Android Central

The UK's Alex Dobie and the USA's Phil Nickinson take on two of the year's hottest phones

With the release of the Samsung Galaxy S4, the Android smartphone battle lines are drawn. Samsung’s new flagship will go up against the HTC One, and it’s sure to be a fierce fight. Samsung needs to maintain the lead it established in 2012; for HTC, the future of the company depends on the success of the HTC One.

So which one should you buy? As always, it’s never as simple as recommending one device over the other. That’s why we’re launching into a little discussion with Alex and Phil, where we’ll try to spell out exactly where each device is strongest.

Join us after the break as we go back and forth on the HTC One versus Galaxy S4. There’s also a good old-fashioned video comparison, if you’re into that sort of thing.

More: Samsung Galaxy S4 review

Build Quality

Phil Nickinson: I’m still not sold on an all-plastic phone being “worse” than something else. HTC’s done plenty of plastic phones. “Polycarbonate,” even. Same goes for Samsung and everyone else out there. But I’d defy anyone to say that the Galaxy S4 has a better industrial design than the HTC One. Maybe it’s the new-car smell. Or maybe it’s because HTC’s done something new here for us in Android land. There’s nothing inherently wrong with what Samsung has here -- and chances are the GS4 is much cheaper to produce. But after using an aluminum phone for a month or so now. I wanted the plastic chrome edge of the GS4 to be actual chrome-plated aluminum.

That’s probably not realistic, but it’s what I wanted to see, picking up the Galaxy S4 again.

Alex Dobie: Materials, like any design decision, are a compromise. Samsung’s choice of plastic means it gets a thin and light device; HTC trades this in in favor of a more premium finish. Samsung’s aimed to create a different kind of device, in line with its earlier design language. It wants its curved, shiny designs to achieve iconic status, and so it’s shipped its new flagship in an S3-like chassis. Neither is the right choice, but I personally prefer HTC’s set of compromises to Samsung’s.

Galaxy S4, HTC One.

Size

Phil: I actually prefer the size and overall feel of the Galaxy S4. It just fits better in my hand. I had the same complaint about the Droid DNA, and it shares the overall design of the HTC One. Samsung’s done well to squeeze in a larger display in the same footprint.

I’m still going back and forth over the redesign of the rear of the phone. The pebble shape of the Galaxy S3 was nice. The GS4 is a little less artsy, a little less of the “inspired by nature” thing, and more of a smartphone, perhaps. That’s not a horrible thing.

Alex: I’m a fan of the overall size and shape of the Galaxy S4. Samsung’s managed to cram a 5-inch screen into the same profile as its earlier device, and it deserves praise for that.

As much as I like the HTC One, it’s just a little bit awkward to palm in one hand, and that’s due in part to its unorthodox button setup. When it comes to ergonomics, Samsung has it nailed. That said, the curved back of the HTC One may be a good fit for those with larger hands.

Galaxy S4, HTC One.

Software

Alex: HTC’s approach is measured and design-centric, Samsung’s is bright, colorful, a little chaotic and very feature-focused. HTC’s minimalist Sense 5 software is a good match for its external designs, whereas with Samsung every individual component feels like it’s been designed separately. The Samsung Hub looks great on its own, but it deosn’t look anything like the rest of the OS. Sense, on the other hand, has some continuity to it.

Phil: TouchWiz is still TouchWiz. I’m nonplussed, and have been for some time. That’s not to say it’s not decent, and it’s nicely refined. But I’ll also probably be using another launcher on top of it.

That said, kudos to Samsung for shoehorning Android 4.2.2 into it -- but it still seems like there’s some optimization left to be done. (When is there not, though?)

Galaxy S4, HTC One.

Features

Alex: Samsung wins hands down on features -- there’s just more stuff that the Galaxy S4 can do. The S4 has more bells and whistles, like air view and air gesture, and I can’t deny there’s a futuristic feel to being able to wave around in front of you device and have it respond in an intuitive way.

That said, HTC has some interesting points in its favor, like its excellent Zoe photo capabilities and Zoe Share service.

Phil: More features isn’t necessarily better. There’s a lot of stuff going on here. A lot of good stuff -- and the implementation, especially in the camera app -- is better than the HTC One. But is it too much for the average user? That’s a big concern for me. It’s a lot for the seasoned smartphone expert.

Galaxy S4, HTC One.

Camera

Alex: For me, it comes down to whether daylight or low-light performance is more important to you. The Galaxy S4’s 13-megapixel camera has the potential to suck in more detail in daylight, while the HTC One’s 4-megapixel “Ultrapixel” shooter trounces it indoors and at night. For me, the S4’s superior dynamic range and exceptional camera app pull it slightly ahead of the HTC One -- though I’m already missing Zoes and Zoe Share.

Phil: I’ve had to go through those trade-offs once this year already. I miss Photospheres. I’d certainly miss Video Highlights from the HTC One. I’m not sure I want to give that up for Samsung’s still-image galleries.

The Galaxy S4 versus HTC One discussion is sure to be played out online and in stores for weeks and months ahead. Be sure to weigh in down in the comments, and over in our Samsung Galaxy S4 forums.

 

Reader comments

Samsung Galaxy S4 versus HTC One: The editors face off

160 Comments

A "good" comparison? One that devotes 3 paragraphs to a totally subjective discussion of "build quality", studiously avoiding any attempt to be objective by at least attempting to use some metrics to evaluate the build quality?

All while NEVER EVEN MENTIONING (in the written article), 2 of the BIGGEST differentiators between these phones. Feel in the hand, and APPEARANCE of higher build quality do not make one single bit of functional difference to the consumer. But, being able to expand storage by adding a microSD card makes a HUGE functional difference. And being able to swap out the battery when the stock one stops holding a charge very well - or even during days of heavy usage when you can't afford to be tethered to a wall or your car - is another HUGE functional difference.

