HTC One M9 vs Apple iPhone 6 Plus

HTC One M9 vs Apple iPhone 6 Plus
HTC One M9 vs Apple iPhone 6 Plus
HTC One M9 vs Apple iPhone 6 Plus
HTC One M9 vs Apple iPhone 6 Plus
HTC One M9 vs Apple iPhone 6 Plus
HTC One M9 vs Apple iPhone 6 Plus
Introduction

The HTC One M9 and the Apple iPhone 6 Plus: both metal-made, stylish and sturdy phones that bring top-level silicon under the hood, but which one is better?

The HTC One M9 is the newest member on the Android flagship block and one of the first Android 5.0 Lollipop devices, sprinkled with some new Sense UI flavor, a brand new, 20-megapixel main camera, and running on Qualcomm’s hot new octa-core Snapdragon 810 system chip. The Apple iPhone 6 Plus, on the other hand, shows the best of iOS 8 on a phablet-sized device, and rather than going with the trendy high-megapixel cameras and octa-core chips, prefers to stick with a more conservative, 8-megapixel main camera and a dual-core Apple A8 SoC.

Less does not necessarily mean worse, though, so we take a look at the HTC One M9 versus the Apple iPhone 6 Plus with no prejudice to numbers, measuring the pros and cons of both devices to try and answer the ultimate question: which one should you buy? Read on.

Design

The One M9 and iPhone 6 Plus are two of the most stylish phones available to buy right now. Both feature a sturdy aluminum construction: the One M9 stands out with its curved back and comfy fit, while the iPhone - with its thinness.

Both HTC and Apple take pride in the design of their flagship phones: the One M9 and the iPhone 6 Plus are both meticulously crafted and both use a high-quality metal construction that
makes them stand out. One has to admit that the competition has ramped up its design efforts, and we’re no longer drowning in a sea of me-too plastic phones, but the One M9 and iPhone 6 Plus still hold a special place for those who value stylish looks and a more premium feel.

The new One M9, in particular, inherits the looks of last year’s One M8 to a huge degree: the same curved unibody metal frame, the same ‘dual-chin’ design with BoomSound speakers on the top and bottom - the similarity is actually so big that some have called out the M9 for being boring for practically repeating a largely similar design for a third year in a row. There are slight changes: the lock key is no longer on top, but at the much easier to reach right hand side, the camera module occupies a larger and more dominant position on the back of the phone, and HTC has also added a dual-tone silver version with a splash of gold paint on the side, a change from the all-silver One M8.

The iPhone 6 Plus, on its part, is often quoted to have borrowed a bit of HTC’s thunder, as there is a very obvious similarity in the way two strips of plastic are located on the back of both phones to allow for better signal reception. The iPhone 6 Plus is also made from metal, but the similarities end here: finish is different, a smooth one on the iPhone versus a brushed metal styling on the HTC, and the iPhone is also noticeably thinner, with a flat rather than a curved body.

In terms of size, the phablet-sized iPhone 6 Plus is much larger than the more regularly proportioned One M9. The iPhone 6 Plus is taller (6.22” vs 5.69”), wider (3.06” vs 2.74”), but much thinner (7.1mm vs 9.61mm).

It’s also worth mentioning that the iPhone has a fingerprint scanner built right in the home key, while the One M9 only has virtual on-screen navigation buttons and no fingerprint reader.

 

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Front view | Side view
HTC One M9
HTC One M9
5.69 x 2.74 x 0.38 inches
144.6 x 69.7 x 9.61 mm
5.54 oz (157 g)

HTC One M9

Apple iPhone 6 Plus
Apple iPhone 6 Plus
6.22 x 3.06 x 0.28 inches
158.1 x 77.8 x 7.1 mm
6.07 oz (172 g)

Apple iPhone 6 Plus


Display

Both phones come with fairly nice displays, but neither is perfectly calibrated. The One M9, however, is the one that suffers worse from colder whites and colors that are often off.

One of the biggest and most obvious differences between the One M9 and the iPhone 6 Plus is in their screens: the M9 features a 5-inch S-LCD 3 display with a resolution of 1080 x 1920 pixels, while the iPhone sports a much larger, 5.5-inch IPS LCD screen with the same resolution. The S-LCD (Super LCD) name denotes that there’s no gap between the protective glass and the display panel (the same applies for the iPhone 6 Plus, which uses an in-cell panel), while being a third generation of the technology signifies greater power efficiency and improved contrast.

