Samsung Galaxy S4 vs. HTC One: The Mother of All Android Battles

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With all the talk about the Galaxy S4 versus the iPhone 5, it's easy to forget that Samsung's flagship product faces serious competition from other Android phones. The HTC One is at the top of that list of adversaries. From its jaw-dropping aluminum design to its BoomSound speakers, the One is ready to challenge the S4 for smartphone supremacy. Then again, the Galaxy S4 has so many "wow"-inducing innovations stuffed into its slim frame that it redefines cutting edge.

So which superphone will win this battle? We pit the S4 against the One in nine rounds of competition to determine an Android champ. 

Editors' Note: We originally published a preview face-off between the Galaxy S4 and the HTC One before both phones were commercially available. We have since added more rounds and more direct comparisons between the two devices. As a result, the final outcome is different.


The HTC One is absolutely gorgeous, sporting a zero-gap aluminum design that rivals the iPhone 5 in terms of fit and finish. The curved back makes the device easy to hold, even if this 4.7-inch handset is on the hefty side. Add in polished, chamfered edges, spun metal volume controls and etched antennas on the back and you have the most beautiful Android phone yet.

MORE: Samsung Galaxy S4 Review and HTC One Review

With its polycarbonate (plastic) design, the Samsung Galaxy S4 feels solid in the hand, but doesn't have the same premium look or feel as the One. However, Samsung's device is thinner and lighter than HTC's phone, even though it has a larger display (5 inches versus 4.7 inches). We also like that the power button is easier to reach on the S4; it's on the right side, compared to the top left on the One.

The S4 measures 5.38 x 2.75 x 0.31 inches and weighs 4.6 ounces, while the One weighs 5.1 ounces and measures 5.4 x 2.68 x 0.36 inches. The Galaxy S4 also has a removable back, which allows you to change batteries, add a microSD card or replace the battery with a wireless charging case.

Winner: HTC One. The Galaxy S4 is slimmer and lighter, but the HTC One runs circles around Samsung in terms of aesthetics and overall build quality. The One feels more like a flagship phone.

MORE: 10 Best HTC One Cases


Now that full HD (1080p) screens are practically standard on high-end phones, device makers need to make their wares stand out in other ways. Still, the pixels per inch can make a difference in terms of how sharp that display looks. Here, HTC has the edge, because it crams 1920 x 1080 pixels into a 4.7-inch Super LCD 3 screen; that translates to 468 ppi, compared with 441 ppi for the Galaxy S4's Super AMOLED panel.

The HTC One outshines the Galaxy S4 in another way: brightness. When we hit both phones with our light meter, the One registered 463 lux and the S4 mustered 296 lux, comparable to the smartphone category average of 299 lux. This brightness gap was most evident when viewing the two handsets side by side in direct sunlight; although the One suffers from some glare, the S4's dimmer display was tougher to read.

HTC One vs Samsung Galaxy S4 screen in direct sunlight.

What the S4's screen has going for it is deeper black levels and more saturated colors, which some users prefer when viewing photos and videos. When watching the high-def trailer for "The Avengers," greens and fiery orange explosions really popped on the Samsung. However, in darker scenes, we could make out finer details much more easily on the brighter One, such as the stitching and folds in Black Widow's uniform.

Winner: HTC One. While we love the eye-popping color on the S4, the One's screen is significantly brighter, making the panel easier to read outdoors.


If you're going to market your phone with a name like BoomSound, you had better back it up. The HTC One does just that, with dual-stereo speakers powered by Beats Audio. In our testing, the handset provided amazingly loud and clear sound at just a little over half-volume. Seriously, an external speaker is almost redundant when listening to your favorite tunes on Spotify or Pandora. Plus, because the speakers flank the display, you're unlikely to cover them up with your thumbs when gaming.

The Galaxy S4 has just a single speaker on its back, which provided loud but tinny audio in our tests. The sound can also get muffled when you place the phone on a desk or hold it in your hand. The audio quality wasn't nearly as rich or loud when we played the same "Paradise" track on both phones. The One's dual speakers are just better.

Winner: HTC One. If sound quality matters to you, the One will rock your world.

MORE: 25 Best Android Apps


On the surface, the TouchWiz interface on the Galaxy S4 doesn't look much different than the S3's, but how you interact with this device has changed dramatically. Using Air Gestures, you can change music tracks, flip through photos and answer the phone just by waving your hand in front of the S4's camera. Just keep in mind that your hand needs to be very close to the device.

Meanwhile, Air View allows you to preview info by hovering your finger above the display (no pen required). We found this feature especially useful for previewing emails, but sometimes the device gave us a hover action when we were trying to press to select.

The S4 can also track your eyes to pause videos (Smart Pause) when you look away from the screen, and you can scroll content (Smart Scroll) by either tilting the phone in your hand as you view a Web page or tilting your head. It's pretty amazing to scroll a Web page just by moving your head up or down, but the S4 was oversensitive at times.

While not as exciting, Multi View is super-useful, allowing you to run a number of apps side by side on the same screen. Just drag one app over from the left and you can start going through your inbox while you surf the Web. Or you can check Twitter while you watch a YouTube video.

