Last week, HTC did the expected and announced its brand new flagship smartphone, the HTC One, a device that is coming with a hefty dose of hardware and some powerful software to boot. It’s also going to be hitting shelves in the weeks ahead meaning that it will be challenging a number of different devices, both current and future. One of those devices is going to be Samsung Galaxy Note 2, a device that has been on shelves since the latter part of 2012.
Read: HTC One vs. Nexus 4.
While much of the attention has been given to another of the HTC One’s competitors, the Samsung Galaxy S4, a device that is going to launch on March 14th, the Galaxy S4 won’t be the only high-end Samsung smartphone that the HTC One has to contend with when it arrives in the United States, presumably in late March.
That’s because Samsung has another fairly recent big name smartphone that is already on shelves dubbed the Samsung Galaxy Note 2, a device that it promoted during the Super Bowl and one that it more recently advertised as a fantastic device for enterprise. Needless to say, despite it being a few months old, the Galaxy Note 2 is still a very fresh smartphone and one that should be on the radar of those looking to snag a new device in the months ahead.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 has been a worldwide success but now that 2013 has arrived, it will have more competition to deal with. One of those devices is the recently announced HTC One, HTC’s brand new flagship smartphone that will replace the HTC One X and the HTC One X+, both of which were HTC’s flagship smartphones from 2012.
Read: HTC One Hands On.
HTC is hoping that with more diverse carrier options, a new piece of HTC Sense software, and some fabulous hardware features that the HTC One can contend with the best of them. And at the moment, the very best Android smartphones are arguably coming out of Samsung’s camp.
So just how does this new HTC One match up versus the Samsung Galaxy Note 2? Here, we explore the similarities and differences between the two smartphone juggernauts.
Earlier this month, HTC took the wrapping off the HTC One at press events in New York City and London. And while the company divulged most of the details regarding the HTC One, including American carriers, HTC failed to deliver in the release date department.
Like many Android launch events, the HTC One’s came and went without any specifics in regards to a release date for the HTC One. Instead of specifics, the company offered a vague release window of March.
Shortly after the event though, we began to see some release date information arrive. Clove UK and Vodafone UK both announced that the device would be coming to the United Kingdom on March 15th, a day after the Samsung Galaxy S4 launch date. Whether that was HTC’s plan or not remains to be seen.
As for the United States, the only date we have seen thus far is a rumored March 22nd release date across the carriers that it will be coming to which includes AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Cincinnati Bell. None of those carriers have confirmed a specific release date yet though we imagine that they will as we get into the month of March.
While the HTC One remains with unannounced release dates, the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 release date is very much out in the open. As it should be. The device was launched all the way back in August of last year.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 is currently available through a host of U.S. carriers and better yet, it’s available through many third-party retailers, often for much cheaper than the carrier-asking price.
With the HTC One X and the HTC One X+, HTC delivered impressive design and build quality. The company fortunately picked up right where it left off as the HTC One features an extremely beautiful design and one that just may be the best that HTC has ever offered.
The HTC One design is comprised almost entirely of metal. Furthermore, HTC says that its design has no gaps in its construction which means that it keeps virtually the same texture throughout, something that can’t be said for many smartphones.
This “ZeroGap” construction allows for the polycarbonate materials of the HTC One to form up with the anodized aluminum back adding strength and durability.
In the front, HTC has put two front-facing speakers that it calls HTC BoomSound. Both of these are said to deliver high quality stereo sound as they take advantage of a dedicated amplifier as well as Beats Audio.
As for the specifics, the HTC One features a 9.3mm design but one that is a mere 4.3mm around the edges making for a sleek, thin feeling smartphone. It weighs in at 143 grams.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 picks up right where its predecessor, the Galaxy Note, started. The device features a massive display which means that the device offers a larger footprint than most smartphones. It also is built out of the same polycarbonate plastic that the original Galaxy Note and many other Galaxy devices have been made of.
