HTC One M9 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 4: first look

Just a few days ago, HTC announced the seeming climax of its One flagship lineup, the One M9, which came packed with most of the traits and goodies that made the One (M7) and (M8) exquisite handsets. Although it got somewhat overshadowed by Samsung, the One M9 is certainly a device that we'll be mentioning it in the upcoming months. 

One of the names that we'll be also mentioning in the next few months is, naturally, the noteworthy Samsung Galaxy Note 4, a device that gave us a sneak peek at what Sammy had in the pipeline for 2015. But how do these fare against each other? Let's find out!


Solid. This is what both of these devices feel like in hand, though each one in a slightly different manner. The cool, grippy feel of One M9's metal reminds us of the One (M8), but HTC has perfected the brushed unibody build even further, making the One M9 arguably it's best device yet. 

The Galaxy Note 4, on the other hand, feels extremely nice to the touch as well - with its metal frame and faux leather back, it's certain that the lack of grip won't be an issue. Yet, it's larger footprint makes it a tad more difficult to operate than the more compact and handleable than the Note 4. Undoubtedly, whichever you choose, you will feel like you are using a pretty premium device. Undoubtedly, the dual-finish design of the One M9 is a bit more eye-catchy.

At 9.61mm, the One M9 is also a bit thicker than the Note 4 (rolling at 8.5mm), though the Sammy-made phablet is a taller and broader, making it a bit harder to operate with a single hand when you compare it with the One M9. What's more, the latter comes it power/lock button on the side, making it even more user-friendly.


A 1080p LCD vs a Quad HD Super AMOLED display, that's the clash in the display compartment. The 1080p LCD screen of the One M9 has the same footprint as the One (M8) - 5 inches. This results in a more than acceptable pixel density of 441ppi, though its a little sub-par in terms of sharpness when we put it next to the Quad HD display that graces the Note 4. With a resolution of 1440 x 2560 pixels, the Note 4 flaunts a pixel density of 515dpi. 

It's true that it will be quite hard to distinguish individual pixels on each display with the naked eye. Regardless, in pure numbers the phablet overshadows the HTC device with its properties. 

We already know that the display of the Note 4 is quite accurate and eye-catching. The One M9, on the other hand, seems like a pretty good match to the Galaxy Note 4's display prowess. As usual, we'll have to examine it a bit more closely before we can say whether the One M9 has bested the Note 4.

Interface and functionality

Flaunting HTC's SenseUI 7 with Android 5.0 Lollipop, the One M9 comes with almost the same UI feature set as the One (M8) with a few small additions. The Lollipop iteration of Sense bears a cleaner and more polished, Material Design-like UI, which feels more responsive and faster than ever. 

In the meantime, the Galaxy Note 4 flashes Samsung's TouchWiz UI (now with Lollipop!), which is as feature-packed as it gets. The S Pen stylus adds an additional level of functionality, which is nowhere to be found on the One M9, as the latter is a regular phone in this regard. This is truly where the Note 4 shines, but we can't really say that it over-shines the One M9 much.

We should also note that SenseUI 7 comes with improved customization options under the form of the new Quick Theme, which allow you to change the looks of your interface to certain extents. The Note 4 is devoid of such a pre-built feature.

Processor and memory

With a Snapdragon 810 inside, the HTC One M9 is the most powerful device HTC has ever built. The 64-bit offering boasts eight cores and works in a blazing-fast concert with the 3GB of RAM that could be found inside. 

A respectable hardware setup, indeed, but the Note 4 is a pretty worthy rival as well, one that shouldn't be disregarded easily - in particular, it also comes with an octa-core chip, an Exynos Octa 7 SoC. Well, the phone also comes with a quad-core Snapdragon 805 in certain regions. In our preliminary benchmarks, the One M9 performs better than the Note 4, but we should note that they are taken from a display unit. Regardless, it becomes clear that the Snapdragon 810 beats Note 4's Exynos at this point.

