The LG G3 brings the first QHD screen from a big name maker. QHD or Quad HD has four times the number of pixels of a 720p screen, 1,440 x 2,560 to be exact. This means that even at 5.5", the screen still offers the whopping 534ppi pixel density.
That may not sound like too much over the 441ppi of the HTC One (M8) and its 5" 1080p screen but there's a tangible difference in perception. Talking about sharpness here is probably meaningless - both screens are very sharp and individual pixels are impossible to distinguish.
That said, the LG G3 screen seems more vivid, it's hard to describe but you can spot the difference in person. Not that the HTC One (M8) screen looks bad, in fact there's a lot more to screen image quality than just pixel count.
Both screens manage around 570 nits of brightness at full blast, a very solid figure. The black levels on the LG G3 are higher than average for a flagship screen (0.40-0.50 nits), which drops the contrast ratio to less than 800:1.
The Super LCD3 on the HTC One (M8) on the other hand stays within the norm for blacks on an LCD and offers great 1256:1 contrast. The LG G2 was a king in this category with nearly 1500:1, thanks to good black levels and 670 nit white levels.
|Display test||50% brightness||100% brightness|
|Black, cd/m2||White, cd/m2||Black, cd/m2||White, cd/m2|
|Samsung Galaxy S5||0||274||∞||0||529||∞|
|Sony Xperia Z2||-||-||-||0.41||488||1195|
|Sony Xperia Z1||-||-||-||0.38||580||1513|
|Sony Xperia Z||-||-||-||0.70||492||705|
|Oppo Find 7a||0.33||280||842||0.68||580||852|
|Samsung Galaxy S4||0||201||∞||0||404||∞|
|HTC One (M8)||0.20||245||1219||0.46||577||1256|
|HTC Butterfly S||0.15||165||1117||0.43||451||1044|
|Apple iPhone 5||0.13||200||1490||0.48||640||1320|
Also, notice that the brightness slider is heavily skewed - at 50%, the display put out less than a fifth of its maximum brightness. The HTC One (M8) was at a little less than half.
Another area where the LG flagship suffered a setback is sunlight legibility. Granted, the reduction is fairly small, but there shouldn't have been any at all - this was a bit of a weak spot of the LG G2, one we were hoping the successor would do something about.
The HTC One (M8) is no champ here either, but it does beat the LG G2, G3 and Sony Xperia Z2. Strangely, it regressed slightly from its predecessor too (as did the Xperia Z2, what's going on with those new screens?).
Different viewing angles have virtually no effect on the image on both screens, but colors on the HTC One (M8) are slightly punchier than those on the LG G3.
The two screens are very different in terms of size too. The 5.5" screen of the LG G3 has 20% more surface area than the 5" screen of the HTC One (M8). This means you can fit more content and that difference grows even further if you zoom out a little (the extra pixels make tiny text more legible).
Winner: LG G3. We were disappointed by some of the characteristics of the display, the regression in contrast especially, plus, sunlight legibility should have improved rather than worsened. That said, it's hard to argue with the sheer amount of content you can fit on the humongous QHD screen.
The HTC One (M8) felt like the underdog coming in, certainly 5" 1080p are 2013 specs not 2014. Still, with good image quality thanks to the high contrast it's performance is more than good. The One (M8) might have even won this category if it was better in bright light.
In terms of connectivity, the two phones are very equal, mostly because they have just about every option under the sun.
That includes the standard 2G/3G connectivity in either GSM or CDMA flavor, plus 4G LTE on both. It's Cat. 4 LTE for up to 150Mbps downlink and 50Mbps uplink.
Local connectivity is even faster with dual-band Wi-Fi going up to 802.11ac, the latest current tech. There's also Bluetooth 4.0 for low-power connectivity to accessories and NFC for quick pairing and tags. Note that neither phone has an NFC manager app out of the box. The HTC One (M8) does not even have NFC in some regions to begin with.
The two have IR blasters on top to control home equipment and their respective apps both have the option to learn new control signals if you have hardware not available on the long lists of supported devices.
HTC's Remote control app has a cool feature that wakes the phone up as soon as you pick it up, so you don't have to unlock the phone each time you want to change the channel.
LG's QRemote, however, has a richer database of devices and can control air conditioners too. It has an option to automatically pop up on your lockscreen and in your notification area when you are at home.
The two flagship smartphones can also be the ones playing the video, not just controlling other players. Here the two differ - LG uses SlimPort, while HTC uses MHL. Both can be converted to regular HDMI with the proper converter or just a microUSB-to-HDMI cable if your TV supports the standard.
Note that if you are to get an adapter, SlimPort doesn't require plugging a power source into the adapter itself, unlike MHL.
DLNA and Miracast are available for wireless streaming of multimedia too.
Going back to the microUSB ports for a second, they are both the predominant USB 2.0 kind, no USB 3.0 here.
For positioning, the two support GPS and GLONASS but the HTC One (M8) also has a barometer, which will help to speed up the first position lock.
Winner: Tie. Unless you demand SlimPort or think the faster lock times with a barometer are vital, there's really nothing to separate the LG G3 and HTC One (M8) in this section.