Sure. Good comparison.

"Feel in the hand, and APPEARANCE of higher build quality do not make one single bit of functional difference to the consumer." Really? That seems like the exact opposite to me. Your comments about the microSD storage and removable battery (while beaten to death) are valid but you can't really believe that the feel of a device isn't a functional part of it's appeal for most consumers, can you?

Correct. You are talking about aesthetics, not function. If they had said one is slippery and the other not, or something like that, then it would be a functional difference.

Look, I am a huge proponent of function over form and wish that people who buy phones because of how they look would remove themselves from the gene pool. But I think the way it feels in your hand is definitely important. For example, I prefer thin and light phones myself, as well as tablets. For this reason, I actually prefer using a Galaxy Nexus over a Nexus 4, because the latter feels like a damn brick in my hand. (I still use the Nexus 4 because the data speeds on it are faster, but had it not been for that, I would've sold the Nexus 4 and kept using the Gnex.) I'll take plastic builds over metal if they're easier to hold.

It just so happens in my case that the phone in this comparison with the microSD and removable battery also feels better in my hand, or this choice would be a lot more difficult :)

Agreed. What boggled my mind was that one reviewer (david something) actually said that S4 is slippery AND fingerprint magnet .. heck why didn't he give even a little squeak about the real finger magnet and slippery back of the iPhone 4?

Personally for me, I prefer the feel of the plastic which Samsung actually used. Doubt if it is really top grade plastic composite but it seems to be reasonably well spec and is NOT your run of the mill plastic material used in your PVC bottle :P.

But what really gets my goat everything is the fact that after Stevie pulled a blinder over their eyes, suddenly Aluminium is a "premium" material :P while in fact it is one of the cheapest and weaker and softer metal around. You want premium, as I have said so many times, wait till they start to use stainless steel or better, then we will be talking.

A few points that I noticed are somewhat fallible, which would degrade the point of your argument:

1.) Aluminum is, comparatively, very very expensive. By weight, it is worth approximately 4x that of bulk steel, and approximately 6-8x that of polycarbonate. It is more costly to machine aluminum than polycarbonate. In addition, aluminum can hold much much tighter machining tolerances, which means that you can design less "slop" into the part to ensure proper mating to the rest of the parts in the device, and you can use a unibody aluminum sheel of proper thickness to create extra rigidity that is not present in thinner formed polycarbonate pieces. With all of the above taken into account, that is why aluminum is viewed as a premium material; because it is.

2.) The Motorola Razr used a diamond-cut stainless-steel internal frame. However, as a device shell material it would either be light but too thin and easily bent, or strong and exceptionally heavy for a mobile device. That's why aluminum is used, it's strength-to-weight ratio is much much greater than nearly any kind of steel.

3.) I would agree that Samsung uses one of the higher-grade plastics in their designs, but it still cannot design with as much precision for fit-and-finish purposes as it could if it were using aluminum for its designs. Hence, the extra "give" that is required to keep it manufacturable is felt by the end user, such that it will feel obviously less rigid. Samsung also does not do themselves any favors by attempting to make the device look like it is made of a more rigid material, as then it will feel even worse as the mind is subconsciously trying to consolidate what the device looks like it should feel like and what it actually feels like.

Sorry for the rant, but I thought you might like to know the above so that you can refine your arguments in the future.

all this is talk of PERCEIVED build quality... Besides that... whats the FIRST thing 90% of the people buying the phone will do... PUT A DAMN CASE ON IT. So who gives a flying CRAP what it feels like without one one. ITs gonna feel like TPU when i get mine. Dont really care whats underneath

I purchased both the htc one and the s4 for me and my wife as we were both due for new phones. I gave the s4 to my wife as she does not really care what phone she has and I kept the htc one. After 2 days my wife was loving the s4 and I was coping with the htc one, my previous phone was the galaxy note and I was just to used to it so I swapped phones with her gave her the htc and I took the s4. after the first day she was complaining and wanted the s4 back F*#K I wanted to slap her, I didn't want the htc but i swapped again just to keep her happy which is weird because she usually doesn't care what phone she is using.

My beef with this is that Aluminium is NOT that much of a better material, especially considering the fact that it is one of the cheapest and weaker and softer material and is so prone to scratches and dents.

So when you talk about the feel of a device, are you talking about the feel it gives through 3 mm of plastic covering? :P

I would say MOST consumers (a vast majority) won't fill up a 16GB phone. Much less a 32GB phone on the HTC One.

But you know what every single consumer is guaranteed to do? Hold the device. Feel the device. Look at the device.

A lot of people live where there's no LTE coverage. Would that then be a reason to not mention it in a comparison, if one of these phones didn't support LTE?

Just because 16gig is enough for some people doesn't mean a comparison should leave out mentioning that one phone has 16gig max, and the other is expandable.

FYI, it is not that hard to fill up 32 GB if you use lots of apps (some apps are even 1GB in size) and store your music and photo and movie on the phone (you know .. so that you don't need to stream it everytime and USE UP your limited data plan). Your "won't fill up 16GB phone" comment is so 2011 ....

As for holding the device, guess what? Most will place a cover over their phone, to protect it. And for an Aluminium phone (which btw, since so many people don't seems to realise it, is one of the softer and weaker and cheapest metal around), a cover become a MUST since it is so prone to scuff, scratches and dents. :P

If you are going to try and shoot down some one else s comment you might want to use spell check! Just saying.

It was a good, brief comparison, then. Sheesh.

