Head-To-Head: HTC One Vs. Samsung Galaxy S4

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The highly anticipated Galaxy S4 is out, and Samsung's flagship smartphone looks to make an immediate impact in the mobile device market. But before the Galaxy S4 can take on Samsung's archrival Apple and the iPhone, it has another Android smartphone to contend with: the HTC One. HTC's new flagship phone was launched in March, beating the Galaxy S4 by about a month. Now the two smartphones are lined up to battle it out for Android dominance. So how does these two devices measure up?

CPU, GPU And Memory

Both the HTC One and Galaxy S4 use Qualcomm's Snapdragon 600 system-on-a-chip (SoC). But the processors are a bit different: The HTC One comes with a 1.7GHz quad-core Krait 300 processor, while the North American version of the Galaxy S4 comes with a slightly faster 1.9GHz Krait 300. So Samsung's device gets a bit of an edge here. For the record, Samsung also released an international version of the new phone with an eight-core Exynos 5 Octa SoC.

Both devices come with 2 GB of LPDDR3 RAM, and both devices also user Qualcomm Snapdragon's Adreno 320 GPU for graphics power, so the two smartphones are evenly matched in the memory and graphics departments.


The Galaxy S4 and HTC One both have HD displays with 1920 x 1080 resolutions. But there are some subtle differences between the two devices. First is the size of the display: the Galaxy S4 has a 5-inch screen while the HTC One has a 4.7-inch screen. Samsung's device has 441 pixels per inch (PPI), while HTC's phone, with smaller real estate, has a slightly higher PPI at 469.

Then there's the display type. The Galaxy S4, like previous Samsung phones, uses a Super AMOLED (Active-Matrix Organic Light-Emitting Diode) display technology, where as the HTC One uses IPS (In-Plane Switching) technology, as does Apple's iPhone. So what's the difference between these two acronyms? Not much, actually. Super AMOLED is an older display technology while IPS is newer and reportedly better for color contrast and less oversaturation. It's a close contest, and it may depend on preference -- for those who like bigger screens, the Galaxy S4 is the phone of choice. But for those who care more about cutting-edge technology, go with the HTC One.

Design & Dimensions

The HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S4 are once again closely matched in the form-factor department. Weighing in at 5 ounces, HTC's device measures 5.41 inches long, 2.69 inches wide and 0.37 inches thick. But Samsung's latest Galaxy phone comes in lighter and thinner, weighing 4.6 ounces and measuring 5.38 inches long, 2.75 inches wide and 0.31 inches thick.

Dimensions aside, the HTC One wins points for its case design. The Galaxy S4, like its predecessors, comes in a plastic body, where as HTC's device features a smoother aluminum rear cover that's a little more pleasing to both the eyes and hands.


The Galaxy S4 got a major camera upgrade; Samsung boosted the rear camera's megapixel count to 13 from the Galaxy S3's 8 megapixels. The Galaxy S4's rear camera also supports HD video recording with a host of features: panoramic view, image stabilization, high dynamic range (HDR) mode, and more. The font camera offers 2 megapixels and also support HD video recording -- and it can record video at the same time as the rear camera. All in all, it's a pretty impressive package.

The HTC One, however, takes a different approach. The device's rear camera has just a 4-megapixel sensor, but thanks to its UltraPixel technology, the device can perform better in low-light environments. And while it's not as feature rich as the Galaxy S4, the HTC One's Zoe mode, which records four seconds of video with every photo taken, has been praised by reviewers and critics. The phone's 2.1-megapixel front camera also supports HD video recording.


The Samsung Galaxy S4 comes in 16-, 32- or 64-GB models. The device's internal storage can also be supplemented with an additional 64 GB through a microSD card slot.

The HTC One, however, only comes in 32- and 64-GB models and only has a microSD card slot for Chinese versions of the device. So HTC One owners in North America are out luck if they want expanded storage.


The Samsung Galaxy S4 shipped with the slightly newer 4.2 version of Google's Android operating system, as opposed to the HTC One's 4.1.2. But a future Android update will level the playing field at some point.

Even though both smartphones run Android, they have distinctly different user interfaces. For example, the HTC One comes with a new version of HTC's GUI overlay called Sense, which has a simple design and also integrates live news and social media updates through the new "BlinkFeed" feature; users can switch back to the older, busier version of Sense.

The Samsung Galaxy S4, meanwhile, uses the same TouchWiz interface as the Galaxy S3 and comes with other compelling features: Air Gestures, which allows users to control apps and features without actually touching the screen; Smart Scroll, which automatically scrolls the display when the device is tilted at an angle; and Smart Pause, which detects when users aren't viewing the display and pauses video. The HTC One has a simpler, cleaner interface but the Galaxy S4 has more cutting-edge technology.

Bottom Line

The Samsung Galaxy S4 and HTC One will likely become the top two Android smartphones on the market. The competing devices have similar technical specs and are closely matched in many ways, right down to the price; both base models cost approximately $200 with a wireless contract, though the HTC One's introductory model has more storage (32 GB to the Galaxy S4's 16 GB).

The differences come down to features: Samsung has packed its device with more bells and whistles than the HTC One, but HTC's device wins points for its design and no frills interface. Overall, users that prefer a simpler, easy-to-use smartphone experience will want to try the HTC One, while customers desiring a more feature-rich experience will gravitate toward the Samsung Galaxy S4.