Samsung Multi Window feature on Galaxy S4The S4 has a big advantage over the One when it comes to the notification window. Owners can easily toggle Wi-Fi, Blocking Mode (for when you don't want to be bothered with notifications), Mute, Screen Rotation and Bluetooth. By pressing a grid button in the top right corner, you can access a total of 19 shortcuts. Yes, it's a little dizzying at first, but we love having all of these options at our fingertips. The notification menu on the HTC One is too bare-bones by comparison, offering just a toggle for the Power-saver Mode and a settings button shortcut.

The new Sense interface on the HTC One offers a new BlinkFeed feature that streams headlines and social updates right to your home screen. There's no question that there's some Windows Phone influence here, combined with a sprinkle of Flipboard. You can choose from multiple media brands, such as The Huffington Post and ESPN, or select more general categories like Politics or Technology. If you find BlinkFeed too busy, you can always opt for a traditional-looking home screen, and access BlinkFeed with a swipe.

The HTC One has a notable advantage over the S4,thanks to the One's proprietary recent-app menu. Double-tapping the home button lets you see up to nine apps at once, versus a few for Google's recent app treatment on the S4.

Otherwise, HTC Sense is definitely toned down versus previous versions — in a good way. The app menu on the One looks nice and clean, with plenty of black space among the apps for easy readability. You'll find the current weather conditions up top, shortcuts for search and the Google Play Store, and a Settings button for managing which apps appear and the size of the app grid. We also like how Sense integrates a settings button for apps into the software, as opposed to the S4's physical button.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy S4. HTC's BlinkFeed is sleek and customizable, and the Sense UI is refreshingly spare compared with TouchWiz. However, gesture support, Multi Window and easy access to important settings give Samsung the win in this round.

MORE: 10 Best Samsung Galaxy S4 Cases


Samsung comes out swinging in this round with the SwiftKey-powered keyboard on its S4. We love the fact that there's a dedicated number row above the letters, making it a cinch to enter passwords. The layout is also well-spaced, which cuts down on typos.

The best part of the S4's keyboard is the predictive text feature; it suggests words as you type and learns the more you use it. In fact, the S4 can learn from your contacts, along with your Facebook, Gmail, Twitter and Messaging apps. SwiftKey Flow allows you to swipe from letter to letter to enter words, but unlike the stand-alone SwiftKey app, you can't enter a string of words without lifting your finger.

The HTC One's keyboard offers larger letters, making targeting slightly easier as you type. You also get a tracing option for entering words. However, while you'll find autocorrection on board, the One doesn't offer next word prediction like the S4 does. You can always download SwiftKey, but we're evaluating the out-of-box experience here.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy S4. A dedicated number row and text prediction feature make the S4 just our (ahem) type.

MORE: 5 Best Keyboard Apps for Android


HTC and Samsung took vastly different approaches to their cameras for the One and Galaxy S4. The former smartphone emphasizes better low-light performance with its Ultrapixel camera, while the latter focuses on higher resolution and a bevy of clever features.

HTC One vs Samsung Galaxy S4 camera in lowlight

Let's start with the One, whose 4-megapixel Ultrapixel shooter uses a larger sensor than other phones to capture up to 300 percent more light. There's no question that the One does a better job capturing brighter images indoors in dim conditions, at least in Auto Mode. When we shot the same painting with very little ambient light, the S4's image was so dark it was hard to tell what the object was, but on the One, the swaths of multiple colors were clearly visible.

The HTC One beats the S4 when it comes to speed. Yes, both phones have a Burst Mode, but the One snapped individual photos almost instantaneously. The S4 exhibited a bit of lag, which could make it more difficult to catch moving subjects.

HTC includes a fairly unique feature in Zoes. A dedicated Zoe button in the camera app lets you capture 20 still frames along with 3 seconds of video. Plus, the camera starts a second before you press the button and finishes 2 seconds after you press stop, which means you're less likely to miss that moment. From there, you can share your Zoes on social networks, which redirect to 

While amusing, we prefer the longer 9-second clips the S4 provides with its Animated Photo Mode. You can animate the part of the image you want, and Samsung uses GIFs instead of a proprietary format.

MORE: 10 Best Android Apps You're Not Using

The Galaxy S4 comes to this round bearing a 13-MP back camera and 2-MP front camera. In most situations, the S4 trounced the One's 4-MP shooter because it delivers so much more detail, especially once you zoom in. In one image we took on our office building roof of the New York City skyline, a dome off in the distance looked muddy and fuzzy on the One, while the S4's shot was crystal clear. In another shot we took of a fountain in Bryant Park, the One’s photo was slightly brighter, but not nearly as crisp.

Samsung Galaxy S4 vs HTC One outdoor photo 2

The S4 isn't just about high resolution, though, but how Samsung is attempting to redefine the picture-taking experience. For example, with Dual Shot and Dual Recording, you can shoot images and videos using the front and back cameras at the same time. The idea is that the photographer can insert themselves into the shot, and they can choose from multiple fun themes. Another highlight feature is Eraser, which lets you remove unwanted subjects who have wandered into the frame as a photo bomb.

Samsung Galaxy S4 vs HTC One outdoor photo 1

There's more. Drama Shot lets you capture multiple images of the same moving subject to combine them into a single photo. The HTC One offers a similar Sequence Shot feature, but it's buried within the editing menu of Zoes.

