The launch of the HTC One (M8) marks the beginning of a new round of flagship smartphone releases. Android fans will be once again spoiled for choice, with both the the HTC One (M8) versus Samsung’s Galaxy S5 vying for a place in your pocket.
Find out which phone is the fastest and has the longest-lasting battery, how their customised versions of Android measure up and which, crucially, has that little bit of all-important je ne sais quoi.
Phone reviews – our verdict on all the latest smartphones
HTC One (M8) vs Samsung Galaxy S5 – design
Samsung has long come under fire for its plastic gadgets and the S5 continues the trend, featuring a case described somewhat curiously as ‘glam’ at the phone’s MWC 2014 unveiling. In practice it may be shiny but it’s still plastic, though perhaps offers some sort of improvement over last year’s plain white S4.
The HTC One (M8) is all the more enticing, described as a ‘handsome handset’ in our M8 first look post. It’s all brushed aluminium and curved corners, and though a little on the large size – an expansion necessary to fit the new 5-inch screen – it’s still an easier fit in the hand than the slightly wider Galaxy S5.
HTC One (M8) vs Samsung Galaxy S5 – comparison video
HTC One (M8) vs Samsung Galaxy S5 – three key features
The need for speed – both phones offer more processing power then you’d ever realistically need of a smartphone. To put that into context the HTC One (M8) has a 2.3Ghz quad-core processor, while the S5 clocks in at 2.5Ghz. Even the most demanding apps will work on either, though we’ll look at real life benefits, such as how quickly the camera opens, in our tests.
Android vs Android – unsurprisingly both phones come with the latest version of Android 4.4.2 KitKat, but both phones also come with a bespoke ‘skin’ on top.The HTC One (M8) has Sense 6, which it claims isless cluttered than before and so easier to use. The S5’s skin is called TouchWiz, and also claims to provide easier access to the phone’s settings. In truth these customised skins often mean lots of preloaded apps you don’t want being pushed to the front. We’ll have to wait to get the phones into our test labs before naming a winner here.
Battery life – the HTC handset comes with a 2600mAH battery that should be enough to last for a full working day – especially if you follow our tips to making your battery last longer.
HTC has even confirmed the inclusion of an ‘Extreme Power Saving’ mode that it claims can make your final 10% of charge last for 30 hours – albeit by shutting down all but essential functions. Samsung too seems to have pulled out all the stops with the S5’s battery, not only including a larger 2800mAh battery, but also including what it calls ‘Ultra Power Saving’ mode. Something that sounds very similar to the M8’s ‘Extreme’ mode. Needless to say we’ll be testing both in our labs.
Which? expert verdict – ‘a tough call to make’
With so many Android phones available – and all with similar processors and displays – manufacturers are looking to the likes of camera functions, aesthetics and shiny extras to entice would-be buyers.
For my money the S5 just about shades the HTC One (M8) in this regard, coming with all kinds of weird and wonderful additions including a heart rate monitor, a fingerprint scanner and a camera capable of taking photos in just 0.3 seconds.
That said the HTC One (M8) offers a dual-sensor camera that lets you adjust the depth of your shots, so that you can focus on an object in the foreground for example. While it also has surprisingly good speakers and that rather alluring aluminium design.
In short it’s a close call then, and though I expect the Samsung handset’s larger battery size to tip the balance for many, there’s no doubt that each offers pros and cons over the other. I look forward to the results of our full lab tests to see if they can establish a clear winner.
Mike Plant – writer