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LG G3 vs. HTC One M8: Which Android flag should iPhone haters fly?

If you’re an Android user who’s just not into Samsung’s smartphones, LG’s G3 and HTC’s One M8 are probably your top two alternatives when it comes to choosing a high-end smartphone. HTC’s flagship has all the good looks and the premium metal casing, but the LG G3’s almost bezel-free design and larger screen size make it very attractive, as well.

So which one should you choose? Both are similar in terms of processing power, but each one offers a unique experience. Let’s break it down step by step, so that you know you’re making the right choice.

Related: Read our LG G3 and HTC One M8 reviews.

Processing power

LG G3 vs HTC One M8Both the G3 and the One M8 are powered by a version of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 801 quad-core processor and 2GB of RAM. However, the G3 clocks in at a slightly faster speed of 2.5GHz, as opposed to the M8’s 2.3GHz clock speed, and it offers an optional RAM upgrade to 3GB. Theoretically, this should put the G3 just a hair above the M8 in terms of performance, but when it came to benchmark results, the M8 actually scored better.

In 3DMark’s Ice Storm Unlimited test, the G3 scored 17,457, while the HTC One M8 got an impressive 20,600. However, in real life use, both phones performed equally well while searching the Web, streaming YouTube videos, and looking through posts on Facebook. In our minds, the G3 and One M8 are tied on this one.

Winner: Tie

Pixel power

LG G3 vs HTC One M8There are two kinds of people in this world: Those who can tell the difference between Quad HD and Full HD, and those who can’t. If you’re like 99 percent of the population, you probably won’t notice any difference in quality between the G3’s 2560 x 1440 pixel resolution 2K screen and the One M8’s 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution Full HD screen. Both LCD screens look bright and vivid.

What you will notice, is screen size. The G3 has a nearly bezel-free 5.5-inch screen packed into a phone that’s almost the exact same size as the One M8. The M8 has a 5-inch screen with annoying bezels at the top, bottom, and sides that look much too wide in comparison. The G3 looks as though it’s all screen. At the end of the day, we much preferred the G3’s big, bold screen.

Winner: LG G3

Camera

One of the most important features in any phone is the camera. Both the LG G3 and HTC One M8 have very powerful cameras and come with special features. The G3 has Laser Auto Focus, which ensures that the phone focuses in on the exact detail you want to shoot with super accuracy and speed. In our review, we extolled the virtues of the G3’s 13-megapixel camera and laser focus.

HTC’s One M8 may not have the same zippy focus, but it does boast the company’s special Ultra Pixel Camera, which has pixels that allow more light to enter. The phone also has two camera sensors to offer added depth to pictures and other cool effects. In our review, we called it the “best in class” Android smartphone camera and that’s still true.

Although the G3 focuses very quickly, it doesn’t capture as bright or rich of colors in full sunlight. It does seem to perform better on cloudy days outside and indoors. The HTC One M8 takes accurate, colorful pictures, with great detail. The editing effects are also a great addition and should please camera buffs. The One’s Ultra Pixel camera definitely wins this battle.

Winner: HTC One M8

Look and feel

Metal versus plastic: it’s an age old debate in the smartphone industry.  Some phones come right out and say, “I’m plastic and it’s fantastic,” but others like the LG G3 prefer to let you think they’re made of metal, even when they’re not. The G3 features a plastic back that LG claims is mixed with metal. It has a faux, brushed metal finish that looks very convincing. From a distance, you have no idea that it’s plastic.

Meanwhile, the HTC One M8 features an gorgeous, brushed metal casing and sleek design. HTC is known for being one of the few Android smartphone manufacturers to make all-metal smartphones annually. The M8 is undoubtedly stunning, but it’s also heavier and a bit slippery to hold. The G3 is a tad wider, because of its larger screen, but it’s not that noticeable. That said, the M8 is easier to operate one-handed, so if you’re not a fan of big phones, you may prefer the way it feels in your hands.

It’s difficult to call this category. We like the look of the G3 from the front, but the M8 looks much more premium and is slightly more comfortable to hold. It’s really a matter of personal opinion, though.

Winner: HTC One M8

Speaker quality and listening with headphones

LG G3 vs HTC One M8One of our favorite things to do with our smartphones is listen to music. While most of us use headphones, it’s always nice to have speakers on your phone when you want to share a song or video. HTC is known for taking extra care with its phones’ speakers. Previously, HTC had a partnership with Beats Audio. Now that that particular romance is over, HTC has created its own Boom Sound speakers.

The HTC One M8 has BoomSound speakers at the top and bottom of the device, which deliver decent, though not perfect sound. The speakers provide loud and strong sound, which comes across clearly, thanks to the front-facing speakers. Meanwhile, LG’s G3 has one small speaker on the back, which gets muffled by your hand or the table it’s sitting on, most of the time. That said, the G3’s speakers aren’t bad, they’re just not as good as the One M8’s.