From personal experience, I came from the samsung captivate, which included the ability to have a micro SD card and removable battery. As a current owner of the One X, I don't miss those options at all because battery life is fantastic with medium use (texting, making several 5 minute calls, and watching a few HD videos on youtube and listening to an hour of music using using LTE). I come home at 6pm with 40% battery left. The expandable storage issue doesn't bother me because I can sync my songs from iTunes to Play Music. People who use a galaxy nexus or a nexus 4 adapted to this. Individuals who will purchase the HTC One can, and will, adapt, too.

Are you fortunate enough to have an Unlimited Data plan?

If not, how do you feel about paying your carrier every time you listen to a song that you already own that has to be streamed down to your phone from "the Cloud"?

You can pin whatever songs, albums or playlists you want, any time you want, to any device. Why stream it? One just has to be more proactive if they're not willing to use their data.

You just stated the problem in your statement. Majority of people are not proactive and are lazy and want things handed to them rather then do some homework and research around a problem. Glad I am not one of them. My problems between the phones are not the materials used, like previously mentioned I will just throw a case on the phone anyway. I am a photographer and watch plenty of videos on my device. So what pay off do I lean towards. I am surprised they did not mention the HTC "Boom" audio stereo speakers on the front of the phone, which also add to its overall length. Do I lean towards the 13 mp lens that the GS4 offers which will provide better details at larger sizes vs the larger sensor of the HTC which provides better light saturation. THEY BOTH ARE GREAT PHONES IN DIFFERENT WAYS. REMEMBER PEOPLE TO EACH THERE OWN.

Since I've been with at&t for a while I managed to get 3GB of LTE and unlimited edge (which is pointless). And you can pin music while using your wifi at home for offline listening as you travel. I only have 4GB of music so it doesn't take up too much space.

I can see why people would choose the galaxy s4 over the One, though. I think they're using wolfson dac for the galaxy s4, which is good. But I still prefer HTC One because of the screen and build quality. SLCD is really nice. I don't ever want to go back to SAMOLED tbh lol

Both of those BIGGEST differentiators are non-starting non-issues. SD Cards are not supported by Android; they are outdated. Phones should have more internal storage, I'm honestly not sure why we're not seeing 128GB or even 256GB devices, the storage is cheap enough on the OEM side and doesn't add much internal volume. As for the battery... we need to be pushing them to improve battery life, not removable sucky batteries. That is a bandaid and we want a cure. Batteries should last weeks, not hours, and some of the new tech in that field has the potential to do so... but as long as we tell them we want weak removable batteries, the adoption rate of new the tech will be slow.

@StuartV @BigDinCA @NothingIsTrue

Stuart im behind your concerns and points 100%. For what its worth it was a decent review though, and im not sure if you listen/watch the podcasts on this site but Alex and Phil do have a bit of bias towards the One, as do most tech android die-hards this time around. That being said Id like to bring you back to 2012: The One X is being lauded and praised for its new oxidized super high tech frame that, meticulous drilled speaker holes at the top, beats audio, new display, simplified Sense - and the list goes on. Until the GS3 came and the masses spoke. The same lauders of the One X's build quality laughed the s3 to scorn. We know what happened next. The things that people of our kind (phone buffs)were saying would fail and were gimmicky did extremely well. And blew the One X to smithereens. This will happen again. At the end of the day, when a case is put on each phone and all you have to play with is the screen and software...the 4 brings way more to the table.

+ 1! Even tho in my opinion the s4 didn't leave even one aspect of the s3 untouched, ( i mean they even moved the Home Button up which now will less likely prevent the device from tipping when you press it while holding it one handed) the s4's improvements are being wayyyyy understated by ALMOST every reviewer, which seems funny to me because from design, to feel, to display, to battery, to speed, to features, storage capacity (sgs 3 didn't have a 64 GB version) to screen protection (gor glas 3) the phone has practically gotten an ENTIRE OVERHAUL,and yet MOST reviewers won't admit it & just can't go "there" and i am not really sure why, but all i know is mine is on order and i am sure i will be very satisfied with the new, improved, updated, and amazing SGS 4! BTC

And it appears that, while they did mention that the S4 has a 5" screen, they forgot to ever mention what size the One screen is. Or even that it is significantly smaller than the S4 screen!

Reading this article would totally leave the reader with the impression that their screens are the same size and the One is just slightly bigger overall.

.3 of an inch is significantly smaller? If I came up to you with an HTC One 4 months ago and asked you what you think of this 5 inch screen, you probably wouldn't even question it.

Yes, on a screen of these sizes, 0.3" is significant. Not HUGE. Not life changing. But, it is definitely not insignificant.
If I came up to you with 2 identical Ones, same exterior dimensions, but one had a 4.7" screen and one had a 5", and let you pick one to keep, how many people (out of 100, say) do you think would pick the 4.7?

The S 4 feels much better than I expected, especially the buttons, but it lags. Big negative Samsung that Touchwiz is that bloated. I also prefer the HTC One screen.

Both these phones are just innovation at its fines each one does something way better than the last. The HTC just has my attraction atm, that build quality, polish and especially the design with front facing speakers, it seems so obivious of a feature now that they have implemented it. I hope they settle on that issue surrounding them atm.

As I thought, these phones are both the best possible phones out there. Each has their own advantages and disadvantages over the other and that's fine. With 2 phones this good to choose from there is no possible wrong choice.

But Samsung is getting better at updates, you'll be lucky to get KLP on the htc one a year from now and Samsung will probably have KLP on their phones in 6 months, if updates don't concern you and not having the latest and greatest innovation is no big deal then you can't go wrong.

I'd love to have the HTC one if it offered a stock version, with some luck maybe the dev's might be able to put stock roms on it. Also the 4 mp is kind of sad, they can call it what ever they want but its still a 4 mp, but to me the trade off is the boom speaker system, that alone makes up for the camera IMO. I'd love for all phones to have the new style that htc did with the double speakers.

