Thursday, April 18, 2013

HTC One vs. Samsung Galaxy S4

The two biggest phones this year so far and possibly for the rest of 2013 are the HTC One and the Samsung Galaxy S4. For those who have an upgrade coming up this year or spare cash burning a hole it their pocket, it means choosing between these two fantastic devices. Most of you, at this point, have probably figured out that I am not a part of a major Android/Tech blog meaning that I don't get to contact the manufacturers for test devices to try for myself and share my views with the world. However, many people have been asking about my opinion between these two devices and since there is plenty of material out there I am willing to draw a conclusion on the subject.
The Screens:
Both of these companies have been doing hard work in the last year to bring innovations to the smartphone world in terms of screens. HTC brought the world their first 1080p smartphone screen last year with the HTC J Butterfly which was released under that name exclusively in Japan but brought to the US under the name "Droid DNA" for Verizon. Although most people won't notice the difference by looking at them, the 1080p resolution takes the sharpness of smartphone screens to a whole new level and that is no different with the HTC One, which sports a 4.7" 1080p SLCD3 display. On the other hand, Samsung was able to bump up the size of the screen on the Galaxy SIII from 4.8" 720p to 4.99" 1080p Super AMOLED on the Galaxy S4 without increasing the size of the phone itself. Additionally, they have included a technology that they market as air view where the user can hover their finger over an image or link and get a preview of the material before having to open it. For their innovations in the field, Samsung wins this one.

The Hardware:
First for the processors: the Galaxy S4 has many different variations all over the world. More than likely, the dual-core quad core processor. The HTC One doesn't have several variations like the S4 does and will sport a Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 quad-core processor. Although they are both of the same generation and will both be great processors, the quad-core version will most likely be faster. The down-side of that is that it will be more power-hungry in high performance situations, which is exactly why that S4 variant is coming to the US to be partnered with LTE. In terms of build quality it is no competition, the HTC One is an aluminum unibody device meaning that it does have a non-removable battery but the flip-side of that is that it is the best built Android phone ever in a lot of people's opinion. For the build and processor, HTC will get two points and Samsung will get one for the removable battery cover. If you're keeping track of the score so far you should notice that it's tied 2-2.
one that will come to the US will be a Qualcomm Snapdragon 600

The Speakers:
With the speakers, the winner is clear again. Even though beats audio isn't really something to be glorified
especially on small, smartphone speakers they partner with what HTC calls BoomSound to make possibly the best smartphone speakers ever. The reason that they are so great, though, isn't the software, it's the hardware. The HTC One has two speakers on the front of the device, above and below the screen. It's incredible that we're just starting to see this because that is where speakers should always be, facing the user! Although the speaker on the Galaxy S4 is great in its own right, it can't hold a candle to the HTC One and BoomSound. One point to the One, 3-2.

The Cameras:
Something HTC has done to shake up the market this year is to stop squeezing in more pixels and instead, think about what you do with your existing pixels. The One only has a 4MP camera but with their "Ultra Pixels" technology, they do what other phone makers in the past have struggled with and that is taking a picture in low-light. Samsung didn't put down the sword, either, when it came to updating their camera. They upgraded the sensor to 13MP and paired it with some pretty cool software that allows you to do a lot of effects that people love to use with their pictures. From using the front-facing camera to add yourself to the photo to adding frames and filters, this new photo software does it all. The One might have the best low-light performance of any smartphone out there and Samsung has made the camera app more than just a camera so for both of their innovations, I will award each of them a point. 4-3.

The Software:
HTC has had a spotted past when it comes to software. When they built Sense over Android 2.3 gingerbread, they were commended for their creativity and spicing up a fairly dull user experience. However,
when 4.0 and 4.1 (Ice Cream Sandwich and Jellybean, respectively) came around they were mostly just bogging down the operating system, with no added features and extra junk. With Sense 5 on the HTC One, however, things have changed. They have finally realized that less is more and tried to make a snappier OS that will actually compete well with the other phones out there and they succeeded. Blinkfeed might be a little annoying to some people but I think I'm starting to warm up to the idea. On a daily basis, I comb through all of my favorite tech sites and my RSS readers to find new things to learn about but what if I could get all of that when I turn my phone on? Of course, if you just hate the idea of simplicity, Blinkfeed can easily be disabled through the settings so it should not be something that turns you off for this device. On the other hand we have the Samsung Galaxy S4, Samsung has finally gotten their niche and that is developing new features to put into their devices. I mentioned one of them earlier, air view; it is only one among a huge list of features that Samsung has added to their Galaxy line of devices. Touchwiz UI (I think they are actually calling it Nature UX, now) is still a bit ugly in terms of color schemes and choices of aesthetics but they have really packed this thing full of new features including smart stay and smart scroll, s-health, s-translate and much, much more.(Everything has to start with an 's') I think both of these devices deserve a point on the software side too, they both have kicked it up a notch and brought it to the competition.

Conclusion:
In terms of points and my own personal opinion, the HTC One is gonna take the prize (5-4). However, I think with either phone, the average user is going to be very very happy with their purchase. If you're really all about having the "new" or "in" thing then you may want to go with the S4 because the Galaxy series has been so popular lately and it's very likely to sell well again this year. If I was going to buy one, I would get the One. I think that between the sturdiness of the phone and the new Sense UI, I would be very happy with this device, plus the low light photo quality is a huge seller. Have you had a chance to get your hands on either of these devices, yet? Do you agree with my conclusion? Make your thoughts known in the comment section below or on the original post on Facebook or Google+!