Samsung GALAXY S 4 vs HTC One

March 14, 2013
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Now that the cat is out of the bag and we know all there is to know about Samsung's next generation GALAXY S 4 smartphone, we're sure many of you are wondering which device to buy. While we haven't had enough time for a straight up answer to the question on many users minds, we do have pictures and video to maybe help you decide. Check it out and decide for yourselves which premium smartphone is right for you.

We've already reviewed the HTC One and know what it's all about, and absolutely love it. The GALAXY S 4 on the other hand has only just been revealed, and we haven't had enough time with her for an honest opinion. We have pros and cons with both devices, and both surely are as top-tier as it gets. So lets take a look and rundown everything that's important here.

The Samsung GS4 continues on right where the GSIII left off. The design is for the most part unchanged, and everything will feel extremely similar, but in a good way. It's already a winning formula so why change. However we get an ultra impressive 5-inch 1920x1080p full HD display with 441 pixels per inch, 8-core power and 2GB RAM, 13 megapixel camera, and all-day battery life coming in at 2,600 mAh under the hood. Oh, and we can't forget Samsung did it right and we have Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean. The One however, sadly is only on 4.1.2 Jelly Bean. Check out the quick video while we had a moment with both:

Then with the HTC One we have pretty impressive specs and hardware all around, and a radically different design from previous generations. If you want something new and fresh, the HTC One is it. If you love Samsung and what they've done, the GS4 will surely be something you'll love. The One features a 4.7-inch 1080p HD display, that is actually slightly smaller and higher pixel density than the GALAXY S 4. Yet the device is a little longer. It also is SLCD3 and feels a bit more natural and lively - in our personal opinion. Here's the full rundown for you sticklers:

Samsung GALAXY S 4
Display: 5-inch Full HD Super AMOLED 1920x1080 resolution at 441 PPI
Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 1.9 GHz Quad-Core Processor / Samsung Exynos 1.6 GHz Octa-Core Processor – depending on market
Cameras: 13 megapixel rear and 2 MP front
Dimensions: 136.6 x 69.8 x 7.9 mm, 130g
Storage: 16/32/64 GB internal storage, 64GB capable microSD slot
Battery: 2600 mAh (removable)

HTC One
Display: 4.7-inch Full HD Super LCD3 1920x1080 resolution at 469 PPI
Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 series 1.7 GHz Quad-Core Processor
Cameras: 4MP UltraPixel rear, 2.1 wide-angle front
Dimensions: 137.4 x 68.2 x 9.3mm, 143g
Storage: 32/64 GB internal storage (no micro-SD)
Battery: 2300 mAh (non-removable)

Obviously we'll need more time with both smartphones, especially the just announced Galaxy S 4 before we can logically make a choice, but honestly the HTC One feels more premium and durable, and also is more cutting edge. It features front facing speakers that are brilliantly loud and rock Beats Audio integration. The aluminum design is edgy, new, yet extremely comfortable and durable. Blinkfeed is awesome and brings us the news we want, but Flipboard does the same on the Galaxy S 4 and even features their new hover technology.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Will the premium feel and design of the HTC One win you over? Or will Samsung's continued software perks, larger display, changeable battery and external storage be the deciding factor for you? It really is a hard choice and so far we're absolutely loving both of these smartphones. It's clear Samsung and HTC are pushing the cutting edge and adding in features at full-force. Enjoy the rest of the pictures and we'll review this GS4 as soon as humanly possible.

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  • RAKITHA PEIRISZ

    HTC ONE

    • Plazmic Flame

      HTC One definitely wins for design. Battery wise, if they weren’t going to go up to 3300 mAh, they should have made it removable.

  • Cedrick Miller

    I wouldn’t touch either of them. Nexus all the way!

    • Aaron17Watson17

      We get it. Stop trolling

  • Brett

    Hmm, tough choice…do I care about how my phone performs, features, forward relevancy, compatibility… or how my phone “feels”. Real hard call…except not at all…Samsung

  • BabouJ

    Look, Big Sammy just released a killer phone but somehow even with all the bells and whistles, I don’t see any killer features added that I would not be able to leave without. Apart from bigger battery, microSD and JB 4.2.2, specs are great but I somehow feel HTC One breathe innovation a bit more, in terms of build quality. Time will tell but preliminary unvealing did not excite me much. But I know S4 will sell like hot cakes.