You can easily pick a phone on every carrier and say the same thing. The issue isn't with the OEM, its with your carrier. Sometimes carriers don't want to update phone's because they would rather have YOU the consumer have to buy the next phone to get the latest software. It's not a general thing, each situation is different but I bet the carrier is the one not wanting to issue the update.

For example, look at the Galaxy Nexus on VRZ. How does a nexus device not get updates? Well go ask a vrz customer with a Gnex. Such is life i guess.

Exactly! I can look at multiple examples on T-Mobile where the OEM has updated the international version of a phone, T-Mobile promised to update their version in the future, and then came back later saying they just weren't going to do it.

Ditto again! Sprint did a great job of updating the Nexus S and ATT did nothing. It's the carrier not the manufacturer.

More megapixles isn't always better, in fact it can actually degrade image quality while decreasing the products light sensitivity by trying to pack all of those pixels into such a tight space. The only time having all of the pixels really comes in handy is when you're doing some serious cropping and image alteration... and for that, most people who care will be be using a legit camera for their photography needs, not their phone.

Check out HowStuffWorks website and thier "It's all geek to me" video about the "Megapixel Myth".

Interesting, I wouldn't trade my N4 for either of them straight up. If I HAD to, though, it'd be the One.

Agreed. Especially since I'd want to tos CM on it (I don't like Sense or TouchWiz) and Sammy has screwed with so much stuff that the CM guys have said they won't be supporting the GSIV.

forgot to mention how hot the htc one gets after streaming video, my friend started streaming a video and after 10-15 minutes his hands were sweating pretty bad.

Not necessarily a bad thing. I rather have a heat going to aluminum shell than nearby electronic components.

I know you said "it’s never as simple as recommending one device over the other," but was it wrong of me to expect Phil and Alex to actually pick their preference at the end of the comparisons??

If you watch Samsung Galaxy S4 Review Podcast Special (It's a couple articles on top of this one.) and switch to 19:50. Phil asks Alex to give a 1-10 score for the S4 and Alex said he thinks it's an 8 while he considers the HTC One a 9.

Haha I've been thinking this for months.

As for the comparison, I think they could have said more about which they think they will use. Hopefully they will talk about that more in the future.

If Sammy's next iteration of the s or note series doesn't have some type of metal these reviews are going to be less n less about capabilities, which the s4 wins hands down.

Personally I've been giving advantage to the S4.. I've owned the original Galaxy S, and S2, and a One X, and both companies are continuing their heritage. Sure, the HTC One looks more expensive and has better materials (although note that the front aluminum pieces are NOT part of a unibody, they fall off during impact).. but its the little, every day things that count to me.

What I mean is that the S4 has its power button on the side, which makes it easier to turn on when in your palm or on the table. It has a brighter, easier to identify LED notification. It has 3 front buttons, instead of 2. Its thinner and lighter, yet has a larger screen. The battery is swappable. The notification panel has a wifi toggle, brightness toggle, and more.. I have to adjust these a lot on my One X. Smart stay is very useful because I read webpages a lot, as well as smart rotation (or w/e its called). Samsung also has more transition animations, which I prefer because it helps everything look smoother, the One doesnt have as many animations. Also, Blinkfeed cannot be removed, which sucks.

The HTC One does have far superior speakers, if only due to placement, but given the other disadvantages, its not enough.

The speakers are superior due to the placement as well as their individual amplifiers. And you're correct: the speaker grilles aren't part of the unibody construction, but they couldn't be unless the screen and internal components could bend when they were installed. More importantly, who gives a crap if they pop off when you drop your phone onto flagstone, in the Hollywood hills, from 5 1/2 feet up? When my screen is broken I could give two shits about the speaker grille needing to be put back on. The other stuff is your opinion and is shared by many people, including myself in some respects, but your swappable battery and transition animations don't do anything for you when your screen is shattered.

The Led Notification one the One is small. But it is super bright and extremely noticeable. I haven't seen brightness comparisons but if the One had a brighter led it would be annoying.
I got used to the new power button location in about an hour, forgot about the old location in a couple of days.
The thinner and lighter are almost microscopic differences. Teh thinnesss of the edge of the One is very nice.
Blinkfeed is much better than I expected. I expected to get rid of it but use it many times a day.
You really need to hold moth devices, give them a fair reckoning.

Blinkfeed can be turned off...and you can't remove any of the crap on either phone. The S4 has slower responsiveness , thats appalling to see in a new phone. It will be worse after installing a ton of apps. Repairability of the One is really bad a 7 on ifixit's scale thats a killer.

Exactly..lag when switching screens etc. WTF Samsung? Really? You had Jelly Bean and this kind of hardware to work with and you come up with a laggy phone in 2013?

My vote is the One. I can't get over the stereo speakers, and the beautiful design. Yeah its lacking some features and running a SLIGHTLY older version of android but if just seems like a solid phone over a and I'm pulling for HTC to make a come back!

I probably will skip upgrading this year. I hope HTC will keep the design of the One for their future phone next year. I really like the look of the One.

I know I'm in the minority here, but I actually prefer the looks AND the plastic (there, I said it!) of the S4 over the One (and I've handled a LOT more aluminum than most people...lol). They are both great looking devices though and really it doesn't matter too much because I would put a case on either one anyway. I think the thing that most impresses me with the One is that someone finally got a clue and put front facing stereo speakers on a smartphone! That said, if the S4 is as good as the Note 2, its rear single speaker should be pretty impressive considering what it is. For the most part, I could go either way on this one. Good thing I just got my Note 2 a month ago so I don't have to make this decision. My better half though may want to finally move away from the iPhoney and these will surely be the top two contenders. The One (or something very similar) needs to come to Verizon though or the decision will be really easy.

I agree. I haven't handled the S4 yet, but I've seen the S3, and the plastic back didn't phase me at all. In fact, most phones are NOT made of metal, so I don't know why everyone is acting as if Samsung did something so horrible by using plastic.

