Samsung Galaxy S4 vs. HTC One: 5 Things to Know
In just a few days, the HTC One and the Samsung Galaxy S4 will finally arrive in the United States and go head to head as the two most recognizable Android devices of the year. Like most smartphones, they are chock full of features including large displays, speedy processors, and more. But what are the biggest differences that consumers should keep in mind before taking the plunge? Here are the five most important things to know about the impending match up between the Samsung Galaxy S4 and the HTC One.
Read: Samsung Galaxy S4 vs. HTC One: How the U.S. Release Matches Up.
Last year, the HTC One X arrived during the month of February as the company’s latest and greatest flagship smartphone. The device, which boasted a large HD display and fantastic camera, hit AT&T’s 4G LTE network and remained one of the best Android options throughout the course of 2012. Only, it wasn’t the only fantastic smartphone on the market.
The HTC One had to do battle with the likes of the iPhone 5, but also, the Samsung Galaxy S3, which arrived a little later in the year. Despite featuring some fantastic hardware and software, the Galaxy S3 took control and went on to not only smash Samsung’s own sales records with over 40 million sold, but it put the Galaxy S series on par with the iPhone, something that had never been accomplished by an Android device.
Samsung’s success with the Galaxy S3, which was helped along not only by features but also a good marketing campaign, put the pressure on HTC which released an HTC One X+ later in the year with more storage and a faster processor. However, the true HTC One X successor and HTC’s true stab at Samsung and Apple did not emerge until earlier this year in the form of the HTC One.
As expected, Samsung announced its latest smartphone only a month later in the form of the Samsung Galaxy S4, a device that it hopes will crush the HTC One in sales much as the Galaxy S3 did with the HTC One X. Whether that is the case or not remains to be seen, but what we do know is that these two are powerful smartphones with a lot of similarities.
Read: 5 Reasons to Buy the Samsung Galaxy S4 Instead of a Cheap Galaxy S3.
They both possess powerful quad-core processors. They both have large 1080p displays with high pixel-per-inch counts. Both devices are slim. They feature 4G LTE data speeds. They come with powerful cameras. Both are rocking Android Jelly Bean. There are differences though, and many of them can be easily spotted by power users.
There are, however, some differences that aren’t necessarily right there on the surface, especially for first-time buyers, those that aren’t following the launches and those that may consider themselves to be average users.
Here, we take a look at the five major differences between the Samsung Galaxy S4 and HTC One that we think consumers should know about before buying.
HTC One & Samsung Galaxy S4 Release Dates
Maybe the most important thing to know about the HTC One and the Samsung Galaxy S4 is that consumers in the United States are going to be waiting for awhile before all of the different variants make their way to shelves. What we mean by that is the HTC One looks like it’s going to be hitting shelves first, followed by the Samsung Galaxy S4, which means that at the start, the options of consumers are going to be extremely limited.
So far, we know that the AT&T HTC One and Sprint HTC One will be arriving on April 19th. The T-Mobile HTC One appears to be headed for that destiny as well though the Magenta carrier has yet to confirm anything. This should mean that the HTC One goes on sale before the Samsung Galaxy S4 in the United States.
The only Samsung Galaxy S4 release date that we know about is the May 1st arrival for the T-Mobile model. The other four main Galaxy S4 variants are still without release dates though AT&T and U.S. Cellular will start taking pre-orders on April 16th. This seems to lineup with a late April or early May release, at least for those.
So what does this mean for consumers? Well, the difference in release date means that those conflicted about which to buy will want to wait a few weeks for both models to come out. It also means that those who are planning to buy the Samsung Galaxy S4 are going to have to wait a few extra weeks to buy the new smartphone.
Camera: 13MP vs. Ultrapixel
One of the main features that come with smartphones these days are powerful rear cameras that are capable of taking not only high-quality video, but photos that are on par with point-and-shoots. Both the HTC One and the Samsung Galaxy S4 are going to have fantastic camera sensors on board but there will be some big differences that buyers should know about.
