In just a few short weeks, HTC’s flagship, the HTC One, will face another competitor from the Samsung in the form of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3. And while we don’t know exactly how the Galaxy Note 3 plans to compete with one of the best smartphones ever made, we do have a pretty good idea about how the Galaxy Note 3 will fare next to the HTC One.
In 2012, HTC got the jump on Samsung, announcing its flagship HTC One X for arrival later in the year, a device that eventually came to AT&T’s 4G LTE network. Samsung followed with an announcement of its own, revealing the Samsung Galaxy S3, the HTC One X’s main competitor. Only the fight wasn’t very fair.
While the HTC One X had the hardware and software to compete with the Galaxy S3, Samsung’s flagship had the carrier firepower to withstand the HTC One X. Instead of being limited to AT&T, the Galaxy S3 arrived on AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular and Verizon Wireless, giving it an edge on HTC’s flagship.
Later in the year, the HTC One X had another Samsung phone to contend with, the Samsung Galaxy Note 2, a device that like the Galaxy S3, arrived on a multitude of carriers. Unlike the Galaxy S3 though, the Galaxy Note 2 came with a big screen, an S Pen stylus, and some powerful software features that made it a solid Galaxy S3 and HTC One X competitor.
In 2013, HTC got it right. The company released a new flagship, the HTC One, that arrived with a number of hardware and software upgrades. It also managed to arrive on the four largest carriers in the U.S. including AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon. This better equipped it to fight Samsung’s new flagship, the Galaxy S4, and its vast carrier options and powerful features should keep it in the fight during the holidays.
Like last year though, Samsung has another smartphone on the way. The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 will be arriving in just a few weeks to take on phones like the HTC One.
Here, we take a look at how we expect the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 to stack up against the HTC One when it arrives.
The HTC One has been on shelves in the United States since April with AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile being among the first carriers to offer the device. This month, after months of waiting, the Verizon HTC One finally came out of hiding and emerged on shelves adding a top notch fourth carrier to the party. The HTC One isn’t going anywhere any time soon and it will remain widely available across U.S. carriers up until HTC is ready to announce a new flagship.
This means that it’s certainly going to share shelves in the U.S. with the Galaxy Note 3. Samsung is expected to debut the Galaxy Note 3 on September 4th in Berlin, Germany ahead of IFA 2013. Samsung typically announces its Galaxy Note at IFA so this should not come as much of a surprise.
At the event, we expect to hear quite a bit about the Galaxy Note 3 including about its release date which is rumored to be taking place in September. In years past, the HTC One may have had some breathing room, however, rumors suggest that the Galaxy Note 3 could start shipping almost immediately after the launch event.
If true, we could see pre-orders arrive instantly, something that would be new for Samsung. Whatever the case, expect the Galaxy Note 3 to join the HTC One soon.
Buyers who are looking into the HTC One and the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 should expect radically different designs. While HTC has been in the business of using metal form factors for its flagship, and even mid-range devices, Samsung has held firm with its plastic designs. There are of course trade offs that come with each of the devices.
While the metal feels more premium, it means that the HTC One comes with a unibody design that doesn’t feature a microSD card slot for expanded storage or a removable back with a removable battery. Samsung’s devices typically come with those features thanks to their plastic designs, at a cost of the device feeling a bit cheaper.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 design hasn’t leaked out just yet but we expect it to take on a plastic design with rumors suggesting that it will use the same dimensions and a design similar to the the Galaxy Note 2. This isn’t confirmed but given the logical size difference between the two devices, we know that the Galaxy Note 3 should be bigger overall and that it should be heavier than the 143 gram HTC One.
Rumors also suggest that it could be 8mm thin, so about as thin as the Samsung Galaxy S4, which if true, would mean a slimmer device than the 9.3mm HTC One. The HTC One also has massive front-facing speakers that work in conjunction with HTC Boom Sound technology. We don’t expect big front-facing speakers to be present on the Galaxy Note 3.
Ultimately, buyers need to expect aluminum versus plastic, microSD card slot versus no microSD card slot, and removable back versus non-removable back.
Expect the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 to match the HTC One display in terms of horsepower but expect it to dwarf the device’s display in terms of size.
One of the unique properties of the Galaxy Note series is the big screen that comes on board year-after-year. In the case of the original Galaxy Note, it was a 5.3-inch 720p HD display. With the Galaxy Note 2, it grew to 5.5-inches but kept the 720p restitution. The Galaxy Note 3 is expected to have a 5.7-inch display with 1080p resolution.