To test the 1080p camcorders on the HTC One and Galaxy S4, we shot the same footage of New York City traffic at the same time with the phones held side by side. As you can see from our footage, the S4 delivers richer colors, while the One's video looks a bit washed-out. Check out the red truck as it passes by. 

Winner: Samsung Galaxy S4. The HTC One performs better in low light and shoots faster, but the Galaxy S4 pulls ahead with sharper photos, richer video and a ton of fun photo features.

Specs and Performance


  HTC One

Samsung Galaxy S4


HTC One Phone

Screen Size (inches) 4.7  5.0
Resolution 1920 x 1080  1920 x 1080 
Pixel Density (ppi) 468  441 
Processor 1.7-GHz Qualcomm
Snapdragon 600

1.9-GHz Qualcomm
Snapdragon 600 quad-core

Internal Storage  32GB, 64GB  16GB, 32GB, 64GB 
Battery 2300mAh  2600mAh 

The U.S. version of the Galaxy S4 and HTC One both feature Qualcomm's latest quad-core Snapdragon 600 processor, promising 40 percent better performance than the Snapdragon S4 Pro processor. The S4 houses a 1.9-GHz CPU, and the HTC One's processor runs at 1.7 GHz. Both handsets come with 2GB of RAM.

In our testing, the HTC One notched an overall score of 24,392 on the AnTuTu benchmark, which measures CPU, GPU, RAM and I/O performance. That's slightly below the Galaxy S4's score of 24,554.

We also ran Geekbench 2 on the Galaxy S4, which measures integer, floating Point, memory and stream performance. The device turned in a score of 3,242, which beats the One’s score of 2,771.

Last but not least for this face-off, we ran the fairly new (and very intensive) 3DMark benchmark on both phones, which stresses the GPU performance and includes a physics test for CPU performance. We used the 3DMark Ice Storm Extreme potion of 3DMark, which includes 1080p off-screen rendering. The Galaxy S4 came out slightly ahead, scoring 6,765 to the One’s 6,720.

So what about real-world performance? The One was actually snappier most of the time, whether we were opening the camera, unlocking the device to an app or exiting an app to the home screen. Same thing goes for opening and closing the notification drawer. We simply noticed more lag on the S4, even after we turned off features like animation for the lock screen and the S Voice home key shortcut. It’s not bad, but it was definitely noticeable.

MORE: 5 Ways to Speed Up Y our Android Phone in 5 Minutes

To further test performance, we applied the same Black and White filter to the same video on both the S4 and HTC One using the VidTrim app. We also had each phone transcode the video to 480p. The S4 finished in 6 minutes and 44 seconds , slightly faster than the One (6:48).

Uniquely, the S4 offers expandable memory with a microSD Card slot and a replaceable battery. The HTC One offers a sealed design with 32GB of memory to start, while the Samsung starts at 16GB.

Winner: HTC One. No, this is not a typo. Although the Samsung Galaxy S4 beat the HTC One on most benchmarks, the One was more responsive in everyday use. That means more to users.

Special Features

Couch potatoes, rejoice. Both the Galaxy S4 and HTC One ship come with an IR blaster on the top and software (powered by Peel) to help control your TV. Samsung goes the extra mile, though, by adding Samsung Hub integration for downloading movies or shows you might want to watch.

The HTC One also features Sense Voice, which leverage the two mics to compensate for ambient noise and boosts in-call voices. Other features unique to the One are covered elsewhere in this face-off, including BlinkFeed, BoomSound and Zoes in the camera.

Samsung Galaxy S4 Special Features

Samsung piles on the features in the Galaxy S4, including the aforementioned Air Gesture and Air View features. S Translate can translate text and voices into nine different languages, while S Health can keep tabs on your steps taken and calories burned, as well as your diet and even the comfort of your environment. S Health will sync with Samsung's own accessories, such as the S Band (think Fitbit) and a scale.

There's a lot more the S4 offers, including Group Play for blasting a tune on multiple S4 phones at once (gimmicky) and S Voice Drive for doing more behind the wheel while you keep your eyes on the road (such as texting or playing a song). A new and improved Samsung Hub puts music, video, books and games all under one very slick roof, similar to iTunes.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy S4. Samsung's phone almost does too much, but most users will find at least a few unique features that will really resonate with them.

Battery Life

The Samsung Galaxy S4 not only has a larger battery than the HTC One (2,600 versus 2300 mAh), but it is also replaceable. That means you can purchase an additional battery and swap it out when you're running low, or you can purchase a third-party battery that offers more capacity once they become available. However, the HTC One offered longer endurance in our testing.

When we tested the Sprint Galaxy S4 using the carrier's not-yet-launched 4G LTE in New York, the device lasted a mediocre 5 hours and 49 minutes on the LAPTOP Battery Test, which involves continuous Web surfing on 40 percent brightness. When we enabled Power-Saving Mode, which throttles the CPU down and limits screen power, the phone lasted a very similar 6 hours and 5 minutes, about on par with the 6-hour smartphone category average.

On the same test, the HTC One lasted 6 hours and 12 minutes, about the same time as the Galaxy S4 in Power-Saving Mode. When we turned on the One's own Power Saver Mode, which limits CPU usage, reduces display brightness and puts the data connection to sleep when the display times out (though we kept the screen on), HTC's flagship lasted 7:20. That's more than an hour longer than the S4.

