By Sami Mughal
This spring, we have a clash of titans. HTC have released the ONE phone to rule them all, while Samsung have only gone and improved on what was pretty much the best phone last year, and given us the Galaxy S4. What this does mean for the consumer is that if you are in the market to buy a new phone, and want to get the best Android in the smartphone but not phablet range, it is a tough choice. Both phones are great, both have high end specs, both are very impressive when it comes to numbers, and both will cost you pretty much the same. Here we do a run down on what both phones offer, and how they compare against each other.
The HTC ONE is longer and thicker than the S4, but the S4 is wider. HTC ONE weighs 13g more than the S4 as well. While the S4 clearly wins on weight, the width of a phone is a tricky one, and thinner width does mean a phone is easier to slide in and out of your pocket. However, since the screen on HTC ONE is 0.3” less than the S4, the S4 wins this one.
Look and Feel:
HTC One packs in a brushed aluminium case with carefully designed curves and a good feel on your hand. The S4 is very similar to the S3, and feels plastic. Clear winner is HTC ONE.
HTC ONE and GS4 offer the same resolution, but the GS4 has a bigger screen at 5.0” vs 4.7”. That does mean that the ONE has a higher ppi density, but more or less they have similar vibrant colours. The screen also features gestures and works with gloves. Winner is S4.
HTC ONE packs in Boom Sound which means it gives you a Beats Audio powered speaker in your pocket. While this will not replace something which is an actual sound system and speaker system, it is actually better than most tinny little speakers that run on Bluetooth these days. With complete stereo sound and powerful voice, the HTC ONE wins this one.
This is a tricky one. HTC ONE have announced a new kind of technology called UltraPixel, but only pack in 4MP. GS4 however, packs in 13MP, which is in line with most decent point and shoots. However, ONE also includes Image stabilization, and the new sensor technology can not be ignored. A close contest, but the brave move by HTC actually wins them some points.
Removable Battery and Expandable Storage:
S4 yes. HTC ONE, no. Winner: S4
S4, 4.2.2 vs ONE, 4.1.2. While One promises to upgrade soon, this could be at any time. Winner: S4.
Both phones actually pack in IR emitters, which means you can control your TVs and other devices. This becomes handy as you can use your phone not just as a remote control, but using your phone, you can set up reminders, change channels, and perform various actions you’d do using a remote.
Touchwiz vs Sense UI:
Both phones pack in their own Skin on top of Android. This can be a hit and miss for many. Samsung’s Touchwiz stays close to Android while HTC have perfected their Sense UI since the days they were producing Windows Phones. It is a close contest, and is almost an acquired taste. However, both skins mean that a lot of things that are straight forward in stock Android, are not so in these. However, with Blinkfeed as a news feature on top of HTC ONE, it is further from regular Android.
S4 with 4.2.2 will give you lock screen widgets, while HTC ONE with Sense already offers them in their own way.
S4 gives you toggles in the notification area, while HTC ONE requires you to go to settings or use on screen widgets to access these.
Multi-window, which is something Samsung have already offered as an option the Notes have now come on the S4. This is something that can make your life easier in many ways, and provides true multi-tasking experience. This lacks in the HTC ONE.
Airview, which allows you to hover your finger above items on the screen.
Air gestures, which senses what way your hand is swiping above phone, and can be used to turn pages etc.
Smart Screen, which pauses a video and turns your screen off if you are not looking at your screen.
The above three are also only found in the S4, but not the HTC ONE.
On terms of Sound, HTC ONE have partnered again with BEATS. They have software that picks up more information about your tracks and can show lyrics using a Karaoke style window. There is also a built in FM Radio, which the S4 lacks. S4 does offer you track information too, but it also packs in features like Auto Volume, which will normalize track volumes. It also allows Group Play, which allows you to play the same song over many phones. Gimmicky yes, but fun, yes.
For TV, both phones feature IR abilities to act as remote control. They both have Miracast support and can use MHL dongles. S4 does pack in more codecs for videos.
HTC ZOE, which is only available on HTC, allows you to capture a 3 second long clip, and you can either take images from it later, or use it as a ‘highlights’ video for your album. Cool. Once again gimmicky but fun. S4 doesn’t do this, but it will allow you to take a photo with sound, so you can relive a moment such as being out on the sea, a windy day, in a club, etc.
S Health and S translate, are two features that could prove to be really useful for the health conscious and the travellers. With Google Translate already offering a lot, it still needs to be seen how much better S translate is. The Health app is one of many out there as well, and it is another one which will need to be tested by many before we know if it is any useful. However, them being there makes a big difference.
As expected, both phones have a wide range of accessories available, and they can both be found at our friend Mobile Fun’s website.
You can find S4 Accessories at Mobile Fun, as well as HTC ONE accessories. These include both genuine accessories from the manufacturers as well a great deal of 3rd party accessories.
Okay, I will definitely get one of these two. Where do I get them?
You can get the HTC ONE at the following link from Vodafone:
And the Samsung Galaxy S4 at the following link:
We, of course, thank Vodafone for sending us this review sample of HTC ONE.
A tough one this. On many features and plain numbers, the S4 is a clear winner, while the HTC ONE offers a better look and feel. It almost comes down to a personal preference. With numbers so close, and based on my research, I’d ideally like the S4 in an HTC ONE shell, but hey, you can’t have everything!
Read our quick review of first impressions of the HTC ONE here: