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Galaxy S5 vs HTC One M8 vs Xperia Z2 vs iPhone 5S

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With the next generation of smartphones having just hit the market, we’re now spoilt for choice when it comes to the latest and greatest technology. In this article, we compare the Galaxy S5, the HTC One M8, the Xperia Z2 and the iPhone 5s. Which handset will come out top in our comparison?

 

Design & Form Factor

 

The biggest difference between the four handsets is the design of the phone and the associated form factor. The following image shows the four handsets side-by-side (shown to scale):

 

Size Comparison
Side-by-side comparison (shown to scale). Left to right: Credit Card, Samsung Galaxy S5, HTC One M8, Sony Xperia Z2 and Apple iPhone 5s.

 

In terms of size, the iPhone 5s immediately stands out as being the smallest of the four devices. Whilst other flagship devices have a display of around 5-inches in size, the iPhone 5s has kept Apple’s trusted formula of a 4-inch display. Being the smallest of the four flagship smartphones, the iPhone 5s weighs only 112g (compared to an average of 156g for the three other handsets). It’s also the thinnest device at just 7.6mm and is easily the most comfortable device to use with one hand.

 

The material used also differs amongst the four handsets. Both the HTC One M8 and the iPhone 5s use aluminium for the outer casing of the handset. The aluminium casing gives both handsets a strong and sturdy feel: there’s a solid construction and it feels like a premium product when held in the hand. Likewise, the Xperia Z2 also feels a premium product: it features an aluminium frame with the front and back covered in tempered glass. The Galaxy S5 is alone in using plastic casing. Although the plastic feels slightly less premium, it does have several benefits such as reduced weight and the ability to remove the back cover of the handset (this allows for the battery to be changed).

 

Back Design
The four handsets use a range of different materials including plastic, aluminium and glass.

 

Finally, if you regularly use your phone when outdoors, it’s worth noting that the Galaxy S5 and Xperia Z2 have waterproof designs. The Galaxy S5 is certified for IP67 whilst the Xperia Z2 is certified for IP58 (a slightly higher level of waterproofing). If you’re sometime prone to accidents or if you’d like to use your phone in the rain, both handsets provide great piece of mind.

 

 

Samsung Galaxy S5
Samsung Galaxy S5

HTC One M8
HTC One M8

Sony Xperia Z2
Sony Xperia Z2

Apple iPhone 5s
Apple iPhone 5s

Weight

145g

160g

163g

112g

Height

142.0mm

146.4mm

146.8mm

123.8mm

Width

72.5mm

70.6mm

73.3mm

58.6mm

Thickness

8.1mm

9.4mm

8.2mm

7.6mm

Casing Material

Plastic

Aluminium

Aluminium/Glass

Aluminium

Colours

Black
White
Blue
Gold

Grey
Silver

Black
White
Purple

Grey
Silver
Gold

Waterproof

Yes, IP67-certified

No

Yes, IP58-certified

No

 

Display

 

iPhone 5s and Xperia Z2 - Screen Size ComparisonThe second key difference is the screen used on the handsets. A larger screen will normally give an improved experience when viewing multimedia. There’s more space for TV shows and movies to shine on your handset. You can also see more detail when browsing the web and reviewing your photos.

 

Of the four handsets, the Xperia Z2 has the largest display. Measuring 5.2-inches along the diagonal, it’s marginally bigger than the screen found on the Galaxy S5 and the HTC One M8 (5.1-inches and 5.0-inches). All 3 handsets have a full HD display (1920x1080 pixels) and incredibly high pixel densities (more than 420 pixels per inch).

 

The iPhone 5s is the odd-one out with a smaller display measuring just 4.0-inches. Compared to the Xperia Z2, the Xperia Z2 has a 69% larger display. As well as the iPhone having a smaller screen, the display is also a lower resolution (1136x640 pixels). However, it’s still super-sharp at 326 pixels per inch (Apple calls it a Retina display).

 

There’s also a difference in the technology used for powering the display. The Galaxy S5 is unique in having an AMOLED display (it uses organic LED technology). AMOLED displays produce more vibrant colours and offer a higher contrast ratio than LCD displays. Potential problems are less realistic colours and a screen that slowly changes colour over time (AMOLED screens will gradually become more yellow over time).

 

 

Samsung Galaxy S5
Samsung Galaxy S5

HTC One M8
HTC One M8

Sony Xperia Z2
Sony Xperia Z2

Apple iPhone 5s
Apple iPhone 5s

Display Size

5.1-inches

5.0-inches

5.2-inches

4.0-inches

Resolution

1920x1080 pixels

1920x1080 pixels

1920x1080 pixels

1136x640 pixels

Pixel Density

432 ppi

441 ppi

424 ppi

326 ppi

Technology

Organic LED

Super LCD3

IPS LCD

IPS LCD

 

Camera

 

Duo CameraThe third major difference is the approach used behind the camera on the handsets.

