AH Prime Time: Is The HTC One Just Plain Better Than the Galaxy S4?

| May 3, 2013 | 26 Replies


Just a few months ago the thought of arguing that the next version of one of the most popular phones of all time could be bested by something from lowly HTC would have been madness. Samsung didn’t become the undisputed king of Android over night. Samsung has been making innovative, high quality products at a reasonable price for years now. Smart phones like the Galaxy Note and the Galaxy S II were more than just dependable pieces of hardware; they raised the bar for Android devices around the world. The Galaxy Note line actually took the “phablet” term from something derogatory and made it into a legitimate market that other manufacturers have been scrambling to copy.

Much has been said about the Galaxy S III and by now we are all familiar with what it brought to the table. A powerful, snappy processor, a responsive UI, a solid camera, NFC, and good battery life. The Galaxy S III will no doubt be considered a “classic” smart phone in years to come; a device that pushed other OEMs to create better and more functional devices.


But all of that was then, and this is now. HTC is looking to rise like a phoenix from the ashes of years of losing customers to Samsung and LG. The One is HTC’s last-ditch effort to prove that they can make high quality hardware, and pair it with an Android skin that doesn’t take away from the user’s experience. From where I’m standing, it looks like they succeeded.

The Galaxy S4 is a fine device, there is no doubt about that. But at the end of the day it is just a Galaxy S III with a bunch of added software gimmicks. The design is essentially the same, TouchWiz is starting to look cartoony and a little dated, and the plastic build that the Galaxy S III got away with is starting to feel cheap to most of us.

On the other hand we have the HTC One. This device might be the most beautiful, best built smart phone ever sold. The camera is fantastic in low light, the hardware is second to none, and Sense has really evolved into something that doesn’t make you immediately run for the nearest launcher. The HTC One draws the eye, the screen is crisp and clear and the experience of using the device is smooth and satisfying.

Galaxy S4 Two Colors

The mobile industry is moving forwards at an incredible speed. We are seeing new, exciting devices being released just months after other fantastic innovative devices have hit the market. The great thing about the Android ecosystem is that we (consumers) have options. Maybe you are looking for something dependable and light, but design and hardware aren’t as important. In that case the Galaxy S III or S IV might be the right option for you. If you like to have the best looking device available and you love taking pictures indoors, the HTC One is probably the best choice. Maybe you are like me and you are waiting for something truly mind blowing  before you give up your current device, so give it a few weeks and see what the future holds for devices like the Motorola X or the Note III.

The point is that now is a great time to be in the market for a new Android device. Maybe Samsung has ruled Android for the last couple of years, but don’t let that blind you to fantastic new devices from other manufacturers like HTC, LG and Motorola. In the increasingly competitive smart phone market it takes something pretty impressive stand out from the crowd, and it takes something truly amazing to beat Samsung’s latest and greatest; but in my opinion, the HTC One has done just that.

Category: Android News, Android Phone News

About Doug Scudder ()

Doug has been a fan of Android ever since he got his hands on the OG Droid a few days after it came out. Android and the mobile industry were his favorite hobbies long before he began writing about the mobile industry professionally. Doug currently resides in Chicago and you can find his musings about various TV related topics at www.dougtvreview.com.
  • http://twitter.com/keithh1981 Keith E. Hendrickson

    Sorry, in a couple years HTC will go the way of Circuit City. They make their phones with metal that weakens their signal, not to mention they have the weakest antennas to boot. Tests already show S4 killing HTC one in benchmark performance. HTC still uses the dreadful sense. Reviews already out showing the S4 camera winning out,
    gonna happen when HTC is getting so desperate and running out of money they had to downgrade their camera to a 4 megapixel then trying to mislead people otherwise.

    Sorry anybody who buys a HTC is buying nothing more than a doormat accessory.

    • http://www.facebook.com/albert.carretero Albert Carretero

      I don’t know what tests you are looking at but they are pretty much even. In fact the HTC One usually beats the s4.i have not had any problems with signal in my One and the camera takes much better pics than any other phone out there. Sorry Samsung fan boy but the people know which phone is better.

      • http://twitter.com/keithh1981 Keith E. Hendrickson

        that is why Samsung outsells HTC and HTC will be out of business in a couple years. You’re right people know better. First factual thing HTC dolts said. Sorry you have to lie about your product just to justify your mistake in the One oh sorry Ain’t.