Both screens are very sharp: the One M9's pixel density of 441ppi is slightly higher than the 401ppi on the iPhone 6 Plus, but in effect the difference is hardly noticeable at all, as everything looks crisp on both.

Color quality, however, differs quite a lot between the two: neither of the phones is perfectly color calibrated, but the One M9 has some very noticeable deviations, while the iPhone 6 Plus is much closer to the industry standards for good colors. In particular, the One M9’s display features very cold-looking (bluish) whites and the primary and secondary colors are way off the reference targets. Display quality is not bad per se, but this is not a color-accurate screen either, far from it. The iPhone 6 Plus, on its part, also features slightly colder whites (not as cold as on the M9 though), but colors are calibrated much closer to the sRGB standard.

The iPhone has also got the slightly brighter screen, which makes it a bit more comfortable to use outdoors, under direct sunlight.

Display measurements and quality

Maximum brightness (nits)Higher is better Minimum brightness (nits)Lower is better Contrast Higher is better Color temperature (Kelvins) Gamma Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better Delta E grayscale Lower is better
Apple iPhone 6 Plus 574
(Excellent)
4
(Excellent)
1:1376
(Excellent)
7318
(Good)
2.18
4.38
(Average)
3.82
(Good)
HTC One M9 508
(Excellent)
10
(Average)
1:1347
(Excellent)
8114
(Poor)
2.21
5.89
(Average)
8.24
(Poor)
View all

The numbers below represent the amount of deviation in the respective property, observed when a display is viewed from a 45-degree angle as opposed to direct viewing.

Maximum brightness Lower is better Minimum brightness Lower is better Contrast Lower is better Color temperature Lower is better Gamma Lower is better Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better Delta E grayscale Lower is better
HTC One M9 78.7%
80%
83.4%
13.9%
3.2%
9.7%
18.8%
Apple iPhone 6 Plus 84.7%
75%
86.9%
4.3%
13.8%
6.6%
15.7%
View all

The CIE 1931 xy color gamut chart represents the set (area) of colors that a display can reproduce, with the sRGB colorspace (the highlighted triangle) serving as reference. The chart also provides a visual representation of a display's color accuracy. The small squares across the boundaries of the triangle are the reference points for the various colors, while the small dots are the actual measurements. Ideally, each dot should be positioned on top of its respective square. The 'x: CIE31' and 'y: CIE31' values in the table below the chart indicate the position of each measurement on the chart. 'Y' shows the luminance (in nits) of each measured color, while 'Target Y' is the desired luminance level for that color. Finally, 'ΔE 2000' is the Delta E value of the measured color. Delta E values of below 2 are ideal.

This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

The Color accuracy chart gives an idea of how close a display's measured colors are to their referential values. The first line holds the measured (actual) colors, while the second line holds the reference (target) colors. The closer the actual colors are to the target ones, the better.

This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

The Grayscale accuracy chart shows whether a display has a correct white balance (balance between red, green and blue) across different levels of grey (from dark to bright). The closer the Actual colors are to the Target ones, the better.

This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

View all


HTC One M9 vs Apple iPhone 6 Plus

HTC One M9 vs Apple iPhone 6 Plus
HTC One M9 vs Apple iPhone 6 Plus
HTC One M9 vs Apple iPhone 6 Plus
HTC One M9 vs Apple iPhone 6 Plus
HTC One M9 vs Apple iPhone 6 Plus
HTC One M9 vs Apple iPhone 6 Plus
Introduction

The HTC One M9 and the Apple iPhone 6 Plus: both metal-made, stylish and sturdy phones that bring top-level silicon under the hood, but which one is better?

The HTC One M9 is the newest member on the Android flagship block and one of the first Android 5.0 Lollipop devices, sprinkled with some new Sense UI flavor, a brand new, 20-megapixel main camera, and running on Qualcomm’s hot new octa-core Snapdragon 810 system chip. The Apple iPhone 6 Plus, on the other hand, shows the best of iOS 8 on a phablet-sized device, and rather than going with the trendy high-megapixel cameras and octa-core chips, prefers to stick with a more conservative, 8-megapixel main camera and a dual-core Apple A8 SoC.

Less does not necessarily mean worse, though, so we take a look at the HTC One M9 versus the Apple iPhone 6 Plus with no prejudice to numbers, measuring the pros and cons of both devices to try and answer the ultimate question: which one should you buy? Read on.

Design

The One M9 and iPhone 6 Plus are two of the most stylish phones available to buy right now. Both feature a sturdy aluminum construction: the One M9 stands out with its curved back and comfy fit, while the iPhone - with its thinness.

