HTC One M9 vs LG G4 full review

LG G4 vs HTC One M9: Design and build 

The HTC One M9's design hasn't moved on much from the HTC One M8, but that's not a bad thing. The gorgeous unibody metal design has seen a few tweaks, with the addition of a scratch-resistant coating, machine-drilled buttons and a sapphire glass lens on the rear camera. The power button has been moved to the side, and the M9 now adopts a two-tone look, with silver and gold, gold and gold, and gunmetal and grey models available. 

By comparison we're not entirely sold on the leather-clad design of the LG G4, but thankfully there is also a cheaper 'ceramic' (actually more plastic than ceramic) version. Thee is a choice of six colours available in all. The leather is genuine and its colour will apparently fade over time, but we prefer our phones made from metal or glass to cow hides. (What phone material floats your boat? Vote now in our poll.) 

Something the LG G4 has over the HTC One M9 is its removable 3000mAh battery (the M9 has a 2840mAh non-removable battery). Now that Samsung has ditched its support for such a feature (and its microSD support, which both LG and HTC retain), we expect LG to find many new fans based on this alone. 

LG G4 vs HTC One M9 comparison: HTC wins on design, but the cheaper LG G4 destroys the One M9 on value

For flagship phones both the LG G4 and HTC One M9 are surprisingly chunky. While the 155g LG G4 is 9.8mm thick, the 158g HTC One M9 is 9.7mm - but 10.4mm where the camera slightly sticks out. Both have a nicely curved rear that feels comfortable in the hand. 

The LG G4 has a larger 5.5in screen compared to the 5in panel on the HTC One M9, so it's not surprisingly a little larger. The LG G4 measures 76x9.8x149.9mm, while the HTC One M9 is 70x9.7x145mm.

More importantly, though, the LG G4's screen is a super-high-res Quad HD panel, with a staggering pixel density of 538ppi. HTC has stuck with full-HD for its One M9, although at 441ppi it's still very sharp. It's a good screen, but LG's is miles better, an IPS Quantum Display that it claims has 20 percent greater colour reproduction, 25 percent improvement in brightness and 50 percent greater contrast than standard IPS. Advanced In-Cell Touch tech combines the LCD and touch layer in a single sheet, making for improved sensitivity and colour reproduction, too. Also see: Best Android phones 2015. 

Neither phone has a fingerprint sensor or heart-rate monitor, but we do like the Rear Key on the LG G4. Meanwhile, the HTC has excellent front-facing BoomSound speakers with Dolby Audio.

LG G4 vs HTC One M9 comparison: HTC wins on design, but the cheaper LG G4 destroys the One M9 on value

LG G4 vs HTC One M9: Hardware and performance 

Until we've finished benchmarking the LG G4 we can't properly compare the performance of the HTC One M9 and LG G4. However, based on the specifications alone the HTC should be faster. Of course, in real-world use such things as the software implementation and preinstalled apps will also affect speed. Also see: What's the fastest smartphone 2015. 

LG's G4 is fitted with a six-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 processor, which has two A-57 cores and four A-53. We'd be amazed if it was faster than the octa-core Snapdragon 810 inside the HTC One M9, which has four A-57 cores and four A-53. Both phones have 3GB of RAM and Adreno graphics - the LG 418 and the HTC 430.  

The lower-spec hardware in the LG G4 could potentially lead to longer battery life, but don't forget it also have a far more powerful screen. We'll be able to properly assess battery life once we've finished our testing. Note that wireless charging is no longer standard in the LG, and you must affix the Quick Circle case if you want to take advantage. But that's still one up on the HTC One M9. 

Storage-wise both phones have 32GB as standard and support microSD up to 128GB. Also see: How to back up Android. 

LG G4 vs HTC One M9 comparison: HTC wins on design, but the cheaper LG G4 destroys the One M9 on value

LG G4 vs HTC One M9: Connectivity 

As flagship phones both LG G4 and HTC One M9 cover all bases in the connectivity department, with dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC, GPS, GLONASS, USB OTG and an IR blaster 

Both are sold as single-SIM phones in the UK, with support for 4G. The LG G4 supports LTE-Advanced for download speeds up to a theoretical 450Mb/s. 

LG G4 vs HTC One M9 comparison: HTC wins on design, but the cheaper LG G4 destroys the One M9 on value

LG G4 vs HTC One M9: Cameras 

HTC has made some big changes in the photography department. Where once there was an UltraPixel camera at the back this has been moved to the front. At the rear you now get a 20Mp camera with a dual-LED flash, f/2.2 aperture and 27.8mm lens.  

LG's G4 has a 16Mp rear camera, with an f/1.8 aperture, optical image stabilisation 2.0, laser auto focus, a new z-axis and a Colour Spectrum Sensor that allegedly works better than an IR sensor to understand and adapt to ambient light. At the front is an 8Mp selfie camera. 

Both LG and HTC can record 4K video using the rear camera. 

LG G4 vs HTC One M9 comparison: HTC wins on design, but the cheaper LG G4 destroys the One M9 on value

LG G4 vs HTC One M9: Software 

Both Android Lollipop phones, the LG G4 and HTC One M9 are running the latest flavour of Android and both will be upgraded to Android M when it becomes available.

HTC overlays standard Lollipop with its Sense 7.0 UI, which includes Blinkfeed and a new Themes app, while the LG G4 has UX 4.0, which adds new features such as Quick Shot, Event Pocket and improvements to the likes of Smart Notice and the Gallery app. As with the S6, there is a little less bloatware preinstalled. 

We'll cover the software running on each phone in greater detail in our standalone HTC One M9 review and LG G4 review. 

LG G4 vs HTC One M9 comparison: HTC wins on design, but the cheaper LG G4 destroys the One M9 on value

LG G4 vs HTC One M9: Verdict 

On specs alone it's a close call between HTC One M9 and LG G4. The HTC is in our opinion the better-looking of the pair, and performance should be better, yet the LG G4 offers great value at £499 and boasts a significantly better screen if you want to watch media and play games. We'll offer a definitive verdict once we've finished benchmarking the LG G4. 

Read next: Best new phones coming in 2015. 

Follow Marie Brewis on Twitter.


LG G4: Specs

  • Android 5.1 Lollipop
  • 5.5in IPS Quantum Display Quad HD (1440x2560, 538ppi)
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 808, six-core (dual-core ARM Cortex A57 and quad-core A53 with 64-bit support
  • Adreno 418 GPU
  • 3GB RAM
  • 32GB internal storage
  • microSD card slot
  • 16Mp rear camera with OIS 2.0 and f/1.8
  • 8Mp front camera with f/2.0
  • 11ac Wi-Fi
  • Bluetooth 4.1 LE
  • NFC
  • 4G LTE
  • 3000mAh removable battery
  • 76 x 149 x 6.3 - 9.8 mm
  • 155g

HTC One M9: Specs

  • Android 5.0 Lollipop with Sense 7.0
  • 5in Full HD screen (1080x1920)
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor, 64-bit, octa-core
  • 3 GB RAM
  • 32 GB storage, microSD card slot (up to 128 GB), 100 GB Dropbox cloud storage
  • 20 Mp rear camera
  • 4 Mp UltraPixel front camera
  • dual-band 11ac Wi-Fi
  • NFC
  • Bluetooth 4.1 with aptX
  • Infrared transmitter
  • GPS
  • non-removable 2840 mAh battery
  • 70x145x9.7 mm
  • 158 g