    • http://www.androidheadlines.com/ Alexander Maxham

      I’m not sure what reviews you’re looking at. But most Galaxy S4 reviews I’ve read have said that they are pretty disappointed in the S4 and would rather get the HTC One. The One is a 4MP camera, but the images are the same if not better than the S4 which over brightens images.

      Oh and the lag….

      • Kit Pogi

        Alexander Maxham…I conquer! TouchWiz = Lag! Sense 5 skinned down to the bones and is way smoother than ever thanks to project butter!

    • http://twitter.com/batsai John Kurokawa

      I have been using the HTC One for over a week. It is without a doubt one of the best smartphones I’ve ever used.

      Who cares about benchmarks? Almost all of the comparison reviews so far show that despite the superior benchmark performance of the S4 (although not by much), the One offers a much smoother, lag free experience. Touchwiz is a bloated, laggy mess on the S4. And, Sense had been toned down a lot- this is not the same Sense we’ve seen on other devices- it is fast and fluid. This phone does not lag. Period.

      The metal design DOES not weaken the signal in the slightest! In fact, I get better reception on this phone than my iPhone 5- and there is not a hint of deathgrip at all.

      The camera is great. I don’t care about megapixel count. Outdoor photos look great, but the low light performance and indoor performance is stunning. While not perfect, this is one of the best smartphone cameras I’ve used- equal to my iPhone 5 in many ways, superior in others.

      The clarity of sound from the front speakers is amazing, the screen is incredible, and the build quality is second to none. HTC is indeed back.

    • http://twitter.com/7Syon Syon

      Keith, none of what you wrote is rooted in fact. Are you being paid by Samsung to write negative comments? In any event, I have an HTC One. The antennas work absolutely great. Best yet. The software moves briskly. I’ve taken great pics using the front and back camera. The phone truly feels and performs like a premium device should. Perhaps you should pick one up and use it before writing non truths.

    • http://riteshtripathy.wordpress.com/ Ritesh

      Got your Samsung weekend shill paycheck yet?

  • http://twitter.com/Muforgo Robert Smith

    I’ve had the note 2 about a month before getting the HTC ONE “I spelled it with all capital letters because it’s the captain of all android phones”. The note2 is excellent, but after getting the HTC ONE I haven’t touched it. I gave it to my wife..

  • android explorer

    Sorry don’t agree I’m currently using the HTC one and wish I could buy thr Samsung s4 wish I would of waited the new HTC sense is horrible the camera is not impressive at all the only thing that is impressive is the aluminum body it has . Can’t removed the blink feed and horizontal scrolling only vertical android is about customizing what the …. HTC I was excited about getting one but now I just want to run back to my optimus g or s3 or sell all and get the s4

    • Paul M

      There are guides to turning off blink feed. Just Google.

  • https://plus.google.com/u/0/104684441318752696089/about/p/pub Lokifish Marz

    When they can match an eight year old PDA in capability and expandability I might get excited. Otherwise the industry is following Moore’s Law which makes it pretty predictable.

  • Paul M

    Too many “is” in headline.

  • David Buchanan

    Bench mark tests, camera tests, screen resoulution results, bla bla bla…. HTC has without doubt designed and built the most beautiful mobile phone the mobile world has ever had, period. The HTC One is of a superior build quality than the iPhone 5 and the iPhone has always set the standard others have tried to follow. I know the galaxy s4 is a power house and it’s loaded with everything but that’s it’s problem, Samsung had to over load it to make it attractive were as HTC concentrated on making a quality product that does everything it was designed to do and does it well. The HTC One doesn’t scream production line quality like the plastic galaxy S4, it feels like it’s been lovingly hand built with unparralled attention to detail. I’m not putting other mobile phone’s down their all brilliant at what they do but there’s nothing to match sheer quality and the HTC One has it by the train load.