Winner: HTC One. While we like that the S4's battery is easily replaced, the HTC One lasts longer on a charge.

Overall Winner

Deciding between the Galaxy S4 and the HTC One is not an easy task, not just because both are positively awesome Android phones, but because they have very different strengths.

The Galaxy S4 is the most feature-rich phone ever made for any operating system. You will literally spend weeks (if not months) discovering all the cool things this device can do, from Air Gestures to Multi Window multitasking. The S4 also offers a better keyboard, easier access to settings and a sharper camera. On the other hand, the HTC One boasts a more premium design than the S4, better speakers and a brighter screen. I also found the One to be more responsive in everyday use.

The bottom line is that the HTC One and Galaxy S4 are the two best Android phones yet. It's up to you to decide which advantages and features have more value. But for me, the HTC One ekes out the victory because of its design, display and snappier performance.

Editor-in-chief Mark Spoonauer directs LAPTOP’s online and print editorial content and has been covering mobile and wireless technology for over a decade. Each week Mark’s SpoonFed column provides his insights and analysis of the biggest mobile trends and news. You can also follow him on Twitter and .











Author Bio
Mark Spoonauer
Mark Spoonauer, LAPTOP Editor in Chief
Responsible for the editorial vision for Laptop Mag and Tom's Guide, Mark Spoonauer has been Editor in Chief of LAPTOP since 2003 and has covered technology for nearly 15 years. Mark speaks at key tech industry events and makes regular media appearances on CNBC, Fox and CNN. Mark was previously reviews editor at Mobile Computing, and his work has appeared in Wired, Popular Science and Inc.
Mark Spoonauer, LAPTOP Editor in Chief on
Add a comment
  • Ryan Says:

    Where's the comparison of phone call quality? Samsung has had issues in the past with this and I would like to know whether people think it has been fixed. Hard to believe that a comparison of "phones" doesn't contain a phone call quality comparison.

  • pravin Says:

    i am fan of htc keep that work i lke it

  • lara Says:

    Htc is better! :)

  • Power Pump XL Reviews Says:

    Link exchange is nothing else however it is only placing the other person's webpage link on your page at proper place and other person will also do similar for you.

  • The Tech Says:

    The bottom line as a few have mentioned, is let's not forget that these are phones. People are basically needing them for conversations, so call quality and reception strength would be a strong consideration. Without a replaceable battery the HTC One has a very large disadvantage. Whatever a persons daily life consists of, we can all agree that life is busy. Ideally, we should all be available at anytime for any opportunity that may present itself. Kind of hard to be reached if we're away from our phones while they're charging. Yes, voicemail and other recording services is an option, but not an answer. Nothing beats making a good impression than a live person answering the call. Even though the HTC may have a longer battery life( not by any real significance over the SGS4 ) , technically you'd still not have it on you while it's charging. Especially, since the option of a quick battery swap has be taken from you. As a reviewer has stated earlier, the in call volume on the HTC was terrible. Personally, I love tech. I'd be happy if they slapped a phone in my ASUS TF700, but since that hadn't happened, I'll settle for the small tablet like Samsung Galaxy S4. Samsung has better over all customer service also. Last time I checked it's (galaxy s4) has more features, there by increasing while consolidating a person's productivity. It's also easier to root and customize. As for the low brow user, stick with the HTC. It's snappier response will be more suited for your face book and twittering. I have to agree the HTC is more aesthetically pleasing and would make for a pretty paper weight if dropped (heavy aluminum body). If you owned a Porsche or a Honda which would you drive to work everyday?

  • Tech Sav Says:

    I have owned both HTC ans Samsung products and HTC by far always kicked Samsungs behind! The camera is pretty much the best one out there for most androids let not forget all the other plus' they did not mention with the htc. Do your homework people and you will see! I will be getting and HTC ONE! :-)

  • confused Says:

    So, exactly how did the HTC win out the "specs and performance" section seeing as the galaxy s4 performed better in every aspect, and has better specs all around?

  • Tarq Says:

    There's no point stating which phone is better, as everyone's needs are individual.

    But FOR ME, the removable battery was the deal breaker between the two phones. I'm just glad Samsung are still providing people with that choice as virtually all other manufacturers are taking that option away. Carrying a charged spare battery has already saved my bacon, when I travel a lot sometimes with little or no opportunity to get to a power source. A minute or so battery swap and I'm up and running again quickly.

    All the features in a phone are useless if the phone is power dead.