 

Samsung and Sony have focussed on improving the resolution of their cameras. As such, the Galaxy S5 and Xperia Z2 have 16 megapixel and 20.7 megapixel cameras.

 

HTC has taken the opposite approach: they’ve instead used a lower-resolution camera but with larger sized pixels. The One M8 has a 4 megapixel camera with “UltraPixel” technology (each pixel is 4 µm2). Whilst photos are less sharp, you should benefit from better-quality images in low-light conditions (the larger sized pixels can collect more light). The HTC One M8 also features “Duo Camera” functionality. You’re able to re-focus images after they’ve been taken.

 

Aside from the differences, all four handsets have a good quality camera. There’s a wide range of features and also specialist shooting modes (e.g. HDR photography).

 

 

Samsung Galaxy S5
Samsung Galaxy S5

HTC One M8
HTC One M8

Sony Xperia Z2
Sony Xperia Z2

Apple iPhone 5s
Apple iPhone 5s

Rear-Facing Camera

16 megapixels

4 megapixels (Duo)

20.7 megapixels

8 megapixels

LED Flash

Yes

Yes, dual LED

Yes

Yes, dual LED

Pixel Size

1.25 µm2

4.0 µm2

1.4 µm2

2.25 µm2

Video Recording

4K UHD (2160p), 30 frames per second

1080p, 30 frames per second

4K UHD (2160p), 30 frames per second

1080p, 30 frames per second

Front-Facing Camera

2 megapixels

5 megapixels

2.2 megapixels

1.2 megapixels

 

Processor & Internals

 

ProcessorsThe Galaxy S5, HTC One M8 and Xperia Z2 use the same processor (a quad-core Snapdragon 801). The processors are clocked at a maximum speed of 2.3GHz (or 2.5GHz on the Galaxy S5). With the latest high-end processor, all three handsets should give speedy performance without any lag. Of the three handsets, the Xperia Z2 has a slight edge in having more RAM. It contains 3GB of RAM rather than 2GB: incredibly useful when running multiple apps or when browsing the web with multiple tabs open. 

 

On the iPhone 5s, there’s a 1.3GHz dual-core processor with 1GB of RAM. Although the specs suggest the iPhone 5s should be substantially slower, it still performs well in real-world usage. This is because the iPhone’s software is faster and more responsive.

 

 

Samsung Galaxy S5
Samsung Galaxy S5

HTC One M8
HTC One M8

Sony Xperia Z2
Sony Xperia Z2

Apple iPhone 5s
Apple iPhone 5s

Processor

2.5GHz quad-core

2.3GHz quad-core

2.3GHz quad-core

1.3GHz dual-core

Type

Snapdragon 801

Snapdragon 801

Snapdragon 801

Apple A7

RAM

2GB

2GB

3GB

1GB

 

Operating System

 

Kit Kat and iOS7The Galaxy S5, HTC One M8 and Xperia Z2 all use the latest version of Google’s smartphone operating system: Android 4.4.2 (Kit Kat). The appearance differs slightly across the three handsets as each phone implements a custom user interface

 

The iPhone 5s runs on the latest version of Apple’s iOS operating system (iOS 7).

 

Both Android and iOS provide access to more than 1 million applications. Android applications can be downloaded from Google Play whilst iOS applications can be downloaded from Apple’s app store.

 

 

Samsung Galaxy S5
Samsung Galaxy S5

HTC One M8
HTC One M8

Sony Xperia Z2
Sony Xperia Z2

Apple iPhone 5s
Apple iPhone 5s

Operating System

Android 4.4.2 Kit Kat

Android 4.4.2 Kit Kat

Android 4.4.2 Kit Kat

Apple iOS 7

User Interface

Samsung Touchwiz

HTC Sense 6

Xperia UI

Apple iOS7

App Store

Google Play

Google Play

Google Play

Apple App Store

Number of Apps

1 million+

1 million+

1 million+

1 million+

 

Storage

 

All four handsets come with 16GB of storage as standard.

 

For the Galaxy S5, HTC One M8 and Xperia Z2, storage can be added by inserting a micro-SD card. A 32GB micro-SD card will currently cost you around £15.

 

For the iPhone 5s, you’ll need to choose the amount of storage when buying your phone. The handset is available in three storage options: 16GB, 32GB or 64GB. There’s an £80 difference between each option. It’s not possible to add more storage unless you buy a new phone.

