Last year, roughly around the same time Samsung and HTC announced their flagships, the Galaxy S3 and One X. We had compared the Galaxy S3 and One X, with no particular clear winner, but as evident from the sales , it’s clear that the Samsung Galaxy S3 came out on top. But it’s a new year and a new battle, with both giants again vying for the top spot with excellent smartphones. So now that the latest and greatest Android smartphones are out, what should you consider buying? Read on for our Samsung Galaxy S4 vs HTC One feature and see how these two smartphones stack up against each other!
Samsung Galaxy S4 vs HTC One – Head to head:
Specs and hardware
Both these flagships are powered by brand new SoC’s, which are almost 30-40% faster than the previous generation architectures. Though they both use different SoC’s, the core underlying hardware is similar since Krait 300 is based off of the ARM Cortex-A15 architecture, so performance wise we don’t expect too much difference. The octa core on the Samsung Galaxy S4 is actually just 2 quad core processors as detailed in our Samsung Galaxy S4 specs and features article earlier. Only 4 of these cores will be running at a time and the lower powered cores are not really performance oriented, so when they’re both running at full power, they’re pretty much using similar processors. Qualcomm’s Krait 300 CPU will be going against the ARM Cortex-A15 which should be an even fight. Basically, they’re much more powerful than any current phones and you won’t find yourself wanting more power. Here’s the full specsheet, Samsung Galaxy S4 vs HTC One:
||Samsung Galaxy S4
||Samsung Exynos Octa 5410
||Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 APQ8064T
||1.6 GHz quad core ARM Cortex-A15 and 1.2 GHz quad core ARM Cortex-A7
||1.7 GHz quad core Krait 300
||PowerVR SGX 544MP
||2 GB RAM
||2 GB RAM
||16/32/64 GB, expandable upto 64 GB via MicroSD
||32/64 GB, not expandable
||4.99 inches Super AMOLED HD, 1920 x 1080 (441 ppi)
||4.7 inches SuperLCD 3 with IPS, 1080 x 1920 (468 ppi)
||13 MP rear facing (1080P video recording), 2 MP front facing camera (1080P video recording)
||4 MP rear facing UltraPixel camera (1080P video recording), 2.1 MP front facing camera (1080P video recording)
||Bluetooth v4.0, NFC, Wi-fi, MicroUSB 2.0 slot, 3G, 4G LTE
||Bluetooth v4.0, NFC, Wi-fi, MicroUSB 2.0 slot, 3G, 4G LTE
||Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean
||Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean
Design, build and size
The Samsung Galaxy S4 manages to stuff in a larger screen and much more powerful hardware while being pretty much the same size as its predecessor, the Galaxy S3. It weighs in at just 130 gm and is 7.9 mm thick. On the other hand, the HTC One weighs 143 gm and is 9.3 mm thick. These numbers may be a bit misleading, because the HTC One still looks sleeker and more compact. The HTC One is slightly narrower, but is about the same height as the Galaxy S4. It also thins out at the bottom.
Design wise, we’re disappointed to see that the Galaxy S4 has the same bland Galaxy S3 design and when put side by side, they look almost the same. Samsung has again gone with a plastic finish which is no match for the One’s excellent aluminum and brushed metal finish. It’s also a radical change in design from the previous phones and looks much better than the Galaxy S4. Overall, the One is the better looking and built device and looks like a truly premium device.
As is the norm for Android flagships these days, both the Galaxy S4 and One feature full HD 1080P screens. However, the screen size and tech differs between the two. Samsung has gone with a close to 5 inch screen that uses the Super AMOLED HD technology and HTC uses a 4.7 inch Super LCD 3 screen. In terms of pixel density, the HTC One comes out on top with 469 ppi versus 441 ppi on the S4, but you really can’t make out the difference between anything higher than 300 ppi or so.
Both these screens are excellent in their own right, but they have the same differences as usual LCD vs LED screens have. In a nutshell, the Galaxy S4’s screen has better darker colors and blacks, while the HTC One’s screen has better color reproduction. Most people would prefer the true to life One screen, and this carries over from last year’s comparison where the One X screen was considered one of the best mobile phone screens. The S4 has the upper hand in one regard, it features Gorilla Glass 3 compared to Gorilla Glass 2 on the HTC One.