Winner: HTC One M8

Android interface

Even though both the G3 and M8 are running Android 4.4 KitKat, the user interface on each of them is different. HTC added its own special skin called Sense to the M8, which gives it a very different look and feel in comparison with LG’s simple alterations. Among other things, Sense adds HTC’s news reader BlinkFeed, which puts all your favorite news and social media stories in one place, so you can flip through them at your leisure. BlinkFeed looks a lot like Flipboard, so those of you who enjoy that particular news reader app will most certainly like it.

Otherwise, Sense really doesn’t change too much. It puts Google’s apps in a folder and sets its own versions as default, but you can easily change that. The app icons are simple and mostly pastel in color palette. HTC added a few gesture controls for opening the camera app easily, quick access to other connected devices nearby, and more. It also copied LG’s KnockOn feature, which we’ll describe below.

Much like HTC, LG added a few of its own apps to the G3, including LG Health, Smart Tips, and Smart Notice. These apps aren’t terribly useful, but they are located off to the side on their own home screen, so they don’t get in your way. LG’s app icons are nice, generic, and pastel. The rest of LG’s additions to Android are much more useful and cool. Our favorite two features are KnockOn and Knock Code.

With KnockOn, all you have to do is tap twice on the screen just like you’d knock on a door and the phone will show the lock screen and time. Knock Code adds an extra layer of security, by setting a specific pattern of knocks instead of a passcode.

While we prefer LG’s take on Android, HTC’s Sense isn’t a bad look for the mobile OS either.

Winner: LG G3

Battery life

LG G3 vs HTC One M8LG’s G3 has a massive 3,000mAh removeable battery onboard that keeps the large screen powered for a very long time. Meanwhile, HTC’s One M8 packs a 2,600mAh embedded battery. Both batteries will keep the phones running for a full day of use and then some, thanks to battery saving modes and the efficient Qualcomm processor. However, the G3 has one big advantage: its battery is removable and therefore, replaceable. In addition, LG is currently offering a promotion that gives customers a free extra battery pack and portable charger for the G3, so you never have to run out of power — all you have to do is switch batteries.

Winner: LG G3

Bragging points

LG G3

  • 1440p screen
  • Laser Auto Focus
  • KnockOn
  • Knock Code
  • Replaceable battery

HTC One M8

  • Ultra Pixel camera
  • Metal finish
  • BoomSound speakers

And the winner is: LG G3

Both the LG G3 and HTC One M8 are impressive, powerful, and beautiful smartphones. The two Android flagships are so evenly matched, we had a hard time choosing a winner. In the end, it came down to a few small things. The HTC One M8 may have a high-end metal body, sleek design, and great camera, but at the end of the day, we prefer the LG G3 with its big, nearly bezel-free screen, zippy processor, useful software features, and long battery life. The HTC One M8 is a great phone, too, and we’re sure many of you will sincerely enjoy using it. However, the LG G3 is the one that we’d put in our pockets.

Full specs

For those of you who want to crunch the numbers, here are all the specs.

LG G3

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HTC One M8

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Size 146.3 x 74.6 x 8.9 mm 146.36 x 70.6 x 9.35 mm
Weight 149g 160g
Screen 5.5-inch LCD 5-inch LCD3
Resolution 1440×2560 pixels 1080×1920 pixels
OS Android 4.4.2 Android 4.4.2 with HTC Sense 6
Internal Storage 32GB 16/32GB
Expandable Storage Up to 128GB Up to 128GB
SD Card Slot Yes Yes
Processor 2.5GHz Quad-core Snapdragon 801 2.3GHz Quad-core Snapdragon 801
RAM 2GB, 3GB 2GB
Connectivity Wi-Fi, 4G LTE, USB 3.0, IrLED, HSPA+, NFC Wi-Fi, 4G LTE, USB 2.0, HSPA+, NFC
Gesture Controls No Yes
Front Camera 2.1MP, 720P HD 5MP, 1080P HD
Rear Camera 13MP, 1080P HD 5MP, 1080P HD
Bluetooth Yes, version 4.0 Yes, version 4.0
Extra features Laser Auto Focus BoomSound, BlinkFeed, dual-lens camera
Water Resistant No No
Battery 3,000mAh, removable 2,600mAh , embedded
Charger Micro USB Micro USB
Marketplace Google Play Store Google Play Store
Color Options Black, white, gold Silver, rose, gold, grey
Ave. Price $200 with a two-year contract, $600 no contract $200 with a two-year contract, $600 no contract
Availability AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon
DT Review 4.5 out of 5 4 out of 5