony Xperia Z Ultra
Display 4.7-inch full 1080p HD (468ppi) 5.7-inch Super AMOLED (386ppi) 5-inch Triluminos (441ppi) 6.4-inch Full HD (344ppi)
Processor 1.7GHz quad-core 2.3GHz quad-core 2.2GHz quad-core 2.2GHz quad-core
Operating System Android Jelly Bean Android Jelly Bean Android Jelly Bean Android Jelly Bean
Camera HTC UltraPixel 13 megapixel 20.7 megapixel 8 megapixel
Front-facing Camera 2.1 megapixel 2 megapixel 2 megapixel 2 megapixel
Video Recording 1080p 4K 1080p 1080p
Internal storage 32GB/64GB storage options 32GB/64GB storage options 16GB internal storage 16GB internal storage
microSD No Yes, up to 64GB Yes, up to 64GB Yes, up to 64GB
Battery 2,000mAh 3200mAh 3000mAh 3050mAh
Weight 143g 168g 170g 212g



HTC ONe Red Black and White



The all metal and glass construction of the HTC One has received a raft of rave reviews since it was unveiled in February. The polished chrome tapered edges and curved rear panel give the device a premium feel that not only looks great, but makes it really easy to use.

On the front fascia of the handset sits a 4.7-inch display and two precision-drilled BoomSound speakers featuring a built-in amplifier offering stereo audio.


Samsung Galaxy Note 3

The Korean manufacturer has ditched the polycarbonate rear cover for a faux-leather textured finish, which really gives the device a high-quality feel. Despite its ample measurements the Note 3 is a slender 7.6mm thin, and with a grooved metal rim around the edges it looks fantastic.

The stylus sits at the bottom of the handset, and is also topped with metal so its sits flush when docked into the metal rim.


Sony Xperia Z1

The Sony Xperia Z1‘s design has been redefined from the former Xperia Z flagship, and the rounded edges make it feel really well built and sturdy in the hand. Like the Xperia Z Ultra this handset is also water resistant, with flaps covering the various ports to ensure it’s secure from damage when immersed. However, the 3.5mm headphone socket has also been made water resistant so it can withstand being dunked in water.

Sony-Xperia-Z-Ultra 1

Sony Xperia Z Ultra

Boasting a razor-thin 6.5mm profile the Xperia Z’s rectangular form-factor is exceptionally sleek, and Sony has even rounded off the edges slightly to make it fit more comfortably in the hand. Showcasing a 6.4-inch display Sony claims the Z Ultra features “the largest display in the world’s slimmest Full HD smartphone”.

The tempered glass on the front and rear of the handset is encompassed by a solid metal frame, which makes it highly durable. Taking things one step further this phablet also has an IP58 certification which makes it waterproof to a depth of 1.5 metres.




The HTC One was the first handset to feature the firm’s UltraPixel sensor, which stands at just 4 megapixels. While this may not sound like a lot, the UltraPixels are much larger than those found on other smartphones. HTC claims that these pixels let in 300% more light, which banish blur and unwanted shadows resulting in a higher quality image, even in darker settings.

There’s also an extra helping of innovation in the form of HTC Zoe, which records three second bursts of video, and users are then able to pull out individual frames for editing.

Samsung Galaxy Note 3

The 13 megapixel autofocus camera includes Smart Stabilisation, LED flash and zero shutter lag, which all make for colourful, detailed images. And, with a range of new modes including Panorama 3D, Sound & Shot and HDR, it’s even easier to get the perfect picture.

However, the real stand-out feature is that the camera can shoot in 4K video. This means it’s capable of recording Ultra HD content at 30fps, bringing video footage on the move into its own.

Sony Xperia Z1

In terms of size the 13 megapixel camera is certainly up there with some of the biggest currently found on a smartphone. It does however default to the Superior Auto setting which shoots at 8 megapixels, so you will have to change this manually to get the high-quality resolution that comes with the 20 megapixel images.

Sony’s Info Eye setting adds another dimension to your images and whether you snap a famous building or vintage wine bottle this handy app collates data associated with them and brings it straight to your fingertips.

Sony Xperia Z Ultra

These days you’re likely to find an 8 megapixel camera on a tablet device and this is where the Z Ultra really crosses the boundaries between smartphones and tablets. Considering the resolution pictures are very detailed, but a lack of flash means the quality suffers in low-light settings.

With a dedicated shutter button users can take pictures underwater, and with a range of camera modes, it’s easy to enhance your shots in and out of the water.

Samsung BAttery

Battery Performance


We found battery life to be average on the HTC One and in normal use will last around a day. The main culprits for draining juice were HTC Zoe and HTC’s Sense 5 user interface. Adjusting elements such as screen brightness certainly helped though, plus the Power Saver and Sleep Mode settings came in very useful to prolong battery life.

Samsung Galaxy Note 3

Considering its oversized display the Note 3’s battery lasted a full day, even when using all the handset’s features. Aside from the big screen, the intuitive S Pen stands out as the biggest battery drainer. Unfortunately we found the device really hard to use without it, so there’s no getting away from that daily overnight charge.

Sony Xperia Z1

One advantage of having a big handset is there’s more room for a bigger battery, and as a result the Xperia Z1’s offering is enough to see you through the day. The display, processor and camera are the biggest and probably most obvious offenders, but Sony’s got it covered. The Stamina Mode lets you counteract the power-hungry processor and in the Settings menu it even tells you the estimated battery time your handset has left.

Sony Xperia Z Ultra

The Z Ultra’s display is without a doubt the one of the big highlights of this handset however, its generous dimensions mean that it uses a lot of power. Even after just a day of normal use, without watching videos or playing games, the Z ultra will need plugging in for a burst of life. As with the Xperia Z1 though, Stamina Mode is on hand to ensure you’re never without your handset when you need it most.


This guest post was written by Sarah Hazelwood of Phones 4u, the mobile upgrade experts.