Both HTC and Apple take pride in the design of their flagship phones: the One M9 and the iPhone 6 Plus are both meticulously crafted and both use a high-quality metal construction that
makes them stand out. One has to admit that the competition has ramped up its design efforts, and we’re no longer drowning in a sea of me-too plastic phones, but the One M9 and iPhone 6 Plus still hold a special place for those who value stylish looks and a more premium feel.

The new One M9, in particular, inherits the looks of last year’s One M8 to a huge degree: the same curved unibody metal frame, the same ‘dual-chin’ design with BoomSound speakers on the top and bottom - the similarity is actually so big that some have called out the M9 for being boring for practically repeating a largely similar design for a third year in a row. There are slight changes: the lock key is no longer on top, but at the much easier to reach right hand side, the camera module occupies a larger and more dominant position on the back of the phone, and HTC has also added a dual-tone silver version with a splash of gold paint on the side, a change from the all-silver One M8.

The iPhone 6 Plus, on its part, is often quoted to have borrowed a bit of HTC’s thunder, as there is a very obvious similarity in the way two strips of plastic are located on the back of both phones to allow for better signal reception. The iPhone 6 Plus is also made from metal, but the similarities end here: finish is different, a smooth one on the iPhone versus a brushed metal styling on the HTC, and the iPhone is also noticeably thinner, with a flat rather than a curved body.

In terms of size, the phablet-sized iPhone 6 Plus is much larger than the more regularly proportioned One M9. The iPhone 6 Plus is taller (6.22” vs 5.69”), wider (3.06” vs 2.74”), but much thinner (7.1mm vs 9.61mm).

It’s also worth mentioning that the iPhone has a fingerprint scanner built right in the home key, while the One M9 only has virtual on-screen navigation buttons and no fingerprint reader.


Front view | Side view
HTC One M9
HTC One M9
5.69 x 2.74 x 0.38 inches
144.6 x 69.7 x 9.61 mm
5.54 oz (157 g)

HTC One M9

Apple iPhone 6 Plus
Apple iPhone 6 Plus
6.22 x 3.06 x 0.28 inches
158.1 x 77.8 x 7.1 mm
6.07 oz (172 g)

Apple iPhone 6 Plus


Display

Both phones come with fairly nice displays, but neither is perfectly calibrated. The One M9, however, is the one that suffers worse from colder whites and colors that are often off.

One of the biggest and most obvious differences between the One M9 and the iPhone 6 Plus is in their screens: the M9 features a 5-inch S-LCD 3 display with a resolution of 1080 x 1920 pixels, while the iPhone sports a much larger, 5.5-inch IPS LCD screen with the same resolution. The S-LCD (Super LCD) name denotes that there’s no gap between the protective glass and the display panel (the same applies for the iPhone 6 Plus, which uses an in-cell panel), while being a third generation of the technology signifies greater power efficiency and improved contrast.

Both screens are very sharp: the One M9's pixel density of 441ppi is slightly higher than the 401ppi on the iPhone 6 Plus, but in effect the difference is hardly noticeable at all, as everything looks crisp on both.

Color quality, however, differs quite a lot between the two: neither of the phones is perfectly color calibrated, but the One M9 has some very noticeable deviations, while the iPhone 6 Plus is much closer to the industry standards for good colors. In particular, the One M9’s display features very cold-looking (bluish) whites and the primary and secondary colors are way off the reference targets. Display quality is not bad per se, but this is not a color-accurate screen either, far from it. The iPhone 6 Plus, on its part, also features slightly colder whites (not as cold as on the M9 though), but colors are calibrated much closer to the sRGB standard.

The iPhone has also got the slightly brighter screen, which makes it a bit more comfortable to use outdoors, under direct sunlight.

Display measurements and quality

Maximum brightness (nits)Higher is better Minimum brightness (nits)Lower is better Contrast Higher is better Color temperature (Kelvins) Gamma Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better Delta E grayscale Lower is better
Apple iPhone 6 Plus 574
(Excellent)
4
(Excellent)
1:1376
(Excellent)
7318
(Good)
2.18
4.38
(Average)
3.82
(Good)
HTC One M9 508
(Excellent)
10
(Average)
1:1347
(Excellent)
8114
(Poor)
2.21
5.89
(Average)
8.24
(Poor)
View all

The numbers below represent the amount of deviation in the respective property, observed when a display is viewed from a 45-degree angle as opposed to direct viewing.

