Now that all of the cards of the biggest global players are on the table, it is absolutely clear that two models are fighting for the title of “smartphone king” this year: the Samsung Galaxy S IV and the HTC One.
Even though these are not the only devices characterized by the most advanced technological features at the moment, after spending some two weeks with both models, it is apparent that these are two of the best Android OS devices out there. They offer a well-rounded combination of hardware, software and multimedia performance. However, if their screens, chipsets, user interfaces, design and back-facing camera options are compared, it turns out that the Galaxy S IV and the One are drastically different devices. So it makes sense to wonder, which of the two smartphones is better?
Let’s start with what is typically the most important element for most flagship purchasers: the display. Both models come with a full HD resolution (1080 x 1920 pixels), but with a difference — the One has a slightly smaller diagonal than Galaxy S IV (4.7 inches compared to 5 inches), which is why it has a marginally greater pixel density (469 ppi compared to 441 ppi). In practice, of course, the difference between the two screens’ sharpness cannot be spotted with the naked eye, and both deserve to be praised. Even the difference in the diagonal length during everyday use is quite unnoticeable; it makes more or less no difference if you are working on a 4.7-inch or a 5-inch display.
Certain differences can, however, be perceived when it comes to contrast. Samsung’s Super AMOLED display offers a tad darker shade of black than HTC’s Super LCD3 screen does and surely its Gorilla Glass 3 is even more resilient than HTC’s Gorilla Glass 2, but the contrast constant when exposed to direct sunlight is better on the HTC model. When it comes to the quality of the screen, both devices deserve a point because both offer excellent imaging, with just slight flaws.
Performance is another important criterion while choosing a top model. However, all previous generations of these devices (Samsung Galaxy S III or HTC One X) had chipsets that offer fluidity on Android OS (regardless of the version) and offer the best experience in practice.
The Galaxy S IV is delivered with one of two types of chipsets — Samsung’s Exynos 5 Octa, which comes with double quad-cores, or Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 600 (with four Krait cores), which is also the hardware used by HTC One. Both phones have 2 GB of RAM and offer nearly the same performance in practice as they do on synthetic benchmarks: supreme results. As far as hardware performance goes, the two devices are very similar and both score a well-deserved point.
However, all similarities end here and the difference that is most evident between the two is the design. Without any doubts, the One wins this round, as it comes with an aluminum unibody, slightly rounded on the back side and at its thickest in the middle (9.3 mm) before slimming down towards the edges (4 mm). The device has a modern look to it and feels fantastic when held in the hand; it seems solid and convincing. In fact, it is surely the most solid HTC model of all time.
On the other hand, Galaxy S IV looks almost identical compared to Galaxy S III, and its entire back side includes the battery cover with a hyper-glazed polycarbonate finish. The device also feels great when held in hand, but does not look like a flagship at all nor feels like it to the touch. It is good that its battery is interchangeable, but it cannot measure up to One with its craftsmanship and appearance.
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