This year’s flagship offerings from popular smartphone manufacturers have been more on the evolutionary – rather than revolutionary – side. Sure, they’ve got high-res displays with super-high pixel densities, 4G LTE, and amazing cameras, but they don’t make any truly big leap; the sort of leaps that we saw in 2010-11 with smartphones like the iPhone 4, Galaxy S II: 300+ ppi displays, significantly improved 8MP cameras, and console-like graphics. Still, if you look at these phones on their own merits, they are mind-blowing.
Now, Samsung and HTC’s frontrunners for the year 2013 – the recently announced and soon-releasing Galaxy S 4 and One – are set to go head-to-head this year in what looks to be the ultimate Android smartphone matchup. Check out our comparison of the two beasts after the jump.
HTC has always been known for its awesome build quality, and the One doesn’t disappoint. The aluminum body, edge-to-edge glass, chamfered edges simply outclass the cheap plastic found on Samsung’s phone.
Then there’s the controversial 4 “UltraPixels” camera that has has less than 1/3rd the pixel count of the 13MP sensor found on the S 4. These pixels are larger which should – theoretically – make for brighter, noise-free photos especially in low-light. The photos we’ve seen in reviews around the blogosphere appear to back this theory quite well. HTC has combined the “UltraPixel” camera with a feature called “Zoe”, which allows you to choose one full-resolution photo from a bunch taken before and after you press the shutter button.
One last hardware feature HTC has really nailed is “BoomSound”. Stereo speakers are cleverly positioned on the front of the device, offering laptop-like sound quality directed at your ears – instead of usual mono-speakers that are placed on the rear, which force you to “cup” your hands to hear better.
But hardware can only take you so far. Every flagship smartphone has a quad-core processor, 8 megapixel camera and Full HD display these days, so smartphone manufacturers have to come up with novel ways of using them, in the form of unique software features, in order to attract potential buyers.
Samsung has really just gone overboard with this idea.
Drama Shot lets you capture multiple exposures with ease, Dual Camera combines images from front and rear-facing cameras in one photograph, Smart Pause pauses videos when it detects you aren’t looking at the display, Air View / Gesture lets you give input without even touching the display, and Adapt Display adjusts both the display’s brightness and color balance based on lighting conditions. There are many more, but they’re mostly gimmicks, so I’ll refrain from mentioning them here.
I’m all for the HTC One; I am all-willing to sacrifice the lack of storage expansion, removable battery, and slightly outdated operating system for the eye-catching design, stereo speakers and (theoretically) better camera.
Now, the question is: which flagship Android smartphone will you buy, or recommend to your less technology-savvy friends to get next?