While Apple's iPhone might be the default smartphone choice of many, two new Android devices offer more features, larger screens and considerably more oomph for business owners who are willing to look beyond the iOS walled garden. Samsung and HTC have revamped their flagship Android devices, introducing the Samsung Galaxy S4 and the HTC One.
Here, we compare the Samsung Galaxy S4 and the HTC One head-to-head to determine which one is best for the power business user:
Samsung and HTC have taken two very different paths on hardware design. Like the Galaxy S3, the S4 sports a smooth plastic chassis that's lightweight at the risk of feeling inexpensive. The HTC One boasts a matte aluminum body that feels industrial and substantial while the S4 feels lighter and less intimidating. Both smartphones are LTE/4G-ready, depending on service in your area.
Winner: HTC One
Though any Galaxy S3 user is naturally going to feel more at home with an S4 in-hand, the One's thoughtful design has a sturdier, more professional look and feel.
Display quality can be an important consideration if you're going to be answering emails and working on the fly. The Galaxy S4 packs the current generation of Samsung's signature Super AMOLED display, known for its brilliant-if-oversaturated colors and deep blacks. At 4.7-inches, the HTC One's Super LCD 3 display has slightly higher resolution than Samsung's slightly larger 5-inch offering.
Winner: Samsung Galaxy S4
It's a close call, but the S4's range of eye-popping color and deep blacks give Samsung the edge. The S4 also employs Corning's new Gorilla Glass 3, which offers enhanced scratch and shatter resistance for your fast-paced, on-the-go needs.
Both the Galaxy S4 and the HTC One include cameras capable of handling an array of shooting conditions. HTC has taken an experimental path with the One, including a special 4-megapixel sensor designed to outperform the competition in low light conditions. HTC's gamble proves that numbers aren't everything when it comes to image quality.
Meanwhile, Samsung's Galaxy S4 and its 13-megapixel sensor opt for every bell and whistle imaginable, including modes that let you do everything from shooting with the front and back combined to erasing unwanted background objects in the background of a photo.
The HTC One wins on low-light performance and color accuracy, but Samsung's S4 has tons of tricks up its sleeve.
Both the Galaxy S4 and the HTC One run versions of Android 4.2, Jelly Bean. But anyone who's unacquainted with the Android software "skins" offered by the respective manufacturers (Samsung's TouchWiz and HTC's Sense) might be surprised to learn that these phones share little in common, in spite of ostensibly running the same operating system. The best way to determine what fits your own preference and work style is to go to a carrier store and test each one.
Still, there are noteworthy factors differentiating the software on the devices. Samsung has thrown in everything but the kitchen sink when it comes to software features, down to an eye detection technology called Smart Scroll that lets you tilt your head to scroll down the screen. The HTC One is no slouch either, but if you're just looking for a fast phone that gets the job done, the S4 might feel glutted with tricks and features that get in the way of the device's core functionality.
This one's all about preference and work style. Want to tinker with every futuristic feature imaginable to streamline your mobile workflow? The S4 is for you. Want plenty of power user customization in a less gimmicky package? Opt for the One.
A handful of other factors could make or break either device, depending on your professional needs:
- The Galaxy S4 includes a removable battery, while the HTC One X, like the iPhone, doesn't. Still, battery life is good on the One, lasting longer than nine hours in most tests -- easily long enough for a solid work day.
- Samsung's device allows for expandable memory. The HTC One X comes in 32GB and 64GB versions -- plenty of storage for most users, but not if you like to swap microSD cards that store various files you need.
- HTC is selling a 64 GB unlocked Developer Edition version of the One for $575, if carrier contracts aren't your style. Versions of the Galaxy S4 unlocked have popped up online, but for considerably more.
- The Galaxy S4 will be available across all four major U.S. carriers, while the One X won't be sold through Verizon.
- Both devices will be early in line for the next version of Android, code-named Key Lime Pie -- but, as always, Nexus devices will get the update first.
Overall winner: HTC
Samsung's Galaxy S4 and HTC's One are two nearly equally matched devices -- but that doesn't make them identical. When it comes down to it, we'd choose the HTC One for business users based on its superior build quality, HTC's thoughtful Sense 5 software and the device's overall lack of feature bloat compared to the Galaxy S4. The HTC One is a serious -- and seriously good-looking -- smartphone that can super-charge your daily work routine without getting in your way.
Be sure to take the factors above into account, but remember: there's no substitute for trying out both smartphones and choosing the phone that feels like the right fit for you and your work style.
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