Samsung’s Galaxy Note 2, is in a way, a larger version of the company’s Galaxy S3 smartphone. It uses rounded edges and a home button at the bottom for easier navigation. The HTC One does not have a physical home button.
That said, the Galaxy Note 2 measures in at 9.4mm thin, just a tad thicker than the HTC One, but weighs a whole lot more. In fact, the Galaxy Note 2 is one of the heaviest smartphones out there, weighing in at a lofty 180 grams.
While that might not be uncomfortable for some people, the shear enormity of the device may be a little difficult to handle for those who possess smaller hands.
While 2012 was the year of the gorgeous 720p display, 2013 will be offering advancements in screen technology. The HTC One is a device that will benefit from this new technology.
As expected, the HTC One arrived with a 4.7-inch full HD 1080p display with 468 pixels-per-inch. The size of the display is smaller than many of the flagship Android smartphones that will launch this year and the 1080p resolution falls in line with what we expect from just about every high-end Android smartphone this year, including the Galaxy S4.
The HTC One’s display is a great size for watching movies or television shows and also works well for those that use their phone for browsing the web or catching content through an app like YouTube.
It also is equipped with a 16:9 aspect ratio which allows owners to watch their content in widescreen formats without those pesky black bars that often dilute the experience.
Maybe the most unique aspect of the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 is its size. The Galaxy Note 2 offers a massive display, much larger than the standard smartphone.
Specifically, it features a now aging 1280 x 720 HD resolution with 267 pixels per inch (ppi) which translates into good photos and text. The Note 2 also features a 16:9 aspect ratio that again allows owners to watch widescreen content without the black bars.
What’s more is that the display is also big enough that two users can share it. That aspect makes it a fantastic travel companion for those that are often on long flights or drives.
Last year’s HTC One X arrived with a stellar camera, one of the best that Android had to offer actually. With the HTC One, HTC is again attempting to put itself in the top tier as far as rear cameras are concerned.
The HTC uses something HTC calls an Ultrapixel camera which it claims can capture 300% more light than a standard smartphone camera. That should translate into better looking photos and better low light performance, the latter of which has become a sought after feature.
HTC also says that the larger pixels on the Ultrapixel camera can capture more light than 8MP cameras like the iPhone 5′s and, likely the Galaxy Note 2’s as well.
A camera sample from both the HTC One and iPhone 5, which boasts one of the best smartphone cameras on the market, can be seen in the low-light example below.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 doesn’t feature much of a camera upgrade over the original Galaxy Note. It offers an 8MP camera that is capable of shooting good quality photos and 1080p video. The HTC One also can shoot 1080p video.
Both phones have front-facing cameras though the HTC One utilizes a wide-angle front-facing camera which means it can fit more on screen, perfect for those that video chat with several employees or loved ones.
Beyond the screens, the designs and the cameras are a host of other features that are on board the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 and the HTC One. Here, we take a look at how the rest of their features match up.
First, the HTC One specifications.
- 4.7-inch Full HD Display with 468 PPI
- 1.7GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 processor
- 32GB/64GB models (No microSD Card Slot
- 4 Ultrapixel Rear Facing Camera / Wide Angle 2MP front facing camera
- 2300 mAh Battery (Non-Removable)
- 2GB RAM
- Bluetooth 4.0
Next, the Samsung Galaxy Note 2.
- 5.5-inch Super AMOLED HD display with 1280×720 resolution
- 1.6GHz Quad-core Exynos Processor
- 16GB Storage (microSD Card Slot)
- 8MP Camera/1.9MP Front-Facing
- 3,100mAh Battery (Removable)
- 2GB of RAM
First, we should point out that the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 boasts a removable back which means that owners can swap out the stock battery for a new one or even an extended one for more juice. This is something that is not available on the HTC One.
Second, while the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 comes with expandable memory, it only comes with 16GB of space which means that it can only get up to 48GB of on board storage. The HTC One on the other hand doesn’t possess a microSD card slot for expandable storage but comes in both 32GB and 64GB form.
