HTC One vs Samsung Galaxy S III - first look

HTC One vs Samsung Galaxy S III - first look
How about we make an improvised comparison between the old battle horse Samsung Galaxy S III and the young race stud HTC One, we thought the minute we got our hands on HTC's latest and greatest at the MWC expo today. Tasty, eh?

Without rehashing the specs, we'd just say that the HTC One is the more powerful of the two, since it houses the newest generation Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 inside, but with Jelly Bean these synthetic benchmark differences should be taken with a grain of salt, since the phones plough through everything Android can throw at them anyway. Where the silicon can make a difference is the ability to process things like HDR video, stitch 360 degree panoramas faster and so on, but we are dealing with a non-final HTC One unit here, so we thought we'd focus more on the general look and feel.

Here is where it got interesting, as the two handsets are pretty far apart in terms of the impression they leave in your hand. The lighthearted polycarbonate Galaxy S III is very ergonomic to hold, yet feels somewhat cheaper than the anodized aluminum HTC One, with diamond-cut edges.

HTC's handset is truly a thoughtful design, and a proof that a big-screen phone doesn't have to be all-plastic to be fairly light and comfortable to hold, but can come wrapped in premium materials with great success, too. Granted, the S III is slightly thinner, but that doesn't really feel as an advantage, rather the HTC One feels more solid in the hand because of the extra girth, and easier to grip. The One is also more narrow and elongated, which helps operate it with just one hand and your thumb better than the S III. The One is a unibody design, though, so tough luck expanding that 16/32 GB memory, or swapping the battery - things you can do with ease on Samsung's handset.

Now off to the interface races - Samsung's TouchWiz, or Nature UX now, has always felt a little cartoonish and ragtag compared to HTC Sense, which is much more integrated in terms of graphics and functionality with Android, to the extent that you only see the Sense UI wherever you may roam on the handset. It is more uniform, to the extent that some call it bloated with all the animations, themes and 3D effects that make it stand out, but Sense 5.0 is a whole different ballgame. It is minimalistic now, with two-dimensional, non-cluttered, more schematic graphics, and the visual oomph is left for features like the BlinkFeed aggregator, or the Zoe Camera automatic media collage function. Yet, it is all flatter than Sense UI of yesteryear, much simpler, and still looking way more sophisticated than the ragtag Nature UX. despite Samsung's array of useful features in it.

Moving along, we take a look at the cameras - the Galaxy S III sports an 8 MP shooter, which takes one of the best looking photos and videos coming from a smartphone, while the One has something called the UltraPixel camera. HTC here is trying to put an end to the megapixel war, moving ahead with things that matter, like pixel size - the One has 2 micron vs 1.4 micron pixels on the Galaxy S III, thus in theory should be better in low-light scenarios

Another great selling point of the HTC One's camera is the two-axis optical image stabilization, shrunk enough to fit in the 9mm body, and aiding to avoid any shake during video footage, as well as allow much longer exposure times, soaking more light without blur. We'll try and snap some samples with both later on to check out both cameras against each other. The frontal cam on the One also has an advantage with its wide-angle lens, fitting up to four people in your video chat sessions.

As far as the screens go, despite being almost the same size, they look quite different, and we are not talking pixel density here, because, let's be honest, the difference between Full HD and HD mobile screen from a normal viewing distance is negligible, PenTile matrix or not. What we mean is that HTC has the habit of calibrating its displays almost perfectly lately, which was proved with the excellent display on the HTC Butterfly, and with the One and only here things seem to be the same. It sports very true colors, compared to the oversaturated, yet quite cold ones on the S III, the brightness seems much higher, and to top it all off, the One sports very low screen reflection coefficient, which helps immensely under a direct light source, and you can take a feel of in the video below.

It is, of course, not really fair to make a comparison between an almost year-old handset to one that hasn't even hit shelves yet, and the true test would be against the Galaxy S IV, but from what we gathered, the One will be a direct contender for anyone's throne in the first half of the year.

