Samsung Galaxy S6 edge vs HTC One M9: in-depth specs comparison

Samsung Galaxy S6 edge vs HTC One M9: in-depth specs comparison

Introduction


The Samsung Galaxy S6 edge and HTC One M9 are hot-shot devices that have seriously impressive looks, top-shelf components, and high price tags - the defining qualities of flagship smartphones. These two in particular have gotten lots of attention at this year's MWC, so let's have an initial look at how they compare against one another in the specs and software departments.

Design


The One M9 follows HTC's well established all-metal design line, and it does so in a safe, reliable way. At first sight, it's a bit difficult to tell the M9 and its predecessor apart, but at some point you will surely notice that the M9 looks more like it took the best elements of the HTC One (M7) and One (M8) for itself. With ancestors like these, there's no way the M9 could possibly turn up ugly. Of course, design innovation didn't walk past uninvited. The smartphone has a new metal trim, and a new, slightly grippier finish. Measuring (144.6 x 69.7 x 9.61mm) and weighing in at (157g), it's hardly the slimmest phone out there, but to those of you that prefer their gadgets with a bit of a healthy heft to them, it's surely a godsend.



For many years Samsung relied on plastic for its phones, but the Samsung Galaxy S6 edge is a revolutionary design leap! Gone is the plastic chassis of previous flagships, replaced instead by a body that’s constructed from premium materials and covered in Gorilla Glass 4. The end result is one gorgeous looking smartphone! Not only is it remarkably attractive, but it’s compact, lightweight, and offers one a comfortable feel in the hand. Still, those curved sides of the display - its hallmark - are there mostly for show – not so much for function. But they do help it feel even more comfortable than the standard Galaxy S6. Measuring 5.59 x 2.76 x 0.28 inches (142.1 x 70.1 x 7 mm) at a weight of 4.66 oz (132 g), it's actually not much bigger than the One M9, and it's thinner and lighter at that. That's a graceful smartphone, Samsung! And, of course, the S6 edge has a fingerprint reader and heart rate sensor, which enable additional functionality over the One M9.


Display


Shunning resolution and pixel density extremes, the HTC One M9 flaunts a perfectly good 5-inch 1080p IPS LCD display with a pixel density of 441 pixels per inch. The resolution is more than effective, with details across the board remaining sharp. We will have to put it through our display test procedures to get an accurate assessment of its properties, but for the most part, things look great on it! HTC is pretty good at tuning those displays for natural, if slightly cold colors, in addition to getting them all nice and bright. From what we've seen, the viewing angles are decent as well, and outdoor visibility is acceptable. Overall, we're left with positive impressions from the M9's display!



HTC may argue that the 1080p resolution is more than sufficient for a modern smartphone, but Samsung pushes for the bleeding edge with the Galaxy S6 edge's 5.1-inch quad-HD 1440 x 2560 Super AMOLED display. With a pixel density of 576 pixels per inch, it's practically the sharpest curved smartphone display ever. And as to its other qualities - such as brightness levels and color reproduction - we'll have to let our display test show us whether they are a match for the Galaxy Note 4's brilliant, state-of-the-art screen. Samsung claims that the S6 and S6 edge's panels have peak brightness of 600nits, which should be great for outdoors viewing.


Interface


The HTC One M9 runs Android 5.0 Lollipop topped off with the HTC Sense 7 interface. The visual changes on the surface are subtle – like how the weather-clock widget from HTC now sports a clean, italicized font. For the most part, it's the same modern design language we’ve seen in previous incarnations are present here. In typical Sense fashion, usual staples like HTC BlinkFeed, Zoe, and various Motion Launch gestures are all present once again. The lock screen’s new enhanced functionality is more apparent, seeing that contextual suggestions are delivered. For example, restaurant suggestions are dished up in the homescreen. HTC also added a new widget - Smart Launcher. It is comprised out of apps that dynamically change depending on which of them you commonly use. But the best part about Sense 7 is the unprecedented level of personalization that’s available. Sense is already stylish and elegant, definitely one of the more likeable customized Android experiences out there. But HTC has gone deeper to give users extensive control in how it looks. Specifically, we can select various themes to spiffy the standard look of Sense, and we’re able to modify the color scheme of the UI, the way the icons look, or even rearrange the standard set of Android menu buttons.



