HTC One M9 and LG G3: Worth Upgrading?

Now that the brand new HTC One M9 has been officially launched and will hit carrier shelves in the coming days, potential buyers are probably considering all their options here in 2015. For those looking for an upgrade or purchasing devices at a discount from last year, we’ll be comparing the LG G3 to the HTC One M9.

On March 1, the HTC One M9 smartphone was finally announced, and it has emerged after months of leaks, rumors and speculation. It didn’t come as a surprise thanks to various leaks, but unfortunately it didn’t include many design changes compared to last year. So, if you chose the LG G3 over the HTC One M8 in 2014, you may not want to upgrade to the new One M9. However, below is everything buyers need to know.

The LG G3 was one of the best smartphones released last year, and it’s still an excellent device worth keeping for another year. However, below we’ll compare HTC’s latest model to the LG G3, a device already owned by millions of users, and point out a few differences for those looking to potentially upgrade or buy one over the other.

Tomorrow, April 10, the HTC One M9 will launch from most of the major carriers in the United States, but on the same day is the release date for the new Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge. So, it has a lot of competition from the new Galaxy S device, not to mention that it doesn’t offer much over the model before it.

This year HTC didn’t take a big risk and change the design like Samsung did with the Galaxy S6, and instead launched a phone that looks almost identical to last year’s model. However, they’ve improved every aspect of the phone, made it a bit smaller and introduced a new two-tone color option, among other things. Lets start.

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The LG G3 has a decent 5.5-inch 2560 x 1440 Quad-HD (or 2k) display. Compared to HTC One M9’s 5-inch 1080p display, there is a big difference for buyers. Considering that these phones are almost the same size but one with a much larger screen is quite a feat and impressive to say the least. Many had hoped the One M9 would have a larger screen or higher resolution, but HTC kept the device’s size in check and kept the resolution at 1080p to preserve battery life.

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LG has thin bezels around its Quad-HD display, which makes the device quite small despite the huge screen. Approaching “phablet” size. However, all is not well. The 5-inch IPS LCD3 display on the HTC One M9 has better brightness, much better colors, and viewing angles look much better, but only a hair’s length.

Both devices will make their buyers happy, but the LG G3’s screen doesn’t have as good colors or viewing angles as HTC’s, but it’s bigger and has a higher resolution. Of course some of these issues will be addressed by the new LG G4 this year.

There is no clear winner here. The LG G3 is great if you want a big screen for viewing content, watching videos, playing games and more, but for those looking for a great experience in a smaller package, the One M9 will also be great.

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Design

LG and HTC are no different when it comes to design approach. LG has something that works great with the same overall look and feel as the previous generation; it’s a lightweight (yet durable) cheap plastic for the buttons and smartphone building materials on the back for a stylish design. They’ve used plastic for years, but the LG G3 is actually it seems like it’s made of aluminum. Gives the plastic enclosure a brushed aluminum look.

HTC, on the other hand, has continued to offer some of the best looking and best-feeling smartphones on the market. The original HTC One was wrapped in a single aluminum shell, and that went on for two years, and it’s the same basic design on the new One M9. While it looks almost no different from its predecessors, it’s a major upgrade and one of the most powerful devices on the market. And now it has a beautiful two-tone aluminum finish as shown below.

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No one can argue which one looks better. The HTC One M9 features brushed aluminum in several different colors, the best speakers of any smartphone, front-facing speakers (and we’re not sure why others don’t offer the same), and it feels like a premium device overall. And with the new One M9, they have a two-tone color option, which is also aluminum and looks great. Below is an image of the Verizon HTC One M9 in aluminum gold and silver.

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At the same time, the LG G3 is one of the best looking plastic smartphones on the market. Appearance isn’t everything, but it does play a role in many users’ purchasing decisions.

While we’re big fans of the HTC One M8 and this device won our Editors’ Choice award, the new HTC One M9 is even better. The LG G3 is slightly wider, extremely light and has a much larger and better display overall, despite being almost the same height. The whole design of the G3 was to offer a stylish device that isn’t too big, but has a big and beautiful display inside, and LG has done it.

If screen size isn’t a big deal and you prefer to have a premium device, the HTC One M9 should be perfect.

Camera

An extremely important aspect of any purchase is the camera, and unfortunately that’s a bit ridiculous. As we all know, the HTC One M8 was missing the camera, but that was fixed here with the new HTC One M9 in 2015. They’ve upgraded that to a 20.7-megapixel camera and put the 4 Ultrapixels on the back in front. Technically it should have one of the best cameras on the market. However, it still wasn’t as good as we had hoped in our review.

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That said, the LG G3 isn’t clumsy either. It’s just a 13-megapixel camera, but megapixels aren’t everything. The sensor is large, it has optical image stabilization+, and the laser autofocus on the LG G3 is one of the best on the market. Autofocus is fast, stabilizes images and effortlessly produces clear and vibrant images. Both are great and we actually had some focusing issues with the One M9. Technically it should be better, but both are some of the better camera options, but not the best. This belongs to the iPhone 6, Note 4 and the new Galaxy S6.

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Features

While specs aren’t as important as having a device that’s fast, fluid, and will work for years, it’s still something many people consider when buying. Here are the hard numbers for those who are interested, In my opinion software is more important than specs, but each has their own opinion.

The HTC One M9 is pretty similar to last year’s model, but they’ve changed a few key things. Alongside the internals, there is now a power button on the right, below the volume buttons, for ease of use, and the camera has been completely overhauled. You can barely tell the two apart without looking at the camera.

Both of these phones are excellent choices, but in the long run the new HTC One M9 will be almost a year newer, cutting-edge, with a higher resolution camera, and will receive software updates longer than the aging LG G3.

Software

The LG G3 has been enjoying Android 4.4 KitKat for a long time, but for the past few months it has received the latest Android 5.0.2 Lollipop updates released by Google. While the update does cause some issues for owners, it is a significant upgrade and makes the experience much better.

The HTC One M9, on the other hand, launched with Android 5.0 Lollipop but is covered in HTC’s own Sense UI. Both are radically different, but the basic features are the same. It’s more of a user preference and this time with the One M9, HTC Sense is very customizable, something LG has offered for years.

LG’s UI looks a lot different than HTC’s and isn’t quite as customizable, but both are great options that run on top of Google’s latest Android.

Price

Last but certainly not least is the price. The HTC One M9 is a brand new flagship phone and will cost you more than the LG G3. However, if you trade in your G3, you’ll get a substantial discount against HTC’s newest phone. And if you’re discussing either of those two, the G3 is older and will cost you less. Especially when signing a new 2-year contract.

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The LG G3 has been available for a while and is available for $499 off-contract and most of the time for free or $0.01 with a new 2-year contract. This is the cheaper route and will move forward. No matter how you look at it, the LG G3 would be the cheaper choice, either direct or contracted, unless we see some crazy release date deals on the HTC One M9. The G3 is a good move if you’re on a tight budget, but most carriers offer the HTC One M9 with payment plans within reach of most.

The HTC One M9 is $199 on a new 2-year contract and $649 direct from most carriers. Not to mention the monthly payment options that range from $25-28 per month as mentioned above.

As we said before, everyone has different needs, wants and budgets, so the choice is yours. The HTC One M9 will officially be in stores starting tomorrow, and it’s a remarkable phone. If you want the latest smartphone, the HTC One M9 might be worth upgrading from the LG G3, but unless you really need it, the G3 will be plenty for most users for at least another year. Or wait for the LG G4 to be announced on April 28.

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