On February 19th, HTC unveiled its latest smartphone creation, the HTC One, a device that was previously known as the HTC M7. The HTC One will be HTC’s flagship smartphone and in other regions for at least the first part of 2013 and it will be competing against smartphones both new and old for the hearts and minds of consumers. One of those older devices is the Samsung Galaxy S3, a device that was released back in mid-2012 but remains a fixture in the smartphone world.
Last year’s HTC flagship smartphone, the HTC One X, made its debut at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. The device arrived on shelves in several regions in April and wound up arriving in the United States on AT&T in May right around the time that Samsung unleashed its own launch for its 2012 flagship, the Samsung Galaxy S3.
While the HTC One X debuted earlier than the Samsung Galaxy S3, it wound up taking a beating. Behind a bold ad campaign targeting Apple, a multitude of American carriers, solid hardware and software and the momentum of the Galaxy S2, the Galaxy S3 shattered sales records at Samsung and went on to become the most recognizable Android device on the market.
The HTC One X, with its fantastic camera and aluminum design, could only watch as the Samsung Galaxy S3 went on to sell more than 40 million units, a number that continues to grow.
The Galaxy S3 is a staple amongst the plentiful Android options on the market. And despite the emergence of the powerful HTC One, the Galaxy S3 might still be a tempting option for those looking to snag a new smartphone. So just how do HTC’s 2013 flagship and Samsung’s elder statesman, the Galaxy S3 compare?
Here, we take look at how the new HTC One matches up versus the aging, but still very relevant, Samsung Galaxy S3 in terms of features, release date and more.
In later 2012, the HTC One surfaced in rumors as the HTC M7. And over the next several weeks, the device leaked out like crazy. First, in the form of harmless specification leaks and then in an fairly incredible pre-launch appearance on stage with HTC CEO Peter Chou who showed off the device for the first time and coerced workers into chanting M7 and HTC One.
At that point, it was fairly clear that the HTC One would be arriving soon. And soon it did. Shortly thereafter, HTC sent out invites to launch events in New York City and London where, unsurprisingly, HTC showed off the HTC One on stage for the very first time. The launch was a departure from the HTC One X launch as the company hosted an event outside of Europe.
And for good reason. American carriers stepped up to the plate and confirmed the device for their networks, something that often doesn’t happen on a device’s launch date. Yet, even with those confirmations, a concrete release date for the HTC One is still not know, at least in the U.S.
In Europe, the device looks set for a March 15th release date, a date that comes just a day after the Samsung Galaxy S4 is supposed to launch in New York City. UK retailer Clove and UK carrier Vodafone have confirmed that date and thus far, that appears to be its target release date.
In the United States, we haven’t seen carriers deliver any information. Rumors suggest that the device could be heading to shelves on March 22nd, though none of the four U.S. carriers that have confirmed the device have made that date official.
The Samsung Galaxy S3 of course has been on shelves in some regions since May and in the United States since June and July meaning it will see its one year anniversary arrive this year.
It’s currently available through a number of carriers but keep in mind, it will be getting replaced by the Samsung Galaxy S4 in just a couple of weeks. Still, once again, it remains a solid option for those that don’t necessarily need the latest and greatest.
The HTC One X and One X+ both featured high quality designs which was one of their selling points to customers. With the HTC One, the company has retained similar build quality though this time around, HTC’s flagship sports an even more impressive design.
HTC’s One sports a full metal design that as elegant as it does modern. Beyond the beauty though lies a device that HTC claims will offer users more durability than past devices. One of the reasons for this is its “ZeroGap” construction which allows for the polycarbonate materials of the HTC One to form up with the anodized aluminum back adding strength and durability.
It also means that the device features a singular texture throughout the whole phone which is something not even the iPhone 5 touts.
The front of the device features two stereo speakers that HTC calls HTC BoomSound. They are said to deliver high quality stereo sound as they take advantage of not only a dedicated amplifier but Beats Audio as well.
Those looking for specifics should note that the the HTC One features a 9.3mm design but one that is just 4.3mm thin around the edges making for a sleek, thin feeling smartphone. The device is a little heavier than some smartphone models however as it boasts a weight of 143 grams.
Overall, the Samsung Galaxy S3 is both slimmer and lighter than the HTC One, likely due to its plastic design. At its launch event, Samsung made it clear that this design was inspired by nature as it features delicate curves and a great-looking form factor.
Unlike the HTC One, the Galaxy S3 features a dedicated home button on the bottom for navigation and it’s made of polycarbonate plastic, not metal, which gives it a different overall feel.
As for the specifics, the Galaxy S3 is 8.6mm thin and weighs 133 grams which means that at its thickest point it is thinner than the HTC One. It’s also slightly lighter.
Both the HTC One X and HTC One X+ featured gorgeous 4.7 LCD-2 displays. And like it did with the design, HTC simply improved upon that with the HTC One.
The HTC One features a 4.7-inch display but instead of 720p resolution like the One X’s, the HTC One utilizes a full HD 1080p display with 468 pixels-per-inch. This means that content is going to look much better, text is going to be sharper and the all around experience on the display will be a much improved one from HTC’s past flagship.
We should also note that the HTC One’s display is smaller than most of the flagship displays that will be out in 2013 as many manufacturers are opting for 5-inch displays.
Also of note is the device’s 16:9 aspect ratio which allows owners to watch their content in widescreen formats without those pesky black bars that show up on phones with lesser aspect ratios.
The Samsung Galaxy S3, when it first arrived, was equipped with one of the best smartphone screens to date. However now that 1080p is all the rage, the display has lost a bit of its luster. Still, it’s going to work fairly well for those average users who don’t need the best of the best.