 

 

Samsung Galaxy S5
Samsung Galaxy S5

HTC One M8
HTC One M8

Sony Xperia Z2
Sony Xperia Z2

Apple iPhone 5s
Apple iPhone 5s

Internal Memory

16GB or 32GB

16GB or 32GB

16GB

16GB, 32GB or 64GB

Micro-SD Expansion

Yes, up to 128GB

Yes, up to 128GB

Yes, up to 128GB

No

Cloud Storage

50GB Dropbox

50GB Google Drive

Available with app

5GB iCloud

 

Network Connectivity

 

4G LogoAll four devices work on the latest mobile networks. You’re able to use both 3G and 4G services.

 

As a small advantage, the Galaxy S5, the HTC One M8 and the Xperia Z2 contain support for Category 4 LTE networks (download speeds of up to 150Mbit/s). The iPhone 5s, meanwhile, caps out on a Category 3 network (download speeds of up to 100Mbit/s). Although the specs differ, there’s little practical difference in real-world usage. Download speeds are normally capped at a much lower level by what your mobile network supports. The Galaxy S5, HTC One M8 and Xperia Z2 also support the latest generation of wi-fi (802.11ac). The iPhone 5s is limited to 802.11n.

 

If you’re changing handset, be sure to have a SIM card of the right size. The Galaxy S5 and Xperia Z2 require you to have a micro-sized SIM. Meanwhile, the HTC One M8 and iPhone 5s require you to have a nano-sized SIM. If you need to change the size of your giffgaff SIM card, please refer to the SIM swap tool.

 

 

Samsung Galaxy S5
Samsung Galaxy S5

HTC One M8
HTC One M8

Sony Xperia Z2
Sony Xperia Z2

Apple iPhone 5s
Apple iPhone 5s

3G Mobile Networks

Up to 42Mbit/s

Up to 42Mbit/s

Up to 42Mbit/s

Up to 42Mbit/s

4G Mobile Networks

Up to 150Mbit/s (Cat4)

Up to 150Mbit/s (Cat4)

Up to 150Mbit/s (Cat4)

Up to 100Mbit/s (Cat3)

Wi-Fi Connectivity

802.11 a/b/g/n/ac

802.11 a/b/g/n/ac

802.11 a/b/g/n/ac

802.11 a/b/g/n

SIM Card Type

Micro SIM

Nano SIM

Micro SIM

Nano SIM

 

Other Features: NFC, Infrared, Fingerprint Scanner & Heart Rate Monitor

 

Touch ID on iPhone 5sLooking for a smartphone with the latest and greatest gadgets? Samsung’s Galaxy S5 is the clear winner amongst the four devices.  Additional features include Near Field Communication (for communicating with other devices and for contactless mobile payments), an infrared emitter (for changing TV channels), a fingerprint scanner for greater security (e.g. unlocking your phone and securing a PayPal account) and a heart rate monitor for tracking your exercise routine.

 

The other three devices only support a subset of these gadgets. The HTC One M8 features NFC and infrared control. There’s a built in app for controlling your television. Sony’s Xperia Z2 features NFC and Apple’s iPhone 5s features fingerprint recognition.

 

In terms of the fingerprint scanner, there’s a substantial difference between the Galaxy S5 and the iPhone 5s. The Galaxy S5 uses a swipe-based sensor whilst the iPhone 5s uses a touch-based sensor. In general, the iPhone 5s has better reliability and greater scanning accuracy. For anyone who’s using a fingerprint to secure their lock screen, the iPhone 5s gives a much smoother experience. Where the Galaxy S5 is able to stand out is the support for other apps when using the fingerprint scanner. To give an example, Galaxy S5 owners can secure their PayPal accounts using the fingerprint scanner.

 

 

Samsung Galaxy S5
Samsung Galaxy S5

HTC One M8
HTC One M8

Sony Xperia Z2
Sony Xperia Z2

Apple iPhone 5s
Apple iPhone 5s

NFC

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Infrared Control

Yes

Yes

No

No

Fingerprint Scanner

Yes, swipe-based

No

No

Yes, Touch ID

Heart Rate Monitor

Yes

No

No

No

 

Battery Life

 

BatteryOn paper, the Xperia Z2 offers the best battery life out of the four handsets. It has a battery with 3,200mAh capacity. It also has a battery-saving STAMINA mode which is designed to make the battery last even longer. According to Sony, the Xperia Z2 offers up to 19 hours of talk time on a 3G network. You can also find a high-capacity battery on the Galaxy S5 and HTC One (2,800mAh and 2,600mAh respectively). All three handsets should comfortable give a whole day of usage.

