Should I buy HTC One or Samsung Galaxy S4?


galaxy-s4-vs-htc-one-photoWith the official announcement  of Galaxy S4, some buyers are considering between Galaxy S4 and HTC One.

Yes, this can be a difficult decision. The price difference of these two handsets should not be large in most regions. The hardware specifications are both top-notch based on today’s standard. So, it boils down to personal taste and features.

Now let me help you make the decision based on 5 aspects:  1) design and build quality; 2) battery; 3). software; 4). camera and video; 5). audio and speakers.

Round one: design and build quality

When talking about design and build quality, HTC One is surely the winner. HTC One’s aluminum body and sleek design makes it very attractive, and gives a premium feeling when holding it in hands. However, Samsung’s plastic (although it is named as polycarbonate)  design with rounded corners makes it simple and clean. Of course, it may not give you the premium feeling, but it is more durable.

The fact is that more than half of smartphone users will put the their phones into cases! So, if you are going to put your Galaxy S4 or HTC One into a case, the design and build quality does not matter.

Round two: Battery

Samsung Galaxy S4 packs a 2600mAh battery, while  HTC One comes with a 2300mAh battery. For a full HD screen, the battery is probably sufficient for one-day usage for  most users unless you are a heavy user. The battery life should be similar on these two phones.

However, the battery in Galaxy S4  is removable; while the one in HTC One is non-removable. As today’s Li-ion or Li- polymer battery can only sustain about 400-800 full cycles (charge–discharge), your battery will lose capacity significantly after one year or something. For phones with removable battery, it is easy to fit a new battery, or prepare backup batteries for a long journey. You  can also replace the original battery with ones with high-capacity if you are a heavy user.

So, clearly, Samsung Galaxy S4 wins on battery.

Round three: Software (OS and skin)

Both Galaxy S4  and HTC One come with Android Jelly Bean. But Galaxy S4 comes with the latest Jelly Bean 4.2.2, compared with Jelly Bean 4.1.2 in HTC One. You may check this page by yourself on the new features in Jelly Bean 4.2.  Surely, HTC is one step behind.

Android 5.0 Key Lime Pie will surely be announced in this May during the Google I/O 2013. Galaxy S4 users will very likely get this update based on Samsung’s current updating policy. However, HTC One may not get this update, or get it very late, because HTC is toooooooo slooooooooow in software update for old models. Samsung has a very good track record in software update for Galaxy S, S2 and S3. So, if you want to get more mileage of your phone, Galaxy S4 is the choice.

For the skin, both HTC Sense and Samsung’s TouchWiz are over-bloated, yet usable thanks to high hardware  specifications. So, the choice is up to user’s preference.

Clearly, the winner on software is Galaxy S4.

Round four: Camera and video

Galaxy S4 is packed with a 13MP rear camera; while HTC One gives a 4MP UltraPixel camera. UltraPixel sounds impressive, and can produce quite good photos in low-light conditions. But 4MP is still 4MP. Most buyers will still go to 13MP one.

Galaxy S4’s dual camera surely is a desired  feature. With Galaxy S4, you can use both cameras for one photo or one video.

So, Galaxy S4 wins in camera and video.

Round 5: Audio and speakers

I am not a fan of Beats audio, but HTC One’s front speakers (not one, but two) really make it stand out. Nowadays, smartphone is not just a phone: most users also use it for music and video. Front speakers are definitely better than rear ones. It is strange Samsung even does not bother to move the tiny hole (Samsung calls it speaker) to the bottom as they did for some tablets.

Don’t want to waste your time, HTC One wins in audio and speakers.

In 5 rounds, Galaxy S4 wins 3, and HTC One 2.  

If you are going to use a case and enjoy new features in Android, Galaxy S4 is for you.

If you need a phone to wow your buddies (not using a case), HTC One is for you.

If you need use the camera for family gathering and travel, Galaxy S4 is for you.

If you are a heavy user and charge you mobile phone at least once a day, Galaxy S4 is for you.

If you want to get  reasonable quality sound from the speakers, HTC One is for you.

If you need use external MicroSD card, Galaxy S4 is for you.

If your buddies are using Galaxy  S4, Galaxy S4 is for you as well (for easy sharing).

If you have a Samsung smart TV in living room, Galaxy S4 is for you.

So, what’s your thought?


  1. Anonymous says:

    If you want a company that lies and uses hired hands to manipulate forums to favor its product, clearly samsung galaxy s4 is for you

    • Actually, this probably is not true. Samsung spends a lot money in marketing, this is not a secret. But there are no so many shills for Samsung as I know.

