The battle of the flagships continue, and after pitting LG’s latest and greatest against the Samsung Galaxy S5 and the Sony Xperia Z2, it’s not time to round out the collection by comparing the LG device to the latest HTC flagship. Both smartphones have a lot to offer, and while there might be a few similarities across the board, they both bring something unique to the table, that will certainly match the preference of some consumers over others. Eager to find out which premier smartphone is for you? Here’s an in-depth look at the LG G3 vs HTC One (M8)!
This year, it looked like device manufacturers were happy with the design choices made with their previous flagships, and that is the case with both the LG G3 and the HTC One (M8). Neither feature dramatic departures from the design language of their predecessors, but this make both phones easy to identify.
Starting with the LG G3, the company borrowed heavily from the design elements of the G2, but did listen to its consumers, allowing for a design that is a lot more refined in almost every way. That said, it’s still made of plastic, but has moved on from a glossy plastic to a hard material that has been treated to give it a faux brushed metal look. Not only does the LG G3 look really good, but it doesn’t attract a lot of fingerprints, with the curve on the back allowing for the device to sit comfortably in the hand.
The back is also removable, giving you access to the microSD card slot and the replaceable battery. Continuing from its predecessor, the LG G3 also features a rear button layout, which is a lot more refined compared to previous iterations. The buttons are easy to find with great tactile feedback, because they o longer protrude out the back, so you don’t have to worry about accidental presses. The learning curve with this button layout, which is still unique to LG devices, isn’t very steep, and it only takes a few minutes to get used to it.
On the other hand, the HTC One (M8) also features a similar design to its predecessor, but with a lot of improvements. It’s now made of 90% metal, so there’s a lot less of the plastic injection moulding, except for where it’s absolutely necessary. HTC has always been known for their build quality and design, and the company has really outdone itself with the One (M8). The back of the One (M8) is also curved, allowing for a comfortable grip, with the back also not prone to fingerprints.
The One (M8) features an uni-body design, so the back isn’t removable, but you do get microSD expansion with an HTC flagship this time, accessible through a tray on the side of the device. The button layout is standard fare for an HTC smartphone, with the volume rocker on the side and the power button up top. Because of its size, the power button is somewhat difficult to reach, but a slew a gesture controls does drastically reduce the number of times you’ll find yourself reaching for the power button.
While both companies have made improvements on their existing design philosophies, what does stand out when it comes to design is the size of the LG G3. The LG G3 boasts a display that is a half inch diagonally larger than the One (M8)’s, but surprisingly, is packed in a body that is comparable to that of the HTC device, courtesy of its ultra-thin bezels. In fact, the LG G3 is a little shorter than the One (M8), albeit negligibly, and is only slightly wider.
The handling experience with both devices is quite similar, considering that both feature curved backs that allow for the phones to sit quite snugly in the hand. The One (M8) is obviously heavier because of its metal construction, but both feel very solid. The LG G3 and the HTC One (M8) are definitely two of the best looking smartphones currently available.
The LG G3 is king of the Android world at the moment when it comes to the display, at least on paper. Boasting a 5.5-inch IPS LCD display with a resolution of 2560 x 1440, resulting in a massive pixel density of 534 ppi, the LG G3 is the first mainstream smartphone to feature such a screen.
For the most part, this G3 display is every bit as good as you’d expect it to be. The colours aren’t washed out and look great, but do a look a little cold to my eyes, at least in comparison to the One (M8). It’s very bright, with good viewing angles, and super sharp. Even though there isn’t a lot of content to take advantage of this resolution, the display is still fantastic, and once the content finally catches up, the display experience is only going to get better.
That said, the 5-inch display of the HTC One (M8) is no slouch either, with its 1080p resolution, resulting in a pixel density of 441 ppi. It’s a very sharp looking display, with fantastic colors, viewing angles, and brightness.
Of course, the important question here is whether there is a noticeable difference between the two displays. It has to be said that if you look close enough, a difference is noticeable, but as mentioned before, until the content from developers, videos, and games catch up to the high resolution of the LG G3, you’re not going to be missing out on much. At the end of the day, you’ll have a great time using the display of either smartphone.
