HTC One M8 for Windows vs. Nokia Lumia 930: Which One Would You Choose?

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HTC One M8 versus Lumia 930
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After close to a two year absence from the Microsoft platform, HTC unveiled the HTC One M8 for Windows. It’s the same devices as their current, award winning Android flagship device, the HTC One M8, running the latest version of Windows Phone (WP8.1 update 1). This presents a dilemma for consumers: Should they choose the HTC One M8 for Windows over the Nokia Lumia 930?

HTC One M8 versus Lumia 930

The Lumia range commands over 95% of the Windows Phone device market share. Nokia earned this market share by its aggressive marketing, global distribution chain and essentially being the only Windows Phone OEM from Q1 2013 to Q2 2014. Nokia’s design philosophy of bright colors, modern design, extensive use of polycarbonate materials and industry leading optics is evident throughout their entire range of devices. Nokia also developed an extensive array of exclusive software to their Lumia range such as MixRadio, Cinemagraph, Nokia Camera, Creative Studio, Storyteller, Refocus and the HERE Suite of Navigational apps. As such, one may wonder if it a good idea to buy a device from an OEM that only holds 3.7% of the market. This raises the following questions:

  • Is the HTC One M8 for Windows design better than the Nokia Lumia 930?
  • Will the One M8 for Windows be released and supported internationally? Many HTC 8X and HTC 8S customers felt HTC abandoned them after the launch of those devices in Q3 2012.
  • Will HTC develop the same range of software for their Windows Phone devices as Nokia currently has?
HTC's History with Microsoft Mobile Platform
HTC’s History with Microsoft Mobile Platforms

Expected Release and Sales Support in Kenya.

Though the One M8 for Windows is exclusive to US Carrier Verizon at moment, a version for competing carrier AT&T has already been announced for late Q3/early Q4. This will most likely be the International version as AT&T operates on the GSM network.  HTC does not match the extensive global distributor network that Nokia which means that customers in non-supported countries will incur premiums to when purchasing HTC devices (also known as “grey market” devices). The international version of HTC One M8 has a MSRP of $600 before local taxes and subsidies. This equates to approximately KES 62,000 (+16% VAT) but excludes any mark-up fees by local retailers. Local consumers should not be surprised if this device sells between KES 65,000 and 70,000 at local on-line retailers like Jumia.co.ke.

HTC's Dot View Case is compatible with Cortana.
HTC’s Dot View Case is compatible with Cortana.

Hardware Comparison

The 930 and One M8 share very similar internals, differing mainly in the chassis construction and camera module. Whether you prefer the aluminium body of the One M8 over the colour variations of high grade polycarbonate on the Lumia 930 will be a matter of personal preference. Suffice it to say that the HTC One M8 for Windows is quite the handsome / beautiful device.

Nokia's Pureview 20MP versus HTC's 4MP UltraPixel Duo-Camera.
Nokia’s Pureview 20MP versus HTC’s 4MP UltraPixel Duo-Camera.

The positives of the M8 can be summed up in the HTC Boomsound stereo speakers, the 5MP front facing camera, integrated IR Blaster  (which allows the phone to function as a Smart TV remote) and the interactive Dot View cover. The 4.0MP Ultra Pixel Duo camera will be the bone of contention for most consumers, especially those who have used the excellent Nokia Pureview camera technology (especially the 20.1 MP Camera in the Lumia 930). Though the larger pixels enable excellent low light photography, the lack of resolution may prove to be an insurmountable hurdle for some. Conversely the 5MP front facing camera makes this the ultimate Windows Phone “Selfie” phone (until the Lumia 730 is released).

NOKIA Lumia 930 HTC One M8 for Windows
PRICE KES 60,999 KES 65,000 (estimated)
DESIGN
OS Windows Phone 8.1 Windows Phone 8.1
Dimensions 5.39 x 2.80 x 0.39 inches (137 x 71 x 9.8 mm) 5.76 x 2.78 x 0.37 inches (146.36 x 70.6 x 9.35 mm)
Weight 5.89 oz (167 g) 5.64 oz (160 g)
Body material Polycabornate & Metal Metal
HARDWARE
System chip Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 8974-AA Qualcomm Snapdragon 801
Processor Quad core, 2200 MHz, Krait 400 Quad core, 2300 MHz
Graphics processor Adreno 330 Adreno 330
System memory 2048 MB RAM 2048 MB RAM
Built-in storage 32 GB 32 GB
Storage expansion n/a microSD, microSDHC, microSDXC up to 128 GB
DISPLAY
Physical size 5.0 inches 5.0 inches
Resolution 1080 x 1920 pixels 1080 x 1920 pixels
Pixel density 441 ppi 441 ppi
Technology AMOLED IPS LCD
Colors 16 777 216 16 777 216
Touchscreen Multi-touch Multi-touch
Features Light sensor, Proximity sensor, Scratch-resistant glass Light sensor, Proximity sensor, Scratch-resistant glass
CAMERA
Camera 20 megapixels 4 megapixels, Duo camera
Flash Dual LED Dual LED
Aperture size F2.4 F2.0
Focal length (35mm equivalent) 26 mm 28 mm
Camera sensor size 1/2.5″ 1/3″
Features Back-illuminated sensor (BSI), Autofocus, Touch to focus, Optical image stabilization, Face detection, Smile detection, ISO control, White balance presets, Burst mode, Digital zoom, Geo tagging, Panorama, Night mode, Scenes Back-illuminated sensor (BSI), Autofocus, Face detection, Burst mode, Digital zoom, Geo tagging, High Dynamic Range mode (HDR)
Camcorder 1920×1080 (1080p HD) (30 fps) 1920×1080 (1080p HD)
Features Optical image stabilization, Continuous autofocus, Video light, Video calling, Video sharing High Dynamic Range mode (HDR)
Front-facing camera 1.2 megapixels 5 megapixels
BATTERY
Capacity 2420 mAh 2600 mAh
User replaceable No No
Wireless charging Built-in n/a
Talk time (3G) 15.50 hours 22.00 hours
Stand-by time (3G) 18 days (432 hours) 22.0 days (528 hours)