  • Chris Says:

    How frustrating. For me, these are the important issues:

    better call quality (another review said HTC was horrible for - I was almost swayed to the HTC One when I read it had better call quality, but then right above, someone said it is horrible.
    easier to see in sunlight

    Galaxy S4
    Keyboard case available (big plus for me because I have vision issue, and it's horrible to have such a tiny space available on screen since the virtual keyboard takes up so, I am not good typing with the smaller characters in portrait mode where that would not be an issue)
    removeable battery
    bigger display

  • Thomas Says:

    while this is a very comprehensive review, I miss some comparison of basic telephone functions. These are mobile PHONES after all, aren't they?
    What I miss:
    speech quality in voice calls - at both ends of the call
    signal reception for the various types of network, for both voice and data
    and perhaps also battery life with emphasis on voice calls and standby
    Kind regards

  • HTCOne User Says:

    I just bought the HTC One, and I came across this site doing a search about sound quality. I wanted to see if anyone has to same gripe. The speakers on this phone are excellent for listening to music etc. But the incall audio is horrendous due to these stupid speakers. I received my first call while a passanger in a vehicle going 80mph all windows up. Never have I struggled so much to hear as much as so did. Even on speaker the voices sound loud but they almost sound like they are coming out of a hollow chamber. I've had the phone one day and I have had trouble with all my conversations. Almost sounds as if HTC is trying to hard to make the audio sound loud and clear, I can't really explain it. I had a motoral photon and never did I struggle to hear a conversation in the car even with the AC and slight radio on. With the one itps almost impossible. I'm in sales so I'm on the phone constantly. I'm so bummed that I have to pay the restocking fee, and that I can't keep this phone. I would mess up my business if I kept this phone. I can't believe how much I've made people repeat themselves since yesterday 4pm.

  • Sammy Says:

    This comparison has two results that contradict almost every other comparison I've read of these two phone; the S4 always wins in battery life and the One always wins in keyboard and this comparison has it the other way around!

    Other than that, a thorough and useful comparison, thanks!

  • Joseph Says:

    I have the HTC One and my partner has the S4, and the sound is insanely better on the HTC One. To say that no one who cares about sound quality would ever use a phone speaker is ridiculous. When I am with a group of friends and I want to play something, we're not going to split some earbuds between 4 of us.

    Yes, the S4 edges out the HTC in some technical aspects, but in every day use, the HTC One is simply more responsive, and that's what I care about. I will testify to the fact that the HTC One screen is much more easy to see in the sunlight than the S4. I will say, the picture quality on my partner's S4 is much better, but if we're in a situation where we have to whip out or phones to capture something quickly, my HTC One wins, the S4 camera is just slow.

  • jason Says:

    This review is laughable. Even when the Galaxy outshined the One, the editor said the One was the "winner". I'll be getting the Galaxy...again. Thanks!

  • Nick Says:

    I find the audio part funny. No one to whom sound quality matters would ever use a phone speaker. How about a review of the internal audio processing chips (headphone trials for example) or the beats audio engine in the one vs the vanilla S4. Or the amount of static noticed.

  • Myles Moore Says:

    My only issue with the review is that in every other websites test that I've been on, the S4 lasted longer in battery.I don't get how you guys got different numbers than every other site I've seen.

    Otherwise, great review.

  • Larry Oyims Says:

    This is a balanced analysis. Samsung galaxy s4 is great when it comes to softwares. Air gesture, camera controls and all that are great, but I think those are for kids. Am not moved by them. What matters most to me is functionality, and that is where HTC One comes handy. I owned a HTC product--HTC HD2 and I hated it because of battery life and other issues and swore never to come back to HTC product. I also own Samsung Galaxy Note 2 and I must confess its a great phone. But now am particular about designs and now that HTC has got it right both in design, features and battery, I will go for this. Buying SGS4 wouldn't make much difference to the Note 2.

  • Brad MacLean Says:

    I have an S1 yes I said it the original cool and when that phone came out I was the first to get it and everyone was amazed. I work for a cell phone company and know all the ins and outs of all the phones due to handling them on a daily basis. But I am still torn the HTC 1 is $149 and the G4 is $199 . With all the reviews honestly no one talked about price and reviews plus cost are swaying me towards the HTC 1 ... Thoughts ? help ?!

  • Symphony5 Says:

    This review was awesome! Ditto on it being the best review I've seen in a long time. I had been grappling with which phone to buy, and guess what...your review made it even harder. You covered the all features I've been thinking about in my deciding (plus others), and noooow I have to decide which things are priorities. Considering that I actually try to use most/all of the nifty features on my phones, yet engage in a bit of phone design vanity I'm still stuck. Yikes! Thanks a lot Mark! No really...thanks! :-) Great review!

  • Niels Says:

    Very nice review. I'm doubting between these two phones myself...
    However, there's probably one very important thing that makes me sway to buying the S4:
    If the phone ever freezes (happens sometimes, especially when fooling around with it a bit like rooting and installing custom ROMs and themes and such), I like to be able to pull the battery as a means of resetting. My old iPod nano also freezes once in a while and it's such a bother to have to wait until the battery drains completely before you can do anything with it again.

  • Jacob Says:


    Benchmarks are just that, benchmarks. Samsung performing better in benchmarks than HTC simply means they perform better in benchmarks. Actually usability (i.e. real world) is what really matters, and HTC easily takes the win. The Galaxy S 4 still has issues with stutter and lag all the time, whether you're simply opening/closing apps or even just swiping the home screen. On paper, yes, the Galaxy S 4 has the faster processor, but .2 GHz is not even noticeable, and that's only if both hardware and software setups were the same, they're not. The One runs smoother and quicker despite the .2 GHz hit on processing power.

    I'll take real world results versus benchmarks any day.


  • John Says:

    I'm confused as to how the S4 outperformed the One in almost every test that was run, and only "lost" in that category by the ppi, but still it counted as a win for the One?