  • qqqqqq

    Galaxy S 4:
    Ram : 2 MB?
    are you sure?

    • http://www.androidcommunity.com Cory Gunther

      lol thanks!

  • alexxx

    Of all the insanely inapplicable new features on samsung, I’d like the call answer by waving, other than that, after a DECADDEEE we finally have FRONT FACING LOUD SPEAKERS, stereo! GS4 design…what design?…at this point, 16 or 160 cores don’t matter at what performance these chips are these days, simply because I find the gs3,4 and the notes hideous design starved technological assamblies, Makes me pissed(not really) because I thought the Gs2, the white one was and is simply badazz! Tho all software yet needs to catch up imo. To cut the krapp, HTC one is mesmerizing, I cant believe they’ve outdone the best, which would be, HTC(one X) I’m a slave to great design. The One is also very ballanced being so rugged and bold at front, yet, almost, femine soft curved touchh…just send me one, how much lower can I go!….seriously, the One is the one.

    • Droid fan

      In what world is no removable battery and no expandable memory “great design”?

      • alexxx

        Its reeeealy not, you’re totally right. I was thinking purely aesthetics and form. Sad yes, I wanna experience the real freedom of endless power with replacement spares…ughhh…and one just can’t keep soldering a fresh one to the HTC all the time! Sick of it.

    • Alexander Ramos

      Body design look like the only important feature.
      Non-remobable battery (only 2300 mAh with a 1080 screen) and non-SDcard… thanks, but I still prefer more control over my phone.

  • Azaraith

    Display: S4 (size, I prefer AMOLED for the contrast)
    Processor: S4 (either one)
    Camera: S4 (I’m not sure the low light and other benefits of the One’s camera make up for its low MP).
    Storage: S4 (128GB max – 64GB + 64GB microSD)
    Battery: S4 (2,600mAh > 2,300 mAh plus S4 is removable)
    Hardware/materials: One (more premium feel, design is more attractive IMO)
    Software: S4 (The One ships with 4.1.2 and is thus not up to date at launch, an indicator of slow updates to come, plus Touchwiz offers more useful features than Sense, IMO – would prefer the UI / design language of stock though).

    • Rodrigo Michel

      Well most of that extra processing power goes towards tracking your eyes and fingers. You can’t compare cameras bc HTC’s has Ultrapixels, not Megapixels – not to mention they’re irrelevant in determining picture quality. Samsung needs a larger battery to supply the larger screen and extra processors, but they’re on track in making it removable (batteries are rendered useless after about a year, so it’s good to be able to swap it out that easily). Removable storage is a huge plus too.

      • Azaraith

        Using processing power to track your eyes etc isn’t really a relevant “con” for the S4 – you may not even use those features and the phone will be faster in other areas anyway, it’s not like those features slow down the phone 100% of the time. I’m not even sure if they’re a significant CPU drain…

        Ultrapixels is a marketing term. It’s a 4MP camera, but the sensor is larger so each pixel is larger. This allows the camera to be more sensitive to light without gaining noise, but the question is whether or not the sensor makes up in quality more than it gives up in resolution. Resolution is important if you’ll be viewing the photos on a larger screen or especially printing them (unlikely w/ a smartphone though).

        The Note II has shown success by going with the large screen and giant battery – it gets MUCH better battery life than my GNex even with the having a much larger screen and faster CPU than my GNex. All that matters is results, if the S4 has better battery life than the One because it’s got a bigger battery, whether or not it has a larger screen too is irrelevant except to point out that the difference would be even larger without that big screen.

    • Alan

      Cory/Chris/Vincent, when do you think you get your hands on a S4 and we can get a true indepth camera review for these 2 devices, so we can cut through the marketing hype and determine the pros and cons of both?

      • http://www.androidcommunity.com Cory Gunther

        Probably not til April when the S4 starts shipping. Is that all your wanting is the best camera? If so, most likely the GS4 will be it. Although Zoe on the One sure is neat.

      • Alan

        For me the only big unknown with the htc1 is the camera and whether ultra is worth it. Everything else can easily be compared.