Maybe the first thing that consumers will hear or see about these respective cameras are their megapixel counts. The Samsung Galaxy S4 has a 13MP camera while the HTC One camera has a 4MP Ultrapixel camera. Despite marketing that has for years focused on megapixel numbers, we wouldn’t put too much stock into the counts on the One and Galaxy S4.
Despite having a lower megapixel count, the HTC One camera isn’t going to be terrible. It can not only take good, quality photos and videos – particularly in low-light – but it also has access to some power software.
HTC Zoe is HTC’s big camera feature and it allows users to snap photos and video at the same time. As HTC explained, Zoe is a big reason why the One uses a 4MP camera. File sizes for images taken with HTC Zoe would be too big with larger megapixel cameras.
The Samsung Galaxy S4 and its 13MP camera sensor will take solid photos as well. Like the HTC One, it is backed by some new software as well including a feature called Dual Camera which allows owners to shoot content using both the front and rear-facing cameras.
Point of all this is that there will be differences in how these cameras perform but the HTC One camera is a solid camera, despite being 4MP.
Nature UX vs. Sense 5
Another thing that prospective buyers should know about is that neither of these phones possesses a pure, stock version of Android, the same Android that is advertised by Google and found on the many Nexus devices. Those hoping to waltz in and find a barren, untouched piece of software on either the HTC One and the Samsung Galaxy S4 will be disappointed.
Both the HTC One and the Samsung Galaxy S4 possess skins that the manufacturers have placed over Android that not only bring new features to the table but give them a different look as well.
On the HTC One, it’s the new Sense 5 that takes over for HTC’s older Sense 4+ and brings a new look in the form of Windows-esque tiles as well as a host of new features.
Two of those features, that won’t be found on non-HTC devices are HTC BlinkFeed and HTC Zoe. Zoe we already talked about but BlinkFeed is essentially a home screen that delivers a stream of news from social websites and news websites like ESPN. Those that absolutely love staying up to date with their friends and current events will enjoy it. Best of all, it can be flipped off in favor of a typical home screen.
The Samsung Galaxy S4 also features a skin called TouchWiz Nature UX. It looks drastically different from Sense 5 and offers some unique features as well.
One of those is Smart Scroll which allows owners to use their eyes to scroll down a webpage. Another, Smart Pause, which pauses content when a user looks away. The Galaxy S4 is also outfitted with a sensor that allows users to perform touch less gestures. For instance, Air View allows Galaxy S4 users to wave their hand over the display, without touching it, to do things like navigate a website or change a song.
Point is, both of these devices feature drastically different versions of software despite being Android smartphones. Both offer a distinct look and some high-powered features so it will be up to the consumer to decide which style and which feature-set work best.
Unsurprisingly, there are going to be some carrier differences between the HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S4 that users should know about.
The HTC One will be coming to AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile, along with Cincinnati Bell, but it won’t be coming to U.S. Cellular and Verizon like the Samsung Galaxy S4, at least not at launch.
Whispers suggest a Verizon HTC One is on the way, but the situation remains murky and release date rumors point to the device as arriving one to two months after the AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile models arrive. There is no guarantee that the device is the exact same as the current HTC One either.
The Samsung Galaxy S4 on the other hand will be available on a host of carriers. AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular and Verizon, along with Ting and Cricket Wireless, have all confirmed the Galaxy S4 for arrival.
What this means is that those shopping for a new smartphone should be prepared to be limited by the HTC One in terms of carriers while the Galaxy S4 will offer an assortment of options.
Choice when it comes to carriers is big as many consumers will want to opt to sign a new two year contract.
Plastic vs. Metal
Finally, the last thing that consumers should know about the HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S4 is that they feature different designs, particularly, in the build materials department.
While the HTC One is fastened out of metal, complete with a ZeroGap design that leaves it flush throughout, the Samsung Galaxy S4 is made of polycarbonate plastic. And while the metal design is going to tempt those looking for a new smartphone there are some hidden benefits of the cheaper, plastic form factor.