 

The iPhone 5s has a much smaller battery: only 1,560mAh with an advertised talk time of up to 10 hours. The smaller battery means you’ll need to charge your phone on a more regular basis.

 

For power users, a key benefit of the Galaxy S5 is being able to replace the battery in the handset. Whenever your battery hits a low level, you can simply swap it for another charged battery. It’s much more convenient than having to find somewhere to charge your phone.

 

 

Samsung Galaxy S5
Samsung Galaxy S5

HTC One M8
HTC One M8

Sony Xperia Z2
Sony Xperia Z2

Apple iPhone 5s
Apple iPhone 5s

Standby Time

390 hours

496 hours

740 hours

250 hours

Talk Time

21 hours

20 hours

19 hours

10 hours

Battery Capacity

2,800mAh

2,600mAh

3,200mAh

1,560mAh

Removable Battery?

Yes

No

No

No

Charging Socket

Micro-USB 3.0

Micro-USB 2.0

Micro-USB 2.0

Lightning

 

Price

 

All four handsets are available to buy from the giffgaff handset store. You can either pay monthly or as a one-time sum. All giffgaff handsets are sold SIM-free and unlocked.

 

At the time of writing (9th June 2014), the price of the four handsets compare as follows:

 

 

Samsung Galaxy S5
Samsung Galaxy S5

HTC One M8
HTC One M8

Sony Xperia Z2
Sony Xperia Z2

Apple iPhone 5s
Apple iPhone 5s

Pay Monthly Price

£20.84/month

£20.56/month

£21.98/month

£22.21/month

Pay Today Price

£505

£499

£530

£535

Buy From

giffgaff

giffgaff

giffgaff

giffgaff

 

Please double-check the prices before buying as they may have changed since the article was published.

For a full list of available handsets and for the latest smartphone deals, please see the giffgaff phone store.

 

Your Thoughts…

 

There are now four top handsets battling it out for smartphone domination: the Samsung Galaxy S5, the HTC One M8, the Sony Xperia Z2 and Apple iPhone 5s. This article has compared the four handsets looking across a range of criteria: design, form factor, display, camera, processing power, operating system, storage, connectivity, battery life and price.

 

Which of the four is your favourite handset? To build the perfect phone, which features would you combine from each device? We’d love to hear your thoughts: please drop us a comment below and let us know what you think!

 

Ken Lo writes about mobile technology and the mobile industry at Ken's Tech Tips.

78 Comments
beginner

Amazing article kenlo! Not enough to convince me away from my iPhone 5s just yet!

iPhone FTW Smiley Happy

trainee

got to be the galaxy s5, but I quite like the look of the Sony headset!

beginner

Thanks for a fantastic handset comparison!

 

I have had my Samsung S2 for three years now and I'm ready to consider an upgrade but the choices are difficult.

 

I really like the looks of the HTC One M8 but I'm not a fan of the huge amount of bezel.

 

I like the user interface of the S5 being very similar to my S2, but not a fan of the plastic construction for a premium phone.

 

I like the water proofing of the Z2 and the construction material, but the phone is huge being the largest one here. All three Android handsets are huge though!

 

I have a tough decision. I will probably wait until the end of the month and see what LG has to offer with the G3!

beginner

I was always an andorid user and only ever had the iPhone 3g and android was my favorite compared to my iPhone 3g and ever since few months ago when i got my iPhone 5c just NOTHING compares to it. On paper it might be beaten in more then a few statistics but in reality it's the best phone in the world to date. Don't think i will ever go back to android because i am just too on love with my iPhone. Steve Jobs what an amazing man you where! 

yeah i would choose the galaxy s5 Smiley Happy
guide

Wow. Great blog. Thanks for the comparison.

That was the mother of flagship smartphone comparisons! Well done Ken!

 

I'm stuck deciding which phone to upgrade to when the time comes. I like the Sony Z2 overall, I like the HTC One M8's design best, and Samsung has a removable battery which I prize, but I dislike Samsung's bloatware and UI. It's a tough call until you figure what the most important feature or deal breaker is among these 4 handsets. I'm still undecided but leaning towards Sony...

enigma
Very nice review, must have taken ages to write, thanks for the effort! I think for me, it's between the Samsung galaxy S5 and the Sony Z2? Difficult choice, since they are both great phones! :-)
genius

Waterproof is good in the event of accidentally getting your phone wet and saving it from turning into an expensive paperweight but you can't actually use one in the rain as the touch screen thinks it is being touched everywhere.

Excellent article, thank you.