HTC One M9 and Nexus 5: Worth Upgrading?

Now that the all-new HTC One M9 is easily available from most US carriers starting today, buyers are starting to evaluate their options and decide if it’s worth buying or keeping their current device for another year. Those looking to buy a new smartphone may be considering many options, and here we will compare it to Google’s own Nexus 5.

The Google Nexus 5, made by LG, has been on the market since November 2013 and is starting to show its age. It’s still an excellent smartphone and runs the latest Android 5.1 Lollipop, but is the HTC One M9 good enough to warrant an upgrade? Keep reading to find out.

New HTC One M9, available today It will have to compete in the United States and with older devices, as well as the Galaxy S6, which was released today. It has a lot to offer but a lot of competition. If you’re looking to upgrade, here’s how it compares to the Nexus 5, which is now over a year and a half old.

Prior to its release, we saw many reports and rumors that a new HTC One M9 would come with a radical new design, but that never happened. It’s extremely similar to last year’s One M8, but with lots of new features and hardware enhancements. If you didn’t get the One M8 in 2014 because it wasn’t good enough to replace the Nexus 5, the HTC One M9 may have enough to put you in a tight spot.


We’ll start with the most obvious difference, the design, then move on to all the other major differences for those looking to upgrade. The biggest difference the HTC One M9 will have from pretty much any other Android device and Nexus 5 will be its impressive and striking brushed aluminum design. The M9 is even better than last year, with a more matte and two-tone color option.

HTC One M9 Display

The brushed aluminum Gunmetal finish looks beautiful and feels great in your hands. Then silver and gold are also beautiful. The edges are rounder and easier to hold, and the metal has a new matte finish that’s more durable, less likely to scratch and doesn’t show all your fingerprints.

As we all know by now, the Nexus 5 is made entirely of plastic. From the glossy plastic edges to the soft-touch matte design on the back. You won’t find any metal here, but it has beautiful ceramic power and volume up/down buttons for added polish and luxury. Well, the HTC One M9 is clearly a higher-end device, but that’s reflected in its $649 price tag as well.

In relation :  5 Things You Should Know About Nexus 6 Marshmallow Update

Nexus 5

Overall, the design on both phones is excellent. While the Nexus 5 doesn’t feel premium, it actually feels like a solid device that you’d expect to pay more than it costs. That said, nothing can hold a candle for the HTC One M9, just nothing. Maybe the new Galaxy S6. HTC has always had great build quality and a certain level of excellence in its phones, and the M9 is no different.

The last design feature we should mention, because that’s a big one, the front-facing speakers. The HTC One had some of the best, and the new HTC One M9 sounds even better. Boomsound front-facing speakers are crisp, loud and clear, and have good bass for a phone. Compare that to the single downward facing speaker next to the USB charging port on the bottom of the Nexus 5, and there’s no comparison. The speaker is one of the Nexus 5’s weakest links. If you get the M9 you will love and instantly notice the big difference.


Unfortunately the HTC One M9 hasn’t had a bigger screen or higher resolution in the past years, so it’s still pretty much in the same league as the Nexus 5. Both have a 5-inch 1920 x 1080p HD display. However, the HTC One M9 has a SLCD3 display with sharp, clear and extremely vibrant colors. The Nexus 5 is a bit hot, pale and doesn’t have nearly as good viewing angles.

This is the One M9 sitting next to the 5.1-inch Galaxy S5.

This is the One M9 sitting next to the 5.1-inch Galaxy S5.

The tech inside the screen on the One M9 is better. It has better colors, contacts, blacks and is probably more power efficient for better battery life. If you want a bigger screen from your Nexus 5 you can consider Galaxy S6, Nexus 6 or even DROID Turbo.


The features and hardware inside these phones are some of the biggest differences besides the design. This isn’t a huge concern as both are extremely powerful, but the One M9 definitely has a lot more power under the hood and in the camera department. Numbers aren’t everything, but here’s what you need to know.

As you can see, at about two years old, a huge difference emerges in every way. HTC One M9 has an octa-core processor, 3GB of RAM, more storage and a micro SD slot. Then of course both cameras will be much better. While the One M9 camera isn’t the best in our review, a recent update will make the camera even better. There’s no denying that the M9 is a major upgrade and worth considering.


Both of these phones are running Google’s new Android 5 Lollipop version, but the Nexus 5 is already on the latest Android 5.1 Lollipop, which fixes many bugs in the first version. Still, HTC is running Android 5.0.2 Lollipop and will likely see Android 5.1 or Android 5.1.1 in the next few months or sometime this summer.

Use this guide to Downgrade Android 5.0+ to Android 4.4.4 KitKat.

It all comes down to personal preference. Most buy stock and plain Android and a Nexus for quick updates. Others have used HTC in the past and love Sense, and the One M9 has the latest Sense 7 UI. The best Sense experience ever, it has Lollipop animations and new features and a powerful new theme engine that lets you control and tweak everything. From the font, wallpapers, icons, colors of the popup bar and more. The One M9 has finally delivered to Sense the customization many users have been waiting for, and those from the Nexus 5 can enjoy the refreshing speed change.


While we mentioned it above, we won’t go into much here, it’s worth mentioning the camera itself. If you’ve been dealing with a mediocre camera and a terrible front camera for over a year on the Nexus 5, the HTC One M9 is definitely worth an upgrade. It takes you from 8 megapixel rear camera to 20.7 megapixel lens and 4 Ultrapixel front camera.

Single M9 camera

While the HTC One M9’s camera is one of its weakest links, it’s still pretty good, recently updated to be even better, and will undoubtedly be a better experience than the Nexus 5.

Price and Carriers

The last thing to consider is price and carriers. The Nexus 5 is no longer for sale, but this is mainly for those who want to upgrade rather than buy one or the other. Then, Google’s Nexus 5 was only available from the Google Play Store and Sprint. It works on AT&T, T-Mobile, or Sprint, and Verizon doesn’t have Nexus 5 support. If you want a Nexus on Verizon, check out the massive 5.96-inch Nexus 6.


With the HTC One M9, you can get it from all major US carriers, with many different pricing options. From free with monthly payments on T-Mobile to $199 with a new 2-year contract from AT&T or Verizon. Then of course most carriers offer payment plans ranging from $25-28 per month for 12, 18 or 24 months to match T-Mobile. It all depends on the carrier and what you need.

Buying the HTC One M9 outright for $649 will be a tough move for those paying $349 for the Nexus 5, but if you want the latest and greatest, it might be worth the money. All said and done, everyone has different needs, wants and budgets so choose wisely and get what’s best for you.

Moyens Staff
Moyens I/O Staff has motivated you, giving you tips on technology, personal development, lifestyle and strategies that will help you.