Maximum brightness Lower is better Minimum brightness Lower is better Contrast Lower is better Color temperature Lower is better Gamma Lower is better Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better Delta E grayscale Lower is better
HTC One M9 78.7%
80%
83.4%
13.9%
3.2%
9.7%
18.8%
Apple iPhone 6 Plus 84.7%
75%
86.9%
4.3%
13.8%
6.6%
15.7%
View all

The CIE 1931 xy color gamut chart represents the set (area) of colors that a display can reproduce, with the sRGB colorspace (the highlighted triangle) serving as reference. The chart also provides a visual representation of a display's color accuracy. The small squares across the boundaries of the triangle are the reference points for the various colors, while the small dots are the actual measurements. Ideally, each dot should be positioned on top of its respective square. The 'x: CIE31' and 'y: CIE31' values in the table below the chart indicate the position of each measurement on the chart. 'Y' shows the luminance (in nits) of each measured color, while 'Target Y' is the desired luminance level for that color. Finally, 'ΔE 2000' is the Delta E value of the measured color. Delta E values of below 2 are ideal.

This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

The Color accuracy chart gives an idea of how close a display's measured colors are to their referential values. The first line holds the measured (actual) colors, while the second line holds the reference (target) colors. The closer the actual colors are to the target ones, the better.

This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

The Grayscale accuracy chart shows whether a display has a correct white balance (balance between red, green and blue) across different levels of grey (from dark to bright). The closer the Actual colors are to the Target ones, the better.

This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

View all


Interface and Functionality

The HTC One M9 is one of the first to ship with Android 5.0 Lollipop, and it’s also got the new Sense 7 UI that changes smartly depending on your location. The iPhone 6 Plus runs on the simple and app-rich iOS 8.

The latest Android 5.0 Lollipop has finally made its way onto non-Nexus phones, and the HTC One M9 is one of the first to run on it, while the iPhone 6 Plus runs on Apple’s latest iOS 8, known for its smoothness and ease of use.

HTC uses its latest Sense 7 custom interface on top of Android, and it remains one of the fastest Android skins out there: with zippy, to-the-point animations, HTC’s improved BlinkFeed, and a few more HTC touches.

The biggest innovation in HTC Sense 7, however, is in the plentiful customization options built right in with Themes, an easy way to easily change the appearance of Android. Each theme carries its own wallpaper, fonts, sounds, icon style and it even allows you to tweak the look of the Android navigation keys. The HTC One M9 lockscreen now integrates with services like Yelp and Foursquare to automatically offer you places for dinner, a touch that will please the gourmands.

HTC Sense 7.0 on the One M9 - HTC One M9 vs Apple iPhone 6 Plus
HTC Sense 7.0 on the One M9 - HTC One M9 vs Apple iPhone 6 Plus
HTC Sense 7.0 on the One M9 - HTC One M9 vs Apple iPhone 6 Plus
HTC Sense 7.0 on the One M9 - HTC One M9 vs Apple iPhone 6 Plus
HTC Sense 7.0 on the One M9 - HTC One M9 vs Apple iPhone 6 Plus
HTC Sense 7.0 on the One M9 - HTC One M9 vs Apple iPhone 6 Plus
HTC Sense 7.0 on the One M9 - HTC One M9 vs Apple iPhone 6 Plus
HTC Sense 7.0 on the One M9 - HTC One M9 vs Apple iPhone 6 Plus

HTC Sense 7.0 on the One M9


Then, there is the new home screen: it is now a smart home panel that changes with your location, displaying one set of icons when you are at work and a different one when you are home.

It’s a bit strange that HTC has chosen not to participate in two booming areas: health and fitness, and fingerprint security. HTC Sense does not offer any built-in alternative to the iPhone’s Health app, nor does it offer a fingerprint sensor.

iOS 8, on its part, is a well-known platform that needs little introduction. It differs vastly from Android, if just for the fact that it does not have a dedicated app drawer, nor the rich customization options that Google’s platform offers. On the flipside of things, the iOS ecosystem of apps seems to be richer, and the platform is more fit for gamers, as the latest releases arrive sooner and often exclusively to iOS.

Apple iPhone 6 Plus user interface - HTC One M9 vs Apple iPhone 6 Plus
Apple iPhone 6 Plus user interface - HTC One M9 vs Apple iPhone 6 Plus
Apple iPhone 6 Plus user interface - HTC One M9 vs Apple iPhone 6 Plus
Apple iPhone 6 Plus user interface - HTC One M9 vs Apple iPhone 6 Plus
Apple iPhone 6 Plus user interface - HTC One M9 vs Apple iPhone 6 Plus
Apple iPhone 6 Plus user interface - HTC One M9 vs Apple iPhone 6 Plus
Apple iPhone 6 Plus user interface - HTC One M9 vs Apple iPhone 6 Plus

Apple iPhone 6 Plus user interface


Basic functionality, things like telephony and texting, are well covered on both phones with a rich contacts and _phone_ app, and a fairly straightforward messaging app. iOS 8 has also added support for third-party keyboards, so you can have popular keyboards like SwiftKey and Swype. The stock keyboards, however, both do an excellent job with well spaced out keys and quick response to your thumbs.