One, the Galaxy S4 offers a removable back thanks to the plastic. That means that owners can pop off the back plate and put in an extended battery or use a back that is compatible with wireless chargers. It also makes it easy to replace the battery. The HTC One is not a benefactor of any of this due to a non-removable back.
The Galaxy S4 design also comes with a microSD card slot for expanded storage. This is crucial as it means that even if a carrier carries the 16GB and only the 16GB model, consumers will be able to expand to 80GB of storage thanks to support for a 64GB microSD card.
The HTC One is way more tricky as it doesn’t have a microSD card slot and only features two sizes, 32GB and 64GB, with the 64GB being an exclusive to AT&T. Those that need more storage simply will have to take a closer look at the Galaxy S4.
04/08/2013 at 12:18 pm
Im using a incredible 2 and my contract is up in june, this device was promised ics back in august 2012. Byeeeeeee htc, i want the gs4 bc i know ill def be getting the latest firmware update before htc releases it.
04/08/2013 at 3:56 pm
Good for you! My Thunderbolt shit out on me in January. I’m currently on an iPhone 4 while I wait for the S4’s release.
04/08/2013 at 3:00 pm
I’m due to upgrade with Sprint and I’ve been holding off until the HTC One and S4 were released because there was so much buzz about both of these devices. I’ve looked at the HTC’s specs a couple times and they look pretty good (aside from the specs I particularly like the nifty stereo speakers), but until now I never saw it mentioned that the HTC One doesn’t have a removable back/battery OR a removable MicroSD card. Either of those is instantly a deal breaker for me, particularly the back/battery. Modern smart phone batteries rarely last through a long day of heavy use, and it’s unacceptable that if my battery goes dead my only choice is to get to a charger and outlet and have to wait hours for it to charge back up. A lot of people also like to remove their stock battery in favor of an aftermarket higher capacity battery, and that clearly won’t be an option.
Sorry HTC, but you’ve totally shot yourself in the foot with these completely unnecessary limitations, and you’re going to lose a tremendous amount of sales from people that are even moderately educated about smart phone features. You might snag a lot of the newbies, and people that don’t pay close attention to the specs, but once again your phone is going to be destroyed by its Samsung competitor.
04/08/2013 at 4:08 pm
04/08/2013 at 4:31 pm
You don’t even know how long the original battery is going to last to begin with. Besides that, do you honestly need any more than 64gb worth of memory for your phone? Society is always bitching about wanting more when honestly they don’t even use it all. I honestly prefer the switchoff from the polycarbonate plastic to the metal casing; the phone might actually survive a blow or two without a cover.
04/11/2013 at 6:33 am
Not everyone is like you, so saying that it’s not needed is your opinion. Try being less subjective and you’ll see that there are those who want things a certain way. HTC is the Apple version of Android. they make good sheep though, but lame excuses.
04/25/2013 at 7:12 am
:P not know? :P well we can based it on the usual battery lifespan for an active user who charge every day. Usually the battery will start losing their charge and will not be able to last a whole day after one year. So unless you are the type who changes phone EVERY year, you may want to have a removable (and thus easily replaceable battery)..
As for 64 GB? Wow are you blind? nowadays some of the apps itself is 1GB a pop. And if you have music, movie and photo collections, it WILL easily take up 64GB.
As for your assertion that the phone might survive a blow or two without cover .. know that Aluminium is one of the weaker, softer and cheapest metal around. NOT ALL metal are strong, else why don’t you find that many containers made out of copper, bronze or even zinc (at least those that is meant to be used instead of for display).
If you want to let it take a blow, go ahead, just don’t come crying when it dent and scratches, just like iPhone 4/5. Which is why I love my transformer Infinity but wished that it is made of a high grade plastic composite material instead of the lousy Aluminium casing which has collected a host of dents and scratches.