  • jimbo Says:

    Phones owned: G1, X02HT (windows phone softbank/vodaphone japan), HTC Magic (Docomo Japan), HTC Sensation

    Going S4 here. I've liked HTC up to this point but the removable batter killed it for me. The HTC sensation froze all too often (or at least the bluetooth did) and only removing the battery for a hard reset fixed it. An HTC product where I cannot pull the batter if needed? No thanks.

  • Mark Spoonauer, LAPTOP Editor in Chief Says:

    Nanno, the CPU inside the S4 depends on the region. We reviewed the U.S. version, which has a Snapdragon chip.

  • Nanno Says:

    S4 has a "Exynos 5 Octa processor" not a "snapdragon" !! am i right??

  • Lee Says:

    I don't understand the keyboard thing.

    Only because Galaxy S4 contains a row for numbers and word prediction it became the winner?

    What about the accurate word completion feature that exists in HTC and it does NOT exist at all in the S4? This feature made the iPhone the best in class in quick typing although it doesn't have multi word prediction or a row for numbers.

    I have seen a few Youtube reviews that prove HTC keyboard is better than the S4 in terms of overall experience.

    For me, HTC one is slightly even better than what the comparison concludes, although its price is 15% higher in my area (UAE).


  • Don Says:

    + HTC ONE has better camera than Galaxy S4 !!!

  • sam Says:

    HTC ONE ...... is the ultimate WINNER...

  • online quickbooks Says:

    Samsung isn't the quickest for sensible use. Nearly all over I browse, one in every of the comments is that the s4 with touch wiz has tiny lag/stutter problems. I actually have however to browse a comparison wherever the s4 is given the sting for performance. and that i would say the s4 has additional options, however the HTC has less gimmicks.

  • Bongre Says:

    Well, after all being said, I think both remain flagship phones right?. I guess is all about goinG for the features that you fancy best. I am not trying to sit on the fence here. Yeah, I am not, but if a phone claims to bask in so much features and lags(even if it's minor) in everyday use as Isaac rightly puts it. Then, i am wondering. What happened to 'Smart' in 'Smartphone'. What motivates a phone user' I believe is the User-friendly Interface (not the gimmicky UI). But then, in all we still have to purchase this phones at mouth-watering prices! Urrgh! So much for high-End devices!

  • HarvoQ Says:

    Trenton is right. The reason people love the iPhone or Apple experience is because they know they have someone to turn to if anything goes wrong beyond their ability to fix it and that there will always be improvements and updates pushed from the manufacturer to make your phone feel fresh again... I love the support Samsung gave my S3 last year and how they'd always deliver the latest Android OS even if it's 6 months later, it still came though unlike my friend's HTC phone... I love the fact that Samsung makes the process of migrating from one handset to the other very easy with products like Kies Desktop software. S4 also fixed the one gripe I had with S3 which was the Camera and added a slew of useful things to it AND YOU DONT HAVE TO DIG INTO SETTINGS IMBEDDED DEEP IN THE CAMERA APP for you to take advantage of them... The TouchWiz UI is exactly what they dubbed it to be... A Wiz in the Touchscreen world. It just makes things easier... As a person who often toggles things like Wifi, Bluetooth and the likes, I love the notification panel on the S3 & S4... and the outdoor readability on the S4 has been greatly improved over it's predecessor, I can attest to that... I'm yet to take pictures in Low Light with the S4 but last time I checked, isnt that what LED Flash on these phones are for?... My S3 did the job quite well but lacked in detail and I feel like the 13MP sensor on the s4 will correct that... And I dont get why people are going on and on about BlinkFeed when all Android phones enjoy the good service that Flipboard has been offering for a while now... If there is one change I would make on the Samsung s4, it would be to allow me to use Google Now as my Default Voice Assistant cause I do much so prefer it over Stock S Voice.

  • The Game Says:

    it took me a long time to finally make a decision on what phone to go for and in the end i got the HTC one and let me tell u guys it is just amazing...the look is beautiful the screen is bright and crystal clear and the speakers are the best! ive been using it for a week and im loving it...the battery life is good and surfing the net is pretty fast as well...i would definitely recommend this phone over the me guys ud love this phone as much as i do

  • Trenton Says:

    None of the many comparison reviews that I have read include the back-end support from the companies to be a consideration. I am an outsider looking in because I am still using an outdated Motorola Droid Bionic.

    Anyone that paid attention knows all the gripes customers had for Motorola with the unfulfilled promises and never ending postponement of updates/fixes. Having experienced firsthand the lack of support after purchasing the "promised-to-be" great phone, I can tell you that this is now a major consideration for me.

    I am not trying to open up a debate or even welcome opinions of what I should have bought, now almost two years ago, nor why I shouldn't have bought it. The fact remains that it has been an adequate phone, but I still couldn't help but feel left out during ownership while Motorola forgot about its customers.

    During this time, I saw similar issues from HTC and their phones, although not as bad as Motorola. One thing that stood out to me was what appeared to be unbelievable support from Samsung for their users. It seemed liked every time I turned around, Samsung was releasing this, or updating that.

    It looked like Samsung users were well taken care of.

    Again, being an outsider on this, I could be wrong....but if I'm not, then I would think that there would be a fair amount of value there.