Specifically, the Galaxy S3 features a 4.8-inch 720p display with a 306 pixel-per-inch count. It’s a little larger than the display on the HTC One and content likely won’t look as good.
The Galaxy S3 also possesses a 16:9 aspect ratio which means that users will be able to enjoy widescreen content as well.
The HTC One X boasted one of the best cameras of any smartphone in 2012 and HTC, like the display and design, has followed that key feature up with a brand new camera that it hopes will steal the show in 2013.
HTC’s One is outfitted with an Ultrapixel, not megapixel, camera that the company says can not only capture more light than 8MP cameras, like the one found on the Galaxy S3, can capture 300% more light than a standard smartphone camera.
So far, samples have shown promise. Below is a sample taken with the HTC One’s Ultrapixel camera taken in Sydney, Australia at sunrise.
Here is an HTC One camera sample taken in low-light conditions.
The camera matches up extremely well with the Galaxy S3’s rear camera, a camera that is 8MP and wasn’t as good as the rear camera in the previous HTC One X smartphone.
It’s a solid camera which can take 1080p video and good photos but it’s likely not going to be on par with the Ultrapixel camera which means amateur and professional photographers will more than likely want to take a look at HTC’s device.
There are more specifications on these devices than just the display, design and camera. Here are the rest of the specifications for the HTC One and the Samsung Galaxy S3.
The HTC One.
- 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
The Samsung Galaxy S3.
- 4.8-inch Super AMOLED HD display with 1280×720 resolution
- 1.5GHz Dual-core Snapdragon S4 Processor
- 16GB/32GB Storage (MicroSD card slot)
- 8MP Camera/1.9MP Front-Facing
- 2100mAh Battery (Removable)
- 2GB of RAM
Let’s take a look at some of the key similarities and differences. First, the Samsung Galaxy S3 features a removable back. That means that owners can easily replace the battery or better yet, attach an extended battery for more battery life. The HTC One does not feature a removable back.
Second, the Galaxy S3 features a microSD card slot but because its only available in 16GB and 32GB form in the U.S., the biggest storage option for the HTC One actually bests the Galaxy S3, even with expanded storage. Those who wish to import the 64GB Galaxy S3 can expand to a whopping 96GB of storage space.
Third, both devices feature NFC (Near-Field Communication) support which means that they can work like a mobile wallet in conjunction with services like Google Wallet, Visa payWave and ISIS. Support depends on carrier.
Finally fourth, the HTC One features an IR sensor which allows owners to use the device like a universal remote with their home theater setup.
Along with the HTC One, HTC also announced its new version of HTC Sense, HTC Sense 5.0, which will be arriving with the HTC One when it touches down on shelves.
As we’ve pointed out, Sense 5.0 is a bit of a departure from the previous versions of the company’s overlay as it not only sports a new look but also comes with some new features as well.
One of those new features is a widget called HTC BlinkFeed which, like Flipboard, is a content aggregator. However, HTC has partnered up with some pretty impressive companies including ESPN and LinkedIn which should help deliver live, high quality, and meaningful content to the HTC One’s home screen. Users who don’t like BlinkFeed will be able to use the standard Android home screen as well.
HTC Sense 5.0 also comes with HTC Zoe which is 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. The HTC One comes with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, Google’s previous version of Jelly Bean, though it should get Android 4.2 Jelly Bean at some point down the road.
As for the Galaxy S3, Samsung also offers some unique software. When it first launched, it was the only Samsung device with Samsung’s TouchWiz Nature UX skin, a skin that deliver smart features to users.
One example is the ability to flip the phone over to silence a call. Another is a feature that allows users to simply hold the phone up to their face while typing out a text message to call that contact.
More recently, Samsung also updated the Galaxy S3 with new features including Multi-Window View which allows owners to split the massive display up into two parts running different applications at the same time.
The Galaxy S3 is also currently on Android 4.1 though like the HTC One, an upgrade to Android 4.2 will be coming in the future.
While the HTC One X and HTC One X+ both arrive as exclusives to AT&T, the HTC One will instead be arriving on several different carriers. This is fantastic for consumers as it gives them options.
The HTC One has been confirmed for AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint as well as Cincinnati Bell which is a regional U.S. carrier. AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile will run the device on their 4G LTE networks which differ in size.
Thus far, we have heard rumors of a Verizon HTC One but there has been no confirmation yet. Verizon has the most expansive 4G LTE network in the United States making it a first choice for many consumers.
Those who are looking for more options will get them with the Galaxy S3. The Galaxy S3 is currently available on all five of the largest U.S. service providers including Verizon.
Like the HTC One, it also takes advantage of 4G LTE data speed which can get up to 10 times faster than typical 3G speeds.
Like its release date, the price of the HTC One in the United States is still unknown. We imagine that HTC will use standard pricing with its device but thus far, it’s not confirmed.
Likely pricing for the 32GB and 64GB models are $199.99 and $299.99 on-contract. Both prices have been rumored and that’s what consumers should expect at this point.
T-Mobile has said that it will be offering the phone with its pre-paid plan and that could mean that it may only be available off-contract. If that’s true, expect pricing to be much steeper than the subsidized pricing that customers are accustomed to.
We don’t doubt that retailers like Amazon will at one point carry the HTC One, they carry the HTC One X and One X +, so we could definitely see some deep discounts for the HTC One in the months ahead.
One of the nice things about the Samsung Galaxy S3’s age is the fact that it’s extremely cheap on-contract. While carrier still are asking for $199.99 or more for the device, third-party retailers like Amazon have it available for dirt cheap.
Carrier pricing will more than likely drop as soon as the Galaxy S4 launches so those that can’t buy through an avenue like Amazon should wait a few weeks before buying.