Pretty much everyone that has some interest in what's going on in the smartphone industry knows that Samsung and HTC are like the biggest rivals when it comes strictly to the Android market (because on a global scale, the rivalry between Samsung and Apple is even bigger). That said, the competition between these guys' last-year flagships, the Galaxy S4 and HTC One, has been extremely heated. The two companies have gone so far that they have even employed their PR departments into coming up with different ways to kind of mess up the public images of one another a little bit. Now that it's 2014, though, it's time that we start thinking about moving on and shifting the focus towards the new champions that are about to enter the scene.
Well, it's a great pleasure for us today to report that the first of those champions is already official - and unlike previous years, it was now Samsung that made the first move with its Galaxy S5. Now, unfortunately, HTC is yet to unveil its next big thing (that's going to happen on March 25), so we can't really compare Samsung's and HTC's next-gen offerings to one another just yet, but you know what? One thing we can definitely do is to see how the Galaxy S5 stacks up against the HTC One - HTC's last-year flagship. Of course, it's bound to be a pretty one-sided fight, having in mind the time difference and all, but the One is still a more than decent Android proposition, so if anything, that's going to be one hot and fun comparison!
When it comes to dimensions, the Galaxy S5 has actually grown a bit - it's now a bit larger than its predecessor in almost every direction, and so, when compared to HTC's One, the Galaxy S5 turns out to be the sligthly larger handset, except for the thickness.Still, both handset are actually easy to handle, and we don't think the Galaxy S5 is really so big. As a matter of fact, Samsung's phone feels quite comfortable when held in the hand, especially if you compare it with ths hold and slippery surface of the One.
A differentiating feature of the Galaxy S5 is its fingerprint sensor, which adds a new layer of security to the handset. Basically, you can use the new fingerprint sensor to unlock your smartphone, gain access to private content stored on your phone, or authorize PayPal purchases, though it's not clear yet if the latter will be available by the time the phone launces. What makes the Galaxy S5 even cooler is that it's now IP67 certified, so it's water- and dust-resistant, which is always a plus. Sadly, the HTC One lacks that rugged feature.
We said that the Galaxy S5 is slightly larger than the One, but it more than makes up for it by sporting a noticeably larger screen.The GS5 packs a 5.1" panel, while the One has the still sizable 4.7" screen. Both displays have 1080 x 1920 resolution, which is perfectly fine with us, as that kind of resolution ensures incredibly high pixel density and image clarity for these display sizes. So even the Galaxy S5, which has the larger, 5.1-inch display, is still looking extremely fine and detailed.
The Super AMOLED panel used by the Samsung Galaxy S5 probably isn't completely free of all the drawbacks of AMOLED technology, but it also seems to be considerably improved from what we had last year. For example, maximum brightness should be able to reach up to 500 nits when outdoors, which is expected to translate to more than decent outdoor visiblity. Conversely, if you're viewing your handset in the dark, the GS5 is said to be able to get extremely dim at just 2 nits, so that it can be comfortable to view in the dark. Meanwhile, the IPS LCD display of the HTC One is still a great one, though it's now starting to become a bit aging compared to these new breeds of screens. We obviously can't say which of the two is going to have the more accurate colors overall, due to the fact that we haven't been able to perform our scientific measurements, but we're definitely looking forward to spending some more time with the GS5's display in the following days, weeks and months, as it seems a very promising one.
It's good to know that the GS5 is going to come with Android 4.4 KitKat, but that alone isn't enough of a benefit in this situation, seeing that the HTC One already runs KitKat. The interesting thing in this department is something else. It's the fact that Samsung has finally started updating its TouchWiz user interface and taking it in the right direction. The custom UI now appears to be somewhat toned down, with flatter design and more regular colors, while at the same time, responsiveness has been taken to a whole new level. In terms of UI consistency, though, there's still a lot to desire in the Galaxy S5's TouchWiz UI. It is, however, bringing some cool new features, such as S Health 3.0, which allows you to use the built-in heart monitor - a useful function, indeed!
On the other hand, HTC's Sense 5.5 UI that's running on the HTC One has a somewhat more mature look, utilizing some nice textures and an overall grown-up approach to the GUI. It's not as feature-rich as Samsung's TouchWiz, but it does have some notable offerings of its own, such as the BlinkFeed news aggregator, the Zoe camera mode, as well as some custom apps by HTC.
Coming about a year later than the HTC One, the Samsung Galaxy S5 can benefit from the latest in silicon technology. Samsung's new top product is relying on the cutting-edge Snapdragon 801 chipset, which pushes the limits of what's possible in terms of smartphone performance nowadays. Also, with an updated Adreno 330 GPU, the GS5 should perform even better than those Snapdragon 800 phones that are already on the market. Things aren't as exciting when you take a look under the hood of the HTC One. The Taiwanese's 2013 flagship houses a still-powerful Snapdragon 600, which is actually perfectly good for almost everything you can thing of, but... you know, it's just not as future-proof as the Snapdragon 801 in the Galaxy S5.
Memory-wise, the HTC One comes in 32 and 64 GB flavors, which is probably due to the fact that a microSD card slot is missing. The traditionally more flexible Galaxy S5, though, comes in a range of storage space options, and you can even install a microSD card, if you happen to need more storage.
Snap, snap - who doesn't enjoy taking pictures?! Well, Samsung seems to know that the camera is a very important aspect for its consumers, and we guess this is why the manufacturer continuies to evolve its already wonderful offering. With the GS5, customers are getting a new, 16 MP camera with LED flash. The new sensor should be capable of capturing even better images, while a bunch of new camera modes will aim to make your photography experience even cooler with Samsung's next big thing. For example, there's real-time HDR, which lets the user check out a live preview of how their HDR shots are going to turn out. What's more, that mode is also available when capturing video, allowing you to record a good-looking, high-dynamic footage.
Well, what can we say - the HTC One's 4 MP UltraPixel camera has never really managed to live up to the expectations. Images made with this camera have always been lacking in detail and experiencing color issues. Of course, they are fine for regular usage and sharing on social media, but if we compare their quality with that of other, more capable camera phones, it becomes evident that HTC really has to do something with its camera in order to make it successful. So, without drawing any final conclusions yet, we can actually make an educated guess right now and say that we expect the Galaxy S5's camera to be tons better than what you can get out of the HTC One's shooter. But we'll see...
So there you have it - we have just compared Samsung's upcoming Android flagship to HTC's current flagship. Two epic devices have met for the first time at PhoneArena, and the result is showing us that're dealing with an extremely quickly-evolving industry, judging by the great progress made by the Galaxy S5. Naturally, the S5 seems to be better in pretty much every way, save for the exterior. But we're sure that this is only because the HTC One is now one year old, so what else should we expect?
What we're all looking forward to now is the introduction of the next HTC Android flagship, which is going to take place on March 25. It is then that we'll see if this epic rivalry is going to continue throughout 2014.