    Shouldn't this be a consideration when comparing the two phones?

  • ReFoRmEd One Says:

    Phoes Owned: iPhone-iPhone 4, Galaxy S2, Galaxy S3, HTC One

    This review really gives a great look into each phone. But the right phone was chosen as the winner=HTC One.

  • Informed One Says:

    Decent review, the only thing I disagree with is the video portion. I am a fairly dedicated pixel peeper, I have a Pentax K5-IIs for stills and a Panasonic X900m for video. The HTC-1 definitely had a more washed out look, but it was also much sharper and appears to be stabilized. The SGs4 may hold more resolution for stills, but that makes no difference in video, since video quality is more determined by the down sampling technique. I will be using my camera for candid snapshots, and unexpected video, and the HTC seems to offer better results for this. For the record I currently own an SGs3, but I will be buying the HTC this time.

  • Leo Says:

    I was hoping this would make it super easy to choose a phone, it didn't. Both have rather impressive stats making it tough to choose. But, my dislike of Samsung and fascination with the One will probably be the deciding factor.

  • Anurag Says:

    i have seen whole review and comments, and i know the review has not given due importance to many points...
    first of all, HTC one is definitely best looking phone out there, but when its not fully unibody like lumia, and i dont feel i will buy a smartphone beacause it is made of alluminium, and i cant get why here people are saying htc one camera is better?? in most of reviews it just the opposite

    S4 HTC one
    Build quality: 6 10 (alluminium vs polycabonate, though polycarbonate is more impact resistant)
    Weight: 9 6 (despite using larger display octa cores, and high power battery)
    size (screen) : 8 7 ( a lil smaller display despite of bigger overall body in htc)
    Size : 8 6 (despite having bigger screen s4 is smaller)
    Repair-ability: 9 1 (one is least repairable , source: ifixit)
    Durability : 5 8 (one is alluminium but all parts are glued, speaker cover falls on impact)
    reliability: 8 8 ( both phones are flagships, both have best build quality )
    Removable battery: 10 0
    Sd card slot : 10 10
    Ease of use : 10 2 (easily removable sim card, easy to change battery if damaged)
    inbuilt memory: 10 10 (both have upto 64 gb inbuilt)
    Camera(megapixels): 10 5 (13 vs 4)
    camera(night mode): 5 7 (one is better than s4 but still not the best in low lighting)
    camera(normal mode):8 5( colors on htc one seems to be faded and washed as compared to s4)
    (ca be seen in reviewers own clicks, one has dull colors)
    camera(features) : 9 7 (many new things in s4 and many options in s4 makes it winner)
    camera(flash) : 8 8 (both use led flash)
    color accuracy : 8 6 (one can easily see pictures in htc one are washed and dull)
    camera settings : 10 6 (s4 camera has tons of settings and features which makes it easy win over htc)
    call quality : 8 8 ( almost same)
    Speaker : 5 9( best speaker till date, but will drain juice much faster, nowdays no one prefers
    listning on speaker as it drains battery quickly, and if at home people use hi-fi
    systems and hometheater for much better experience, and outdoor people use
    Headphone : 8 5 (despite being of beats branding, headset in htc one is no good)

    brightness : 6 9 (htc one is almost double in brightness)
    user interface: 9 6 ( samsung nature ui is best and most simplest ui, besides blinkfeed is a headache)
    phone features : 10 8( samsung got best features in entire market)
    Manufacturer : 8 6 ( htc one always failed to generate mass appeal for its devices)
    Phone : 8 8(both are quadcore, no significant difference)
    innovation: 9 6( nothing new in htc one, octacore and new sensors in samsung s4)
    price new : 9 8( htc is more expensive)
    device appeal: 8 10( htc looks better, more fresh, but looks like apple iphone 5 if bezels are white)

    overall i felt that HTC one has got nothing better than just alluminium body and a little extra brightness(though LCD is old technology, now all prefer OLED technology everywhere in display) , but on the other hand on daily usability and applicability samsung s4 outruns htc one

  • Leftcoastwolf Says:

    Item: HTC-ONE Galaxy S4
    Weight 8 9
    Build Quality 10 3
    Repairability 4 8
    Durability 10 6
    Reliability 9 4
    Removable Battery 0 10
    Removable RAM 0 10
    On-board RAM 8 4
    Battery Life 8 7
    Size 9 9
    Camera Features 9 8
    Filming Video-Stereo Audio 9 7
    Picture Quality-Low Light 10 0
    Picture Quality-Normal Light 10 10
    Picture Quality Auto Mode 10 9
    Camera Settings 10 9
    Photo Galery 9 8
    Picture Hi Detail 7 10
    Camera Auto Modes 10 9
    Quality of Flash 10 5
    Color Accuracy 10 8
    Watching videos 9 9
    Screen Brightness in daylight 10 2
    Retina Type Display pixel density 10 9
    Screen Color Accuracy 10 8
    Screen Durability 9 10
    Screen Size 10 10
    Microphone Quality 10 5
    Sound Quality through speaker 10 5
    User Interface 9 7
    Call Quality-Microphone 9 7
    Android Level 9 10
    Program Speed and Integration 10 7
    Speed of Processor 10 10
    Ease of Use 10 7
    Phone Performance running prog 10 7
    Useful Phone Features 8 8
    Android Purity 7 7
    Appeal 10 7
    Price new 9 8

    Phone Model HTC-ONE Galaxy S4
    Total Score: 349 296
    Score % 87.3% 74.0%

    The HTC-One easily outscores the Galalxy S4. The S4 is essentially an S3 with some freshening up. It adds very few useful features to everyday cellphone users.

