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Sony Xperia Z2 vs HTC One M8: What’s the difference and which should I buy?

Sony’s Xperia Z2 and HTC’s One M8 are two of the best smartphones of 2014, but what’s the difference between them and which should you buy? Check out our full comparison review…

Pitting the Sony Xperia Z2 against HTC’s One M8 is like throwing JCVD and Steven Seagal into a pit of spikes and making them do bloody battle. These are absolute heavyweights, the best of the best, both strong enough all-rounders to win our full five stars.

So, is one tough enough to win glorious victory, and be crowned the ultimate smartphone of 2014 so far? We’ve played solidly with the Xperia Z2 and the One M8 to compare them here…

Sony Xperia Z2 vs HTC One M8: Design

If there was such a thing as a Miss Smartphone pageant, these two would be battling for top honours. Sony’s Xperia Z2 is a gorgeous slab of glass and metal, while HTC’s One M8 is a superbly crafted one-piece aluminium beauty.

Sony Xperia Z2 vs HTC One M8: what's the difference and which is best comparison review

They’re the very definition of desirability, but we’re won over by the HTC One as its curved body fits wonderfully in the palm, and doesn’t pick up fingerprints and scuffs as badly. The one advantage the Xperia has is its water resistance, which means it’ll happily survive a dunking.

Sony Xperia Z2 vs HTC One M8: Usability

Both phones rock Android KitKat, and both have been given a facelift by their manufacturers. The Xperia Z2 and the One M8 therefore sport a different look and feel, at least in their vanilla forms.

Sony Xperia Z2 vs HTC One M8: what's the difference and which is best comparison review Sony Xperia Z2 vs HTC One M8: what's the difference and which is best comparison review Sony Xperia Z2 vs HTC One M8: what's the difference and which is best comparison review

Sony Xperia Z2 desktops and OS

Sony Xperia Z2 vs HTC One M8: what's the difference and which is best comparison review  Sony Xperia Z2 vs HTC One M8: what's the difference and which is best comparison review

HTC One M8 desktops and OS

Sony hasn’t gone crazy, simply tweaking the desktops and menus, but HTC has added a whole extra feature known as BlinkFeed, which dedicates an entire desktop to streaming news and social media updates. We like both looks, and your own personal preference will likely come down to how thrilled you are by BlinkFeed.

Sony Xperia Z2 vs HTC One M8: Performance and battery life

When it comes to gaming and apps, there’s nothing in it. Both phones pack the same Snapdragon 801 processor, which can easily handle the latest games with fluid framerates. They also both support microSD cards, so you can plug in tons of extra storage to carry your entire collection around.

Sony Xperia Z2 vs HTC One M8: what's the difference and which is best comparison review

However, if you’re always on the move, you’ll be better served by the HTC One M8, thanks to its incredible battery life. The Sony Xperia Z2 survived for a commendable day and change on each charge, but the One M8 kept on going for around two full days before giving up the ghost, easily the best result we’ve seen since the LG G2.

Sony Xperia Z2 vs HTC One M8: Screen and media

The One M8 and the Xperia Z2 also boast Full HD screens with 1080p resolution, a perfect way to enjoy movies on the go. The HTC’s is ever so slightly sharper thanks to its more compact screen – it’s a 5-incher compared to Sony’s 5.2-inch display. However, the difference is negligible when watching HD videos, with images looking razor sharp on either screen.

Sony Xperia Z2 vs HTC One M8: what's the difference and which is best comparison review

Sony also has a winning ace with its ‘True Colour’ tech, which means the Xperia Z2 boasts more vibrant colours. They bleed together seamlessly and really pop off the display. HTC’s screen also puts out rich, gorgeous images, which snap at the Xperia’s heels.

Sony Xperia Z2 vs HTC One M8: what's the difference and which is best comparison review

The HTC One M8 (left) has a clear border between colours, while the Xperia Z2 (right) bleeds them together

While the Xperia Z2 does have a tiny edge over the One M8 for colour reproduction and spaciousness, both phones do a marvellous job. We’d happily watch a full-length film on either handset, so this round’s basically a tie.

Sony Xperia Z2 vs HTC One M8: what's the difference and which is best comparison review

The HTC One M8 boasts wider viewing angles, with brightness and colour staying strong as you tilt the screen

Sony Xperia Z2 vs HTC One M8: Camera

The final factor that really sets these phones apart, and probably the biggest difference overall, is the camera. Sony’s baby packs a 20.7-megapixel Exmor RS snapper, while the HTC One M8 sports a love-it-or-hate-it Ultrapixel camera, which tops off at just 4-megapixels.

Sony Xperia Z2 vs HTC One M8: what's the difference and which is best comparison review Sony Xperia Z2 vs HTC One M8: what's the difference and which is best comparison review

HTC One M8 (left) vs Sony Xperia Z2 (right)

What does that mean for your everyday snaps? Well, both cameras on auto mode produce bright shots with realistic colours, and also cope well in low light situations. However, the Xperia Z2 does pack more detail into each shot, worth considering if you take your mobile photography seriously. For instance, anyone who takes their camera on holiday to snap exotic architecture would be better served by the Xperia Z2, while social snappers will be happy with either.

When it comes to special features, both phones boast their own unique tools. The HTC’s claim to fame is its dual lenses, which are used to refocus a photo after it’s been shot. It’s a cool little gimmick, and one that Sony mimics in a lesser form, with ‘Background defocus mode’ – with that, you can only blur the background behind your subject, and you have to actually select the mode first.

However, Sony does beat HTC on video features. The Xperia Z2 rocks a full 4k video mode for super-sharp movies, slow motion recording, and the tremor-quashing SteadyShot mode to remove the shakiness from your clips – handy if you’re walking and shooting at the same time.

Sony Xperia Z2 vs HTC One M8: what's the difference and which is best comparison review

If you’re really serious about photography and especially shooting video on your smartphone, the Xperia Z2 is the only choice.

Sony Xperia Z2 vs HTC One M8: Verdict

So, the HTC One M8 and the Sony Xperia Z2 – which phone is best? Well, they’re both gorgeous, they’re both stacked with power, and their Full HD screens are a great way to enjoy games and movies.

However, the HTC’s excellent battery life makes it more suitable for anyone who’s constantly on the move, while Sony’s sharp and feature-packed camera will appease the amateur photographers amongst us. Check out our full reviews of the Sony Xperia Z2 and the HTC One M8 for more info.

 

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