It's also paired with 3GB of RAM, meaning that the Note 4 and the One M9 are pretty on par with one another in this aspect. We have 32GB of native storage on board of both devices as well as microSD card slots for those craving additional gigabytes of storage.


Well, this is where things become interesting - the Note 4 already aced many of our blind comparisons, recently besting the iPhone 6 and a... DSLR camera. 

True, the 16MP at the back of the Note 4 is a pretty respectable photography tool, and we're expecting the Galaxy S6 and S6 edge to further solidify Samsung's name in the camera department, as the newcomers come with the same image sensor.

Meanwhile, HTC has a lot to prove in terms of photography - the One M9 is the first HTC flagship since 2013 to boast a normal camera at the back. In particular, we have a 20MP, f/2.2 aperture camera at the rear, which will try to repair the somewhat-damaged image of HTC in terms of smartphone photography. 

We are pretty eager to put the One M9 against all of its rivals and see if it is finally a step in the right direction!


The One M9 seems like one of the best and most polished devices HTC has ever produced. We can say the same for the Samsung Galaxy Note 4. Broken down to the important bits, both devices are spectacular examples of what a company can achieve when it is given the chance to perfect its design language for a couple of years. 

It's quite hard to distinguish whether the One M9 crushes the Note 4 or vice versa - both are marvelous devices on their own.

Related phones

One M9
  • Display 5.0" 1080 x 1920 pixels
  • Camera 20 MP / 4 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 810, Octa-core, 2000 MHz
  • Storage 32 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 2840 mAh(21.7h 3G talk time)
Galaxy Note 4
  • Display 5.7" 1440 x 2560 pixels
  • Camera 16 MP / 3.7 MP front
  • Processor Samsung Exynos 7 Octa, Octa-core, 1900 MHz
  • Storage 32 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 3220 mAh(20h 3G talk time)



1. TyrionLannister unregistered

Humble request to PA: Don't compare devices which make no sense. S6 vs Nexus 6 , S6 edge v/s Nexus 6, S6 vs Note 4, S6 edge vs Note 4 and this. These articles make no sense. No one will compare a huge phablet to a phone.

2. Droid_X_Doug

Posts: 5993; Member since: Dec 22, 2010

It is a matter of article throughput. One of the metrics that are pitched to prospective advertisers is the volume of new articles per unit of time. I agree that the One M9 in no way compares with the Note 4.

5. mmmanuuu

Posts: 403; Member since: Nov 05, 2013

These guys are nuts. Comparing this thing to that thing. First look, deep look, indepth look, long time review, camera comparison, processor comparison, DAMN. IM SICK OF ALL THESE RIDICULOUS COMPARISONS. WHY DONT YOU ADD A SEPARATE PAGE OR FOLDER OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT SO THAT ITS EASY FOR US TO SKIP THOSE.

6. rick_mobile

Posts: 359; Member since: Dec 13, 2010

I disagree, I Have the Note 4 and was contemplating on getting the S6 edge, and I'm glad they compared the, I got to see them side by side and look at how they fair against each other, and what the biggest differences are, mainly physical, I'm glad they did it, I was almost sure I would upgrade but after the article, I'm sticking with the Note 4, I love the edge, but not a difference big enough.

3. Freecableguy

Posts: 42; Member since: Jul 21, 2014

This article is a joke. First they mention Exynos 7 Octa and then the benchmarks compare HTC M9 to the S805 Note 4. By the way, in some CPU benchmarks like Geekbench the Note 4 Exynos still beats S810 (~4500/1250).

4. thegeneral7010

Posts: 437; Member since: Dec 10, 2014

phonearena are u drunk?????? this is SD805 note 4 not the exynos one exynos 7 octa scores more than SD810 in geek benchmark and matches it in antutu after lollpop update and it could be much better except that stupid samsung engineers couldnt activate its 64bit capabilities.

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