  • jegan019

    The htc one is a great phone it looks great and everything works seemlessly together but the main problem is that the aluminum can get scratched however a flip case removes the issue. Samsung however packed the S4 with a lot of impractical features which are not refined enough but however it is an advanced phone. According to me the HTC one is the winner

    P.s : this outlook u have just read is bot financed by HTC,Samsung or Apple

  • http://twitter.com/DKM62 Diane Miller

    Since I’m on Verizon, there was never any choice for me, but even so, the ifixit score of 1/10 for the HTC, and no expandable storage would have been deciding factors. Also, battery life is better on the S4, not to mention the option of popping out the battery and putting in a second one. The plastic case doesn’t bother me at all. I’d be more concerned about the durability of aluminum after the iPhone.

    I don’t usually mind going with an underdog, but when I’m stuck with a device for two years, I’d prefer a more stable company anyway.

  • http://twitter.com/keithh1981 Keith E. Hendrickson

    Funny fact is S3 beats the One. Samsung buffed up the processor, put out a 5 inch true hd and sorry Touchwiz kills any launcher out there. Fluid, responsive and simply outsells the competition.

  • http://twitter.com/keithh1981 Keith E. Hendrickson

    how much have HTC paid you bums to spread false props for their failing product?

  • Tom Bonanno

    HTC has been making better phones than Samsung for a very long time. And there’s only one word to explain why you people are just noticing: marketing.

  • catt4u

    I compare these phone(s)manufacturers with car manufacturers.

    You’ve got German car manufacturers and there are Italian car manufacturers

    HTC is like an Italian car manufacturer:

    A feast for the eyes, but lacks the finesse of the German car manufacturers

    Samsung on the other end has all the important things under the hood.

    All Italian car manufacturers lack the quality(control) and durability in the long run, not to mention the offering of the latest software at release.

    And yes, Audi (R/S8) and BMW (M3) both don’t have complete metal bodies and come with the latest software available ;)

    • http://twitter.com/TheOneFelixCruz Felix Cruz-Montanez

      Quite possibly the worst analogy ever. You can’t compare Italian to German in this case because the cats aren’t even in the same class. If you want to compare apples to apples then go Lexus/Infiniti/Acura to BMW/Audi. You’re comparison is like
      comparing a phone to a tablet!

      • catt4u

        I think you’re not very familiair with cars as I read your commend.

        If you think a Lexus/Infiniti/Acura are in the same league as the S/R8/M3 please compare the specs.

        I’m talking Ferrari/Maserati (and NOT Lamborghini/Bugatti because they are VAG-group cars with perfect track record about build quality)

        I’m talking build quality and durability!

        Those Italian cars realy look georgeous but quality trails far behind the German manufacturers.

        Just have a look how the Lamborghinis and Bugattis are build and compare this to the Ferraris and Maseratis..

        Than think options/extras like double clutch automatic transmission/4wheeldrive-steering/electronic everything etc. and the choise of used materials.

        Some Italian cars offer those options but unfortunately they lack the finesse German cars all have.

        That’s the same between HTC and Samsung.

        Imagine Samsung would have to order over 10 million S4′s machine cut for the first batch in less than 4 months (what it takes to assemble the phones)

        If we were talking only 2 million in total like HTC hopes to sell from the One, that wouldn’t be a problem.
        And even now they already have distribution problems.

    • http://www.facebook.com/dean.waller.9 Dean Waller

      All the important things under the hood?yeah…….all except MEMORY!

      • catt4u

        No mather which way you look at it there will allways be more free memory possible than what the HTC One will be able to offer ever!
        And you will stil be able to use all the extras in TouchWiz.

        Choise is up to you whether you choose to install an optional microsd card But with the S4 at least you CAN ;)

        • http://www.facebook.com/dean.waller.9 Dean Waller

          Oh ffs!without app2sd you’ve only got 8gb….that’s it no more…..to all those saying actually ive got 80gb?you haven’t……try putting just 10gb of apps on your phone. Go on it’s not hard it’s only about 10 or so hd games……I can do it.you cant!

  • David Buchanan

    HTC One is a doormat accessory lol lol What a statement lol… I remember not that long ago a very expensive Iphone 4 came out with a signal so shit that Apple being a billion dollar company said….. DONT bring your phone back to us to fix we’ll sell you a rubber band to put on it and that will stop your hand interfering with the signal.. That’s customer care for ya… £500 phone rapped in an Apple CONDOM.. Iol lol I’ll gladly take the doormat hahaaaaa lol lol….