It's fine if you like the look of the One better (and it IS beautiful, mostly -- not a big fan of the black border around the screen on the white model), but I can't help but feel that criticism of the S4's material is just a reason to help people feel better about choosing the One, or a reason to not like the S4.

I wanna jus bring one thing to ur attention.. when u buy a tv, fridge, washing machine n other electronics.. do u always look how the product looks or do u first see wat all features they have.. people forget HTC has a dismal history of after service.. they do not update their phones regularly n in a speedy way. Their top of the line smart phone ONE X wont even get key lime pie. they will jus sell u a smart phone n then wont care abt u.. atleast sammy does. When i buy a smart phone i normally use for for 3 yrs for minimum.. so atleast i would want the company to support the phone for 2 yrs. HTC is jus try to be APPLE here.. giving u a well made product n nothing inside it. n if u r jus soo much into looks.. either start buying iphone again or buy a sexy, expensive case or cover. that will satisfy ur needs.. but pls for god shake dont even think HTC ONE is as good as S4. PPL keep sayin samsung has given too many gizmos in s4... i wanna ask is that a bad thing. they r innovating things that will lead to future generations of phones. so plus open ur eyes n do run the outer look.

The phone is different. you can't compare it to other electronics. It's the one that you carry with ALL the time. The looks does matter. Altho many people don't care, they will just buy a case and cover all its beauty.

Also don't compare HTC with Apple. Apple has excellent customer and product support. And I don't get what you say "giving u a well made product n nothing inside it." Both the iphone and the HTC one are excellent product.

In conclusion, your argument makes no sense to me.

Holy Moly 3 years! Cmon Man this is Android central we want to change phones every 6 months!! :)

Could a review possibly be any less informative? Pretty obvious that neither guy wants to screw up the advertising revenue from either phone. Would a simple, "We have a winner" be too much to ask for.

With words like "versus" and "face off" one would expect a comparative analysis of the phones. But the use of phrases like "Thank being said", "Neither is the right choice" and "That said" is equivocation at its finest. Review - To look over, study, or examine. How is this not a review (albeit side by side).

Yahh... I am not getting where you are coming from.... your argument makes no sense considering the article has no use of the word "REVIEW".... -_-

Yahh... I am not getting where you are coming from. Did you mean to say the article does not contain the word review? "...no use of the word 'REVIEW'" makes no sense. The article also doesn't contain the word evaluation. Are you saying they are not evaluating the phones?

It's not a review.

That's my point, it's pretty clear. You just need something to complain about on the internet and you stumbled across this.

"That’s why we’re launching into a little discussion with Alex and Phil, where we’ll try to spell out exactly where each device is strongest."

It's not a review, it's a discussion. That's why they're using regular language, like "That said" and "That being said".

You left out "Neither is the right choice." "That said" and "That being said" are modifiers. They modify the meaning of the previous statement. In every day parlance it means having it both ways. Alex makes a declarative sentence like "When it comes to ergonomics, Samsung has it nailed." But then backtracks by saying, "That said, the curved back of the HTC One may be a good fit for those with larger hands." So, did Samsung nail it or did they appeal to only a segment of the phone buying public, those without larger hands. See how that works?

Start your own tech blog... Quit harassing the people doing their jobs.
Constructive criticism is fine, but nit-picking for the sake of nit-picking makes you look like a turd.

so i have a question, i was just about to walk into my carriers store and purchase a HTC ONE but after reading you review I hit the brakes. Everything I read on AndroidCentral helps me make my buying choices, and I kinda get the idea that you are way less than satisfied with HTC ONE when it comes to it's camera. I had a lesser htc one series prior, it was HTC ONE S and it ( in my opinion ) had a awesome camera.. pics always looked great.. please advise, I may have to rethink my choice to buy the HTC ONE since i like having a good camera... thanks Robert

HTC hands down has set this phone on a whole "nother" level with the premium look and feel that's been lacking from android. And to think it cost as much or less than other Samsung phones. Sammy is a great manufacturer with feature packed phones but I have to admit a lot of them are gimmicks. For most of my friends with the Galaxy line,they're usually most impressed initially with said gimmicks but after that has worn off, I can say that they hardly ever use them again. I wouldn't mind swapping out most of those for aesthetically pleasingly premium feel Sammy phones but I don't think that's ever going to happen. With market share ever in their favor, plastic/polycarbonate materials will always be their manufacturing choice. Just my nickel on the subject...keep the change.

I really want the one, and when my contract is up I will most likely get it. Though I am very concerned about the battery. I have had bad experiences with phone batteries loosing capacity after a year. Not being able to replace it concerns me.

And that is certainly a valid concern. So unless you are someone who change phone every year, you will do well to consider a removable (and thus replaceable) battery.

I have the HTC EVO 4G LTE, which also does not have a removable battery, and it has not been an issue for just about a year now. Same battery same performance. Actually, after some of the more recent updates, battery life has improved a bit! I think a removable battery is only ideal for people that are heavy users and kill the battery with talk and data usage in the first 4 hours of their day. Then I can see it as being ideal to have a backup. But with so many external charging options these days, it's not much of a deciding factor, IMO.

In the demo, you showed how easy it it to change the battery in the Samsung, but you did NOT show how difficult, if not impossible it is to change the battery or open the case in the HTC. Also, you failed to point out that the Samsung takes an SD card, but the HTC does not.

Why, in these demos, do people have to constantly shake the phone up and down and randomly fidget with it? It adds nothing to the demo except annoyance and distraction. Just find an angle at which the phone doesn't reflect the background lights, and then hold the phone STEADY.

Just in case you didn't get the memo, the HTC One does not have a removable battery, nor does it have an SD Card slot, which makes it similar to the iPhone in this respect.

