When Samsung launched the Galaxy S5, there was a fair bit of disappointment from users concerning the design of the device, but nobody could deny the internals were solid and offered some great features. Good camera? Check. Fast processor? Check. Good screen? Check. It was the same story with the HTC One (M8) – which I still think is one of the most awkward naming schemes out there – people were disappointed to see HTC follow the same formula as last year. When I reviewed the HTC One (M8), I really liked what I saw and we did the same for the Galaxy S5, we were very impressed with both devices. Apparently though, neither Samsung nor HTC were actually that pleased with the fruits of their labor and ‘Prime’ versions of both devices are apparently heading to market. While these two devices are simply speculation right now, it’s looking more and more likely that such devices are heading to shelves. The question is though, do we really need them?
These ‘Prime’ versions seem to revolve around a number of key differences from their counterparts, a faster processor, a denser display and potentially better build quality. On the processor side of things, I’m very skeptical that the Snapdragon 805 could really offer that much more performance over the Snapdragon 801, as it mostly comes down to a marginally better GPU if anything. Besides, the Snapdragon 800 is still a pretty potent processor, with the Snapdragon 801 barely offering anything more, so why make another incremental improvement, seemingly for the sake of it? When talking about Snapdragons, the real beasts won’t be launching in devices until 2015 with the arrival of the octa-core Snapdragon 810 (really, with the numbers, Qualcomm?) and 64-bit chips. Next year, processors will get another big bump when it comes to performance, but also battery life as well with newer, more efficient core designs from ARM and a noticeable implementation of the big.LITTLE platform. Higher clock speeds and more RAM is nice and all, but we won’t see a real change here until next year.
As for this whole ‘QHD’ thing, is anyone going to notice? Of course people are going to notice, but the idea of you and I, dear reader, noticing and the average consumers that Samsung and HTC sell to is a different matter. I’m reminded of the very funny piece from the Jimmy Kimmel show, when people off the street were shown an iPad 2 and told that it was the new iPad with the ‘Retina’ display. Most of these average consumers ooed and ahhed at how crisp the display was, despite the fact that they were looking at a 1024 x 768 panel. More pixels = sharper images, that much is obvious, and it’ll be good for larger displays but, the HTC One (M8) and Galaxy S5 both have pixel densities of around 430 PPI, and it’s said the human eye can’t effectively make out a noticeable improvement beyond 300 PPI or so. Those who read everything on their smartphones and tablets centimeters from their face will disagree with me, I’m sure. My point is that denser displays are coming (the G3 will prove as much) but to make a better version of a device released just months ago for a denser display might not make much of a difference.
I’m surprised at Samsung and the rumors of a Galaxy S5 Prime, as they have the Galaxy Note 4 to deliver a better device to market, so why make yet another variant? As for HTC, well, I’m hoping that the device actually ends up being something else entirely, and not a member of the One family (which is actually eight devices now if you count the One X and its brother all dubbed ‘One’) as it’s getting pretty crowded already and their marketing is about to get pretty confusing – which ‘One’ is that ‘One’? Are there things we dislike about our smartphones? Things that can be improved? Absolutely, but do they need fixing completely, or revamped within months after their launch?