A much advertised and hyped feature of the HTC One is the UltraPixel camera. We’ve explained it in our HTC One preview, it’s basically a camera that uses a sensor that captures pixels larger than usual and can capture upto 300% more light. The end result is that pictures are equal to or better than most smartphone cameras. Only catch is that the image size is limited to 4 MP, so you get smaller, but high quality pictures. It should be enough for pretty much anyone since larger megapixel images are used only for large prints.
The Galaxy S4 comes with a 13 MP shooter with a lot of bells and whistles in terms of software features like Dual Shot, CinemaGram, Drama Shot and more which we’ve covered in our previous Samsung Galaxy S4 specs and features article. In terms of actual quality Samsung claims that it has far better performance than its predecessor, so it remains to be seen how it stacks against other smartphone cameras unless we see a proper shootout. Initial testing reveals that it is indeed better than than the Galaxy S3 and Galaxy Note 2 cameras, so that’s a good sign.
Samsung’s track record of including expandable storage on its flagships remains untarnished here, with the Galaxy S4 capable of expanding its internal storage of 16, 32 or 64 GB by another 64 GB via MicroSD card. The HTC One doesn’t support expandable storage, and comes only in 32 and 64 GB variants. It’s a clear win for the Galaxy S4 in this regard.
While battery capacity is no clear indication of better battery life, it doesn’t hurt that the Galaxy S4 packs in a huge 2600 mAh battery compared to the 2300 mAh battery on the HTC One. The S4 also comes with an SoC that has 4 lower powered cores, so unless you’re running full steam all the time, you should be able to squeeze out more time from the S4 because it’s not using the higher powered 4 cores all the time. HTC One features a regular quad core setup, so battery life might be a concern, but again, it all depends on how the OS and UI uses it.
OS and Special features
The Galaxy S4 comes with Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean out of the box compared to Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean on the HTC One. However, user interface wise they’re completely different. The TouchWiz UX on the S4 looks very similar to the previous iterations with just minor additions, while the HTC Sense 5 UI on the One looks completely different from previous iterations and in fact, any Android flavor. It looks very similar to the Windows Phone 8 UI, live tiles and all. HTC BlinkFeed is a Flipboard like customization that brings social and news update to the homescreen.
Now, if we’re talking about special features, both these phones come loaded. HTC’s new Zoe camera tech allows for better pictures, better sharing and lets you create montages, panoramas, you name it. Beats Audio has always been an attraction and it’s the same case here. Also included is an IR blaster that lets you control your home entertainment system, powered by Peel. There’s grouped gallery, continuous shots and the ability to take photos while recording video too.
The Galaxy S4 includes almost all of the above and adds in Dual Camera mode, a built in translator, Group Play and S Health. Samsung’s new Knox feature lets you keep your work and personal data secure and separate as well, just like BlackBerry Balance in BlackBerry 10 devices. Finally, there’s also Air View and Air Gestures that let you control the phone by gestures like swiping up or down or hovering over a selection. Smart Scroll lets you scroll pages by simply tilting the phone up and down, and the phone even pauses videos when you look away. Of course, we all love fancy features but Samsung might just be complicating things for newer users, while HTC is going in the more opposite direction of simplicity and minimalism.
In conclusion, both are great smartphones, no doubt. As far as innovation is concerned, truthfully we’d have to say that the Galaxy S4 is more like a Galaxy S3+ or something similar. There’s extra specs and some extra software features, but that’s about it. The HTC One, on the other hand, looks and feels premium while trying to break the mold in terms of usability. We have no doubt that considering Samsung Galaxy S4 vs HTC One in the sales department, the S4 will win by a landslide. Preorders have already gone through the roof while the HTC One remains the underdog. Still, if given a choice we’d say that the HTC One looks like a better buy.
The fact remains that they aren’t going to come cheap off contract in countries like India, so buyers have to make a decision after considering all factors and usage. If you really think you need all the features like Air View, Dual Shot etc., go for the Galaxy S4. The HTC One is a better choice as a more user friendly and premium looking device that does everything it has to, no frills attached. Do let us know what you thought of the Samsung Galaxy S4 vs HTC One comparison and drop us your views in the comments below!