Related phones

Galaxy S III
  • Display 4.8" 720 x 1280 pixels
  • Camera 8 MP / 1.9 MP front
  • Processor Samsung Exynos 4 Quad, Quad-core, 1400 MHz
  • Storage 32 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 2100 mAh(11.60h 3G talk time)
  • Display 4.7" 1080 x 1920 pixels
  • Camera 4 MP / 2.1 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 600, Quad-core, 1700 MHz
  • Storage 64 GB
  • Battery 2300 mAh(18h 3G talk time)



1. AustinPaul

Posts: 155; Member since: Dec 13, 2011

If having a removable battery means having to stick with a non-metal body, I'll take the non-metal battery - at least until battery life becomes totally amazing.

13. RiseAgainst94

Posts: 281; Member since: Mar 03, 2012

I'd rather have something that feels premium than something that feels flimsy. something that will last longer and doesn't need a case to mask its design. Your argument is a valid one and I wish the One at least had wireless charging capabilities,but if it gets me through a day so I can plug it in before I sleep I'll be content.

26. nasznjoka

Posts: 418; Member since: Oct 05, 2012

i'd rather have something with premium functionalites and features than prememium feel. Its like a nice looking man that girls fall up on but he can not f********k

29. RiseAgainst94

Posts: 281; Member since: Mar 03, 2012

Im tired of these idiotic metaphors about hot people. This a cell phone not some hot chick or guy. HTC superior interface as well and many many functionalities. Your metaphor, even if Samsungs phone have more functionality, is inaccurate.

39. Taters

Posts: 6474; Member since: Jan 28, 2013

I disagree, the HTC interface is horrible. A part of what made the GS3 so much nicer to use than the One X was the interface and function. If I need to wake up my phone, I hit the home button with my thumb and just move my thumb less than a mm and just swipe to unlock. With the HTC I move my index finger like 10 cm to hit a flush power button and then move it back, then move my thumb like 5 cm to swipe to unlock. Not to mention the brilliant touchwiz notification toggles. Plenty of things from screen shots, smart stay, tap to top make Touchwiz light years better than Sense. You really need to try it to understand. Going from the One X to the GS3 was like going from a NES controller to the SNES controller or going from a typerwriter to a computer keyboard. Much better ergonomics

78. mr.techdude

Posts: 571; Member since: Nov 19, 2012

Taters ur trying to tell me that when u turn on ur s3 it turns on right away well NO every gs3 I've used, when turning on the phone it turns in 3 sec, every single Samsung galaxy device does that. About the HTC one x taking u ages to turn it on, mate u got tiny hands sorry to say or ur just a pure Sammy fan and u never owned a HTC device just lying......

38. Taters

Posts: 6474; Member since: Jan 28, 2013

I still do not get how solid plastic with no gaps and supported by a magnesium skeleton frame feels flimsy. Technically, there is no give. So unless the aluminum lovers can feel through the plastic, they really have no ground to stand on. Aluminum scratches faster than plastic btw. And I personally thought that the Xperia S felt better in the hand than the Xperia P, which is similar to the HTC One design.

64. Lboogey6

Posts: 281; Member since: Jan 31, 2012

thank you!!!! omg who the hell is needing a tank for the phone one x was solid look how miserable that failed people. and people please give me reports on how peoples s3 is melting or cracking instead of this bs about metal and premium feel.

74. RiseAgainst94

Posts: 281; Member since: Mar 03, 2012

I own a Nokia Lumia 900. I don't have a case on my phone and I think it looks damn good. If I were to have waited and bought the Galaxy SIII I would have needed to buy a case to make sure the device didn't break. Not only that but the silver band of plastic around the screen is incredibly cheap. Lastly, I want a phone that feels premium, not like my old Samsung Mythic. I want to know that if I drop the phone on the ground nothing will happen and I wouldn't get that with a Galaxy S3. I do with my Lumia.

