This comparison is between the highly anticipated HTC One M8 (when it was launched) and the equally anticipated Sony Xperia Z3…although the anticipation for the Xperia Z3 was for a different reason – we rarely get to see a Sony flagship in the U.S. The Xperia Z2 never made it to the States so Sony did a quick refresh of their six month old Z2, called it the Z3 and was able to get T-Mobile to commit as a carrier. The HTC One M7 was very well received and everybody was wondering just how HTC would improve upon it with the HTC One M8
Both devices are beautiful in their own way – the One M8 is an all-metal design that comfortably curves around the back on the device, making it a pleasure to look at and to hold…but hold tight as it may want to slip out of your hand. The Xperia Z3 is a glass and metal beauty, much in the same lines of the earlier iPhone devices…it has a metal frame and glass on the display and as a back. While easy to grasp, it can be a little tougher to hold over long periods of time.
These two devices are very similar on a number of levels. The first would be in the display – almost the same size (5.2-inches versus 5-inches), they both use the LCD screen technology – the Z3 IPS LCD versus Super LCD3 on the One M8. Both are Full HD displays with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels with 424 pixels-per-inch (PPI) for the Z3 and 441 PPI for the One M8.
They both offer a 16GB or 32GB model and they both offer the ability to expand that memory up to 128GB via a microSD card slot. Both devices are very similar in size with the One M8 being the thicker of the two – 9.4mm versus 7.3mm – and weighing in at 152 grams for the Z3 and 160 grams for the One M8.
Both offer Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, a TV-out connector, NFC, FM radio and both have front facing stereo speakers, although the Z3 only has one grill and the One M8 has dual grills and BoomSound, bringing a truly great sound from a smartphone.
Please look over the detailed specifications below and see exactly where these two devices stand up against one another. We will then look at each individual device to compare the extra specs and features they have in order to help us make a determination of the winner of this comparison.
Sony Xperia Z3
The Sony Xperia Z3 is a great looking device and has the ability to compete with the already released devices – LG G3, Galaxy S5, and the HTC One M8. But, it will need a refresh again next Spring if Sony hopes to keep up with the next line of flagships, as they will all certainly have QHD displays (the LG G3 already does) and possibly 64-bit processors. Technology is moving excessively fast to be left behind, charge a premium price, be on one exclusive carrier and expecting to make a real dent in the smartphone market is just unrealistic.
The Z3 does have a slightly better processor, clocked slightly faster than the M8 and it also has 3GB of RAM compared to the 2GB in the M8. Where the Z3 shines over the M8 is in the main camera area – Sony's 20.7MP 25mm wide-angle lens simply blows the M8's 4MP UltraPixel Duo Camera 'affair' out of the water, although the M8 beats out the Z3 with a 5MP front-facing camera (FFC) over the 2.2MP FFC used on the Z3. This means better video chatting and selfies from the M8. The Z3 does have a larger battery – 3100mAh versus 2600mAh – than the M8 and both batteries are non-removable.
As far as features go, the Z3 has an IP65/IP68 certification against dust and water – you can actually film under water. It also has DLNA built-in, Wi-Fi calling and offers PS4 Remote Play with an optional controller that can be purchased separately and offers the latest Android 4.4.4 KitKat with Xperia UI on top. It will be available sometime this year, exclusively on T-Mobile and will probably cost in the neighborhood of $885 off-contract.
HTC One M8
Everybody was waiting to see how HTC would follow up the very successful One M7, so the HTC One M8, like most follow ups, was met with all of us wanting 'more.' We were expecting a much better camera, more RAM, a bigger battery and even louder speakers. What we got was more metal and a Duo Camera, with no change to the original and only a 2600mAh battery. Don't get me wrong, the HTC One M8 was still a success, but like the Galaxy S5, we expected more – but then, are we ever satisfied?
The HTC One M8 matches up fine in the display department, and even though its processor is slightly less powerful…not by much. It does have 2GB of RAM versus the 3GB of the Z3, but they both have the same 16GB or 32GB of internal storage with room to expand up to 128GB.
The camera is somewhat a disappointment – not that it takes bad pictures, but if HTC would have upped the "UltraPixels," it could take even better shots. What HTC chose to do was add a second, or Duo Camera, on the back – not to take pictures, but to add depth to your photos. So while your actual photo will not be any better than with the M7, you can add some nice special effects…a nice idea, but I think HTC should have concentrated more on the main camera and let the software do the rest. Now, when it comes to the FFC, HTC added a large 5MP job for excellent video chatting and group selfies.
As far as features go, you can use your M8 as an IR Blaster to control your remote devices, the dual stereo front-mounted speakers are the best sounding of an smartphone so far and it has a built-in FM Stereo Radio. Another feature is its awesome selling price because it has been out a while – you can find the M8 on a two-year contract for about $99, and it is available on all major networks.
…And the Winner is…
Before anybody gets bent out of shape (too late?), I just want to say that I am putting this down as a tie – I used the Z3 picture because it was more colorful. I based this mostly on the fact that they are very evenly matched up, the fact that the HTC One M8 is available on all carriers and is a terrific bargain now that it has been out a while…I just cannot justify the price difference and the few extra features of the Xperia Z3 to pick it as the numero uno winner.
If you really want the best camera of the two or need waterproofing, then the Xperia Z3 is the way for you to go. If you can be satisfied with the HTC One M8's camera – still very good – then you can pick up the M8 and have FM stereo, an IR Blaster and argumentatively the best sounding smartphone available for a fraction of the cost. It is every bit as stylish, has smaller bezels and is even more comfortable to hold than the Z3 and will probably get faster Android updates than the Sony Xperia Z3.
The restrictive availability and high price tag, make the Xperia Z3 a premium niche device for Sony lovers rather than a smartphone for the masses. If the camera and waterproofing are that important to you, then grab the Z3 and enjoy it – you will not be disappointed. But if you want a real bargain that looks great, sounds even better and is widely available, then grab the HTC One M8 and enjoy. Which category do you fall in? Please look us up on our Google + Page and let us know which of these devices win the comparison for YOU and WHY…as always, we would love to hear from you.