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Smartphone Death Match: Samsung Galaxy S4 vs. HTC One

Samsung Galaxy S4 takes on the HTC One…who wins? You Decide.

We already knew that Apple and Samsung aren’t on the best of terms (despite the fact that they have a strong business relationship), but in 2012 the giants bumped heads more than once and their rivalry became quite fierce.

Although this state of affairs will most likely continue this year when the next iPhone arrives, Apple isn't Samsung's greatest competitor now. While many Android smartphone manufacturers have brought out the big guns – including Sony's Xperia Z and LG's Optimus G Pro – the HTC One is probably the Samsung Galaxy S4’s (SGS4) biggest threat.

Now that the HTC One and the Samsung Galaxy S4 have been unveiled, it's high time to look at which phone may come out on top. In this first part of The Diplomat’s miniseries on the Samsung Galaxy S4 and HTC One we'll focus on the hardware specs of the two handsets.


Probably the only similarity between the displays found on the Samsung Galaxy S4 and HTC One is that they come with a full HD resolution of 1,920×1,080 pixels. Otherwise, almost everything is different.

The Galaxy S4 sports a 5.0 inch Super AMOLED panel protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 3, whereas the HTC One packs a 4.7 inch Super LCD3 display protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 2. There's a difference in diagonal, but the resolution remains the same on both handsets. The pixel density also differs, resulting in 468 pixels per inch on the HTC One, and 441 ppi on the Samsung S4.

One last thing to point out is that Samsung's display can be operated while wearing gloves (similar to the Nokia Lumia 920).

CPU, RAM and Storage

Last year, the Samsung Galaxy S3 had the upper hand in the battle with the HTC One X, due to the former’s more powerful central processing unit (CPU) and 2GB of RAM (instead of the HTC One’s 1GB provided in certain markets).

This year, however, the gap between the One and the SGS4 is much narrower as they both come equipped with similar hardware. Although the Galaxy S4 is expected to come with an Exynos 5 Octa in certain regions, a Qualcomm Snapdragon-powered model will be retailed in LTE-enabled markets.

On the other hand, the HTC One arrives with a Snapdragon 600 SoC regardless of the market and packs 2 GB of RAM, as does the SGS4.

In other words, both devices are quite similar in terms of processing power. When it comes down to internal storage, however, differences become clear.

Those who opt for the HTC One will have a choice between 32 or 64 GB of built-in storage, whereas the Galaxy S4 will come with 16/32/64 GB of internal storage. The main difference, however, is that while the Samsung flagship comes with a microSD card slot (up to 64 GB), the One’s unibody design does not offer this option.

Design and Build

Now that we've talked about what's happening inside these handsets, it's time to look at the exteriors. As mentioned above, HTC employs the unibody design philosophy for its latest flagship. This results in an attractive handset with an outstanding build quality – a result that is achieved at the expense of versatility. Hence, the One lacks a microSD card slot and limits access to the handset’s 2,300 mAh battery.

On the other hand, Samsung believes that versatility is key and put a removable back panel on its Galaxy S4, thus giving the user access to a 2,600 mAh removable battery, which is definitely a good thing. However, on the not-so-bright side, the Galaxy S4 still feels less sturdy than its aluminum-built competitor due to the choice of cheap-looking plastic material.

A caveat: I realize I'm leaving out the cameras, but this is a delicate matter. When it comes to cameras, the on-paper specifications don't tell the whole story. Nonetheless, we'll talk in more detail about what the capabilities of these handsets’ camera sensors in the next part of this series. We’ll also take a closer look at the software features.

Until then, don't hesitate to share your thoughts by leaving a comment below. Which one of these two handsets do you find more appealing?

Vlad Andrici is editor for and writes about technology issues.