Samsung Galaxy S4 vs HTC One – which Android is best?

The Samsung Galaxy S4 and HTC One are two of the best Android phones money can buy. Like Apple’s iPhone 5, they both combine a powerful processor with a dazzling touchscreen and some innovative new features.

Choosing between the two handsets means having to make some difficult decisions over their design, cameras and pricing. Here’s our guide to the key differences between the Samsung Galaxy S4 and HTC One and our view on which one is best.

Wondering how to buy the best mobile phone? Read our complete guide.

Samsung Galaxy S4 vs HTC One – how do they look?

Samsung Galaxy S4 – thinner and lighter
The Samsung Galaxy S4 may look similar to its predecessor the S3 but it’s actually the thinnest and lightest Galaxy S handset yet. This is despite its 5-inch Full HD (1,080 x 1,920) touchscreen, which offers offers an impressive 441 pixels per inch resolution. You’ll certainly appreciate this crisp display when watching video. Like its predecessor, the S4 has a plastic casing which feels cheaper than the aluminium on the HTC One or iPhone.

HTC One – a suave, aluminium handset
Thanks to its aluminium unibody casing, the HTC One reflects the premium parts which drive the phone with a particularly alluring design. Its 4.7-inch Full HD screen is a fraction smaller than the S4’s but it does have a better pixel density of 468 ppi – although this will hardly be noticeable when watching video or playing HD games . One consequence of the aluminium casing is that the HTC One does weighs 146g; this is about 16g heavier than the S4, which is noticeable but not significantly.

Which? expert view

While the Samsung Galaxy S4 doesn’t look especially dazzling in photos, you can’t help but show it off once it’s in your hands. As for the HTC One, it’s even more of a looker up close. Since both phone’s are so similar in design terms and screen quality, which one you prefer will probably come down to their aluminium or plastic casing. I prefer the premium appearance of aluminium.
Rob Leedham

Samsung Galaxy S4 vs HTC One – three key features

‘UltraPixels’ vs megapixels – which are best for photos?
If you go on raw specs, the Samsung Galaxy S4 features a 13-megapixel rear-facing camera whereas the HTC One only offers a 4-megapixel camera. More megapixels don’t necessarily make for a better photos, the actual size of a megapixel dictates how much light filters into your shots. That’s why the HTC One’s snapper has been branded as an ‘UltraPixel’ camera, its bigger pixels produce some impressive snaps that are the equal of what Samsung’s Galaxy S4 can create.

Octa-core vs quad-core processor? – not in the UK
When the Samsung Galaxy S4 launched much was made of its ultra-speedy 1.6GHz octa-core processor. Unfortunately, it’s not compatible with UK 4G networks meaning British S4 owners will have to make do with a still super-powerful quad-core 1.9GHz chip. More cores should make for a faster processor as the chip can carry out multiple tasks at the same time.

Compared to the Galaxy S4, the HTC One features a 1.7 GHz processor; so it’s no slouch either. Both handsets contain 2GB Ram and contain up to 64GB of internal storage for apps, video and the rest.

Eye-tracking technology vs BlinkFeed – gimmicks compared
All new Android phones offer an eye-catching new feature to distinguish themselves and Samsung’s Galaxy S4 and the HTC One are no different. The Samsung Galaxy S4 sports eye-tracking technology that will pause a video you’re watching when you look away, while the HTC One’s BlinkFeed displays relevant news and social media updates on its homescreen.

While the Galaxy S4’s Smart Pause feature is unique, BlinkFeed is reminscent of the Live Tiles you’ll find on a Windows Phone. Which you prefer will likely depend on how you use your mobile. Would you rather cram in popcorn movie moments on the train or get a quick fix of current affairs?

Samsung Galaxy S4 vs HTC One – which is best for value?

The Galaxy S4 – more expensive than an iPhone 5
The Galaxy S4’s RRP is £629 for its 16GB model, which is £100 more expensive than an equivalent iPhone 5. Prices for the mobile have since been lowered with Amazon offering it SIM-free for £579.99; still a lot of money. You’ll be able to get a better deal for the S4 on contract when it launches on 26 April, with £35 per month being the cheapest offer we’ve spotted so far.

HTC One – more storage for your money
The HTC One is available to buy now on contract and costs around £519.99 SIM-free. This sets it on the same par as the Galaxy S4, although you’ll get 32GB internal storage for your money compared to the measly 16GB offered by Samsung’s model.

Which? expert view

There’s no denying both the Samsung Galaxy S4 and HTC One are expensive phones. In terms of which is going to make your money stretch further, I’d pick the HTC One. With contracts for both phones totalling over £40 per month on average, I’d think twice before deciding whether I really needed either handset.
Rob Leedham

Bottom line – the best phone ever made?

rob leedham-avatarChoosing between the Samsung Galaxy S4 and HTC One is extremely difficult. I prefer the HTC One’s suave aluminium design and slightly more affordable price but that’s not to say the Samsung Galaxy S4 is a bad phone.

Much of what appeals about the HTC One comes down to how I use my mobile. BlinkFeed is something I’d find really convenient on a day-to-day basis, even if it isn’t the most innovative concept. Although the Galaxy S4’s eye-tracking technology is undeniably impressive, I can’t see myself using ever it.

Before making any swift purchasing decisions, I’d recommend keeping a keen eye on how both handsets score in our Which? lab tests. When their the results are arrive in mid-May I strongly suspect Apple’s iPhone 5 is won’t be king of the mobile world any more. Either the Galaxy S4 or HTC One will be wearing that prestigious crown.
Rob Leedham

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Categories: Phones, Samsung

3 replies

  1. I have the HTC aluminium ‘unibody’ Mozart with the Windows OS which I find superb for a grown up going about my business . . . and the children play games on it too! Its strong and reliable unlike my partner’s Samsung which cracks when someone sits on it! The ‘One’ might just be the ‘phone to tempt me to try Android.

  2. “Although the Galaxy S4′s eye-tracking technology is undeniably impressive, I can’t see myself using ever it.” – (ever using it) ?

  3. You haven’t even considered the competition. I was seriously agonising about which one to go for for my missiz’s upgrade. In the end, it became irrelevant as we went for the Sony Xperia Z which is absolutely superb. As Note 2 owner, I snubbed the Xperia Z but I shouldn’t have. It’s quietly brilliant, as HTC used to say!

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