For the Galaxy S6 edge, Samsung claims it designed the best TouchWiz experience yet! That’s a little bit tough to say after spending just a short time with the phone, but we can certainly agree that it’s vying for a cleaner looking interface – one that also goes back to a simpler set of software features. Samsung also added several new animations and a cleaner font for its various widgets, which help to further soften the tone of the user interface. Running on top of Android 5.0 Lollipop, we’re a bit sad to find multiple user support has been removed from the experience. Samsung claims that it’s not a feature that most smartphone users would use, as it’s mostly relevant to tablets instead. Still, Sammy’s classic TouchWiz features are present – like multi-window to give us a true multi-tasking experience.


Processor and memory


Continuing its partnership with US chipmaker Qualcomm, HTC enlisted its latest creation - the mighty octa-core Snapdragon 810 - for the duty of powering its 2015 flagship. It gave it a roomy 3GB of RAM, and by resisting the urge to stick a power-hungry 1440p display, HTC practically made the M9 a playground for Qualcomm's fiery chip-beast! Just moving around the interface and doing some basic stuff, there’s that constant presence of swiftness and tight response with its operation. In addition, the M9 has 32 gigabytes of expandable internal storage.

When the Samsung Galaxy S6 edge launches as an international model, it’ll be powered under the hood by a brand new 14nm 64-bit based Samsung Exynos octacore chip – coupled with 3GB of LPDDR4 RAM. To tell you the truth, we find it more fluid than previous Galaxy devices, but it’s really tough to say if the consistent performance will be retained the more apps and usage the phone receives in the long term.

In coming up with the new design, Samsung had to make some compromises. One of them is found in the reality that there’s no longer expandable storage with the smartphone via microSD card slot. But prospective owners will have their choice on storage options, which include 32GB, 64GB, and 128GB capacities.

Camera


The HTC One M9's whopping 20MP dual-tone flash camera succeeds the HTC One (M8)'s underwhelming 4MP UltraPixel cam, which has been relocated on the front to play second fiddle as the selfie cam. The M9's imaging sensor is made by Toshiba, and it differentiates with square-shaped pixels that are bigger than good ol' rectangular ones and thus have better light-soaking abilities. Now where have we heard that before... oh, well! So far, our experience with the One M9's camera has been promising, but not devoid of problems - particularly in the low light department. While outdoor shots are filled with plenty of sharp visuals and details, low lighting shots are riddled with heavy noise, softer tones, and color fringing. Hopefully, HTC will work out the software that's in charge for that part, although if the imaging sensor is not up to standard, solid code won't help all that much. Good thing the UltraPixel cam on the front can still take a decent, if low-resolution night shot!



Samsung’s high-end smartphones are remarkably equipped for taking photos and videos – so you won’t be disappointed by what the new camera gear in the Galaxy S6 edge is capable of producing. Slapped onto the back is a 16-megapixel camera, which features an f/1.9 lens, optical image stabilization, and an IR Detect White Balance to neutralize shots for a more neutral exposure. So far, images from it seem quite promising! The photos are detailed and quite noise-free, even under non-optimal lighting. Around the front, selfie enthusiasts will be delighted to know that there’s a wide-angle 5-megapixel camera.


Battery life


The HTC One M9 ships with a 2840mAh non-replaceable battery unit, and we are rather optimistic towards its eventual battery test result. A combination of large capacity battery, 1080p display, and modern, power-efficient processor can only lead to an impressive score! Alas, the One M9 seems to be skipping on the fast charging goodness for now, and it doesn't have wireless-charging built in.

The Galaxy S6 edge sports a smaller 2,600 mAh juicebox, which seems a little less assuring than, say, a 3000mAh unit. But The S6 edge still has Samsung's Ultra Power Saving mode to help users power through low battery usage? In addition, the S6 edge's battery could be charged in 10 minutes to provide four hours of use. We can't wait to try this for ourselves and put the S6 edge through our battery test!

Expectations


The HTC One M9 begins sales in late March, while the Galaxy S6 edge will start selling in April. Both devices are premium-tier, expensive propositions, and are unique enough to make choosing between them very easy (if you prefer one's look and features over the other), or very hard (if you like both too much, which is quite understandable!). Don't worry - you have plenty of time to think about it.

Related phones

Galaxy S6 edge
  • Display 5.1" 1440 x 2560 pixels
  • Camera 16 MP / 5 MP front
  • Processor Samsung Exynos 7 Octa, Octa-core, 2100 MHz
  • Storage 128 GB
  • Battery 2600 mAh(26h talk time)
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)

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24 Comments

1. MyPhoneIsBetterThanYours

Posts: 60; Member since: Feb 22, 2015

You can't go wrong with either one of these phones. They obliterate the devices offered by Mr. Gay Boi and his fruity Company.