109. TMach unregistered

You can keep playing the ostrich game and bury your head deep in that sand! My S3 did crack and I got appalling customer service from Samsung, sorry none as they do not have any and you have to deal with independent service centres. PA actually did a feature on this and my experience in particular, so once you've pulled your head out of that sand, feel free to search for it on here! I made a promise never to buy a Samsung phone ever again and sticking to it and I do not care if their next handset wakes you up, makes the coffeee and butters your toast. Just got the Xperia Z and its a joy and will be getting the HTC One from Handtec, hopefully by Friday!

52. dr_fajardo12

Posts: 134; Member since: Aug 26, 2012


Posts: 3131; Member since: Jan 12, 2010

Your "doesnt need a case" argument is flawed. The iPhone 5 which is considered one of the most premium, well designed cell phones can easily dent, scratch, and bend. So a case is always needed if you want to keep that cell phone is great condition.

86. RiseAgainst94

Posts: 281; Member since: Mar 03, 2012

Actually, it is not flawed seeing as though I didn't once mention the Iphone 5. Your comment is flawed.

36. dr_fajardo12

Posts: 134; Member since: Aug 26, 2012

2. gwuhua1984

Posts: 1237; Member since: Mar 06, 2012

"The One X is a unibody design, though, so tough luck expanding that 16/32 GB memory, or swapping the battery - things you can do with ease on Samsung's handset." One X or One?

6. PointMaza

Posts: 60; Member since: Dec 14, 2012

Definitely ONE

3. tusshharish

Posts: 342; Member since: Oct 23, 2012

why they are compairing one with almost a year old bestseller samsung's flagship.............why they won't wait till sIV...........

12. RiseAgainst94

Posts: 281; Member since: Mar 03, 2012

Is that a serious question?

14. cloud_atlas1991

Posts: 62; Member since: Dec 21, 2012

That's how good S3 is. It's become a benchmark of phones.

19. amats69

Posts: 1527; Member since: Nov 12, 2012

because it is samsungs current flagship....dont worry if sIV is announce and release you will see lots of comparison between the two phone...

22. RiseAgainst94

Posts: 281; Member since: Mar 03, 2012

The same reason we compare the iPhone 5 with the 4, the GS 3 with the GS 2. Its called progression and the only way to note how significant is by comparison.

4. tusshharish

Posts: 342; Member since: Oct 23, 2012

and for camera i'll still say htc one su*kzzzzzz..........

16. theindianguy

Posts: 90; Member since: Sep 30, 2011

What a troll. You probably have a cheap samsung and bash HTC for no reason.

40. Taters

Posts: 6474; Member since: Jan 28, 2013

There are too many reasons to bash HTC actually.

5. Mehdia

Posts: 23; Member since: Apr 22, 2012

this is funny sammy 2012 s3 htc 2013 review come s IV out htc one

7. _Bone_

Posts: 2155; Member since: Oct 29, 2012

Great design, top notch HW, epic screen and large storage, the only thing worrying me is battery life plus I'm a bit puzzled that at the Droid DNA's size, why did HTC scaled down the screen to 4,7", would've loved the full 5" sacrificing one of the speakers. Can't wait to try this one out.

41. Taters

Posts: 6474; Member since: Jan 28, 2013

I agree. If HTC was smart, they would have sacrificed the "boom sound" extra speaker and stream lined it so that is was more compact than the Xperia ZL but remain the thinness of the HTC One. I would have bought it and I was already burned by them 4 times already.

53. gwuhua1984

Posts: 1237; Member since: Mar 06, 2012

There's actually a lot of people who didn't mind the speakers. I for one don't mind the loss of .3in for nice loud speaker sounds. HTC's loud speakers had always been tinny and hard to hear.

8. breathlesstao unregistered

Plastic feels cheaper than aluminum. ... That's something I don't hear very often!

9. smallworld

Posts: 517; Member since: Jul 13, 2012


Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit for samples and additional information.
FCC OKs Cingular's purchase of AT&T Wireless