Phone Comparisons: HTC One M9 vs Samsung Galaxy S6 Active



Do we have a good one for you today – the popular HTC One M9 goes up against the new Samsung Galaxy S6 Active.  The Galaxy S6 Active is a revamped version of the popular Galaxy S6, designed for the 'active' user that enjoys hiking, fishing, rock climbing, etc. It sports a larger battery, but loses its fingerprint sensor.  Though it is not as nice looking as the original glass and metal model, and certainly not as nice as the beautiful all-metal HTC One M9, but is comfortable to hold.

There are a few similarities between these two devices.  For starters, the displays are almost identical sizes (5.0-inches on the One M9 vs 5.1-inches on the S6 Active), which makes the dimensions of the two devices almost the same size.  Both devices are running 64-bit octa-core processors, 3GB of RAM and 32GB of internal memory, although both devices use different brand processors and different technologies.  Both devices have good cameras, but the Galaxy S6 Active's is one of the better ones you will find in a smartphone.


The One M9 and S6 Active each have the usual suspects – Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth 4.1, NFC, and a microUSB port for charging or data transfer.  They both also have an IR Blaster as well.

Please take a deliberate look at the detailed Specifications Comparison chart below and here you will see just how these two great devices stack up against one another – click on the "View Full Comparison" link at the end of the chart to expand the details.  After that, we will look at each individual device in greater detail and point out some of its pros and cons.  From all of this information we will try to determine the winner based on specs and execution of design and functions.


Smartphones | SpecOut
HTC One M9

AH HTC One M9 Batch 2-6The HTC One M9 continues the tradition of the all-metal smartphone and it looks very similar to the One M7 or One M8.  HTC One's all-metal body is nicely curved on the back making it a joy to hold…especially with a subtle redesign around the sides of the body with a small lip for better gripping.  The back of the One M9 looks more like the older One M7 as HTC finally did away with the duo camera setup found on the One M8.  This year, with the FHD display, HTC is being criticized for not making enough changes…but why change one of the nicest looking smartphones on the market?


The HTC One M9 still sports a 5-inch Full HD Super LCD3 display with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels and 441 pixels-per-inch (PPI) – going up against the Galaxy S6 Active's QHD Super AMOLED display at 576 PPI.  HTC selected the 64-bit octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 with four cores clocked at 1.5GHZ and four cores clocked at 2.0GHz.  The S6 Active is using a homegrown 64-bit Exynos 7420 octa-core processor.  The One M9 and the S6 Activity are packing 3GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage, although the S6 Active uses the newer and faster DDR4 RAM and their new UFS 2.0 flash memory.  The HTC One M9 also has a microSD card for additional storage up to 128GB on the One M9, the S6 Active does not have room for expansion.

HTC did a complete revamp of the camera area and they succeeded in making it better, although it still does not include OIS.  They moved the 4MP UltraPixel camera around as the front-facing camera (FFC), which should provide great selfies, video chatting and help in taking good low-light pictures.  HTC replaced the main camera with a 20MP sensor with autofocus and dual-tone LED flash.  This compares to the 16MP main camera on the S6 Active, along with a 5MP FFC.  The One M9 uses a non-removable 2840mAh battery…much smaller than the 3500mAh non-removable battery in the S6 Active.  The One M9 does support Quick Charge 2.0 thanks to its Qualcomm processor, while Samsung has included their wireless charging in the S6 Active.

The HTC One M9 retains the dual front-facing stereo speakers with BoomSound and a FM Stereo radio.  It comes in Gunmetal Gray, Amber Gold, Silver/Rose Gold and Gold/Pink.  It is running Android 5.0.2 Lollipop and pricing is around $199 on a two-year contract and $600 off contract.


Samsung Galaxy S6 Active

Samsung-Galaxy-S6-Active-AH-20It was no surprise that Samsung would supply AT&T with a Galaxy S6 Active as they have the past couple of models.  It is designed as a rugged Galaxy S6 for those with an active lifestyle and comes in three variations – gray, white camo and blue camo – although I prefer the plain gray, as it is rugged, yet still a nice looking device that you could take anywhere.  I would not feel comfortable pulling out a high-end device at a fancy party with camo on it.  Gone is the glass on the back, but in its place, the battery jumps from 2550mAh to 3500mAh and two days of service…not a bad trade-off. Gone are the two capacitive buttons for the recent and the back keys, and in their place are three physical buttons here that give a nice click for feedback.

The Galaxy S6 Active has the same 5.1-inch QHD Super AMOLED display with a resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels and about 576 PPI – this compares to the 5-inch FHD display with 1080p and only 441 PPI on the HTC One M9.  The S6 Active uses the same 64-bit Exynos 7420 processor…the first one to use 14nm technology.  It is an octa-core processor with four cores clocked at 1.5GHz and four cores clocked at 2.1GHz.  This is a little more advanced technology than found in the HTC One M9's Snapdragon 810 octa-core processor.  The both have 3GB of RAM, but the S6 Active uses the faster DDR4 RAM and they both have 32GB of internal memory, although the S6 Active uses a new and faster UFS 2.0 flash memory.  The S6 Active only comes with 32GB with no options, whereas the One M9 has a microSD card for expansion.

The S6 Active comes with a 16MP main camera with autofocus and LED flash, but no mention of OIS that is found in the original Galaxy S6.  It also has a 5MP wide angle FFC for great group selfies and video chats.  This compares to a 20MP main camera and a 4MP UltraPixel FFC on the HTC One M9.  The S6 Active also packs a much larger non-removable 3500mAh battery and you should get two days of service.


The Galaxy S6 Active has many features that the HTC One M9 does not have, such as dust proofing, shock and water resistant and is engineered to withstand any drops on the stones or in the water.  It is IP68 rated and certified to meet a series of military specifications.  It also come with a button to push that will bring up the Activity Zone – instant weather information, a barometer, compass, flashlight, stopwatch and S Health info.  The S6 Active allows you to use the Ultra Power Saving Mode (UPSM), use fast charge or wireless charging mode to save your battery or keep it charged.  It also includes a heart rate sensor and oxygen saturation sensor.

The S6 Activity comes in Gray, Blue Camo or White Camo, is an AT&T exclusive device and will cost you $200 on a two-year contract and $695 off-contract.

…And The Winner Is…




This was one of the easiest decisions to make – the Samsung S6 Active is the winner of this comparison.  The S6 Active has a much better display, better processor, faster memory, better camera, better battery life, IP68 certified dust and water resistant up to 1.5 meter and 30 minutes.  It is also certified with Military specs MIL-STD-810G against salt, dust, humidity, rain, vibration, solar radiation, transport and thermal shock resistant.  The S6 Active also has built-in wireless charging for both Qi and PMA standards…all of this for the same cost of the HTC One M9.

The only place the HTC One M9 wins is in the speaker department and it does have a FM Radio – and I will even give you the all-metal case…the Galaxy S6 Active is not the best looking smartphone on the market, but it is designed to be rugged and survive falls, water and extreme temperatures, not be pretty.

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