Processor and Memory

The HTC One M9 runs on the Snapdragon 810, and while it still lags behind the Apple A8’s Cyclone CPU in the important single-core performance, the HTC _phone_ runs fast and smooth. It also beats the iPhone in GPU and gaming performance.

With Samsung’s sudden decision to use its own Exynos SoC instead of Qualcomm, the HTC One M9 remains one of the first devices around with the latest Snapdragon 810 system chip.

The Snapdragon 810 is an interesting chip: an octa-core design with four high-performance Cortex A57 cores and four battery-efficient Cortex A53s in a big.LITTLE setup, it faces the Apple A8 in the iPhone 6 Plus. The A8 is a more conservative design that does not yield to the pressure of market demands for ‘octa cores’, and remains a dual-core part.

There is more to core count at play here, though: the Cyclone CPU cores in the A8 are larger and perform admirably in the crucial single-core performance tests, while the Snapdragon 810 is still way behind in single-core performance, but boasts excellent multi-core performance. It’s hard to say what percentage of apps make full use of those eight cores in the Snapdragon 810 (likely, a limited number of intensive applications like the mobile versions of Lightroom or Photoshop), but chances are that single-core performance still has a much bigger daily significance.

In daily usage, though, what matters most is that both do a good job running Android 5 and iOS 8, respectively, smoothly and fairly lag-free.

Looking at the benchmarks, it’s easy to notice that the One M9 is currently one of the best (if not the best) phone for gaming: HTC’s conservative choice for screen resolution allows the phone to run the latest games at ridiculously high frame rates, so you not only have a phone that runs even heavier titles easily, but a device that is future proof. The new Adreno 430 GPU is blazingly fast and benchmarks show it to outpace the PowerVR GX6450 in the iPhone 6 Plus slightly, which is a great achievement.

The HTC One M9 has an advantage when it comes to the amount of internal storage in the most popular basic model: 32GB versus 16GB on the iPhone 6 Plus. The next tier moves to 64GB for both the One M9 and iPhone 6 Plus (the iPhone also has an even more expensive, 128GB model that is not available on the M9).

HTC’s flagship, however, also supports expandable storage via microSD cards of up to 128 gigs, which is an easy way to upgrade your storage capacity. The iPhone 6 Plus lacks such an option, and once you run out of storage, you’d need to transfer files to an external drive.

Performance benchmarks

Sunspider
Lower is better
Apple iPhone 6 Plus 365.2
HTC One M9 721.3
GFXBench T-Rex HD on-screen
Higher is better
Apple iPhone 6 Plus 40.9
HTC One M9 49
GFXBench Manhattan on-screen
Higher is better
Apple iPhone 6 Plus 18.4
HTC One M9 24
Basemark OS II
Higher is better
Apple iPhone 6 Plus 1382
HTC One M9 1413
Geekbench 3 single-core
Higher is better
Apple iPhone 6 Plus 1625
HTC One M9 1209
Geekbench 3 multi-core
Higher is better
Apple iPhone 6 Plus 2918
HTC One M9 3738
View all

Internet and Connectivity

Surfing the web is fast and stutter-free, and both phones support a wealth of 4G LTE bands.

Gone is the choice of two browsers we’ve had for years - the HTC One M9 comes with Google Chrome only and does away with the HTC-made browser. The new Google Chrome defaults to opening every tab as a separate process, so that you can switch between tabs using the multitasking key, but - luckily - there is also the option for it to work in the same way as before.

Chrome browser on the HTC One M9 - HTC One M9 vs Apple iPhone 6 Plus
Chrome browser on the HTC One M9 - HTC One M9 vs Apple iPhone 6 Plus
Chrome browser on the HTC One M9 - HTC One M9 vs Apple iPhone 6 Plus
Chrome browser on the HTC One M9 - HTC One M9 vs Apple iPhone 6 Plus

Chrome browser on the HTC One M9


The iPhone 6 Plus, on its part, comes with mobile Safari pre-loaded, which is a very nimble browser that supports very convenient touch gestures for navigation - something that Android phones and the One M9’s default Chrome browser do not have.

