This year is set to experience a fierce war in the premium smartphone segment as companies are launching improved flagship phones that offer significant upgrades over last year’s handsets. Three months into the new year and we’ve already seen the launch of two amazing smartphones – the HTC One and the Samsung Galaxy S4, with features and hardware that are way ahead of the competition. In this article, we’ll be comparing these two flagship phones to see which one comes out on top.
Samsung Galaxy S4 arrives with a plastic polycarbonate body with a Hyperglaze finish just like last year’s flagship S3. However, the company has managed to slim down the phone to a thickness of just of 7.9mm in spite of having to accommodate a larger sized display. It also looks more attractive than its predecessor due to the thinner bezels and the gorgeous display at the front. Even though Samsung has been criticized for using plastic instead of other premium materials, the company has continued using the same material as it gives them the option to offer a removable back panel and build lightweight phones.
While Samsung has stuck to its tried and tested design, HTC has decided to in for an aluminum-made unibody for its flagship. The HTC One is arguably one of the best looking smartphones available in the market. It has a slightly bigger frame than the S4 and also weighs 20 grams more, which lends a solid and robust feel to the phone. On looks alone, the S4 is no match for the HTC One, but the unibody design means that you don’t get a removable battery and microSD card slot.
The GS4 boasts of a 5-inch Super AMOLED touchscreen display, while the HTC One comes with a 4.7-inch Super LCD 3 display. Both displays have a full HD 1080p resolution, resulting in a pixel density of 441 ppi and 461 ppi respectively. There’s hardly any noticeable difference in the image quality as both deliver an impressive viewing experience. Like all Super AMOLED panels, the S4’s display has Corning Gorilla Glass 3 protection, infinite contrast ratio and wide viewing angles. It also has excellent outdoor visibility in spite of having comparatively lower brightness levels. On the other hand, the HTC One’s unit has Corning Gorilla Glass 2 protection and excellent brightness levels and punchy colors. But, the Galaxy S4’s display crosses the finish line ahead of the HTC One on this front due to its larger size and excellent outdoor visibility.
HTC One goes in for a new sensor with bigger pixels (dubbed Ultrapixels), optical image stabilization and a dedicated HTC Image Sense image processing chip. The primary sensor has a 4 megapixel resolution and supports 1080p HD video recording. On the contrary, the Galaxy S4 features a standard 13 megapixel camera with software based processing and image stabilization which can also record videos of 1080p. The S4’s camera interface is packed with many new features inspired from the Galaxy Camera UI. There’s a dual-shot mode, Sound and Shot, Beauty Face, Eraser mode and much more. Similarly, the HTC One has its own set of unique features like HTC Zoe, Highlights simultaneous HD video and image recording, etc. Normal photos and videos captured by both the devices are excellent with plenty of detail and stunning clarity. However, the One performs much better in low light conditions thanks to its optical image stabilization and bigger pixels which collect 300% more light.
The Samsung Galaxy S4 packs in a Snapdragon 600 chipset with a quad-core 1.9 GHz processor and Adreno 320 GPU or an Exynos 5410 chipset with an octa-core 1.6 GHz processor and PowerVR SGX 544MP3 graphics depending on the region. The HTC One also arrives with a Snapdragon 600 chipset which packs in a quad-core Krait processor clocked at 1.7 GHz and Adreno 320 GPU. Samsung will be rolling out three versions of the S4 in terms of internal memory – 16/32/64 GB, whereas the HTC One will come in 32/64 GB variants. The former will also offer a microSD card slot for further memory expansion of up to 64 GB. In terms of benchmark results, as a result of their slightly higher clock speed, both the variants of the S4 nudge ahead of the One in most tests. However, that’s hardly significant as both phones will be able to run all the games and apps available in the market with ease.
The HTC One comes with a slightly older version of Android Jelly Bean (4.1.2), while the SGS4 rolls out with the latest iteration (4.2.2). Both the phones have a custom user interface – Sense 5.0 for the One and TouchWiz for the S4. HTC has included additional features like Sense Voice, HTC Blinkfeed, HTC Zoe Photo Gallery, Sense TV and much more to provide more functionality. Likewise, Samsung has stepped in with a wide collection of features like Smart Stay, Smart Rotate, Smart Scroll, Smart Pause, S-Translate, S-Travel, and S-Voice with Drive mode, Air Gestures and much more.
Samsung’s flagship clearly stands out in terms of software as it offers a much more sophisticated software package that’s different from the rest of the pack of high-end smartphones. That said, HTC has put in a lot of work into the software of its latest flagship, resulting in a good premium smartphone experience as well.
As you can see, both phones have their own advantages over each other. However, if you ignore the boring old design, the S4 has the better overall package of hardware and features. With the Galaxy S3, Samsung has already proven that users are more than willing to compromise on the looks if the phone offers an amazing package of features on the inside. So, it won’t be surprising to see the company’s latest flagship phone become the bestselling device of 2013. The HTC One also has a great package, but it just fails to match the GS4 on several fronts. Keeping that rivalry aside, both devices are among the best smartphones currently available in the market and you’d certainly not regret buying any one of them.