Both phones have really good designs and build quality. The One M9 is slightly fatter than the Xperia Z3, but it’s also narrower and shorter so it still fits in your pocket. The mirrored sides of the HTC are squarer than the rounded matte ones of the Sony, giving you a better grip. But the Sony is thin, lightweight and waterproof. And its metal and glass body looks really modern.
Both phones have 20 megapixel cameras on the back, meaning there’s not much to choose between them on paper. But when you start snapping, the Z3’s photos seem sharper and brighter. The Z3 is also fantastic at taking photos in low light, like when you’re on a night out. The only part of the main camera that’s better on the HTC is the glass that covers it. HTC has used sapphire crystal, which is second only to diamond for hardness, so scratches won’t mess up your photos.
Round the front, the HTC’s four megapixel selfie camera is much better than the Sony’s 2.1 megapixel one. It uses HTC’s UltraPixel technology, where each pixel in the camera is around three times bigger than normal, to make colours look more lifelike. And because there’s almost twice as many pixels make up every selfie, there’s a lot more detail.
If you plan on looking back at your photos on your phone, you’ll want a top screen. And both of these phones have very good Full HD ones. But the Xperia Z3’s screen looks sharper, brighter and more colourful than the One M9’s one. That’s probably because Sony uses a lot of its TV technology in its phones.
HTC has given its new phone a couple of great new apps to make the software more personal. A new Themes app lets you create personalised themes based on your photos, completely transforming the look and feel of the phone. And HTC Sense Home learns what apps you use at what time of day and in what places, putting them on your homescreen so they’re easy to find. Sony does have themes, but they’re all pre-made, so not quite as personal, and there’s nothing on the Z3 like Sense Home.
The One M9 also has HTC’s signature BoomSound stereo speakers on the front, and this year they’re powered by Dolby Audio for virtual surround sound. So if you like blasting out music or want to get the most from a movie soundtrack, the M9 easily beats the Z3.
So both phones have areas that they do well in and areas that could be improved. If you’re a selfie and music lover, the M9 might be the phone for you. But if you prefer taking photos with the rear camera and playing great looking games, go for the Z3.