I just think Alex was nervous. It was a distraction, hopefully next time he will just let us stare at the pretty screens while holding them still. I do like tho that he definitively chose the One(In the full review)...and for the same reason I would, software. Touchwiz is too busy for my taste. I like to get into my phone do my thing and get out with out all the gimmicks.

I still loathe TouchWiz. For that reason alone, I'd buy another phone--it's why I bought an Optimus G over a Galaxy SIII (well, that and the OG is faster).

The LG Optimus G is still the phone I would go for as well...and switch it to stock Android. Then I would have the phone I'm waiting for... 32GB LTE Nexus 4.

alex you call your self a reviewer, the S4 has a Zoe like feature and instead of 3 seconds S4 gives you 9 seconds, if i am wrong my apologies, but i am pretty positive the S4 has this.

The S4 records up to 9 seconds of audio along with the picture. Zoes are a bit different. It records 3 seconds of video/audio along with the photo. Then you can browse through the different frames and manipulate the photos, remove background objects, set up sequence shots, etc.

It's truly a great time to be an Android user. You have two (and really more) great phones to choose from with different features and functions to meet specific individual needs. Everybody wins.

My S4 will be here tomorrow...it was a difficult choice but in the end, the ability to add storage, 4.2.2 (HTC, are you working on this?), battery life and future support won out over the sleek metal finish and front facing speakers. It worried me that many reviews I read keep saying this is HTC's phone to save the company.....what if it doesn't? Coming from an iPhone 4s we'll see if I regret this decision but my gut says no.

I'll have to agree with Phil on the "Features" subject.
More features isn't necessarily better. How many of the users of a smartphone are casual users that don't know half of all the features they have on their devices. I always have been happy with the feats on my HTC phones, past and present, and I can't wait for my future phone, the HTC One.

Otherwise this is a pretty good comparison and opinions well expressed by both. Kudos.

The thing is, stop thinking like Apple and stop assuming that every user is an idiot.

And most of all, most of these features are simple to use and do not even require any particular user input in the first place, as long as it is switch on. So what's this condescending assumption that people will NOT even be able to turn on and use air play and smart pause and other similar feature?

Ditto. Things like Zoe and photosphere are nice, but the truth is that 95+% of smartphone use is internet browsing, music, texting and a few basic apps.

I love the front facing speakers on the HTC One!
Both cameras seem to have their "+ & -", but I dont take many photos anyways.
Sense & Touchwiz do not matter to me as I'll install Nova on the phone.
Aluminum vs Polycarbonate does not matter to me as my phone spends 99% of its life in a case.
I dislike the frontal look of the HTC One and enjoy the frontal look of the GS4.
I could go on, but I think "if" I upgrade it would be to the GS4. What I need is for Motorola to take all the good from HTC/Samsung and combine it with the good from Motorola to give us a godly phone.

It's pretty ideal for Samsung customers to bring up features regardless of what any of you say you wont use all these features everyday..the s4 offers more but the features aren't "practical" be real sensors die they get old air gestures will start to fade and your back to using the regular screen ..all actuality 4 ultra pixels breaks down to about 20 megapixels(go to school get an education) my galaxy s3 didn't last a week without the weak plastic exterior scratching or becoming loose and HTC one non removable battery is the same as an iPhone it depends on YOU if you take care of it and don't over charge then it last for years to come..I think it's a biased review because it's HTC's phone to make a comeback so you expect more and the s3 established itself so it's easier to produce off if that..like iPhone 4&4s what's the difference a camera and faster processor lol...touchwiz is cheesy by the way..Samsung now has fanboys lmfao

Holy Christ, what a run-on sentence! And it made almost no sense at that. It's funny that you say "(go to school get an education)" but clearly didn't. Periods and capital letters have a purpose 4MP is not 20MP - they're just bigger. My Nikon only has 14.1MP, not 179MP because they are bigger pixels on a bigger sensor. And can someone explain this to me:"like iPhone 4&4s what's the difference a camera and faster processor lol"? I think I missed the joke because I didn't LOL at the end.

Sadly I understood it...They are comparing the minimal changes between the S3 and S4. Personally with the camera's I would choose the One. Its harder to take good pics in low light and I doubt I could tell the diff in bright light(Where the S4 13MP shines)

Frankly I take great pics on my GN in bright light.

This is where you are wrong. Start looking for sites that actually dare to do a comparison in daylight mid range and long range shot. You will NOTICE the lost of detail in HTC One camera, especially with fine details and in any letters that appears in the photos.

I am actually looking to have the best of both worlds. I just picked up the Note 8 and will use that for all the Sammy apps and the S Pen. I will be picking up the HTC One to use as my primary phone and will tether (wifi-hotspot)to my Note 8. I have held and played with both phones and the premium feel, speakers, and screen are the main reasons I am choosing the One. I don't put my phone in a case so the feel and build qaulity are important to me. Removable battery and SD card arn't important to me as long as the battery can last the work day and I have the Note 8 with a 64gb card for all my storage. Either way they are both great phones...just think about whats really important to you before you make your choice!

You are seriously thinking of not buying a cover for your "ALUMINIUM" phone? Please don't think that all metal are tough and hard, it is not. Aluminium is a type of non ferrous metal and it is one of the cheapest and weaker and softer metal around. Which is why iPhone 4/5 scratches and scuff so easily.

If you want to maintain the illusion of the "premium" build based on the material of the phone, you should get a cover for your phone.

I love the comparison and it matches up well with my impressions of the phone's, though I've only held them and played with them for a 5-10 minutes each.

That being said, please, please, please redo the video review. You moved the phones around so much and so quickly it made me dizzy. If you don't have to hold them just put them on the table, if you do have to hold them try to keep your hands still. It was almost impossible to follow what you were doing or get an accurate side by side comparison of the phones the way you shot the video.