The iPhone 6 Plus comes with mobile Safari pre-loaded - HTC One M9 vs Apple iPhone 6 Plus
The iPhone 6 Plus comes with mobile Safari pre-loaded - HTC One M9 vs Apple iPhone 6 Plus
The iPhone 6 Plus comes with mobile Safari pre-loaded - HTC One M9 vs Apple iPhone 6 Plus
The iPhone 6 Plus comes with mobile Safari pre-loaded - HTC One M9 vs Apple iPhone 6 Plus
The iPhone 6 Plus comes with mobile Safari pre-loaded - HTC One M9 vs Apple iPhone 6 Plus
The iPhone 6 Plus comes with mobile Safari pre-loaded - HTC One M9 vs Apple iPhone 6 Plus
The iPhone 6 Plus comes with mobile Safari pre-loaded - HTC One M9 vs Apple iPhone 6 Plus
The iPhone 6 Plus comes with mobile Safari pre-loaded - HTC One M9 vs Apple iPhone 6 Plus

The iPhone 6 Plus comes with mobile Safari pre-loaded


Surfing the web is a fast and smooth experience on both devices: it’s hard to notice any slowdowns when scrolling around a page, or zooming in and out.

HTC has upped the ante with 4G LTE connectivity as its new One M9 features more LTE bands than earlier HTC devices: 10 of them, to be precise. The iPhone 6 Plus, however, is the true record-holder as it sports between 16 and 20 different LTE bands (models vary slightly). Unless you are among those 1% that travel the world on a daily basis what matters is that 4G LTE connectivity for your market is supported, and naturally, all U.S. carrier bands are supported by both devices.

Other standard connectivity options on both include: dual-channel Wi-Fi, aGPS with Glonass, Bluetooth 4.1, and NFC. The One M9 has the advantage of having an infra red (IR) beamer and a dedicated app that allows consumers to use the phone as a TV/AC remote, which is nice. The iPhone 6 Plus lacks such a feature.

Camera

A new, 20-megapixel camera replaces the ‘UltraPixel’ cam on the back of the One M9, but it is just decent, not great. On a positive note, the selfie cam is one of the best we’ve seen. The iPhone 6 Plus, on the other hand, has one of the finest main phone cameras, but selfies on it don’t look that great.

The HTC One M9 features a 20-megapixel main camera that comes to replace the UltraPixel main cam used in the original One and One M8. UltraPixel, however, has not disappeared completely: it’s moved to the front to capture good selfies in various lighting conditions. The iPhone 6 Plus, on the other hand, sports an 8-megapixel cam with optical image stabilization (the M9 does not have OIS), and a humble, 1.2-megapixel selfie shooter.

Looking at the technical details, HTC has opted to use a large, 1/2.4” Toshiba T4KA7 BSI sensor. With its 20-megapixel resolution, the effect is the totally opposite of UltraPixel and if we had to use HTC’s market lingo, we’d call the M9’s new main shooter a ‘MicroPixel’ camera as pixel size stands at the fairly low 1.1 micron. The iPhone 6 Plus, in comparison, has a larger, 1.5 micron pixels, but its overall sensor size is smaller than the one on the M9. It’s also interesting to note that M9 images are captured with an atypical 10:7 aspect ratio, a mid-point between the iPhone-like 4:3 aspect ratio and the typical for Samsung’s latest phones, widescreen 16:9 aspect ratio. The One M9 sports an f/2.2 aperture lens with a 27.8mm focal distance, while the iPhone 6 Plus has an identical aperture of f/2.2, but a slightly less wide, 29mm lens.

Camera interface of the HTC one M9 - HTC One M9 vs Apple iPhone 6 Plus
Camera interface of the HTC one M9 - HTC One M9 vs Apple iPhone 6 Plus
Camera interface of the HTC one M9 - HTC One M9 vs Apple iPhone 6 Plus
Camera interface of the HTC one M9 - HTC One M9 vs Apple iPhone 6 Plus
Camera interface of the HTC one M9 - HTC One M9 vs Apple iPhone 6 Plus
Camera interface of the HTC one M9 - HTC One M9 vs Apple iPhone 6 Plus
Camera interface of the HTC one M9 - HTC One M9 vs Apple iPhone 6 Plus
Camera interface of the HTC one M9 - HTC One M9 vs Apple iPhone 6 Plus

