Samsung Galaxy S4 Vs HTC One: Battle of the 2013 Flagship Smartphones

The Samsung Galaxy S4 and the HTC One will soon be going head to head on the market. with the recently released HTC One having a slight head start against Galaxy S4, which gets its U.S. release in a few days. Both smartphones have received rave reviews and have already sold out on several carriers and retailers.

As the 2013 flagship smartphones for their respective manufacturers, the Galaxy S4 and HTC boast some impressive specs and some of the most innovative technology currently available.  But can we determine which the better phone is? Let’s compare them and decide.

Dimensions

Many may gripe at the Galaxy S4’s polycarbonate exterior, but it likely contributes to the device being slightly lighter, at 130 grams, than the HTC One, which features an aluminum unibody and weighs 143 grams.

When it comes to dimensions, we see the larger Galaxy S4 boasting a 5-inch screen, while the HTC One has a more standard 4.7-inch screen. Some may say bigger isn’t always better, as the S4’s large screen affects the pixel density of its 1920 x 1080 Full HD Super AMOLED display at 440ppi. The 1920 x 1080 Full HD LCD 3 display on the HTC One has a pixel density of 468ppi due to its smaller screen size. The Galaxy S4 is slightly thinner than the HTC One, while the HTC One is a bit taller than the Galaxy S4.

Additionally, the HTC one is protected with Corning’s Gorilla Glass 2, but is slightly behind in innovation as the Galaxy S4 has Gorilla Glass 3.

Internals

Looking under the hood, both devices pack admirable processing power. The Galaxy S4 comes in two variants: one with an Exynos 5 Octa processor that clocks in between 1.6 GHz to 1.8 GHz and the other a Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 processor that clocks in at 1.9 GHz. The HTC One features the same Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 processor, but it clocks in at 1.7 GHz, making the Galaxy S4 the more speedy and powerful selection for both its variants.

Both devices include 2 GB of RAM while the Galaxy S4 comes in variants that contain 16 GB, 32 GB and 64 GB of internal storage as well as a microSD slot that holds up to 64GB of storage. The HTC One comes in variants that contain 32 GB and 64 GB of internal storage and doesn’t include a microSD slot due to its aluminum unibody that cannot be opened. While the Galaxy S4 has more storage options and is expandable, the HTC One offers beefier storage options right off the bat.

The Galaxy S4 runs Android 4.2.2 and is the first non-Nexus device to ship with that operating system, while the HTC One runs Android 4.1.2, which can be upgraded to Android 4.2.2. Both devices come with user interfaces standard to their manufacturers; the Galaxy S4 uses the TouchWiz UI and the HTC One uses the HTC Sense UI.

Camera

Samsung especially focused on the Galaxy S4’s camera, giving its device a 13-megapixel main camera, able to shoot at 1080p, as well as a 2-megapixel front facing camera. On top of a slew of standard camera options, it also includes a number of special features such as Dual Shot, which captures an image of the photographer and superimposes it onto the photo taken, Sound & Shot, which allows users to record messages as they take photos, and Drama Shot, which captures several frames and compiles them into one photo, giving the impression of movement. Samsung especially raised the bar in camera technology considering most other smartphones still feature an 8-megapixel camera.

In comparison, the HTC One has a 4-megapixel main camera, able to shoot film at 1080p, though its front-facing camera that captures images at 2.1 megapixels is slightly more powerful than the Galaxy S4’s. It features all the standard camera options, but none of the special features that we see on the S4.

Battery

The Galaxy S4 features a removable 2,600 mAh Li-Ion battery and the HTC One features a non-removable 2,300 mAh Li-Polymer battery.

Features, Sensors and Connectivity

Both devices include a number of standard features including DLNA, GPS navigation, a graphics accelerator, HD playback, and microphone; however, the Galaxy S4 lacks the FM receiver and FM transmitter featured on the HTC One, while the HTC One lacks an infrared blaster featured on the Galaxy S4.

The many sensors in both devices include an accelerometer, a barometer, digital compass, GPS and gyroscope. The Galaxy S4 goes a step further, not only including humidity, thermometer, proximity, gesture, geomagnetic and hall sensors, but many of its sensors also power many special features the device contains, including Air Gesture, Direct Call and S Health.

Other special features on the Galaxy S4 include Group Play, which allows enabled devices to share music and other media wirelessly, S Translator, which allows for text and voice translating of up to eight languages, and Watch ON, which allows for the controlling and watching of TV from your Galaxy S4 handset, among many others. The HTC One is notably low on special features; however, it does include a feature called BlinkFeed, which turns the handset into a news and social hub allowing updates from several media.

Both devices feature a full range of connectivity options including 3G, 4G, Bluetooth, Infrared, Mobile Hotspot Tethering, NFC and WiFi.

Carriers and Retailers

The Galaxy S4 will be available on seven U.S. carriers, including AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon Wireless, U.S. Cellular and Cricket, as well as at retailers including Staples, Radio Shack, Best Buy, Walmart, Costco, Sam’s Club, Target and Amazon.

The HTC One is available at four U.S. carriers including AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless, as well as at retailers including Radio Shack, Best Buy, Walmart, Costco, Sam’s Club, Target, Car Toys, HSN, Amazon and directly from HTC.

Price and Availability

The HTC One is already available in the U.S. and the 32 GB handset is priced at $199.99 with a two-year contract on most carriers. HTC is selling the 32 GB HTC One unlocked for $574.99 and the 64 GB Developer Edition for $649.99.

The Galaxy S4 begins its U.S. release this week, with AT&T customers who pre-ordered early expected to receive their phones as early as Thursday. Most carriers will sell the 16 GB Galaxy S4 for between $199.99 and $249.99 on most major carriers, with many other carriers and retailers offering various discounts and subsidies.

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