Last month I sold my HTC One which I obtained on the first day it got released in the UK. I tried using the Samsung S4 Zoom and Huawei Ascend P6 afterwards, but both suffered from issues that I could not long term accept. So while I wait for the next wave of phones to be released for the last quarter of the year, I decided it was time to use the Samsung S4 again. I had tried this when it first came out for a week, but found it buggy versus the HTC One. So has anything changed? And what are the real differences between the two?
The HTC One and S4 both look good, but there is no denying the HTC One has the slight edge. But the S4, by using a consistent boring approach to manufacturing its phones, actually has a larger screen for a similar size. It is also lighter and feels better weighted and more comfortable in the hand.
Both come with superb sharp screens, but the HTC One has a better screen that is so much brighter and also readable in bright sunlight. The S4 in bright sunlight is a struggle. The S4 despite have more saturated colours still does not look as bright as the HTC One. That is not too say the S4 is shabby, just the HTC One is better.
Sound. No contest again. The HTC One has front speakers that are more practical for listening to music, films or podcasts. The S4 sound level is acceptable nonetheless. Both phones have Bluetooth APT-X for high quality audio. But whether it is listening via the headphone jack or via bluetooth the HTC One just sounds considerably better and more refined than the S4. Beats Audio does make a difference with the HTC One. Again, the S4 is not a poor quality sound, it is just not as good as the HTC One. USB Audio. That is taking the digital sound out via the micro usb port to a dedicated USB DAC. The HTC One has this built in and works with more USB DAC’s out of the box than the S4.
Moga Pro Game Controller. The MPGC works better with the S4 than HTC One. Both work very well in Mode A, but with the HTC One, Mode B requires a third party app from the Play Store to enable this mode to work.
So far we have looked at core features, and so far the HTC One is in the lead by a small margin. Next we move on to camera. The HTC One has optical image stabilisation and that means it can take clearer photos in low light and also you will have less blurry shots. It also takes photos and videos from an event and automatically creates a wonderful 30 second video highlight. But the S4 has better quality resolution, so for stills, landscapes and similar types of shots it has the advantage. A draw here, but for people not fussed about image quality, the HTC One is a better option as it will more than likely always capture that special moment in all conditions. Ideally, you would want to combine the camera quality and features from both phones.
The launchers could not be more different. HTC use Sense 5, while Samsung use Touchwiz. Sense 5 includes Blinkfeed and a stylish looking interface. Touchwiz on the other hands includes more features and functions but this in turn causes the phone not to be as fast and fluid as the HTC One.
Features and functions. HTC One has focused on the media and social sharing front. The HTC One even includes a FM radio, unlike the S4 which does not include one. The HTC One does not claim to be everything to all mankind, and this is where the S4 differs dramatically. It features a catalogue or options larger than your kitchen sink, which actually do make a difference to the way you use your phone.
The S4 features motion control, voice control of alarms, camera, music player and more. It S Voice (Siri clone ) is more featured than that on the HTC One. It features air gestures to flick through photos by just waving your hand over the photos for example. In fact exploring the options reveals over 30 plus different tweaks; multi window, air view, smart scroll, air gesture, blocking mode, smart stay to name a free. The S4 also has a health app and Samsung have included their Samsung Apps and Samsung Hub. This is their version of the Google Play store. The S4 includes a pedometer and barometer. If you have not realised, you must surely get the picture how different the two phones are. The S4 has feature after feature and feature. You just have to ask yourself how useful any of these actually are in real life.
The S4 also has a removable replaceable battery, and expansion by a micro sd card for media and documents. It also features Gorilla Glass 3, whereby the HTC One is Gorilla Glass 2. The S4 also features glove mode. The battery life lasts longer on the S4 and when the battery starts fading you can replace it.
Cost. The silver HTC One is approximately £445 versus the S4 at £489 if bought directly from Amazon. The HTC One comes with a fixed 32gb memory. The S4 16gb plus memory card. With the HTC One you have 25gb free to use as you will for apps, games and media. The S4 has 9gb free so you can install less apps and games, but can use a 64gb memory card for all your media.
Also bear in mind you can now buy in the UK, sim free the S4 with 32gb internal memory instead of 16gb. So with a 64gb micro sd card, you would have 96gb. The price for this higher model version is currently £517.
Accessories. The S4 has the edge by a large margin. There are more cases and accessories available for the S4. Samsung offer the S View Flip Cover. This replaces the battery back and adds a flip front cover with a cutout at the top. This can display the time, notifications and even allows you to answer a call without open the case. It also saves battery, since the screen is only powering a portion of the display.
So really, these two phones are so different, it is difficult to say one is better than the other. They are just so different, it really boils down to what features mean the most to you.
I personally miss my HTC One, but at the same time I am enjoying the S4.