    • Mehhh

      The display on One is definitely better than the S4 if you want anything other than blown out colors; in addition LCD is capable of higher brightness and is more power efficient than AMOLED on everything but black. (Nearly every review also says that the HTC has the best display ever put on a phone). Also, AMOLED screens run a very high risk of screen burn-in after a relatively short period of time… take a look at the s3′s on demo in any wireless store.

      S4 has a slight edge on the processor, hardly any difference in benchmark results and will not be noticeable during day to day use.

      Camera – no way to compare currently except one quick comparison done by technobuffalo, the HTC’s photos appear to be much better

      Storage – not a factor for me, nor would 99% of consumers need more than 64 gb on a phone, however I understand that some may somehow need more storage

      Battery – S4 does win here for battery capacity, but is likely not going to have better performance for the US model; higher CPU clock speed (same cpu) and bigger, less efficient screen

      Hardware/materials – no comparison, htc blows away the s4 (far more than any category in which the s4 marginally beats the htc)

      Software: Anytime I use a phone with touchwiz, I want to vomit. Not sure how anybody can deal with how ugly that software is. That’s the main reason I got rid of my s3. I’d much rather have android 4.1 with htc’s great looking UI than ugly, gimmicky touchwiz on 4.2. If I were to get the s4, I’d most definitely need to get rid of touchwiz, which somewhat defeats the purpose of all their gimmicky features (not that I used those on my s3 before anyway).

    • Azaraith

      Just as an update, I went with the One – I just can’t resist the One’s amazing build quality (I’ve been hoping for an Android phone with iPhone build quality for a looooonngg time).

      • Op3Ra7Or

        iPhone has the best build quality ever. I’m an Apple guy but for some time I’m sick and tired of their restrictions and lack of functionality. I started to like the the Android more but I want a phone with the same quality as iPhone. I think THE ONE is the one! But also I would like some things from Samsung (better screen, updates!, removable battery and dual sim??). I really don’t know for the moment what to choose. If iPhone had a bigger screen and software integration with each other… (like SwiftKey replaces the standard keyboard) I would keep the iPhone (also for higher/safer security).

  • firethorn

    I cringe every time Beats Audio is actually counted as a pro… *shudders*

    On topic though: looking forward to a more in-depth comparison between review units of the various flagship devices.

    • Rob Watkins

      I have a DNA with Beats and it works really well. It isn’t too bassy, and sounds balanced overall. (Just my opinion, it blows the Galaxy Nexus out of the water), soundwise.

      • firethorn

        The GNex is a pretty bad comparison though, sound-wise. It was an amazing device overall for it’s time but the speakers not so much.

        Beats though, whenever I heard a Beats device so far I always thought the actual sound is much better with beats turned off. Just like any given picture looks better without any Instagram filters applied. That analogy is pretty fitting, come to think of it.

  • Alexander Ramos

    iPhone 5 could be soon come back with its incredible body design… that looks like the whole innovation thing is made of.

    • http://www.facebook.com/rick1234 Richard Paguirigan

      body design wont matter if they continue to use a less than 4.7″ screen.

  • Kit Pogi

    One! is the one :-)

  • Richard Yarrell

    I won’t take anything away from the HTC ONE it’s clearly a wonderfully constructed handset definitely a looker and personally i like that blinkfeed feature it’s a wonderful idea. That will make some purchase the handset based on that aspect alone. But honestly people have grown much more than that over the years and in today’s 2013 market place functionality as well as user enhancements is the name of the daily game. That’s what Samsung products offer they have TOP OF THE LINE software development and implementation of features that are industry leading nobody can take that away from Samsung. They provide and cater to their customers needs by providing removable batteries and sdcard expansion that is still so valuable to people REGARDLESS of what Google thinks with it’s Nexus line devices. The funny part is haters will hate and regardless of that hate people who purchase Samsung products know every year they will see an industry leading feature that later on everyone would be trying to copy. In today’s market like it or not the Galaxy S3 and the Galaxy Note 2 are the GOLD STANDARD of the industry and now you can add the Galaxy S4 to that list of GOLD STANDARD devices. My only question which i asked HTC on it’s twitter page was if you we’re actually the top dogs in this industry why release a product with version 4.1.2 jellybean when 4.2.2 was clearly the better choice. Never got any response from that question. Bottom line the Galaxy S4 might not look like the Htc One but the software and features as well as the overall fluidity and user experience is far better that’s for sure. The time has come for people to realize that fashion statements in technology land means nothing in today’s world. When you purchase a handset you want to know what experience will you get from that purchase. That device must have industry leading capabilities and must perform accordingly Samsung products do exactly that. They should look forward to an increase to 250 million smartphones sold in 2013 REGARDLESS of any Nexus 5, Motorola Xphone, Lg Optimus G pro, Iphone 5s/6 or any other launched handset. Samsung has brought innovative products and solutions to the market for the last three years especially the last 2yrs and based on that they are the manufacturer that everyone is chasing and copying for that matter. You can rest assured that the overall sales of the HTC One won’t be anything near the Galaxy S4 or the past sales of the Galaxy S3 in 2012 for that matter. But Htc will sell handsets at a better clip in 2013 than they did in 2012. Based on that they should be happy. It’s the consumer who drives this market and based that the consumers have spoken Samsung clearly owns this space.

