HTC One (M8) for Windows vs Nokia Lumia 930: What's the difference?

There's now competition in Windows Phone. Where Nokia (as it was) ruled, there's a new challenger, in the body of one of the best Android phones around.

The launch of the HTC One (M8) for Windows marks the first time a flagship device has been available with a choice of mobile OS and for Windows Phone, this is exciting times.

But with both devices hitting shelves going head-to-head. The Lumia 930 is available now, the HTC One (M8) for Windows has just been announced, exclusive to Verizon from tomorrow. Here we're calling out the differences.

Design

Nokia and HTC both talk about design. They talk about it a lot. Where the likes of Samsung is generally derided for its choices, Nokia and HTC have led the pack. The HTC One (M8) for Windows comes with a premium design that uses a lot of metal.

Most of the touch points of the M8 are metal so it feels luscious in the hand. The sculpting of the rear of the handset mean it nestles down into your palm beautifully. It measures 146.36 x 70.60 x 9.35mm and weighs 160g.

The Lumia 930 measures 137 x 71 x 9.8mm and weighs 167g. The real difference is the squared profile of the Lumia 930's edges, however, which make it feel a little more cumbersome in the hand.

The 930 uses a mixture of materials, with polycarbonate back panels bringing colour options. It's bright and cheerful, the HTC One looks all the more serious.

Display

For some time Windows Phone was lacking in display resolution. That's no longer the case, as both devices have a 5-inch display with a 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution. Both will serve up Windows Phone with plenty of detail on the 441ppi panel.

The HTC One (M8) is topped with Gorilla Glass, as is the Lumia, however, the 930 uses an OLED display to the HTC's LCD. We love that Lumia display, it's bright and punchy, delivers great colours and performs well outdoors, whilst also offering lovely deep blacks.

The HTC One (M8), however, has one of the best LCD displays around, giving wonderfully natural colours and also offering plenty of brightness. Which is ultimately better is hard to call until we get these devices side-by-side and live with them for some time.

Hardware

HTC didn't pull any punches with the One (M8) for Windows. It packs in the same hardware as the Android version, with a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 clocked at 2.3GHz and 2GB of RAM. There's 32GB of internal storage and a microSD card tray to expand up to 128GB.

The Lumia 930 rolls with slightly older hardware. There's a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 quad-core chipset clocked at 2.2GHz, with 2GB of RAM. There's 32GB of storage, but no option for expansion.

In terms of sheer numbers, the newer HTC should take the lead. The Snapdragon 801 offers greater power and battery efficiency over the older hardware, but we'll have to live with the new M8 to really assess the impact on performance compared to the 930.

And finally a word on the speakers: the BoomSound speakers of the HTC One (M8) for Windows offer the better sound quality: the 930's small rear speaker cannot compete.

The camera

It's in imaging where these devices head off in different directions. Nokia sticks with the tried, tested and widely applauded PureView camera, while HTC introduces the UltraPixel camera to Windows Phone.

The raw specs only tell half the story: the Lumia 930 has a 20-megapixel sensor with Zeiss optics and optical image stabilisation.

The UltraPixel sensor is 4-megapixels, but it's combined with a second sensor in the Duo Camera arrangement, meaning it can capture depth information to let you add effects to images.

We like the performance of the Lumia 930's camera, which on the whole gives great results. We're yet to test the camera on the HTC One (M8) for Windows, but we're less impressed by its performance on Android. HTC offers a very fast camera, but it lacks stabilisation and outright resolution, which might count against it.

Our gut feeling is that the Lumia 930 will offer the better experience, but with the M8 for Windows being so new, it's impossible to give a definitive ruling just yet.

On the front cameras, the HTC One M8 for Windows has a 5-megapixel front-facing selfie cam, the Lumia has a 1.2-megapixel snapper. We suspect that HTC will come up trumps for those who like to shoot themselves.

Software

Windows Phone 8.1 is the most exciting iteration of Windows Phone yet, with plenty of updates to make it more compelling and tie it closer to your Windows tablet or PC.

It's here, however, that you'll run into the software exclusive differences. Starting with the camera, Nokia has the Nokia Camera app and HTC uses the Sense UI camera. The latter offers the likes of Ufocus to change the focal point of any picture, whereas the Lumia needs you to engage the mode before shooting to acheive the same results.

There are different creative solutions for editing too, with HTC offering its funky highlight videos that will also mix photos and video with music to create unique videos of an event.

HTC will also be offering BlinkFeed, aggregating your news and social feeds, with a Live Tile to front it all. Support for the IR blaster comes with the TV app.

There will also be support for the innovative Dot View case, including Cortana support, meaning interaction without opening the cover.

But with Nokia moving under the Microsoft umbrella, its not immediately clear what the smaller software differences might be. We're sure that Lumia Cyan and Windows Phone 8.1.1 differences will be ironed out, but we'd expect Lumia devices to maintain a grip on some of the apps that have been exclusive to Nokia in the past.

We'll bring a full rundown of the software differences once we get the chance to examine the HTC One (M8) for Windows in detail.

Battery life

The Lumia 930 has a 2420mAh battery to the 2600mAh of the HTC One (M8). That suggests that the HTC will have greater endurance, especially considering that it also has a newer generation of chipset.

The Lumia 930, however, has integrated wireless charging, so you can just dump it down on the included pad to charge without the need for cables.

Summing up

HTC has brought its best phone design ever to Windows Phone. Windows Phone has been going from strength to the strength, expanding the compelling features of the OS to make it better than ever before.

With the HTC One (M8) for Windows, there's now a premium handset on offer, if you fancy the luscious design with Microsoft's OS.

However, it goes against a great handset in the Lumia 930, which has a great display and camera. It's an interesting move from HTC and unfortunately for some of us, it's a Verizon exclusive handset at launch.