Both smartphones feature specifications that are similar to each other, as is the case with any current flagship device, and as such, allow for a smooth and snappy performance. Both come with a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor, clocked at 2.3 GHz for the One (M8), and 2.5 GHz for the LG G3, backed by the Adreno 330 GPU. The HTC One (M8) features 2 GB of RAM and 32 GB of internal storage. In the case of the LG G3, the 16 GB version of the device comes with 2 GB of RAM, while the 32 GB model boasts 3 gigs of RAM.
Both these devices absolutely fly, even with their respective skins on top of Android, and you’re rarely, if ever, going to experience any sort of slow down that would be detrimental to the overall experience.
I do find the experience with HTC Sense to be a tad snappier in comparison to LG’s G UI. That said, the LG G3 does outperform the One (M8) in benchmark tests, but it is real world performance that ultimately matters the most. Either way, both smartphones are blazing fast, and it’s not easy to pick one over the other when it comes to performance.
When it comes to the rest of the hardware, both devices do have some features in common, but there are enough differences, and depending on who you are, some available options may outweigh others.
Talking about the common features, both devices offer microSD expansion, with the card slot found under the removable battery cover of the LG G3, and via a tray to the right side of the One (M8). Both also come with an IR blaster, which is great if you like using your phone as a TV remote.
One of the big differences you’re going to notice with these two smartphones is in the sound quality of the speakers. Obviously, HTC is still the best in the business, with their front-facing Boom Sound speakers. While the back-facing single speaker of the LG G3 is pretty good for what it is, and does get loud, it certainly doesn’t hold a candle to the front firing speakers of the One (M8).
When it comes to the battery, the HTC One (M8) packs a smaller, non-removable, 2,600 mAh battery, compared to the replaceable 3,000 mAh unit of the LG G3. The LG smartphone does get a slight edge in the battery department, as users always have the option to carry around a spare. That said, I’ve found the battery life performance of both smartphones to be quite comparable, which is impressive on the part of the LG G3, considering the larger, higher resolution display that has to be powered.
I’ve managed to make it through a full day with both smartphones, and as long as I’m able to do that, I’m perfectly fine with the performance of the battery. If you are looking to get the most out of the battery, both devices offer power saving features that are very impressive, and play their part in helping you get that little bit of extra juice. One thing to watch out for though is that the power saving mode of the HTC One (M8) may vary from carrier to carrier in the US, as the Verizon version of the device that I’m currently using does not include this feature.
With regards to the camera is where you see two completely different approaches, but with both introducing something new that do their part in enhancing the respective smartphone photography experience.
The LG G3 has a more typical camera set up with a 13 MP sensor, along with a new laser auto focusing system, and LG’s OIS+ technology, that was first introduced with the LG G Pro 2, built-in. The newly added laser focusing system allows you to snap shots really quickly, an issue that has plagued previous LG devices, and it works extremely well. OIS+ combines both hardware and software stabilization, helping you to take some great looking shots, regardless of whether you have steady hands or not. Taking pictures with the LG G3 couldn’t get any simpler, because the camera pretty much does all the work. You do have a few shooting modes built-in, but not a whole lot more,which in a way, allows you to focus on taking photos, instead of fumbling around with the settings.
On the other hand, HTC continues to stay away from the mega pixel race with the One (M8), bringing back its 4 MP “Ultra Pixel” camera from the One (M7). This time around, there also a secondary camera sensor available that captures depth information, but OIS has unfortunately been omitted because of this. The Duo Camera set up does allows for some cool focusing effects after the shot has already been taken, using the UFocus feature, and it is possible to get some very convincing depth of field. The software interface of the One (M8) camera is also quite simple and straight forward, but there are a lot more granular controls available.
