Over the past several weeks, we have seen two of 2013’s finest leak to the surface ahead of their arrivals. Those devices of course are the HTC M7, rumored to be replacing the HTC One X as HTC’s flagship and the oft-rumored Samsung Galaxy S4, which is rumored to be replacing Samsung’s Galaxy S3 as the company’s big name smartphone. We already took one look at the rumored Galaxy S4 versus the rumored M7 and now, with rumors abound, it’s time for round two.
Two of the biggest smartphones of 2012 came in the form of HTC’s HTC One X, which featured a fantastic LCD-2 display and rear camera, and the Samsung Galaxy S3 which is a great all-around Android smartphone made better by Samsung’s commitment to delivering timely software updates. Both devices remain on our list of the best Android smartphones available and likely will stay there until their successors arrive on shelves.
Their successors, while likely months away from release, have already surfaced many times in the past, painting a increasingly clear picture of what consumers might expect from them down the road.
The Samsung Galaxy S4 has quite a legacy to uphold. The Galaxy S3 has sold over 40 million units across the globe, smashing the records that the Galaxy S2 set before its arrival. Its success has created not only sales but brand recognition that is now on par with Apple’s iPhone. And Samsung will be looking for more of the same out of the Galaxy S4 this year as it battles not only the iPhone 5, but presumably the iPhone 5S as well.
Of course, because Android is an open operating system, it’s available on a number of phones from different manufacturers. Point being, the Galaxy S4 won’t be the only high-end piece of hardware vying for supremacy. Like the Galaxy S3, the Galaxy S4 will have to thwart in-house competition and one of those competitors is shaping up to be the HTC M7, HTC’s flagship.
2012 was not a kind year to HTC as the company saw its numbers plunge and Samsung stake its claim as the go-to Android manufacturer, at least for average buyers. For 2013, the company has promised better devices and better marketing, all in an effort to close the gap between it and its rival.
The HTC M7 figures to play a big part in HTC’s potential reassurance as it has emerged as a viable Galaxy S4 competitor. But how do they match up?
And while we still don’t have official spec sheets, we do have a host of rumors, and here, we want to take a look at how the Samsung Galaxy S4, as it stands right now, compares to the HTC M7 in terms of release date, hardware, software and more.
Maybe the most sought after piece of information regarding both smartphones are their launch and release dates. Thus far, we’ve seen several rumored for both the HTC M7 and the Galaxy S4, but here is the latest.
The HTC M7 is widely expected to be making its debut at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona at the end of February. It’s the same place that HTC announced the HTC One X, and it’s a perfect place for the company to make its latest creation known. We ourselves have also heard rumblings about MWC 2013 for the M7, so that for what it’s worth.
As we’ve noted, we’ve heard a first quarter release mentioned several times and it would appear that HTC might be trying to get the HTC M7 out before the arrival of the Samsung Galaxy S4. That could mean that we’ll see the HTC M7 release date take place in March, something that has been rumored before.
The Galaxy S4, while originally thought to be coming at MWC 2013, will evidently launch later at a separate event. Samsung’s Vice President claimed that a launch would come “soon” but provided no details. Soon it seems could mean March as that’s when the Galaxy S4 launch date is pegged for at the moment. March 22nd to be exact.
As for a release date, it could come as soon as April. It’s a month we’ve seen rumored before, and if true, it would mean that the Galaxy S4 would be out a month earlier than the Galaxy S3 arrived back in 2012.
Until a few days ago, the HTC M7 was a complete and utter mystery. That is, until a few photos leaked out claiming to be the device in the flesh.
Over the past weekend, we saw a render surface, claiming to be the HTC M7. The render looked like the device rumors had described: A design with hints of the Droid DNA including soft plastic and lots of black. Shortly afterward, a device that seemed to jive with the render leaked out showing off a device that is being portrayed as the actual HTC M7.
The device looks a lot like the Droid DNA and it could very well be that the Beats Audio branded device seen above is indeed HTC’s M7. If true, it would certainly be a departure from HTC’s unibody aluminum design that arrived with the HTC One X.
Specific details about the design are unknown but we expect the device to be thin as HTC has said that it will put great emphasis on keeping its high-end smartphones slimmed down.
The Galaxy S4 is still in the shadows, as it should be. Samsung goes to great lengths to protect the identity of unannounced Galaxy S devices and the Galaxy S4 will likely be no different.
We have seen two possible Galaxy S4 images leak but both are suspect at best.
While 2012 was the year of 720p and large displays, 2013 is going to be the year of massive full HD 1080p displays. We’ve already seen the Droid DNA arrive with a beautiful 5-inch 1080p display and with companies like Sony announcing their own 5-inch 1080p smartphone (the Sony Xperia Z), it’s clear that this is the way Android is trending this year and the Galaxy S4 and HTC M7 won’t be immune.
Samsung’s Galaxy S4 is rumored to have a 4.99-inch or 5-inch FHD display with 440PPI and 1080p resolution. The display was spotted at CES 2013 and it’s supposed to debut in the first half of 2013, timing that adds up with the rumored launch of the Galaxy S4.
The HTC M7 display is supposed to be a bit smaller, sitting at 4.7-inches offering 1920 x 1080 resolution and a whopping 468 pixels-per-inch. The HTC One X had one of the best displays of 2012 and it could be that HTC delivers again with its new flagship.
In any event, look for both displays to be large and 1080p, at the very least.
The HTC M7, like the Galaxy S4, is rumored to have a 13MP camera in the rear. Both prior models, the HTC One X and the Galaxy S3, featured 8MP cameras in the back. It’s unclear though just what these upgrades might mean for these devices though.
With the HTC One X, HTC delivered one of the best cameras of any smartphone in 2012. The Galaxy S3’s rear camera was good, but certainly not as good as the sensor in the One X.
