HTC One M8 vs Nexus 6 Camera Comparison

HTC One M8 vs Nexus 6 Camera Comparison

By Rich W Woods

For the last two weeks, I have left my iPhone 6 and iPad Air 2 in a drawer and have used a Nexus 6 and a Nexus 9. To be perfectly honest, I can’t wait to go back. The Nexus 6 is not for everyone and the battery on both devices is terrible. They combine for nearly 10,000 mAh between the two devices, yet with moderate use, neither will make it to the end of the day.

But I digress. This is a camera comparison, right? Well, my web site, my rules. I might compare the two devices in other ways if I feel like it.

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 HTC One M8 vs Nexus 6: Specs

HTC One M8 Nexus 6
Processor 2.5 GHz Snapdragon 801 2.7 GHz Snapdragon 805
Display 5″, 1080p, 401 ppi, LCD 5.96″, 1440p, 493 ppi, AMOLED
Body 146.4×70.6×9.4 mm, 160 g 159.3x83x10.1 mm, 184 g
GPU Adreno 330 Adreno 420
Camera 4 MP, 2688х1520, 5 MP Front 13 MP, 4128×3096, 2 MP Front
Aperture F/2 F/2
Storage 16/32 GB 32/64 GB
Battery 2600 mAh 3220 mAh
Price $649 $649

People have been requesting benchmarks recently, so I’ve decided to start including them. If you don’t know what they mean, skip over them. Benchmarks rarely mean anything when it comes to real world everyday use.

As you can see, the HTC One M8 gets better benchmarks in GFXBench and AnTuTu but the Nexus 6 gets better benchmarks in Geekbench.

The Nexus 6 has a much larger battery than the HTC One M8 does; however, the screen has a much higher resolution, which effects the battery. With moderate use, the Nexus 6 does not make it through the day.

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HTC One M8 vs Nexus 6: Rear Camera

Normally, I start off a rear camera comparison by stating that resolution doesn’t matter. It is the least important spec. This is because most smart phone cameras are higher than 8 MP. Well, at least flagships are. 8.3 MP at 16:9 is a threshold where the resolution of the photo is higher than the resolution of a 4K monitor. The 4 MP rear camera on the HTC One M8 does not meet that threshold.

4K displays are still rare at this point, so the 4 MP camera of the HTC One M8 is still higher than 1440p, which is 3.7 MP. In case you were wondering, 720p is 0.9 MP and 1080p is 2.1 MP. The 13 MP rear camera of the Nexus 6 meets that threshold.

Aperture relates to depth of field. A smaller aperture means a larger depth of field, meaning the background of the image will be more focused. For example, an f/8 aperture would have a larger depth of field than an f/2 aperture. Both of these devices have an f/2 aperture, so this is not really relevant.

Please note that in order to enlarge the photos, simply click or tap them. To view the full size image, there is a link in the carousel.

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HTC One M8 Nexus 6

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It’s pretty clear that the HTC One M8 does much better in low light, which is pretty much the kryptonite of any Motorola smart phone camera. The Moto X isn’t very good in low light either. I will say that the Nexus 6 handles very bright light better than the HTC One M8 does.

As for the photos taken in regular lighting, it seems to be about even. There are a few photos where the HTC One M8 does look better and there are a few where the HTC One M8 looks oversaturated. Now, if you look at the photo with the orange flowers, it’s pretty obvious that the HTC One M8 looks better. The image is more saturated and the Nexus 6 borders on looking washed out and maybe a bit overexposed. The Nexus 6 has an HDR+ feature. It takes much longer to take a photo with this setting on, but it definitely changes the photo.

These photos were taken at different times from different angles, but you can see the difference.

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HTC One M8 vs Nexus 6: Front Camera

HTC actually uses a higher resolution front camera than the rear camera, coming in at 5 MP, which I should add, doesn’t make it better. The Nexus 6 has a front camera of 2 MP, which is exactly 1080p.

As you can see, the front camera on the HTC One M8 seriously overexposes the photos. Seriously. The Nexus 6 wins the front camera.

HTC One M8 vs Nexus 6: Video

Since the HTC One M8 has such a low resolution rear camera, it does not record 4K video like the Nexus 6 does. Most sources that list the specs will say that it records 1080p at 60 fps, which, if it were true, would be a reasonable substitute for 4K, but it is not. It records 1080p at 30 fps, like most other phones.

On the other hand, the Nexus 6 records 4K UHD, 1080p, and 720p, all at 30 fps. Again, 60 fps would be a welcome feature.

With still images, resolution is the one factor that contributes to the quality. With video, there are two. Resolution is how sharp the video is and frame rate is how smooth the video is. Think of it as seeing a bunch of pictures consecutively. 60 pictures in a second is going to be smoother than 30 pictures in a second.

Also, please note that if you don’t have a monitor that is better than 1080p and you don’t expand the videos to full screen, you can’t tell the difference between 1080p and 4K. I hear a lot of people talking about how sharp a 4K video looks when it’s embedded in a web page on their WXGA monitor.

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Nexus 6 4K UHD

HTC One M8 1080p

Nexus 6 1080p

HTC One M8 1080p Google Camera

Nexus 6 720p

Personally, I think that the HTC One M8 has the better camera if the image is not going to be cropped. Unfortunately, 4 MP leaves little to no room for cropping, so if these images are going to be edited at all, the Nexus 6 wins.

Of course, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Vote in the poll to let me know what you think. Think I’m an idiot? Let me know in the comments!


All Nexus 6 Camera Comparisons

All HTC One M8 Camera Comparisons

About the author
Rich Woods

Being a computer programmer wasn't enough to fulfill his love of technology. In 2013, Rich founded For the Love of Tech and has been writing about his love of tech ever since.

  • I’ve gotten some really good low light shots with my Nexus 6. Thanks for the comparo!

    • rwoods716

      I’m glad you enjoyed it. I would love it if you would share some of those great low light shots. I’ll even update this post with them if you’re ok with that. Also, if you have any tips on better low light performance with the Nexus 6, that would be great as well.