Friday, March 22, 2013

Samsung Galaxy S4 vs. HTC One: Who Will Win?

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LAPTOP Magazine Editor in Chief Mark Spoonauer offers his commentary on the latest developments in mobile and wireless technology.

Samsung Galaxy S4 vs. HTC One: Who Will Win?

HTC One vs. Samsung Galaxy S4

With all the talk about the Galaxy S4 being an iPhone killer, it's easy to forget that Samsung's flagship faces serious competition from other Android phones. To me, the HTC One belongs at the top of that list of adversaries. From its jaw-dropping aluminum design and bold new Blink Feed interface to its Ultrapixel camera, 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? The S4 hasn't even hit the market yet, so it's too early to call a definitive winner. But I've spent enough hands-on time with both handsets to predict which device will likely win the hearts and minds of more shoppers.


HTC One Design Image

The HTC One is absolutely gorgeous, sporting a zero-gap aluminum design that rivals the iPhone 5. 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.

Samsung Galaxy S4 Design

With its polycarbonate (plastic design), the Samsung Galaxy S4 simply doesn't have the same premium look for 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). 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.

Early Winner: HTC One. The Galaxy S4 is slimmer and lighter, but the HTC One rules in terms of aesthetics and overall build quality.


HTC Samsung Display Comparison

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.

Samsung HTC Display

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 only 258 lux. The Samsung's number is lower than the smartphone category average of 299 lux. 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.

Early Winner: HTC One. Not only is the One brighter than the S4, making the screen easier to see outdoors, it provides a slightly sharper picture.

To find out which smartphone we predict to win in audio, special features, camera, and performance, keep reading at!

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 .

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