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Samsung Galaxy S4 v HTC One – the Kings of Android compared

By Kevin Thomas on 31st March 2013

The Samsung Galaxy S4 v HTC One compared to find a winner for the King of Android.


We may only be three months into 2013 but it’s already been a big year for phones. One of the biggest stories so far is that of the HTC One - a no-compromise handset from the Taiwanese firm that aims to make amends for the last couple of years and bring HTC back to the top of the Android heap, where they once stood with the help of the HTC Legend.


It’s a remarkable phone in so many ways, but now it faces its biggest threat yet - the Samsung Galaxy S4, the latest flagship phone from the current king of Android. Does the HTC One do enough to take the throne back? Let’s find out.


Samsung Galaxy S4 v HTC One – Build quality and durability

HTC Android phones have always tended to look and feel more expensive than most other Android handsets, though they still stopped short of iPhone quality due to an insistence on sticking with plastic, rather than using a more premium material. But the HTC One goes all out, ditching the plastic for a metal body. It looks stunning and really gives the impression of it being the top of the range handset that it is.


Samsung conversely have always disappointed a little with their build quality. Their Galaxy S range is fantastic in most ways, but they’ve long been accused of looking and feeling like toys - light, flimsy and plastic. The Galaxy S4 is certainly a step in the right direction, utilising a little bit of metal around the edge of the phone, but it’s still mostly plastic and still nowhere close to the quality of the HTC One’s build.


Samsung Galaxy S4 v HTC One – Which has the better display?

The Super LCD3 screen on the HTC One is a respectable 4.7 inches with a 1080 x 1920 resolution giving it a ridiculous 468 ppi pixel density. That’s the highest pixel density of any phone on the market fact fans.


The screen on the Samsung Galaxy S4 doesn’t disappoint either. It’s a 5 inch Super AMOLED display with the exact same resolution as the HTC One- 1080 x 1920. Of course given the extra 0.3 inches of size that means that the pixel density isn’t quite as high, coming in at 441 pixels per inch, which is still very impressive and way better than most other phones.


It’s hard to pick an overall winner here, one has a slightly bigger screen the other has a slightly higher pixel density, but both are fantastic through and through so it’s a draw and really just comes down to a matter of personal preference.


Samsung Galaxy S4 v HTC One – Which is the most powerful?

The HTC One packs a lot of power under its shiny metallic shell, with a 1.7 GHz quad-core processor and 2 GB of RAM. But impressive as it is the Samsung Galaxy S4 goes one better with a 1.9 GHz quad-core processor, though it merely matches the HTC One for RAM. Both phones are true next generation handsets and both have more power than you’re likely to know what to do with, but the Samsung Galaxy S4 is the most powerful overall.


Samsung Galaxy S4 v HTC One – Which has the best camera?

The HTC One has bravely done something different with its camera, giving users just a 4 megapixel lens. That might not sound like much when you’re used to seeing at least an 8 megapixel snapper on every high end phone, but this particular lens can also capture up to 330% more light than other phone cameras, leading to very bright and detailed shots.


The Samsung Galaxy S4 seemingly sticks to the philosophy that when it comes to megapixels more is better, as Samsung has stuck a 13 megapixel camera in the Galaxy S4. The picture taking potential is unsurprisingly very impressive, and while the HTC One is likely to fare better in low light conditions, the camera in the Samsung Galaxy S4 seems the better bet overall.


Samsung Galaxy S4 v HTC One – Battery life, memory and connectivity

The battery in the HTC One is a fairly large 2300 mAh, but while that’s a decent size the HTC One is a seriously powerful phone that eats up a lot of battery power and HTC don’t have a great track record for battery life. Sadly the HTC One is no exception to that, with slightly below average performance and daily charges generally necessary.


The Samsung Galaxy S4 has an even bigger 2600 mAh battery. We don’t have any official stats for it but given the similar power of the handsets and Samsung's generally solid battery life record we’d call this a win for the South Korean firm.


Memory is another win for the Galaxy S4, as while the HTC One comes with up to 64GB of on-board memory (a 32GB version also exists), there’s no micro SD card slot, so no way to expand on it. The Galaxy S4 meanwhile matches its on-board memory with 16, 32 and 64GB versions up for grabs, but also includes a micro SD card slot on top of that.


Their connectivity options are identical as both handsets provide Wi-Fi, 3G, 4G (though in both cases that’s only currently available on EE), GPS, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC and an infrared port. It’s about as comprehensive set of options as you could hope to see and with nothing to choose between them it’s a draw.


Samsung Galaxy S4 v HTC One – Conclusion

Both of these handsets are truly remarkable and it’s a tough call picking one out as the best. They both have incredible displays, loads of connectivity options, great cameras and a lot of horsepower. The Galaxy S4 is slightly more powerful and packing a slightly better camera overall - but not by much, while the HTC One has a much better build quality. But as the Samsung Galaxy S4 also has more storage and a better battery life than the HTC One, it does just enough to emerge victorious.


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