This is the battle of the Titans – the new Samsung Galaxy S5 and the new HTC One M8. I do not want to hear anybody whining about why these two smartphones were pitted against each other…they are as much alike as any comparison we can possibly do. These two models will go head-to-head in every competition and will most certainly compete for your sales dollars. Both models are very similar in size and specifications with some of the internals the same in both devices. These two will be battling for supremacy throughout 2014, as well as with the new LG models. The HTC One M8 has received a favorable reception while the Samsung Galaxy S5, which is not even available yet, has been ridiculed due to its 'band-aid' looking backside and because of its lack of 'change' in its looks – which is funny because neither device looks much difference from last year's model.
Both of these devices both have 2GB of RAM and both have either 16GB or 32GBs of internal storage, and both support a microSD card of up to 128GB of extra storage. Both devices offer a 'battery saver mode' to extend battery life. Both will come with the Android 4.4.2 KitKat operating system, each with their own 'skin' over top. Both devices will be sold on all four major carriers in the U.S. and both will sell for $199 on a two-year contract. Below we will take a closer look at each individual device, how they differ and then pick a winner.
Samsung Galaxy S5
The Samsung Galaxy S5 has been officially announced, but will not be available until April 11 and reviewers are anxiously awaiting to get their hands on this new flagship for 2014 to put it through its paces – although most are most anxious to see and feel the back of the device. Just like the Galaxy Note 3's pleather back cover, I think the Galaxy S5's cover will look better once we actually see and touch it…and while this is no excuse, but most people will put their device in a case or cover and the entire point is moot.
The differences in the Galaxy S5 – has a SLIGHTLY smaller display by .10 of an inch, a slightly larger (and removable) battery at 2800 mAh vs 2600 mAh and overall a little smaller and lighter (polycarbonate vs metal). The S5 has USB 3.0 vs the USB 2.0 found on the HTC One M8, which helps the device charger faster but the real benefit is much faster data transfer to or from the device. The other difference is with the processor – not that the S5 is clocked at 2.5GHz vs the M8's 2.3GHz, but the model of the Snapdragon's are different…in fact the M8 actually uses a 'souped up' 800, not the actual Snapdragon 801 found in the S5. This means the S5's CPU frequency is 8-percent higher and the GPU frequency is 6-percent higher which will help slightly in the gaming and video area. The Galaxy S5's camera will most likely take better pictures – hard to test until we get our hands on one, but past experience has shown the Samsung's cameras to hold its own. It also comes with a fingerprint sensor – not necessarily a plus, but does add some extra security. The Heart Rate Sensor may be a plus for some fitness freaks, but a waste for a user like myself. A definite plus is the IP67 rating for water and dust resistance.
HTC One M8
Okay, let us get the aluminum body out-of-the-way first – HTC increased the metal on the new HTC One M8 from 70 to 90-percent, eliminating the plastic sides…the metal actually wraps up around the edges to the display and they curved the back slightly to make it more comfortable to hold. Some people like the look and feel of metal, although we did hear from one smartphone aficionado who spent a couple of hours with it and just did not like the feel of the metal – again, wrapping a case around it makes it a rather moot point.
One of the biggest developments is in the camera – not that it is the best shooter by any means, but HTC added a second camera called the Duo Camera, which is not really used to take pictures, but to add depth and special effects to photos after they have been taken. The main 4MP camera is the same UltraPixel camera that was used on the HTC One M7 – a gratifying experience, but certainly not the 'camera-of-the-year.' One of the great things about the M8 are the dual stereo speakers with BoomSound, already much better than any other smartphone out there, and now they are 25-percent louder and with even a richer sound. Some would say that Sense 6.0 is a plus over the TouchWiz on the S5 – Samsung has 'lightened' up their UI a bit, but the new Sense 6.0 is getting good reviews.
…And The Winner Is…Samsung Galaxy S5
I really did agonized over this decision and I know I will be damned by many people no matter which device I chose. These two devices are VERY close so little things must dictate the winner. I love the looks of the HTC One M8 and I love the dual stereo speakers, but I would put a cool case on my device anyway, so the material is not that big of deal. I use my phone speaker for nothing more that a speakerphone…if I want great sounding music I would plug-in my Klipsch ear buds…but we must give the design and speakers to the HTC One M8.
The camera is very important to me as I am an avid picture taker and while the Duo Camera technology is cool, but when it comes down to picture quality, the 16MP Galaxy S5 camera should give you a better picture and you can use software to add special effects…camera goes to Galaxy S5.
The processors, though very similar, you have to give the slight nod to the Galaxy S5 as it is a true Snapdragon 801 and does run slightly faster than the 800/801 model in the HTC M8…edge to Galaxy S5.
Fingerprint and Heart Rate Sensors – are they important – possibly to some users and for those users we have to give the edge to the Galaxy S5.
Battery and USB 3.0 – again not much difference in battery size, and both devices offer a power saving mode, but the nod has to go to the larger battery in the Galaxy S5, which is also removable and the USB 3.0 makes a BIG difference in charging time on the Note 3 and for data transfer…edge to the Galaxy S5.
Water and Dust resistance is a big deal, especially with today's lifestyles where we take our smartphone everywhere – the pool, the beach or even a bar where a drink could get spilled on it…edge to the Galaxy S5.
Like I said before, these two flagship smartphones are both excellent devices, and I am sure that you would be happy with either the Samsung Galaxy S5 or the HTC One M8, but only one can win the comparison and adding up the little things, the Galaxy S5 just has more features to offer. While both devices are evolutionarily, I think the Galaxy S5 will prove itself a more capable device in the long haul.