    • TomasHunter

      TLDR

  • http://www.facebook.com/rieku.ame Rieku Ame

    I was waiting for the reveal of the GS4 to make my decision between these two. The GS4 is not coming to the US with the Octa-core which kind of turned me off to it. Not to say the 1.9 quad is a slouch. The whole hover and eye tracking stuff is great but not enough to make me jump and say wow. As for the removable battery and microSD, here’s the thing. I have a GS2 currently and I have never removed the microSD. As far as battery is concerned, I’ve only removed it for reasons of the phone locking up (I’m sure there probably is a better way). I dropped it a few times without a case.

    All in all, I think I’ll give the HTC a try and go with the One. I’m going to get the Note 8 though.

  • Gilbert Gonzalez

    Samsung totally pulled an Apple. I didn’t expect an S3S and that’s what they put out. smh I’ll be going back to HTC next month

  • Rob Watkins

    Samsungs 2600 mah removeable battery and big storage options will sell tons of these phones. THe Razr HD Maxx is the only phone that will touch it for battery life and for the serious power user it is almost preferable to have a big battery you can switch out. If the One had removeable battery in the 2600 mah range that was swappable and expanded storage, I’d be sold. I have a DNA that sucks battery down like crazy when I’m out running around and not on wifi. The battery isn’t replaceable either which means I have to charge it and wait…..I’m beginning to like the new Samsung.

    • http://www.facebook.com/rick1234 Richard Paguirigan

      with current battery technology and cloud storage, removable batteries and memory slots may not be the dealbreakers that many people have been suggesting. Personally, i prefer an aesthetically pleasing, well-designed and solidly constructed phone with minimal moving parts (thereby minimizing wear and tear) as well as openings where dust and grime can accumulate. Unfortunately, the GS4 is NONE of these

  • aditzut

    I will go with htc one!

  • jen

    One

  • TomasHunter

    Thanks for posting this great comparison article, Cory. I have a business trip for DISH scheduled next month, and I was thinking about upgrading my phone before I go. I am on the fence as to which phone I would like; in the end it comes down to which phone runs my DISH Anywhere app the best. It streams live TV or DVR recordings to my phone, and I use it to keep up with on my favorite shows while out of town. Since I will be using my new phone primarily as a TV streaming device, I am leaning toward the One with its sharper screen and front facing stereo sound.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=572104445 Brian Hah

    Samsung Galaxy S4 easy. To each their own I suppose but I have loved the S3, form has very little to do with my decision making (i will 100% of the time put an otterbox on my phone) but functionally, software (android version) updates, bigger screen, better battery, and innovation of Samsung makes the Galaxy S4 a clear winner in my eyes.

  • James

    I don’t know which one to buy….
    The htc has the better design and speakers in the front and it is cheaper
    But the s4 has bigger battery, SD card, and eye tracking features
    In term of display I’ve heard that the s4 display saves battery more because when it needs to show a black color it turns off the pixels and saves a lot of power, especially when you have a black background!

    I am still confused on which one to buy, please feel free and reply to this so I can get your opinion.

    Thank you

    • BANKZA

      The Galaxy s4 battery life is EXTREMELY SHORT thust me so the one will be the better choice !

  • Henry Léon

    HTC One wins for body design, while SGS4 wins for specs and softwares designs. So, for me, not as a fashionable man, just a Tech lover, will surely pick up the better design of premium tech (that much more than just premium look) — SGS4 is the One! ;-)