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Samsung Galaxy S5 vs HTC One (M8) – Which Should You Choose?

May 1, 2014 - Written By Alexander Maxham

Last Spring we had HTC vs Samsung, and now we have that once again. This time its the Galaxy S5 vs the One (M8). Both are great devices, and both are ones I’d even buy for my daily driver. But which one is the better one for you to spend your hard earned money on? That’s what we are going to find out today. These two phones have so many similarities in terms of specs. The only real difference here is the screen technology and the camera. While the Samsung Galaxy S5 features a 5.1-inch 1920×1080 resolution Super AMOLED display, with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor, 2GB of RAM, 2800mAh battery, 16MP camera on the back and a 2.1MP on the front. Along with running Android 4.4.2 KitKat and Touchwiz. The HTC One M8 has a 5-inch 1920×1080 resolution SuperLCD3 display, Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor, 2GB of RAM, 2600mAh battery, 4MP UltraPixel Camera on the back, 5MP on the front, along with Android 4.4.2 and Sense 6 on board. Now we’re going to break this down into sections and see which one is the better device.

Video Walkthrough

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Display

The display on both devices are amazing. Simply put. However, they are two different technologies. While the Galaxy S5 features a Super AMOLED display, the HTC One (M8) features a SuperLCD3 display. My personal choice would be the SuperLCD3 display, but AMOLED has changed a  lot in the past year. And as DisplayMate stated, it’s the best display they’ve ever tested. So it’s definitely a good looking one. This one is a bit hard to talk about without actually seeing the smartphones in person, so make sure you stop by a store and check them both out before deciding on one.

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Build Quality

Now we could argue for days, even years about the build quality on both these devices. And I’m sure the comments section will be full of those. But it’s all personal opinion, on which is better. The HTC One (M8) is made of aluminum which looks oh so sexy, and feels great in the hand as well. But as always there are some drawbacks. For example, it’s easy to get scratched up. It’s also easier to dent. Which are both things you don’t want to see on your HTC One (M8). On the other hand, the Galaxy S5 is made of plastic, and I know we’ve made a stink about that over the years. But I actually really like the build of the Galaxy S5. They got rid of the slimy plastic back on the Galaxy S4, and went with a faux leather type thing here. I think they were going for the Nexus 7 2012 look, but missed it a bit, which is fine. The back is soft plastic, while the front is still that shiny plastic, but it’s not bad at all. There is the silver edge around the sides as well, which looks nice, to an extent.

While the Galaxy S5 is IP67 water-resistant and dust-resistant, the HTC One M8 is not. However, I did see some people dunking their phones in water and the One (M8) came out without any issues, I wouldn’t do it. Because the Galaxy S5 is IP67 water-resistant it means you need to be sure the back is completely on the device, or water will seep in. Also there is a flap covering up the microUSB port, which gets kind of annoying after a while.

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Sound

Well this is almost unfair. The HTC One (M8) has two front-facing speakers – which is why it’s so tall – which HTC calls Boomsound. While the Galaxy S5 only has a speaker on the back. Basically where it’s always been. The sound from the speakers on both phones are pretty good. But obviously the HTC One M8 is going to be better due to it having two front-facing speakers.

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Software

Now we’re getting into the nitty gritty. The HTC One (M8) has Sense 6 on top of Android 4.4 KitKat, while the Galaxy S5 has Touchwiz on top of Android 4.4 Kitkat. So since they both have KitKat we are primarily comparing their skins to each other. While the HTC One has a much lighter skin, and much more minimal, it’s a lot faster than the Galaxy S5 is performance wise. Which makes sense since Touchwiz is pretty heavy. Even though they put it on a diet for the Galaxy S5. Both have gone for a flat UI approach, which it seems like everyone is doing these days. They both also have their own RSS reader type service. Samsung has their My Magazine which debuted on the Galaxy Note 3 last fall, and HTC has Blinkfeed which debuted on the HTC One (M7) last year – and will also be available to all devices later this year.

Something that Samsung has that HTC doesn’t, is the health aspect. Which I really like. And that’s because I work from home, so I’m not the most active person around and could definitely use some more exercise. Samsung built in a heart rate monitor onto the back of the Galaxy S5 which works with the S Health app. With S Health you can track your steps, your workouts, and the calories you in-take. It works great with the Gear Fit as well. Samsung also has something else HTC doesn’t have, and that’s the fingerprint sensor. Which I don’t like too much, but others love it. So it’s up to you whether you like it or not.

In my opinion, everyone won’t agree I know, but HTC is ahead in software design. I do like what Samsung has done with Touchwiz, but it’s still not completely there. While HTC has made Sense look amazing, and I can’t wait to see what they do next with it.

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Camera

When it comes to the camera, we are just going to stick to talking about the software here. Because we already did a camera shootout between the Galaxy S5 and the HTC One (M8). The HTC One (M8)’s camera software is a bit better in my opinion. It’s more minimal and easy to find everything, while Samsung’s has everything you could ever want and more. It’s also worth pointing out that the HTC One (M8) shutter is a bit faster than the Samsung Galaxy S5’s.

Final Thoughts

So there you have it, a very comprehensive versus between the two top flagships in the first half of 2014. The HTC One (M8) and the Samsung Galaxy S5. Now I know there are plenty of both HTC and Samsung fans out there, so be sure to sound off in the comments below as to which one you’d choose and why its better. But I think the HTC One (M8) is better for those that don’t use the camera too much. For those that use the camera a lot, or are photographers, you may want to check out the Galaxy S5.