PS … you DO know that Kevlar and what not are consider plastic composites as well? :P Think you don’t
04/25/2013 at 8:06 am
I have a 4 year old HTC droid eris and it has stood up to blows BEAUTIFULLY over the years. I think that might be the whole reason I am interested in the HTC…because my old HTC has lasted 4 years of being thrown across parking lots, dropped down stairs, and lord knows what else. (Oh yeah, it barely has a scratch on it from all this abuse) I’m cheap and I fully expect to keep my new phone until the 2 year contract is up…maybe even longer. At least I know HTC can hold out the whole 2 years for me. Metal casing it is!
04/08/2013 at 10:56 pm
I’m deeply intrigued by the one. I think form factor wise it looks way better than the s4. I currently use an s3 and I’m not impressed with the build. However, I REALLY appreciate the user swappable battery. I bought a spare battery and charger online for not too much. I’ll get home from work, swap batteries and I’m good to go out for drinks after. Everyone says you can always garage them at the office but the point of a mobile phone is for them to be MOBILE not thethered to a charger. One thing that interests me about the one is the IR blaster. It may seem like a gimmick to most but I know I’d get a lot of use from it if the remote software is as good as a logitech harmony. I’m due for an upgrade In a few months but I’m not sure if its worth to upgrade from an s3. It’s a pretty awesome phone as is and I don’t see the need to upgrade as of yet. Love my tech but not worth it right now. Any word on the next nexus phone?
04/25/2013 at 7:13 am
As of the lastest news, Samsung can be used as a remote as well (a bit with the help of apps)
04/08/2013 at 3:54 pm
ill stick with htc, if i can carry a spare batt then i can carry a power pack to recharge my battery, and htc has one and its not even that big, long story short, im no sheep to either company but i know i wanna experience a little metal and well loud sound, i hate phones with mediocre sound quality and i think i finally found 1 in the ONE
04/08/2013 at 5:21 pm
The HTC One may win on speaker quality but not audio quality through headphone jack. The GS4 uses a Wolfson DAC. There is a difference.
04/09/2013 at 1:15 pm
So what is the difference between the BEATS and the Wolfson DAC, Brae?
04/11/2013 at 6:35 am
If you click your heels three times, then you can hear Beats improve the sound. Believe in the Dre!
04/25/2013 at 7:16 am
Great that you found a phone that suits your acoustic needs. But know that the concern about batteries goes beyond the daily charging. ALL batteries loses their charge after some time and cannot be fully charge after repeated cycle of charging. Nominally it seems that phone tend to show such symptoms of holding less charge and not lasting through the day after 1 year – 16 month. So unless you are someone who changes their phone every year, you may want to consider one with removable batteries so that it can be easily and cheaply replaced.
04/08/2013 at 5:35 pm
I have the HTC Sensation G4 on Tmobile. Let’s just say, it’s no so SENSATIONAL! I’ll be happy to drop it like it’s hot ASAP for a G4!
04/08/2013 at 6:42 pm
Stop and ask your self, where do you get your worse signals? In metal buildings, the UHF frequency’s that cellphones operate on are hindered by metal buildings and metal casing.
It will be very interesting to see how reliable the signal is in fringe areas for the HTC, and also GPS signals. I will make a educated guess the S4 will win out in those areas.
04/09/2013 at 12:05 pm
Stop and ask yourself, what are antennas made from?
04/11/2013 at 6:37 am
Stop and ask yourself, what causes interference? Jenius!
04/12/2013 at 11:22 am
Stop and ask your self, have you ever seen a plastic building? how is the GS4 going to work in metal buildings when it’s plastic? I don’t get signal where i live anyway. Thanks, obama
04/25/2013 at 7:40 am
God you are so ignorant. He is talking about interference and attenuation. Antenna is made of metal to propagate the wave. And the bigger the antenna, the greater the need for power (and result in lousy signal when the power cannot be met)
Although I must say that his concern may not be that much of an issue as long as the phone is properly designed.