 

App Exclusivity Comparison

HTC has a long tradition of creating exclusive software for its devices. In fact when Windows Phone 7 launched, HTC had the most exclusive apps out all the launch OEMS. Carrying on in this tradition, HTC has ported the HTC One M8 apps from Android to Windows Phone.

After the acquisition of Nokia by Microsoft (incorporated in Microsoft Mobile), Redmond made it clear that they wanted the Windows Phone OEM Ecosystem to expand. They eliminated the Windows Phone license fee and have now signed a total of 19 OEMS (many of who will release devices in Q3/Q4 2014). This, however, presents a problem as Microsoft has to ensure the Windows Phone platform grows while holding the overwhelming majority of market share. They cannot act like a monopoly by restricting the technology that their Mobile Devices creates from their other partners. This evident in Nokia Lumia features, that have been incorporated in the Windows Phone OS (hence accessible by any OEM). These include App Folders and Storage Sense to name a few. Microsoft has stated that the majority of Lumia Exclusive apps will remain exclusive to the Lumia Line, excluding the HERE Suite of Apps (HERE Maps. HERE Drive + and HERE Transit).

The table below compares Nokia exclusive apps to HTC offerings and 3rd Party alternatives. It clearly shows that the HTC One M8 for Windows doesn’t suffer much from not having access to Lumia exclusive apps as there are viable alternatives in the app store (when HTC doesn’t have its own comparable app).

App Type NOKIA Lumia 930 HTC One M8 for Windows 3rd Party Alternative Apps
NAVIGATION
HERE Drive+ (Global Map License) HERE Drive (License only for Country Phone is registered in. Global Maps license requires In App Purchase) Navigon, Waze (no more support for WP since Google purchase), Gmaps Pro
HERE Maps HERE Maps  (available on all WP devices) Bing Maps, Gmaps+
HERE Transit HERE Transit  (available on all WP devices) Moovit, UberGmaps
CAMERA
Nokia Camera HTC Camera
Nokia Creative Studio HTC Gallery FHotoRoom
Nokia Cinemagraph HTC Zoe (Not yet ported to Windows Phone)
Nokia Panorama HTC Camera
Nokia Storyteller HTC Video Highlights
Nokia Glam Me n/a Perfect365
Nokia Video Trimmer HTC Camera Movie Maker 8.1
Nokia Refocus UFocus
Nokia Video Upload HTC Camera Movie Maker 8.1
Video Tuner HTC Gallery Movie Maker 8.1
MULTIMEDIA
MixRadio Coming when MixRadio goes Cross Platform Spotify, XboxMusic, Beats Music
Ringtone Maker n/a Ringtone Maker 8.1
Nokia Trailers n/a Flixster
n/a HTC Blink Feed n/a
n/a Sense TV n/a
UTILITIES
App Social App Social (available on all WP devices)
Transfer My Data n/a n/a
Nokia Play To n/a MoliPlayer Pro
Nokia Car App n/a Car Dash
Nokia Beamer Miracast wireless support is supported in WP8.1.1. No need for Nokia Beamer. n/a
Treasure Tag n/a n/a
Nokia NFC Writer n/a NFC LaunchIt

NOTE: Table links to corresponding apps in the Windows Phone App Store.

Conclusion

Where does this leave the consumer when trying to choose between the HTC One M8 for Windows and the Lumia 930?   The HTC One M8 has the beautiful aluminium design, a 5MP front facing camera and party rocking Boomsound speakers. the Lumia 930 has the amazing 20MP Pureview camera and wireless charging plus Lumia apps.

My suggestion is decide what’s important to you first (i.e. Selfies vs Landscape Pictures), then make your decision. The margin between both devices is very close and wouldn’t leave the hardcore Windows Phone user disappointed.

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