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[Ask The Readers] HTC One vs. Samsung Galaxy S4: Which Flagship Android Smartphone Are You Getting Next?

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?

[polldaddy poll=7009645]

Leave a comment

  • Simone Iaci

    HTC One’s snapdragon 600 is 1.7Ghz not 1.9 🙂

    • Whoops! Fixed.

      • Simone Iaci

        no 🙂

        snapdragon on S4 is 1.9Ghz

        on One is 1.7Ghz

        switch them 🙂

        • Well, this is embarrassing. Got the wrong column in a hurry.

  • gorrilla glass 3 is the only reason why i am probably getting the s4

    its stupid from htc to use 2

  • hellhand

    You should add the “none” option to the poll 🙂

    • This is more of a gun-to-the-head question: if you absolutely HAD to choose one, which one would you go for? 🙂

    • so funny int it. my Device (my computer) has 4.4GHz x 8 cores for speed. Screw the pocket playing games. Do things right. A phone makes calls. What you guys have, doesnt even make sense. Though it costs you all plenty of cents/sense.

  • whoknowswhereor

    Galaxy offers much more. I personally like the looks better. It has a much better software and even a thermometer and barometer lol. Not to mention, air touch, glove touch, smart pause, smart rotate, all useful functions. list goes on. THe One is def nice on the outside but that’s about it. I don’t even think it looks that great, kinda like a mix between BB10 and iPhone 5. Also missing, sd card support and removable batteries.

  • You really should list the IR Blaster and the aluminum unibody case as an advantage for the HTC One.

    I’m going with HTC One. I really can’t stand Touchwiz and I feel there’s some genuine innovation with the the One. I don’t care that much about the battery but I really wish there was an SD card slot.

    • Fadi Derjani

      There’s an IR blaster on the S4 as well

  • I own an HTC Thunderbolt….I had an EVO before that. I am done with HTC. Moving to Samsung. I don’t have to worry about them going out of business unless North Korea does something stupid.

  • Ned Danov

    MOTO X for me please 🙂

  • I wont be buying any. I dont own one. Nor shall I ever buy/use/ or even have the need for, a “smart” phone. Smart phones are for dumb asses When Im out in public, Im doing just that. Im with the people other people virtualize with. What a retarded world we live in when people are concerned about how much nothing you can do with the nothing in your pocket/ While their productive machine (home computer) goes unupdated, and unused sitting collecting dust.

    • Smart phones are fun

      why are you reading about smart phones then? silly Arthur

  • Christopher Lewis

    While I have always loved HTC phones (I’ve had 4 now going back to WinMo), I’m going with the SG4 because of the SDCard, removable battery, and ROM development. I love to tinker with my phone and there always seem to be more hackers on the Galaxy lines than are on the HTC lines.

    I prefer Sense to anything else (I’ve also had one Motorola phone) and the front facing speakers would be great, but it doesn’t make up for the other short falls.

  • Dat Dude

    Nexus 4, no contract…thankyouverymuch.

  • Jdog25

    I have the Nexus 4 but I am thinking about getting the HTC One as my Back-up Android phone.

    • Dat Dude

      Why would you want a brand new backup phone seems ridiculous, and needlessly expensive.

      • Jdog25

        Well I am selling my HTC Radar and I want to pick another good phone just in case my Nexus 4 somehow breaks. It is expensive but I won’t be buying another Nexus 4 if it breaks. Maybe I should just keep my HTC Radar until the 2013 Nexus comes out. I’m hoping for a Motorola made Nexus with a Big battery.

  • 99wave

    I like my Samsung Galaxy S2, can’t wait fro try Samsung Galaxy S4. I had iphone 4s as well. My feeling is, Android phone is better for geek.

  • Kai Yan

    Never use HTC before, but so far Samsung Galaxy S is ok for me.

  • I bought S4 and Its just Amazing 🙂