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    • that’s silly ive been developing for Samsung for years htc is garbage with that updates suck slowwwwly lol but heres the deal htc one vs s4 well s4 offers more software that is gimmicky but thats what users like is crap they can say mine does this yours cant . the us versions of these two are near identical other than os , screen and cam with of course the obvious .. now which one is better with generic power tests “benchmarks” s4 especially the i9500 over the i9505 . now ive had the htc evo lte , 3d , one x , and og evo as well now 4 droid dna despite htc looking cooler the non removal battery is an absolute killer as well as the storage space is limited .. now why 4 dna i broke one than went down the verizon refurb crap two over heats and a screen that some how popped out its all documented with pics of the self cracking screen . the 3d went bad when it got cold also documented .. now the evo lte well lets see the proof the aluminum body causes radio interference hmm suspect right ? htc has failed many times and the iphone no removal parts is a huge mistake . over heats cannot be fixed by quick battery removal so who cares what sammy does i have had two s3s neither broke and have fallen at least ten times more !

  2. I don’t appreciate the points made on camera and video. Just because higher MP is more popular you gave the point to SGS4? How about the actual performance??

    • Yes, this is controversial. On the paper, HTC’s UltraPixel is very promising. But when you try it yourself, you may change your mind. At least, I changed my mind after I played it for a few days. More than 90% of the photos are even not as good as those taken by the Galaxy Note 2. It seems it does not work as HTC demoed/promised.

      Anyway, I will try to compare it with S4 side by side once I get my S4.

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    • As far as the Camera of the HTC ONE, it IS Garbage. 4MP just isn’t enough, regardless of what they try to explain about Ultrapixels.

      Go and take a picture with the phone. Get any iPhone 4S or any other decent phone with an 8-13mp camera and take a picture with it and compare. The HTC ONE pictures come out pixelated and fuzzy crap. Although it gives you warm true to life colors, it only looks good if you don’t zoom it in and leave it in the Camera. As soon as you either zoom in or look at it in a computer screen you can see its a pile of crap. Just not enough megapixels. Period. They should’ve just gone with a good 15MP camera or whatever and forget all this Ultrapixels boloney.

      HTC ONE build quality. After you get past the Halo effect, it is a nice looking phone, you realize, it is just flimsy cheap aluminum crap trying to copy Apple. That’s all it is really. The speaker grill at the bottom is glued in with a stick of glue first graders use at school. The battery is buried under the motherboard so it is a nightmare to fix. You have to take out the screen and everything in the phone just to put in a new battery. At least Apple had the sense to make it easy to replace the battery.

      GS4 is a better phone. Period. Although, it is plagued with overheating and battery drain problems. Not to mentio almost 50% of the storage is gone from Samsung crap bloat you will never use once the novelty wears off.

      To he honest, I would say they BOTH suck. At the moment, as far as phones go, everything sucks.

  3. Oh and on the OS and skin. I think it is more subjective. UI look and feel is subjective, so there goes your skin. Personally I do not see why having 1 android OS upgrade step higher is automatically better. Would be nice if you enumerated the improvements on the newer OS version so we can judge ourselves.

    • thank you for your input. Yes the UI is very subjective.

      But the for OS, I think most users will enjoy new features in the latest version of Android. Even Jelly Bean 4.2 (in S4) has considerable improvements compared to 4.1 (as in HTC one). You may check this page to find out the improvements (marked as new) in Jelly Bean 4.2:

      If you try ICS and Jelly Bean, I think you will definitely like Jelly Bean (Google now, new notification…..)

      Upgrading the OS also extend the life span of your handset if the hardware can support the new OS. For example, some apps may require ICS, some may require Jelly Bean. In addition to new features, the update may include some bug fixes.

      Of course, occasionally, the upgrade may went wild. Some users may get degraded performance. This usually is cased by the updating itself, not the new OS, and such issues can be easily fixed usually through simple factory reset.

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  4. One said the design and plastic looks is bad and Aluminium unibody without option to change battery and Not argonomic design is best … after every reviewers just follows this even without consider difference !!! Shame

  5. I’ve watched a lot of comparisons of both smartphones and I can say that 4 MP it’s enough, I’ve watched the pictures on my 32 inch tv and I couldn’t see any sign distortion or pixelation. So anyone who says that 4 MP is not enough they must be watching their pictures on a 70 inch screen at 1 meter of it.

  6. u’re wrong on camera. even if its pack with 2omp, people will only used it to upload to FACEBOOK, Instagram, so 13mp or 20mp doesnt matter.
    but with HTC, u’re getting 2.0 aperture, 28mm wide angle, high speed burst and NON BLURRY if u’re shaking, 2micro meter pixel, and lots more, HTC absolutely wins for camera.

  7. Anonymous says:

    htc phones suck. I used to have a merge and i will never use another htc phone again. Samsung didnt pay me off…

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