The HTC One also comes with a 1080p display though the device packs a much smaller punch when it comes to size. The HTC One’s display is 4.7-inches which is still much bigger than the iPhone 5’s 4-inch display but is still much smaller than the screen expected from the Galaxy Note 3.
The past two Galaxy Note models have come with 8MP rear cameras. This is likely to change with the Galaxy Note 3 as its rumored to be coming with a 13MP camera, possibly the same sensor that is found in the Galaxy S4. This should be a huge upgrade and allow for better photos in low-light and noisy environments.
What’s more is that the Galaxy Note 3 should not only have the camera features that came with the Galaxy S4 camera app but it should also have Optical Image Stabilization or OIS, something that will help the device produce smoother video.
The HTC One also features OIS with its Ultrapixel camera, a 4MP camera that despite its MP count, is still one of the best smartphone cameras out there. It can shoot good photos and video and it also can take advantage of something called HTC Zoe which comes with an assortment of enhancements that help to make a good photo great.
The Galaxy S4 and HTC One cameras are comparable and we expect the Galaxy Note 3 camera to at least be on par with that. So expect two great cameras and two great camera apps on both of these devices.
These are both Android phones as they will run Google’s Android operating system. However, that is just a minor piece to the puzzle here with the HTC One and Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and buyers should expect the two to feature drastically different software.
The HTC One currently runs Android 4.1 and Android 4.2 Jelly Bean in the U.S. with HTC promising Android 4.3 Jelly Bean for the device by the end of September. Android 4.3 is a relatively minor update and it, along with many of its features can be seen in the video below.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is expected to run Android 4.3 right out of the box which means that it, and the HTC One, should be on par with each other, in terms of Android version, when the Galaxy Note 3 hits shelves.
That’s where the similarities end. HTC’s One runs a user interface over the top of Android that gives it a vastly different experience from pure Android software. The HTC One runs something called HTC Sense 5, a UI that gives the device’s software a distinct look while also adding some features unique to HTC phones.
Sense 5 can be seen, in detail, in the video below though the features that users will want to be aware of are HTC BlinkFeed and HTC Zoe which are two of the biggest software features that come with the HTC One.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 on the other hand will run Samsung’s TouchWiz UI which generally looks a lot different than HTC’s Sense and which should offer some unique features as well. The Galaxy Note 3 though is unique even amongst TouchWiz-powered smartphones as it comes with software that takes advantage of its bundled S Pen stylus.
Samsung has packed in a ton of useful software applications including S Note, a powerful note taking app that pops up as soon as the S Pen is taken out of its holster. While we aren’t exactly sure what Samsung has up its sleeve for the S Pen software with the Galaxy Note 3, buyers can expect some changes and additions, none of which will come to the HTC One.
The Galaxy Note series is also known for its powerful multitasking software including Multi-Window View, which can be seen above, features that aren’t found on HTC devices.
The HTC One is finally available on four of the five largest carriers in the United States. It’s also available on a few smaller carriers including C Spire Wireless and Cincinnati Bell. We expect the Galaxy Note 3 to not only include the HTC One’s largest carriers AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon but we also expect it to land on U.S. Cellular, the nation’s fifth largest carrier.
Samsung hasn’t released the Galaxy Note series on smaller carriers though given the amount of competition this year, it’s possible that we could see it deviate from history and offer it on some smaller carriers or even pre-paid carriers in an effort to boost sales.
We haven’t seen any Samsung Galaxy Note 3 price rumors emerge just yet though given Samsung’s history, buyers can expect it to check in at the usual $299.99 price slot, even if the company decides to ditch the 16GB in favor of a base 32GB Galaxy Note 3.
Two of the main reasons for the steep price tag are its massive HD display, displays aren’t cheap, and the fact that it comes bundled with the S Pen stylus. Most devices on the market do not come with a stylus but come with stylus support, meaning, users need to buy them separately.
If the device does come with this price tag, it will mean that the Galaxy Note 3 is $100 more expensive than the 32GB versions of the HTC One. The 64GB model at AT&T costs $299.99 on-contract.
However, the HTC One has seen it price deteriorate through retailers over time with places like Amazon charging bargain bin prices for the current flagship. We expect the Galaxy Note 3 to land on some retailers upon release but the discounts aren’t going touch the HTC One.
Those on a budget will certainly want to look at the HTC One.