Third, the Galaxy Note 2 has great battery life due to the 3,100 mAh battery inside but that doesn’t necessarily mean it will crush the HTC One. Remember, the Galaxy Note 2 has a massive display and needs the extra juice to ensure that the display doesn’t eat into the battery life.
Fourth, the HTC One utilizes something called an IR port which will allow users to use the device as a universal remote for their televisions or for their home theater.
And finally, fifth, the Galaxy Note 2 uses a unique stylus called the S-Pen which takes advantage of some unique software including an app called S-Note which is a perfect note taking app for conference calls, meetings or even class.
In addition to the Android operating system, both the HTC One and the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 run manufacturer skins that offer unique looks and features.
The HTC One utilizes Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, the previous version of Jelly Bean, that was replaced by Android 4.2 Jelly Bean in November. However, it also includes HTC’s latest version of HTC Sense, HTC Sense 5.0, which replaces HTC Sense 4+ as the company’s latest and greatest user interface.
Sense 5.0 is a bit of a departure from the previous versions of the company’s UI as it not only sports a new look but also comes with some new features not found on previous versions.
As we’ve noted, maybe the biggest feature of HTC Sense 5.0 is HTC BlinkFeed, a live home screen that aggregates news and social feeds on the home screen. HTC has lined up several big name partners including ESPN and LinkedIn which should make this an extremely useful widget. Those who don’t like BlinkFeed will be able to use the standard Android home screen as well.
Sense 5.0 also offers HTC Zoe, a live photo gallery that HTC One owners can use to take 20 photos and a 3 second video at the push of a button and it also uses something called the Peel remote control that pairs with the device’s IR port to, again, turn it into a universal remote.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 also possesses some unique software. Like the HTC One, the Galaxy Note 2 current runs on Android 4.1 Jelly Bean though we expect it will, like the HTC One, get the features of Android 4.2 at some point down the road.
Unlike the HTC One though, the Galaxy Note 2 runs Samsung’s TouchWiz Nature UX which includes a number of useful features including Multi-Window View which lets users split the Galaxy Note 2′s display into two parts to run two separate apps at the same time. A demo of Multi-Window View can be seen in the video below.
Additionally, due to its S-Pen stylus, the Galaxy Note 2 is loaded with an assortment of stylus-related apps including the S-Note app for easy note taking and another piece of software that allows users to simply use the pen to hover over calendar events and emails to get a preview before opening them.
Unlike the HTC One and the HTC One X+, the HTC One will be coming to an assortment of U.S. carriers. Already, we’ve seen AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Cincinnati Bell confirm the device for their networks.
The device will run on AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile’s 4G LTE networks, meaning it will be one of the first devices to run on T-Mobile’s new high-speed 4G LTE network.
Verizon, which boasts the nation’s largest 4G LTE network, has not confirmed the device for launch though there are rumors that it, or a device similar to it, could arrive later on this year.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 2, like the HTC One, is available on a number of 4G LTE networks. Currently, AT&T, Sprint, Verizon and U.S. Cellular all offer the Galaxy Note 2 on their 4G LTE networks.
T-Mobile will, at some point, issue a software update that brings 4G LTE support to Galaxy Note 2 owners though the carrier hasn’t yet said when it might arrive.
Like the release date, HTC remained mum on the price of the HTC One and unfortunately, the American carriers that announced it haven’t made their pricing plans known.
Rumors have suggested that the device will start at $199.99 for the 32GB model while the 64GB model will run for $299.99. Neither price point is surprising given that the iPhone 5 is price at $199.99 and the Galaxy S4 will likely start there as well.
Samsung’s Galaxy Note 2 is not a cheap, at least not through American carriers themselves. The device commands a $299.99 price tag through AT&T, Sprint, U.S. Cellular and Verizon while T-Mobile is asking for $370 on-contract.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that it’s not cheaper in other places. Retailers like Amazon offer the device for much cheaper with the Sprint Galaxy Note 2 recently breaking the $100 on-contract price mark.