Do we have a good one for you today – the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 goes up against the latest HTC One M9. The Galaxy Note 4 was all the rage last fall when it debuted, so how does the new One M9, coming out soon, compare to the specs of the older Galaxy Note 4? Has HTC put enough 'horsepower' in their latest rendition to bull over the powerhouse Note 4?
As different as these devices are, they do share some specifications of 'note' – both are available on all major US networks and both will be running the latest version of Android 5.0 Lollipop and both will have their respective skins running on top. Both US versions use a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, although different models. Both devices have 3GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage and both have the ability to expand upon that via a microSD card. The cameras are fairly close in size and quality, but the One M9 still does not have OIS built-in. They both have the usual dual-band Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth, NFC capable, a microUSB port for charging and data transfer. Probably because Samsung and LG both make HDTVs, both of these devices sport an IR Blaster. They both also have an active noise cancellation with a dedicated microphone, and a means to quickly charge the battery.
Please take a look at the detailed specifications comparison found below – expand it by clicking on the "View Full Comparison" at the bottom and you will get a real sense of how these two devices match up against one another. After that, we will look at each individual device, talk about it, and weigh out some of the pros and cons in an effort to pick a winner for this comparison.
Samsung Galaxy Note 4
Just as with the HTC One series, there is a loyal following for the Note series, and the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 is no exception. The Note 4 was improved in every department – from the display, the build quality, to the processor, the camera and even the S-Pen. Even its past critics, liked the improved metal frame, trim and back panel, making it even a more premium looking device with a build quality that felt great in your hand.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 4's display was described by DisplayMate, as the best display they have ever tested. It is a 5.7-inch Super AMOLED beauty with a QHD resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels and a whopping 515 pixels-per-inch (PPI), whereas the One M9 is still using last year's FHD LCD display with 441 PPI. The Galaxy Note 4 is running the excellent 32-bit Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 quad-core processor clocked at 2.7GHz (US market) – the same one used in the Droid Turbo and the Nexus 6. The HTC One M9 is using the newest 64-bit Snapdragon 810 octa-core processor…certainly a step above their 805. The Note 4 packs 3GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage with a microSD card slot for expansion…the exact same specs as the One M9.
As usual, Samsung improved the camera with a 16MP sensor, Autofocus, LED Flash, ISOCELL technology, and then added in OIS+ and Live HDR shooting. The One M9 may have a slightly larger, 20.7MP, main camera, it still lacks the OIS and other features that the Note 4's camera allows. The front-facing camera (FFC) was increased to a wide-angle 3.7MP sensor and lens for excellent group selfies and conference style video chats as opposed to the 4MP UltraPixel FFC on the One M9. The removable 3220mAh battery is larger than the 2840mAh non-removable battery on the One M9, but both should last you all day and should you need to extend that time you can use Samsung's Ultra Power Saving Mode (UPSM) and its Quick Charge 2.0 feature.
As far as additional features that the Galaxy Note 4 possesses over the HTC One M9 -it has three microphones for improved calling and noise reduction. It comes with Download Booster, a Fingerprint Scanner (PayPal certified), Heart Rate Sensor, UV and Oxygen Saturation Sensor, and an improved S-Pen with twice the sensitivity and its software and the functionality that it brings to the Note series. It is currently running Android 4.4.4 KitKat, but should be updated to 5.0 Lollipop very shortly and is available for sale on all major US networks and will cost you $300 on a two-year contract or about $700 – $800 off-contract, depending where you purchase it.
HTC One M9
When you first look at the new HTC One M9, you may ask yourself exactly what is new, because it does look much like last year's One M8 and even the One M7. There are subtle differences on the outside – there is now a small lip around the outside edge of the device to add a little grip and if you look on the back, you will see that HTC went back to one camera. The original One M7 really caught our fancy when it first came out, although it is looking just a little 'outdated'…I know that sounds strange, but it has just lost a little of its 'wow factor.'
The One M9 sports a 5-inch Full HD Super LCD3 display with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels and 441 PPI, not quite up to the QHD display on the Galaxy Note 4 with 515 PPI. The One M9 uses a 64-bit octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor with four cores clocked at 1.5GHZ and four cores clocked at 2.0GHz as opposed to the prior generation 32-bit Snapdragon 805 quad-core used on the Galaxy Note 4. They both pack the same 3GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage, as well as both having a microSD card for additional storage up to 128GB.
The camera area is nothing like the one found on the One M8 – The 4MP UltraPixel main camera with its Duo Camera are gone. The One M9 uses a Sony 20.7MP sensor with autofocus and dual-tone LED flash, but someone forgot to include OIS – a real oversight on HTC's part. With their inventory of the 4MP UltraPixel cameras, HTC moved it to the front for great selfies and video chatting – it should also help with low-light situations. It uses a non-removable 2840mAh battery (the Galaxy Note 4 uses a removable 3220mAh) and both devices supports Quick Charge 2.0 thanks to their Qualcomm processor.
The HTC One M9 retains the great sounding dual front-facing stereo speakers with HTC's BoomSound compared to the little speaker on the back of the Note 4. The One M9 includes a stereo FM radio and comes in Gunmetal Gray, Amber Gold, Silver/Rose Gold and Gold/Pink. It should be available around April, running Android 5.0 Lollipop with a leaked price of $199 on a two-year contract and $649 off-contract for the 32GB model.
…And The Winner Is…
I know that I will get a lot of flak from HTC One lovers, but spec-for-spec, other than the Snapdragon 810 processor and BoomSound…and full-metal body, that many people adore, the Galaxy Note 4 has so much more to offer in terms of functionality for $100 more in cost on a two-year contract…it is the winner of this competition.
The Galaxy Note 4 has a larger and better quality display – QHD rather that FHD, where you have 515 PPI versus 441 PPI even on with the larger display. The main camera may be 4.7MP larger on the One M9, but it still does not have OIS or the features that adorn the Note 4's camera. The 3.7MP FFC camera on the Note 4 also incorporates 120-degree wide-angle lens for great group selfies and office video chats. The Note 4 also has a PayPal certified fingerprint scanner for security and authorizing functions. In addition, included are a UV sensor, heart rate sensor and oxygen saturation sensor and it sports a larger battery.
One of the Galaxy Note 4's big advantages is the improved S-Pen and all of the functionality that it brings to the device. The S-Pen makes it a true phablet – able to handle note taking, drawing, writing by hand, sketching, cut and paste features like using a mouse on a PC or laptop, etc.
If you do not feel that you will use the S-Pen or other features that the Galaxy Note 4 offers, then you can save yourself a $100 and should be very happy owning an HTC One M9…which is a nice smartphone, but it just seems to be missing a few key items to compete with the newest smartphones.