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HTC One M9 vs iPhone 6 – which is best?

HTC One M9 vs iPhone 6 header

We put HTC's brand-new One M9 up against the iPhone 6 to see which one you should buy



HTC’s made lots of improvements to the rear camera on the One M9, as it now has a 20-megapixel sensor with an f/2.2 aperture and 1.1in lens. It’s also back-illuminated, which is meant to let in more light and improve low-light photography. It can record video in 4K, but doesn’t have any time-lapse or slow motion capabilities. 

HTC One M9 vs iPhone 6 cameras

However, our subsequent photo tests haven’t been all the impressive, and part of the problem lies in the way the One M9 exposes each image. On Auto, for instance, the sky and clouds are completely whited out in the shots below, even when the lighting conditions weren’t particularly sunny. 

HTC One M9 camera test vs iPhone 6 01^ There’s a good level of detail present here, but the exposure is way off

HTC One M9 camera test vs iPhone 6^ Colours look good, too, but it’s a shame it can’t capture any fine detail in brighter patches of sky

The iPhone 6’s camera only has an 8-megapixel resolution but uses a larger 1.3in sensor, so each pixel gets a lot of light. It can shoot video in Full HD at both 30fps and 60fps, but you can also record slow motion clips at either 120fps or 240fps and create time-lapse videos. Apple also lets you take still images while you’re recording. 

Compared the One M9’s camera, the iPhone 6 is leaps ahead. Images may be a bit low-res, but they’re definitely better exposed and show a lot more cloud detail than HTC’s sensor. Admittedly, neither is absolutely perfect, but if we had to choose one, we’d definitely go with the iPhone 6. 

iPhone 6 camera test vs HTC One M9 01^ This image is a lot darker than the one we took on the One M9, but it’s a more accurate representation of what’s actually in front of our eyes

iPhone 6 camera test vs HTC One M9^ This is also a bit darker than the shots on the One M9, but colours are accurate and the sky isn’t over-exposed

Operating system

The One M9 runs Android 5.0.2 and comes with HTC’s latest Sense 7 interface. We weren’t big fans of Sense 6, but Sense 7 is a massively improved take on Android that’s both highly customisable and much easier to use than previous Sense interfaces. This is thanks to HTC’s new Theme Generator, which revamps the entire look of your handset to match whatever picture you have set as your home screen background. This includes app icons, fonts, sounds and even the caller ID logo.

HTC One M9 Default Theme Sense 7^ The default theme in Sense 7 is much easier on the eye than previous Sense interfaces

While HTC has plenty of pre-installed themes ready to use out of the box, you can still get that personalised look by tweaking each option individually. It also works with pictures in your phone’s gallery by analysing the main colours in the image, producing several different colour schemes for you to choose from. 

It also promotes certain apps to the main homepage depending on your location. For instance, when you’re at work, you’ll see Google Drive, Calendar and email apps instead of Maps and HTC’s Car and Music apps when you’re on the move. We like this feature a lot and it helps keep the phone feeling suitably ‘smart’ compared to other Android handsets. 

HTC One M9 Origami Theme Sense 7^ We particularly like HTC’s Origami theme, but there are dozens to choose from in HTC’s theme store and even more possibilities if you use one of your own gallery pictures

The iPhone 6 ships with iOS 8, Apple’s latest OS. While not as customisable as HTC’s version of Android, but it comes with plenty of features, including Apple’s Health app that monitors and tracks your fitness and Apple Pay for contactless payments (although at the moment this is only available in the US). 

Apple’s Continuity also lets you answer your phone and send SMS messages from your iPad or Mac (if it’s running OS X Yosemite). Meanwhile, Handoff lets you finish a task you started on one Apple device and lets you finish it on another – for example, you can start writing a text message on your iPad and then finish it off on your iPhone. This makes iOS 8 a good choice for people with multiple Apple devices. 

iOS 8 screenshots^ iOS 8 may not be as customisable as Android, but it has several features that work across multiple Apple devices, which arguably makes it the more flexible operating system

Which operating system you prefer will be down to personal preference. Each one has its own merits and a very similar range of apps and services. If you like being able to customise your phone’s appearance down to the last detail, then you’ll probably like the One M9 better than the iPhone 6. However, if you own multiple Apple devices, the iPhone 6 is a much more sensible choice. 


As you’d expect from flagship phones, both handsets are very expensive. At time of writing, the One M9 costs £580 SIM-free, whereas a SIM-free iPhone 6 costs £539 for the 16GB version, £619 for the 64GB version and £699 for the 128GB version. 

Prices are more variable if you’re looking for a contract, but right now one of the best deals we could find for the One M9 is with Carphone Warehouse, which costs £30 upfront and £38-per-month, which gets you 2GB of 4G data and unlimited calls and texts. The same deal for the iPhone 6 simply costs £38-per-month with no upfront cost, which isn’t surprising as it’s now slightly older. Either way, there’s not much difference in the total cost of ownership between the two phones.


Both phones have excellent build quality and there’s plenty to like about each phone’s OS, but all in all, the iPhone 6 is  better value right now than the HTC One M9. The One M9 has more storage and a much more flexible, customisable interface, but the iPhone 6 has a longer-lasting battery, superior screen and much better camera. 

If you’re a long-time Android user and don’t want to switch to iOS, though, then check out our Samsung Galaxy S6 / S6 Edge vs HTC One M9 article to see who finishes first for best Android phone of 2015.


ModelOne M9iPhone 6
ProcessorQuad-core 2GHz & quad-core 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 810Dual-core 1.4GHz Apple A8
Screen size5in4.7in
Screen resolution1,920×1,0801,334×750
Screen typeLCDIPS
Front camera4-megapixel1.2 megapixels
Rear camera20-megapixel8 megapixels
FlashDual LEDYes (dual LED)
Memory card slot (supplied)microSDN/A
BluetoothBluetooth 4.1Bluetooth 4.0
Wireless data3G, 4G4G
Operating systemAndroid 5.0.2iOS 8
Battery size2,840mAh1,810mAh

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