Camera interface of the HTC one M9


The camera interface of the iPhone 6 Plus - HTC One M9 vs Apple iPhone 6 Plus
The camera interface of the iPhone 6 Plus - HTC One M9 vs Apple iPhone 6 Plus
The camera interface of the iPhone 6 Plus - HTC One M9 vs Apple iPhone 6 Plus
The camera interface of the iPhone 6 Plus - HTC One M9 vs Apple iPhone 6 Plus
The camera interface of the iPhone 6 Plus - HTC One M9 vs Apple iPhone 6 Plus
The camera interface of the iPhone 6 Plus - HTC One M9 vs Apple iPhone 6 Plus
The camera interface of the iPhone 6 Plus - HTC One M9 vs Apple iPhone 6 Plus
The camera interface of the iPhone 6 Plus - HTC One M9 vs Apple iPhone 6 Plus

The camera interface of the iPhone 6 Plus


Looking at the camera app, HTC has not changed much from the original M8 and that’s a good thing as you get quick access to manual controls and overall everything is fairly straightforward. The Apple iPhone 6 Plus lacks such manual controls, but its simplistic camera app has crucial control over exposure, and makes it easy to switch between various shooting modes.

When it comes to image quality, the HTC One M9 does fine, but can’t ‘wow’ us. The 20-megapixel camera captures good detail outdoors (addressing one of the biggest downsides of the M8), but it lacks a bit in sharpness as everything tends to be on the soft side. Colors are mostly fine, but on some occasions they are thrown off by the circumstances (often towards colder tonalities). The iPhone 6 Plus, on the other hand, might not be so rich on fine detail, but it is much more consistent with colors (they are a bit overblown, though).

With scarcer light - shooting indoors or at night - the image quality on the One M9 deteriorates noticeably: images often come out blurry, color consistency is poor when you peek in (with various artifacts), and the phone mistakenly turns on auto-HDR (we suggest you turn off the auto-HDR option for this reason). The iPhone 6 Plus with its optical image stabilization is one of the best low-light smartphone shooters: images come out very sharp with very little effort, and colors are handled nicely.

Both phones come with dual-tone LED flash, and they perform differently when flash is required: the M9 picks higher ISOs and its flash appears to be much stronger, lighting everything very evenly, while the iPhone 6 Plus tends to go with lower ISOs with the flash lighting up the center but not the edges of an image. Take a look at the image samples to see for yourself - we tend to prefer the images from the results with the M9.

As good as the iPhone’s main camera is, the front, selfie shooter has a disappointingly low, 1.2-megapixel resolution. In this era of prevalent selfies, such low level of detail is a disappointment. The selfie cam also captures images with overblown colors that make faces get that unnatural almost carrot-orange look. The One M9’s UltraPixel front camera, on the other hand, is nothing short of superb: just look at the great level of detail that it captures and the fine quality of the images.


Camera speed

Taking a pic (sec)Lower is better Taking an HDR pic (sec)Lower is better CamSpeed score Higher is better CamSpeed score with flash Higher is better
Apple iPhone 6 Plus 1.93
2.1
435
293
HTC One M9 3.75
No data
No data
No data
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In terms of video, the iPhone 6 Plus records at up to 1080p at 60 frames per second (fps), while the HTC One M9 is now capable of recording 4K videos at 30 fps, as well as 1080p at either 60 fps or 30 fps. We prefer the 4K recordings for their much higher detail, but the One M9 video recording disappoints with slow auto-focusing with a weird, ‘jumpy’ effect, and the lack of stabilization makes recordings appear very shaky. The iPhone 6 Plus, on the other hand, with its good OIS and extremely fast auto-focus manages to capture an overall better-quality videos. Sound recording on both is fine.



Multimedia

HTC Sense adds even more media tricks with double exposure, Zoes, and other photo effects, as well as an improved BoomSound dual front speakers. The iPhone 6 Plus might not have all those fancy effects built in, but it does well in areas that matter.

The new TouchWiz on the One M9 shines with its rich new media functionalities: HTC paid close attention to the gallery app on the M9 and all its various image-editing option, allowing for neat effects like double exposure as well as other, manual adjustments to the exposure and colors of a picture. The iPhone 6 Plus leaves the fancy effects for third-party apps, but when it comes to manual adjustments to images it allows all the flexibility of the One M9 in a very straightforward and user-friendly interface.

HTC One M9 - Galleries - HTC One M9 vs Apple iPhone 6 Plus
Galleries - HTC One M9 vs Apple iPhone 6 Plus
Apple iPhone 6 Plus - Galleries - HTC One M9 vs Apple iPhone 6 Plus
Galleries - HTC One M9 vs Apple iPhone 6 Plus

HTC One M9

 

Apple iPhone 6 Plus

 

Galleries


HTC has kept the neat Zoe highlight reels feature where you automatically get a short movie of all your recent photos and videos. You’d need a third-party app on the iPhone to achieve a similar effect.