I personally don't like the metal construction because it has a tendency to get hot. I wouldn't be surprised if they start having issues due to overheating. I would have liked for Samsung to make the speakers better though, much more like HTC did.

That heat is being conducted out and away from components that can be damaged by heat. Plastic insulates that heat inside the phone.

good comparison but please don't shake the phones all the time in the video. It is really hard to focus on anything. Not to be meant too negative, just really hard to follow, if you constantly shake the phones.

Sorry but that was a terrible comparison, you don't need to be a genius to see how HTC One is prettier.

"unorthodox button setup" LOL common... What's the difference here?

Also other reviewers found the camera software on HTC One is better (UI, the editor, etc...), so if you're reading this go look elsewhere for a true comparison.

I own a GS3 and my brother the Evo LTE.....I have got to say, HTC is much faster and one of the things I miss most from HTC is the SMART dialer. If I called "Mark Zimmerman" for example 1 week ago, and I want to call him back, on the HTC dialer I begin to spell out MARK (6275) and sure enough Mark Zimmerman pops up at the top of the list. On my Samsung I begin to dial MARK (6275) and Mark Anderson who I have never called pops along with a number next to it depending on how many marks i have in my phone. Now I have to click on that number, say 14, and I still don't see Mark Zimmerman, now I have to scroll all the way down until I reach the name. Extreamley annoying and frustrating if you ask me. I think I would give HTC the nod just because of this feature. And on HTC Mark Zimmerman will probably pop up after dialing just the 6 and 2......

Now that being said.....HTC should have been smart and gone with on screen buttons instead of that awkward set up that was caused by cramming in those beautiful stereo speakers. I hope they go with that next year, that way they can also fit in a bigger screen.

HTC Evo is fast? :P

And like the other guy say .. continue typing another "Z" and he would have appeared ....

Recently called list won't work, if it was a week ago I would have to scroll through over 100 calls which would be a pain in the ass.

HTC has the recently called list built in with the dial pad, I can type Mark Z to get to that contact on the GS3, but the point is that on the HTC I wouldn't even have to get to the K in Mark and he would have already appeared.

The dial pad on HTC just feels years ahead of the Samsung one.

Also I was talking about the Evo LTE -_- but ya even the OG Evo 4Gs dial pad blows the GS3/4 dial pad out of the water

Happy GS3 owner on a 2-year contract. Do you think Samsung will steal the idea of front facing speakers for the GS5? Also, is there any way for a camera to be designed to have larger pixels for low light and more pixels for outdoors, or would this require two separate camera modules? The next iteration in the Galaxy series with these two features would be my perfect phone.

Seriously, all these comparisons about Metal or Plastic? Everyones going to slap a plastic cover on them anyways and then not be able to tell which ones which!

I want to hear about the OS upgrade. Will the S4 get Key Lime Pie? Yes
Will the HTC One get Key Lime Pie? NO

Please, tell me more about the future. Do I get a pony?

While you're at it, also tell me more about the misguided notion that HTC is terrible at delivering OS updates. Point your finger at the carriers for that one, or refer to the Ars Technica article that was posted twice here. HTC is right up there at the top with Samsung when it comes to delivering OS updates to their phones.

The galaxy s3 sold over 30 million units. This being said, it was wise for Samsung to stick with a similar physical build because people obviously thought it was good enough on the s3. Samsung is increasing the brand recognition among its galaxy s series, and they probably spent significantly less money on physical design than HTC.

Both are beautiful phones and are a compliment too how far Android phones have come. If I were too be a little greedy I would ask for a both camera sensors to be in either one of these phones, one for low-light and another for detail.

Although I'm a fan of both HTC (4 phones) and Samsung (1 phone) and I only left HTC because I wanted the Note 2 but I do miss HTC's text reflow which I think is the best in the business. I don't think there's anythings wrong with Samsung's built quality like everyone seems to point out. I just think it's their choice of materials which just happens to be plastic.

Alex does a great job with hands on videos! I have one complaint and suggestion. Please try not to constantly bounce the phones in your hands. Just hold them a little more still if possible. Keep up the great work!

I must say that your comments on the build quality is WAY off the mark. HTC compromised so much by copying APPLE's design slavishly (from non removable battery, no SD card to now Aluminium chasis) but failed to realised that the reason why so many people complaint about the scuffing and scratching and dents on iPhone is BECAUSE of the use of Aluminium. And please quit with the use of the word "premium" when talking about Aluminium, which is about one of the cheapest, weaker and softer metal around.

Like I said in another post, all these are just nonsense and you guys have allowed old Stevie to pull a blinder over your eyes. While metal are naturally cool to touch, the use of aluminium is a cheap alternative that just makes your phone a scratch and dent magnet, which plastic composites nowadays does stand up well in selected material properties even when compared to the top tier metal (but usually not all the same time though).

So unless a manufacturer start using stainless steel or better as the material for their phone, quit it with the word premium.

As for build quality, it seems that one other more objective reviews talked about the mis-match and slight misalignment between the front top and bottom panel as well as the body itself. Did you even noticed that?

I'll take my aluminum framed bicycle, or my aluminum framed motorcycles any day over a plastic framed bicycle or motorcycle...

Airplanes are also made of the "cheapest" metal. Side note, aluminum isn't really metal either. I'm not really afraid of scratches on this aluminum phone since I just tested its hardness with a pair of surgical steel scissors and had to press decently hard to make a scratch.

HTC ONE - unrepairable Drop it and break the screen, toss it in the trash. $575
Killer speakers

S4 repairable - Break the screen and it is $200 instead of a new phone.
same old crappy phone speaker.

This is easy. If you demand removable battery, removable storage, and better daylight camera performance go with the GS4.