3. limporgyuk

Posts: 355; Member since: Nov 06, 2013

I have to agree with your first sentence. It's not an easy choice.

4. bubbadoes

Posts: 1225; Member since: May 03, 2012

True statement, sadly, just one of the fruit companies devices will outsell both of these devices combined!!. I'm not impressed with either the S6 or M9. Other than a bump/hump in camera and specs and changing the shape, both phones look the same. Will keep my Turbo handy until I'm impressed!

10. HTCOE

Posts: 650; Member since: Nov 20, 2011

what's there to really change... i think the design is good the way it is as long as the experience using it is well

13. FluffyBled unregistered

What else than specs and shape change would you like? You want it made of water or something?

16. brunelian92

Posts: 79; Member since: Feb 04, 2015

When writing that did you not think its a little insensitive?

22. 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.

23. nwright94

Posts: 211; Member since: Oct 14, 2014

I don't see how anyone takes this website seriously anymore. The commenters are all prejudice and ridiculous and there's no kind of moderation from any of the website staff to be found. Gizmodo is even more credible than this sorry excuse for a tech website.

2. tiara6918

Posts: 2263; Member since: Apr 26, 2012

I want both of them

5. john15

Posts: 2; Member since: Mar 03, 2015

Samsung has decided to capitalize on the customer as apple that will not support micro SD cards to sell more expensive models = more money but Samgung fanušici niesu sheep as apple

6. JesseJames

Posts: 226; Member since: Feb 22, 2015

I will be getting one of each because that's how I roll.

8. drunkenjay

Posts: 1651; Member since: Feb 11, 2013

and then you blast off again

7. steelew

Posts: 219; Member since: Jun 04, 2012

So its the one with the glass back and no replaceable battery OR the one with the crappy camera and the lower res screen? I'm waiting for the G4. Samsung got me once with the update to my S4 that locked my bootloader FOREVER! Not again Samsung...not again!

17. kabukijoe

Posts: 102; Member since: Mar 06, 2010

Since when was 1080p low res?

9. drunkenjay

Posts: 1651; Member since: Feb 11, 2013

edge for me

11. HTCOE

Posts: 650; Member since: Nov 20, 2011

i think i will go with the M9 but im curious to see what the One Plus will have to offer with their next flagship

14. FluffyBled unregistered

Your name says it all :P ... you didn't need to bother. JK

21. karamelakimo

Posts: 109; Member since: May 26, 2014

I think it will be 2k screen the only difference of course with bigger screen may be increase battery but with 2k it will be lower !!

12. DROIDX0430

Posts: 469; Member since: Nov 24, 2010

wait for the G4!

15. bambamboogy02

Posts: 834; Member since: Jun 23, 2012

M9 semes promising. Decent screen, colors tweaked correctly hopefully, power efficient processor should equal decent battery life.

18. Derekjeter

Posts: 1457; Member since: Oct 27, 2011

That S6 edge in platinum is just amazing, all they had to do was a lighter UI which they sort of did but those horrible looking icons just don't work with that phone. If they created such a beautiful phone they should have thought about the UI look as well. I know you can change the look of it but stock will run faster than adding 3rd party launchers.

19. limporgyuk

Posts: 355; Member since: Nov 06, 2013

I would take the edge's screen and camera in an M9's body with boomsound running sense. Simples

20. kabukijoe

Posts: 102; Member since: Mar 06, 2010

As far as design goes, I wish HTC would have refreshed the look of the device a little more. That other render that was rumored to possibly be the M9 was absolutely beautiful... And I applaud Samsung for finally getting away from using all plastic for their phone. But I can't take the design of the S6 Edge seriously, every time I see it I immediately think of the Sanyo Zio lol, IT CAN'T BE UNSEEN!!!http://www.unwiredview.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/Zio07.jpg As far as performance goes they'll both be similar and extraordinary in pretty much every department, but I think the HTC will pull ahead in battery life given that they opted out of using a quad hd screen. Sure the quad hd screen is capable of looking stunning but when you are viewing your every day media it most likely won't be above 1080p resolution anyways so it won't make any difference. I was excited to see the quad hd screen on the G3 when it came out but the only thing that seemed to show it off were the preloaded demo videos on the device.

24. Eclectech

Posts: 346; Member since: May 01, 2013

This has been a tough decision but after much consideration, I think I'll go with the HTC One M9. For me it comes down to battery life, durability and support. The tweaks HTC made to the metal design are promising in terms of durability. The battery life will likely be better and HTC updates all of their apps without needing a major Android update.

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