It is music, however, where the One M9 truly shines with its BoomSound dual front-firing speakers. Technically, the speakers are a bit quieter than the ones on the M8 (at 72.8dB on the M9), but you get the same rich sound with depth to the lower tones that is practically missing on the single speaker on the iPhone 6 Plus. Dolby Audio Surround adds more spatial volume to the sound that should contribute to movie watching on your phone (without you needing to connect headphones or external speakers) and with the front firing speakers, watching YouTube videos on the phone is really a very pleasing experience. It’s hard to judge the real-world difference that Dolby Audio in particular makes - it is noticeable - but maybe not all that dramatic as the heavy brand name might suggest.

Sense music player on the One M9 - HTC One M9 vs Apple iPhone 6 Plus
HTC One M9 vs Apple iPhone 6 Plus
Apple iPhone 6 Plus music player - HTC One M9 vs Apple iPhone 6 Plus
HTC One M9 vs Apple iPhone 6 Plus

Sense music player on the One M9

 

Apple iPhone 6 Plus music player

 

HTC is also including high-quality audio amps in the One M9, contributing for great music quality when you connect headphones/speakers. The iPhone 6 Plus also does very well in that regard with high quality audio output.

Audio output

Headphones output power (Volts)
Higher is better
HTC One M9 1.022
Apple iPhone 6 Plus 1.014
Loudspeaker loudness (dB)
Higher is better
HTC One M9 72.8
Apple iPhone 6 Plus 71.6
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HTC One M9 vs Apple iPhone 6 Plus
Call Quality


The HTC One M9 is loud and clear when it comes to calls: there are no issues with hearing your contacts in the earpiece, and voices on the other end of the line also sound clear.

The iPhone 6 Plus, on its part, is a bit quieter, but not to the point for this to be an issue: it’s also pleasingly clear on both ends of the line. Bottomline is that calls on both devices sound crisp and clear.

Battery

The HTC One M9 comes with a sealed 2840mAh battery, while the iPhone 6 Plus sports a 2915mAh battery pack.

HTC One M9 vs Apple iPhone 6 Plus
Battery size alone, however, is not a good measure of battery life, as so many different pieces come to play in actual usage. That’s why we turn to our battery test that puts phones through some tough non-stop usage with displays pre-calibrated at the same 200 nits, a comfortable brightness level for indoor use.

Our battery life test on the HTC One M9 yields a result of 6 hours and 25 minutes for non-stop use, while the iPhone 6 Plus ranks just a bit higher at 6 hours and 32 minutes.

These practically equal results show what the phones last under pressure, but do keep in mind that effective stand-by goes a long way as well, and our personal usage shows that the iPhone 6 Plus in particular can last a very long time when used little. In real-life use, we had no issues getting through a day of regular use on the One M9, but not much more, while the iPhone 6 Plus does border on the two-day regimen.

Battery Benchmarks

Battery life (hours)
Higher is better
Apple iPhone 6 Plus 6h 32 min (Average)
HTC One M9 6h 25 min (Average)
Charging time (minutes)
Lower is better
Apple iPhone 6 Plus 171
HTC One M9 106
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Conclusion


Looking at the big picture, one thing is certain: both the HTC One M9 and Apple iPhone 6 Plus are two devices built with exceptional care to their looks and style, and both deliver in that aspect.

Where the two differ is first and foremost in platform: iOS offers simplicity, but little customization options, while Android 5.0 Lollipop with HTC Sense offers all the customization in the world, but its app ecosystem does not get as many hot new titles (especially games). Screen size is also very different: 5 inches on the M9 versus 5.5” on the iPhone 6 Plus.

Under the hood, the Snapdragon 810 and Apple A8 are different, but performance is smooth on both devices. The bigger difference is in cameras: the iPhone 6 Plus manages to shoot consistently better images in various conditions, while the One M9’s camera does well in plentiful light, but struggles in low light. The selfie game of the M9, however, is top notch, while iPhone selfies look decidedly low-res. Battery life also seems to be a bit better on the iPhone 6 Plus, while the One M9 has stellar BoomSound front speakers.

All in all, the iPhone 6 Plus does tend to have a slight advantage in many aspects, but it also comes with a $100 price premium. If you are ready to spend a bit more, though, the iPhone 6 Plus seems like the better choice overall.

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