If you value build quality, a more cohesive UI, and better lowlight camera performance (at the sacrifice of detail in daylight shots) and are ok with average battery life, then go for The One.

It's ok for people to want different things in a phone. It's ok.

I'm not going to buy either of them. HTC One only has two buttons and the screen size of the GS4 is too big. I'm going to wait for the next Google phone.

HTC Camp vs. Samsung Camp: FIGHT! It's almost worse than Android Camp Vs IOS Camp! I mean, get a grip here people, we're talking about two top end Android phones!! Just because the review says one is better than the other in some way is not reason to come off your hinges, LOL.

I have been 100% dedicated to HTC since buying my first Android phone, the HCT EVO 4G, and have bought every HTC Sprint Android phone since then. I am honestly on the fence with this one. I swore, after unfortunately owning the Samsung Instinct, that I'd never buy another Samsung product ever again. However, Sammy has some a long way since then and now sits atop the mound of SmartPhone manufacturers. The S4 looks to be a great phone, as does the One, so I am torn on this purchase. I love Samsung accessories and it seems to take HTC forever to come out with cool accessories for their flagship phones. I'm not sure how I feel about the camera option HTC went with. My HTC EVO 4G LTE takes amazing pictures outdoors and I'm not sure I want to give up outdoor quality just to bump up indoor quality. However, the LCD2 screen on my 4G LTE continues to blow me away, especially when outside. I can't see stepping backwards on this. People still say WOW when they see my screen outside in direct sunlight! I think the ultimate decision will have to come with some hands on with both phones in a store. Decisions, decisions...

What would really be nice is an Android phone that doesn't lag, lag, lag.......it drives me crazy - I have Galaxy Nexus, and it lags on everything - and I have custom ROM, and overclocked. The editor claims that the S4 lags, this is really getting ridiculious. I think I might give the new Lumia a 30 day trial - I tried the BB10 phone - that thing sucks, id stick with Android over that any day of the week.....but I just want a phone that opens the gallery, and app when I ask it to, not a crashtastic, lagging pos that most android phones seem to be (note - I hate iphone).

Phones made after q4 of 2012 don't seem to lag. The Nexus 4, Note 2, Optimus G, Optimus G pro, Xperia Z, etc. We all phones aside from the Galaxy S4 (maybe it's the software?).

I have had the one for 6 days now. There is no lag in any of my experience using this phone. I am also extremely impressed with the battery life. I get a full day 7 am to 10 pm out of the battery with moderate use. Has not crashed once. I highly recommend it.

Both good phones, but for me the pros of the HTC One outweigh the pros of the S4. The One has a nicer design, lags less, has a smaller, better screen (I think 4.7 inches is too big so 5 is out of the question), and doesn't have a menu button (Samsung is stunting Android's growth which I don't like). The S4 has many bells and whistles, although none have cought my eye aside from the hover feature. It might be thinner and lighter, but it's uglier and feels cheaper. Having a Nexus 4 means that I'm used to no sd card and no removable battery (I didnt even add an sd card to my last phone which supported it and I never had a spare battery). For me the HTC One seems like the best choice between the two. Too bad I already have a Nexus 4 (which I love aside from the camera and glass back).

I purchased both the htc one and the s4 for me and my wife as we were both due for new phones. I gave the s4 to my wife as she does not really care what phone she has and I kept the htc one. After 2 days my wife was loving the s4 and I was coping with the htc one, my previous phone was the galaxy note and I was just to used to it so I swapped phones with her gave her the htc and took the s4. after the first day she was complaining and wanted the s4 back F*#K I didn't want the htc but i swapped again just to keep her happy which is weird because she usually doesn't care what phone she is using.

If I didn't already have the Samsung Galaxy Note 2, I would prefer the Galaxy S4. And now on to tablets: Galaxy Note 8.0, FTW!

I've had the HTC Vivid and the Samasung Galaxy S2 and I must say I'm more of a metal fan than plastic...but I would let that be my only decision of which phone I will get. For me it boils down to Sense v Touch Wiz. But then again I'm also apart of a Nexus group in here Austin and I might just wait for the next Nexus device. On a side note I heard the new PS4 were going to have some type of integration with Android devices? Has anyone heard this or have info on this?

This is all a moot point for me since I'm a happy owner of a Samsung Galaxy Note II which better meets my needs over either of these phones. I came from having a small phone and it was never big enough. So now that I have the best of both worlds my Note II is all I will need unless improvements in future Note products make moving to them worthwhile. Good luck to all of you on your phone search.

Good comparison!
> I can only currently get the S4 on Big Red. That said....
> I too have had plenty of plastic phones. Big deal, if you are going to bash it that hard, you prolly shouldn't have a smartphone. I baby mine, and so I don't care about how rugged it is or how it looks inside its protective shell if it doesn't work like I want.
> I got an aluminum back for my S4. That's metal. Real metal. But...
> I put a piece of foam between the battery and cover, (both the orig and the new one), "feels better"
> Aesthetic beauty aside, it's now covered with a case. Who cares any more what the actual phone looks like otherwise? Most (not all) people cover theirs with another case, so...why do we continue to harp on "looks" when the naked phone ends up getting hidden?
> After 2 days playing with the included software (not many reviewers go into this), MOST of the so called "bloatware" that Sammy includes, is very similar to what I had added on my old Razr. So I don't have to add NEARLY as much, which will save the precious RAM. No more Run-from SD is Google's fault, not Samsung.
> The user experience is amazing for me, and that's what matters most. The way the software, the tweaks, even the buttons interact, is such a small learning curve, that it's fit very well. I never knew why Samsung fans were so fond of the UI. They did a good job, at least for me as the customer. I am not sure why more reviews don't consider this. Again, "I don't care about how rugged it is or how it looks inside its protective shell if it doesn't work like I want."