This battle between the HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S4 (GS4) is inevitable since both companies are aiming for the same throne. So keep reading to see which one is the right one for you.
Let's begin with the cost. Both have set the price point at 21,900 baht, which is normal for a high-end smartphone. Is it too expensive? Well, if you want to buy an "all-in-one" phone, I still believe it is worth it. But only if you use it every day for the next two years before switching to another.
The look and feel of the two devices are totally different. If you look at these phones through the eyes of a potential iPhone defector, they would be far more likely to go for the HTC One, finding it a more familiar experience. The HTC One uses a black aluminum enclosure, making its feel more premium, while the GS4 comes in white plastic like its predecessor and other Samsung phones, making it more attractive and friendlier.
The One's premium aluminum casing does have downsides, however. First, it's a fingerprint magnet. Secondly, the heat from the recharging process is definitely noticeable. It made me wonder what's going on underneath, so I turned on the air-con just to play it safe.
But let's not overlook one important factor: boot time. HTC has a feature called "Fast Boot" that beats every smartphone hands down. On average, eight seconds is all it takes to get up and running compared with 22 seconds for the GS4 (and 26 seconds for the iPhone).
After the start-up, the displays of both devices will amaze you. The GS4 has a 1080p Full HD Super AMOLED 5-inch screen, while HTC One packs the same resolution into a 4.7-inch IPS screen, giving it the pixel density crown (468 pixels per inch) and leaving the Retina iPhone 5 in the dust.
The gorgeous screens haven't compromised overall performance either. Here, the GS4 has a slight advantage. The One has chosen a traditional quad-core, clocking a maximum speed of 1.7GHz and creating a quadrant benchmark score of 11500.
The GS4 has two quad-core CPUs clocking 1.2GHz (boosted to 1.6GHz). The first runs when the device is idling and the second runs when you need full power, for example, when playing 3D games (it is automatically switches between them without any configuration). It works! The GS4 quadrant benchmark score is 12800. (Mid-range Android score is 2500.)
The GS4 offers 16GB of built-in storage while the One gives you 32GB. This translates to 8.71GB and 25.4GB accessible to the user, respectively. The missing space is reserved for the operating system and bundled applications. So, if you don't want to pay any extra money for a micro SD for the Samsung, One is the better choice. Keep in mind, however, that the One has no micro SD slot.
HTC knows that you can't live without your Facebook or Twitter account, so it has integrated them into a unified feed called Blinkfeed. After you unlock the device, it will instantly pop up so you can browse through all your news feeds without having to open the application.
Moreover, One is among the first devices able to run Facebook Home. Facebook Home, of course, transforms your lock screen into a full-screen Facebook page. So say goodbye to your privacy since your information and personal chats can be accessible right after touching the power button.
The sound from the One's speakers is in a different league from the GS4. HTC Boomsound along with its display makes it the holy grail for movie watchers. Not many phones can produce this great movie experience in such a small package, thanks to its stereo front-facing speaker. The GS4 designers have put their small speaker on the back cover so it has a less immersive experience.
While HTC is good for movies, the GS4 air gesture and smart-scroll/pause change our perception of what our smartphones can do. Answer a call, swipe through photos, scroll through text and pause a video _ these can all be done without touching the screen. Samsung really put lots of effort into making this happen, although it is still a bit buggy. These features seem like magic at first, but the excitement wanes after a while.
S stands for Samsung, so S Health and S Translator means that these are Samsung exclusives. With S Health, Samsung enters lifestyle management by suggesting how many steps we should walk per day and how many calories we should take daily to be fit and firm.
I tested S Translator and I like it. It helps me order my meal in Korean and gives directions when tourists get lost. No more "lost in translation" as long as you have an internet connection (it works best when it has internet access).
I took both out and about in the sun, Chatuchak Weekend Market and Siam Square, for a camera test. The results favoured Samsung, which has opted for a 13MP back-illuminated sensor and the resulting images are excellent. There was plenty of fine detail to be seen in tests and exposures were consistently well judged throughout the varying light levels. It was notably crisper than the HTC One's 4MP camera.
The Samsung Galaxy S4 is powered by a 2,600mAh battery, while the HTC One has a smaller 2,300mAh battery. The GS4 wins in this category because it has a removable battery, while the One's is built-in.
The HTC does have a slight edge in terms of style and provides a great multimedia experience; it's just perhaps not as feature-heavy as the GS4 now is. The GS4 proves that it's no longer a copy of the iOS and with the cool features such as its Air Gestures, it sets a new standard for any smartphone. Its magic touch still looks great and it shows us a glimpse of the future of the smartphone. Apple beware, this time, the winner is GS4.