Sony Xperia Z3 vs HTC One M8 comparison review

At launch, the M8 cost a classic £550 on a SIM-free basis – and since the device has been around for a few months now, you can find it for less, too. Amazon has the smartphone for £519 in the glacial silver colour but you can get it for just £459 from Simply Electronics.

The Xperia Z3 is on sale at £549 inc VAT for the 16GB model. There is a 32GB model likely to be available in some territories. It's newer than is the HTC One M8 so you are less likely to find a bargain when shopping around.

HTC One M8 vs Sony Xperia Z3

In essence, both of these phones cost the same. But the HTC One M8 is marginally easier to find, and therefore a little easier to get a little cheaper. See also: Best smartphones 2014.

Sony Xperia Z3 vs HTC One M8 comparison review: design and build

The Xperia Z3 utilises the classic styling of an Xperia smartphone: square shape, side mounted buttons and rounded sides. It continues the combination of glass and aluminium, with the introduction of nylon corners which should prevent damage in the occasion of dropping the phone.

Sony continues to offer a dust- and waterproof design so that means all ports apart from the headphone jack are underneath flaps. The phone is IP68 rated which is slightly higher on the dust side of things and can be submerged in 1.5m of water for up to 30 minutes. You'll notice that new colours are available beyond black and white so you'll be able to choose from copper or silver green too.

The new Xperia Z3 is 7.3 mm thick and weighs 152 g. However, at 72 x 146 mm it's still a big phone. The HTC One M8 has a uni-body aluminium design. At 146.4 x 70.6 x 9.4mm and 160g it is bigger, thicker and heavier than the Xperia Z3, albeit a little slimmer in profile. Importantly it doesn't feel too large in the hand. Of all the Androids the HTC One M8 is the only one that feels like an iPhone-like premium smartphone. Ergonomic, but also sturdy. This is important because, as well as feeling like a device which has been carefully designed and put together, it doesn't feel overly delicate. There is a case for the HTC One M8, but we doubt you would need it. From launch, the M8 itself is available in three different colours. The most popular is likely to be 'Metal Grey' but there's also 'Artic Silver' and 'Amber Gold'.

On pure aesthetic terms we marginally prefer the HTC One M8, but is a subjective view. The fact that the Xperia Z3 is thinner and lighter, as well as dust- and waterproof, gives it the objective edge.

Sony Xperia Z3 review screen

Sony Xperia Z3 vs HTC One M8 comparison review: display

The Sony Xperia Z3 has an IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen with 16M colours. It's a 5.2in display with a resolution of 1080 x 1920 pixels. That gives a pixel density of 424 ppi - not up there with the best QuadHD displays, but impressive nonetheless. Sony also offers its solidly impressive display technology including Triluminos and X-Reality (intuitive contrast enhancement).

HTC has given the One M8 a 5in display, so there's a little less real estate for whatever you're doing but the difference isn't too noticeable. The screen's resolution, as with rival flagships, remains at Full HD (1920x1080). The smaller screen size means a bump in pixel density to 441ppi but that is not noticably sharper than is the Xperia Z3. The HTC One's display is crisp, vibrant and looks stunning. The new panel has an improved contrast ratio and viewing angles.

One thing we particularly like about the M8's screen is its silky gloss finish which, more than other phones, means your finger glides brilliantly across its surface. It's just another detail which makes this phone feel so premium.

But in the end it is impossible to pick a winner here. The Xperia is a tiny bit bigger. The HTC a sliver better. Call it a draw.

HTC One M8 screen

Next section: specs and performance