If you’re looking purely at resolution, the LG G3 wins without a doubt. You get much sharper photos with more detail, and you’ll also be able to zoom and crop, which can’t be said about the 4 Ultra Pixel lens of the One (M8). Of course, mega pixels aren’t everything when it comes to picture quality, but even when comparing photos side by side, the G3 camera performs better in almost every way. Besides being sharper and more detailed, colours look a lot more vibrant, and dynamic range is also better. I prefer the HDR mode on the LG G3, as I find the HDR mode of the One (M8) to be slightly over aggressive with the processing. Low light photography seems to be the same, with neither camera outshining the other.
If you all you ever really do is upload photos to social media, you should have a satisfactory experience with both cameras. If you’re looking to do more serious smartphone photography though, the LG G3 does feature the better camera, even if you aren’t afforded as much manual control as you might hope for.
On the software side, both the LG G3 and the HTC One (M8) run Android 4.4.2 Kitkat out of the box, with their respective skins, the G UI and Sense 6, running on top of Android.
The LG G UI features a lot of improvements, and a more streamlined experience, compared to the Optimus UI from previous iterations. It’s a lot flatter and cleaner looking, with a more toned down colour scheme, but it is still as packed with features as ever. You still get the LG QSlide apps, but now that they’re more hidden, I basically ended up forgetting that this feature was even there. Making a return from the G Pro lineup is Multi-Window for some true multi-tasking, which definitely makes sense considering the larger display of the G3. Features that prove to be very useful are the resizeable keyboard, the customizable navigation bar, and the popular Knock On and Knock Code.
LG G3 screenshots
We get HTC Sense 6 with the One (M8), and it has to be said that this is the best iteration of the Sense UI yet. HTC has certainly taken to heart customer feedback, and built an user interface that only looks good, but but isn’t cluttered with a host of gimmicky features. All of the staples of Sense such as Zoe, video highlights, and BlinkFeed make a return. My favourite part of Sense 6 is the slew of motion gesture controls available, letting you easily access features like BlinkFeed, voice dialling, and the camera, without needing to wake the phone first. As I’d mentioned earlier, the positioning of the power button is a little inconvenient, and the introduction of these gestures allows you to avoid using the power button altogether.
HTC One (M8) screenshots
While LG has made some great strides with the G UI, and they’re definitely moving in the right direction, Sense 6 is a lot cleaner and simpler in comparison. If you don’t mind a very heavy feature set, you’ll have no problems with the G UI, but if a more streamlined experience is your thing, Sense 6 is the way to go. Personally, I find Sense 6 to be one of the better Android skins out there.
HTC One M8
5.5-inch display with 2560 x 1440 resolution
5-inch display with 1080 x 1920 resolution
2.5GHz Snapdragon 801 CPU
2.3GHz Snapdragon 801 CPU
2GB or 3GB w/ 32GB model
16GB or 32GB, microSD with expansion
13MP rear cam with OIS and laser auto focus, 2.1MP front cam
4MP UltraPixel Duo camera
3000 mAh removable
2600 mAh non-removable
Bluetooth 4.0, NFC, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, USB v2.0, Slim Port
Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Wi-Fi Direct, DLNA, Wi-Fi hotspot, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC, USB v2.0
4G LTE support
4G LTE support
Android 4.4 KitKat with LG UI
Android 4.4 KitKat with Sense 6
146.4 x 70.6 x 9.4 mm
Pricing and Final Thoughts
The HTC One (M8) has been available for a while now at the $200 subsidized rate from most US network carriers with a 2-year contract, except for T-Mobile, that has another payment scheme. The LG G3 is now making its way to carriers, and is expected to cost the same. Unlocked versions of both devices push the $700 mark.
So there you have it, the LG G3 vs HTC One (M8)! At the end of the day, both are fantastic smartphones, and you can’t go wrong with either of them. As always, what it really comes down to is what matters more to you. If you’re looking to be on the bleeding edge with a device boasting a 2K display, or if a great camera and replaceable battery are important, the LG G3 is the way to go. On the other hand, you get beautiful design aesthetics, a streamlined software experience, and the best smartphone speakers in the market with the HTC One (M8). You’re certainly not going to be disappointed, regardless of which smartphone you pick.