04/08/2013 at 7:04 pm
s4 all the way. and just so you guys know the batteries tested on both phones the s4 wins from an average of 64 vs 43 on the ONE. that means for average users the s4 outlasts the ONE by 20 hours. so for heavier users obviously the s4 will win too. htc sorry also because you dont have a phone that opens you have no repairability. on ifixit people look at the taking apart of the htc one. its virtually impossible. if you crack a screen you gotta replace the phone. nobody is repairing it. and on top of that the s4 has gorilla glass 3 vs the one with gorilla glass 2. and ddr3 memory on the s4 vs ddr2 on the one. ddr3 is twice as fast and uses half the power. gee plastic is looking so much better now on the s4 isnt it. and of course android 4.2 on s4 vs 4.1.2 on the htc.samsung updates much more often also. hey the s3 was plastic people and sold 40 to 50 million units. so obviously thats saying something. its about how great the phone is. not the damn body. i have an s3 and dropped it multiple times. cracked the glass but thats it. so being its able to be repaired i put a new glass on. you arent going to do that on the ONE. s4 wins in so many ways its not even funny. NO CONTEST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Just your average techy
04/08/2013 at 7:51 pm
The S4 has a lot of great features the camera is amazing not to mention the battery is long lasting but you will see as it is realeased can’t wait for mine
04/08/2013 at 9:05 pm
I bought the SG 3 when it came out. Very disappointed in display, battery life, camera and not impressed with touch wiz. The iPhone 5 beat it hands down. I’ve pre-ordered the HTC One. I think the build quality is much better. I just hope the camera doesn’t disappoint me. To me the HTC just looks awesome and since the Galaxy didn’t impress me last year and the 4 isn’t that much of a change I’m going with HTC.
04/10/2013 at 12:47 pm
The camera on the HTC is brilliant!!!
04/08/2013 at 9:43 pm
I’m HTC amaze owner with all my respect I like the phone the quality the only problems is the bettery and the phone turns on and off by itself and of course upgrades I’m stuck with ice now I can’t go highrt
04/08/2013 at 10:55 pm
For me its simple. I want a premium looking android device. Its funny to me that some ppls complain about lack of storage. Do you really need more then ~15gb in a phone? Too many spec readers act like they dont have a tablet or a laptop and live off their cell phone. Its a phone! – call, text and surf.
04/08/2013 at 11:52 pm
S4 or HTC one? good phones. I personally went with OPPO find 5 a good phone with similar specs but less quantity more originality. Almost everybody gonna have htc or s4 soon
04/09/2013 at 12:16 am
Good bye HTC I have been with them for all most 10 years and have been screwed just about every time. I currently have the evo4g lte piece of garbage. Many errors from the first day I got the phone. I was not the only one I bought a total of 3 for my family and we all had the same problems. It took forever for their first update and it fixed nothing! The last update helped some but I know I would of had a better experience with the galaxy S3. Much faster in the support of their products not to mention they plan on updating the galaxy S2 & S3 after the release of the S4. And that sounds great to me.. I can’t wait to sell this evo! Please hurry galaxy S4…..
04/09/2013 at 7:00 am
Also have multiple HTC 4G’s in my family and the only issue that ever came up was one bad battery about 20 months after its purchased. Sounds more like bad luck to me.
04/09/2013 at 7:12 am
I joined a few forums and your somewhat right with the bad luck thing. But it’s about 50/50 from what I can see and three really its no main cause known for the problems. I am a heavy phone user it’s part of my work tools and the other folks in my industry have done well with the GS3. I think I have just run my course with HTC not to mention the HTC piece of crap tablet I have as well. I feel Samsung deserves a shot .
