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James Lu
Hardware Zone
Tuesday, Apr 15, 2014

News, Science And Tech

Showdown: Android smartphone flagships

Hardware Zone | James Lu | Tuesday, Apr 15, 2014

With the HTC One M8, Samsung Galaxy S5 and Sony Xperia Z2 all recently hitting the market, you may be facing the dilemma of which flagship smartphone to buy. We've reviewed all three, but now it's time to compare them head-to-head.

Picking a winner out of these three phones is one of the toughest decisions we've had to make. While each phone is generally good, they all have one big drawback that stops them from claiming the undisputed title: the HTC One M8's weak 4MP camera, the Galaxy S5's entirely plastic build, and the Xperia Z2's slower processor and poor battery life.

Even when you break down individual features, you start to see a pattern: two phones have dust and water resistant builds, one doesn't. Two phones have front-facing stereo speakers, one doesn't. Two phones have metal and glass builds, one doesn't. It's almost as if HTC, Samsung and Sony got together, and colluded to split up the best features, ensuring that everyone's a winner, except of course for the poor consumer, who doesn't know which to buy.

To try and help you, we'll be breaking down each phone and evaluating them on a variety of individual aspects. Winning (or getting a tie) in each category will score that phone one point, with the final winner being the phone with the most points. Let's begin!

AESTHETICS

HTC One (M8)

- Aerospace-grade aluminium with a brushed metal finish and diamond cut edge.
- 146.36 x 70.6 x 9.35mm
-160g

Samsung Galaxy S5

- Plastic with dimpled rear cover.
-142.0 x 72.5 x 8.1mm
-145g

Sony Xperia Z2

Full aluminium chassis with glass rear panel.
-146.8 x 73.3 x 8.2 mm
-163g

Winner: HTC One (M8) / Sony Xperia Z2

Aesthetics are always subjective, but we feel that the entirely plastic S5 doesn't have the same premium feel as the One (M8) and Z2. Even with the S5 out of the running, this is a tough call between the One (M8) and the Z2. Both offer premium metal and glass designs that look and handle well, so it really comes down to whether you prefer the sexy curves of the One (M8) or the sleek minimalist look of the Z2. We'll call this one a tie.

DUST AND WATER RESISTANCE

HTC One (M8): None

Samsung Galaxy S5: IP67

Sony Xperia Z2: IP58

Winner: Sony Xperia Z2

The IP67 rated Galaxy S5 is better protected against dust, but the IP58 rated Xperia Z2 is better protected against water. While both phones use sealed covers to protect their ports from dust and water damage, the S5 also has a removable rear cover which requires a tight seal all around the edge to ensure water protection. Just one area not pressed down firmly, or one of the plastic contact points breaking, will completely compromise the phone's water resistance. As such, the safer Z2, with its non-removable battery, is the winner in this category.

Next: Display, Audio, Sensors

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