  • OldCio Says:

    very good review...

    I am not buying either but the facts here may not be true determinators:

    Facts: One phone is lighter, has larger screen (same resolution), stronger battery (and removable), SD card slot, larger processor, greater MP camera, newer version of Android OS, and more apps and the other has a better case and better speakers and it is the best phone. I left out the brighter display because I saw three other reviewers say the other one was brighter when adjusted properly. In any case, I think this is one a person has to try for his/her self. I myself would not use for business because of the no spare battery and no SD card but that is only business.

  • Dave Says:

    I will never buy a device without a removable battery. Samsung has shown you can make a thin light phone with one so why can't HTC?

  • Esqueue Says:

    The whole ppi thing is quite moronic. Let me ask you this, would you trade your 55" hdtv for a phone screen? No. The screen is larger and the body is smaller. You are acting as if the slightly stretched screen is a negative. what if there was a 2.5" 1080p phone, it will have 4x the ppi but be worthless.

  • Manoj Says:

    Hi, I loved the review although i currently use an S3. I am convinced that you have given a very objective review.. I liked the comparisons you have carried out especially 'low light picture quality etc..' Thanks for making us believe that there are honest reviewers out there. Thank You!! :) Cheers!!

  • Leon Says:

    The slightly better life of the HTC is offset by the S4's removable battery. Thus it should be a tie or going to S4.
    Also, the S4 has removable sd card which wasn't emphasized. This is important in using phone as a pc.

    IMO, they are either tied or the slight advantage to S4.

  • Nel Says:

    Everyone has different usage. For me, being able to see it in the sun is huge. I currently have the note 2, and it is almost unbearable. If the S4 has the same issue, I'm definitely going to get the HTC One

  • Mark Spoonauer, LAPTOP Editor in Chief Says:

    Hey Ottto. Appreciate the feedback. The display win for the HTC One wasn't really about ppi but brightness and outdoor readability. Get your audio point but I like listening (at home) with headphones off.

  • swm Says:

    how can anyone think that a bigger phone size with a smaller screen can be better just because the ppi is slightly higher?! the S4 is thinner and smaller than the htc one but has a full 5" full hd screen... 4.7 is significantly smaller for such a big phone!..oh and never mind the "speakers" which nobody uses anyway..the real sound test win goes to Samsung I'm afraid...S4 with headphones beats the htc one in sound tests too!

  • swm Says:

    so how come other greatly trusted sites have tested both and said that the S4 has significantly better battery life especially when it comes to standby time?! a 63h endurance rating compared to 48h on the htc one! also the S4 has massive contrast ratio when put on automatic brightness..has way better blacks thanks to super amoled... did u even take a low light pic using the low light mode on the S4..because again..other trusted website with ALOT of respect..said the S4 was way better EVEN in low light shots!... i still think almost everything about the S4 is way better than htc one.. from the processor, screen, software, camera, battery, expandable memory, replaceable battery..oh and who said that aluminium is more premium then polycarbonate?...don't any of you realise what polycarbonate is used for? its way more durable then aluminium!! iv seen both phones..the one really isnt all that. its bigger but has a smaller screen! its not as comfy to hold in the hand...and its been proved it certainly is NOT unibody when if dropped, the speaker grills can snap right off! i could go on but i won't...

  • Greg Says:

    I don't mean any disrespect, I like the article, I just have a different set of criteria for my needs and wants.

  • otto garner Says:

    interesting article, though i have my problems with it:

    some of the 'wins' you give the htc one don't really strike me as victories or even loses in some cases:
    1) display - the ppi difference is so slight that it would be hard impossible to distinguish even if i pressed the screens against my eye.

    2) design - for many a unibody case made out of funky resources is a must have, though i'd say the advantages of the SD card/replaceable battery will for those with a more practical mindset be much more appealing.

    This whole unibody craze just reminds me of people buying a - for example sony vaio laptop just for the brand name for £100 more than the hp just for the brand name, while i can understand the typical consumer falling for such nonsense it surprises me how many reviews have raved on about it. Personally i care more about the phone itself than such pointless positives. Ofcourse if design is really that important then i guess your going to go for the htc one/iphone 5 no matter what and then you're going to bury that 'premium' feel under plastic. Well done.

    3)audio - pointless? when audio quality matters put on a pair of headphones, i cant really see any benefit of amazing battery burning speakers

    4) battery life - again the differences in time seem so slight - i mean yeah ok the htc one will outlast the s4 evidently, though the difference is so slight that the ability to replace the battery in the s4 more than covers for the difference between the two

    the only thing that really impresses me about the htc one is the dim light capture, seems like it would be a treasure when taking pictures drunk in a club - i definately know which phone i'm going to go with

  • Mark Spoonauer, LAPTOP Editor in Chief Says:

    Thanks Isaac. Really appreciate that. We do this for you guys.

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