04/09/2013 at 7:36 am
Just remember you can return the SG-4 within 14 days to your carrier if you don’t like it. I bought the S3 when At&t gave 30 days to return it. I kept it over 3 weeks but after a week I was fairly sure it was going back. I made myself use it as my only phone for 3 weeks ( I have three friends that did the same thing – two of us returned it and the other two wish they had). I hated the blue-ish display (no where near as sharp or clear as the iphone 5. There were things I liked about it but not enough to keep it. I did not like the camera. I then bought the Nexus 4 and really like all but two things; the camera & the fact that you can’t get voicemail through your carrier but it needs an app but the camera was a deal breaker for me. I really liked the HTC One X’s look and feel but the 16 gb and battery was the deal breaker. I can now go for 64 gb and a better battery. I’ve had all the iphones so I can live with the batter issue because I’m at a computer where I can plug in or in my car most of the time so it’s never been a big issue. I have loved the iphones but if Apple doesn’t do something different this year I feel they will drop behind Android considerably, so I’ve made the jump. It all comes down to personal preference cause all the best smartphone accomplish the same thing – just some a litter better in some departments. IF the HTC doesn’t cut it then I’m waiting for Nexus 5.
04/09/2013 at 11:23 am
i too had many problems with the htc evo, shift and 3d. going through about three each because of software and hardware malfunctions. have had both the s2 and s3 i can say the s2 was crap but the s3 has had no problems to date. personally i will probably go with the s4 but the one does look sweet.
one thing i would like to add, everyone is talking about the htc one and its lack of removable battery…..apple has had no problem selling phones with no removable battery. just saying…
04/09/2013 at 2:02 am
Htc sensation 4g here. The only negative is sound, highly lacking on all counts. Ive heard the amaze and one x so much better. Battery length lasts me all day, I do turn brightness down and gps is off. Storage is fine with sdcard. Makes it nice to store photos. I have played with the s3 and am interested in testing them both. So hats off to both companies, I just wish that they would not be so consumer over ridden with junk software or bloatware.
04/09/2013 at 6:54 am
I’m just gonna wait for both phones to come out and make my decision from there. A spec sheet is just a spec sheet, it doen’t matter what it says if the phone doesn’t perform well in real life. I’m not an Iphone fan, but I appreciate that Apple barely tells us any of the specs of the phone, they just let the actual device do the talking. I’m on an Evo 3d, which at the time had the best spec sheet available, but its a peice of junk. Funny how a phone codenamed “Shooter” has the worst camera I’ve used on a cell phone in a good while. Anyway, once both phones are out, I’ll make my choice, leaning towards the GS$ tho, because I’m a little leary of HTC since their last few releases.
04/09/2013 at 2:24 pm
I have the EVO4g LTE and I have to be honest, this phone passed my expectations. I’ve had the phone since day one and it did live up to the claims. I compared the EVO 4g LTE to my galaxy s3 and notice the difference in build screen resolution and over all user friendliness. HTC jst made sense. The only problem I have with HTC is they don’t support there devices. It seem like after a few monts there phone go on the bargin bin….. This is a problem for me I don’t like spending an arm leg heart and kidny on a phone only for it to be on sale in two months, or worse no updates to the bugs. Ol Sammy on the other timely updates and didn’t feel as buggy…. So I’m still in the middle but seem like ill be getting the s4 simply for the support.
04/09/2013 at 5:14 pm
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04/10/2013 at 4:06 am
samsung galaxy s4 seems to be best
04/10/2013 at 7:22 am
i have had 2 HTC phones ( hero, and evo3d) both needing numerous “softsets” as they have reached a year old. to not have removable battery and be forced to hard reset upon those occurrences scares me. that coupled with the fact that the phone crash after a year needing the resets I will be looking at the s4.
04/10/2013 at 11:50 am
We know what is coming on the Galaxy S4 and the HTC One, and it definitely makes the choice between them even more difficult. Either way, it’s good to know that they both have a new processor, a better camera, and a full HD display. It would be useful for me though, because I like to watch my live and recorded shows on my phone while I’m on my way to and from work at DISH, considering that it takes a bit of time to get there. The DISH Anywhere app is my app I choose for streaming, and I think it’ll work well on the HTC One or the Galaxy S4.
04/15/2013 at 8:49 pm
Dropping VZW for tmobile for the htc one :D
04/16/2013 at 11:46 am
Good idea. I had tmobile since 2003. I left for sprint and now im going back. Tmobile had the best customer service ever.