We could definitely see the same thing happen here, even with the upgrades. HTC has made it clear that camera technology is a priority for it while Samsung has done the opposite, an example being the lack of a camera upgrade in the Galaxy Note 2.
It’s also possible that Samsung will close the gap. We know that it has made software a big focus lately and software plays a big role in the power of smartphone cameras.
Over the past few weeks, we’ve seen quite a few specifications emerge, some more likely than others. Here, we have pieced together every rumor and come up with possible spec sheets for both the M7 and Galaxy S4.
First, the Galaxy S4’s rumored specs.
- 4.99-inch/5-inch FHD Display with 1080p Resolution (440PPI)
- Quad-Core Processor
- 13MP Rear Camera
- Wireless Charging
And now, the HTC M7.
- 4.7-inch 1080p Display
- 1.7GHz Quad-core Snapdragon Processor
- 32GB Storage
- 13MP Camera/2MP Front-Facing
- 2,300 mAh Battery
- 2GB of RAM
Obviously, the Galaxy S4 is a little more in the dark, but that doesn’t mean we can’t compare and make some hypotheses about the rest of the specs. It’s clear that both will have quad-core processors and while the HTC M7 looks fairly certain to have one from Qualcomm, the Galaxy S4’s situation is a little less clear.
At CES 2013, Samsung announced a new processor dubbed the Exynos 5 Octa, a processor that has eight cores but only uses four at any given time. The processor, according to Samsung, will use 70-percent less power than a typical quad-core Cortex A15 processor and that it also supplies better battery life than its own Exynos 5 processor.
We’ve seen a benchmark suggest that the device could have this processor on board, but those benchmarks are easily faked. At the very least, expect to see some type of Exynos quad-core processor inside the Galaxy S4.
It also appears as though the Galaxy S4 will have wireless charging. Several rumors have suggested it and we know that Samsung wants to offer it with its high-end smartphones. After all, it announced something similar with the Galaxy S3 and never delivered. The HTC M7 doesn’t have that rumored as a feature, but we expect it to be built-in as HTC’s Droid DNA for Verizon has built-in charging.
In addition, look for the Galaxy S4 to feature several storage options and include a removable battery and microSD card slot, both staples of Samsung smartphones. The HTC M7 is said to not have a microSD card slot and may not have a removable battery either. Neither the HTC One X nor the Droid DNA had either of those features.
Both devices are currently rumored to be running Android Jelly Bean. There are also rumors that the Galaxy S4 could be arriving with Android 5.0 Key Lime Pie, but given that rumors suggest the Galaxy S4 release date will arrive by April, those have cooled off.
Instead, both devices will more than likely be running Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, the most current version from Google, and a piece of firmware that is still unavailable for devices other than a select few with the Nexus name.
Android 4.2 Jelly Bean is Google’s latest and greatest software and it brings quite a bit to the table. Upgrades over Android 4.1 include more Google Now functionality, lock screen widgets, Quick Settings, a gesture-style keyboard and more.
It’s easily Google’s best effort yet and while it’s not Android 5.0, it’s still fantastic. And speaking of Android 5.0, these devices will likely be among the first to get it. Samsung has proved itself to be much faster with its global roll out efforts but we could see HTC make strides in 2013 as well.
The HTC M7 is rumored to be coming with HTC Sense 5 over the top of Android, a UI that the company may have slimmed down, while the Galaxy S4 will assuredly have TouchWiz on board.
And while HTC seems to be slimming Sense down, Samsung has shown that it’s willing to deliver fantastic features with its own software. Case in point: Multi-Window View for the Galaxy Note 2 and Galaxy S3.
One of the advantages that the Galaxy S3 had over the HTC One X was that it was available on five U.S. carriers, the five biggest carriers to be exact, while the HTC One X only became available on AT&T. That advantage could evaporate this time around as HTC is rumored to be offering more carrier choice with the M7.
Previous rumors have suggested that the HTC M7 is being tested on Sprint’s 4G LTE network. Other rumors have suggested Verizon as a destination as well. And seeing as though AT&T and T-Mobile both happily carried the HTC One X and HTC One S respectively, it would be odd to see them miss out on the M7.
So, it could be that the HTC M7 arrives on four of the five largest U.S. carriers while the Galaxy S4 hits the United States’ five largest carriers.
Both the Galaxy S3 and the Galaxy Note 2 arrived on AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular and Verizon and we wouldn’t be surprised to see the Galaxy S4 do the same. No rumors have popped up thus far and we don’t expect them to until the Galaxy S4 is officially announced.
At CES 2013, Samsung Mobile told us that it will be delivering better names for its devices in the United States. One name that we don’t expect to change though is the Galaxy S series. Samsung has firmly established the Galaxy S name with the general public so it would be odd to see it stray from the Galaxy S4 name when the next-gen Galaxy S device arrives.
The HTC M7 on the other hand may just be an internal product name for HTC’s flagship. Thus far though, there are no clues suggesting what its actual retail name might be. HTC launched the HTC One Series last year and it could be that it sticks to something along those lines.
It’s also entirely possible that it keeps HTC M7 but at this point, it’s unclear.
So far, nothing has leaked out in regards to the price of the Galaxy S4 or the HTC M7, leaving consumers to wonder how much they’ll have to shell out for the privilege to own one of them.
As we’ve said many times in the past, it would be strange to see either device stray from the $199.99 starting price tag that the Galaxy S3 and iPhone 5 currently occupy.
In the past, T-Mobile has offered its devices with more expensive on-contract price tags but given that it will be heading to off-contract prices only, consumers likely won’t get to purchase either the HTC M7 or Galaxy S4 with a subsidized price attached. Instead, look for high up-front costs.