Samsung Galaxy S6 vs HTC One M9 (Hima): Here's what to expect

Samsung Galaxy S6 vs HTC One M9 (Hima): Here's what to expect
Counting the days until MWC 2015? Yeah, us too. And how could we not? At present, we're expecting at least three new flagship announcements – one from Sony, one from Samsung, and one from HTC. Those latter two are the ones we'll be looking at today, for it is fair to say that the rumor mill has once again delivered on sporadic, but welcome intel. Strictly speaking, nothing that we think we know should be taken as something set in stone – plans change, rumors prove false, speculations fail to pan out. Regardless, it would be completely unfair of us to not admit that the various industry leaksters and insiders haven't been right on the money many times in the past. It is why we continue listening to what they have to say. 

In the case of the Samsung Galaxy S6 and the HTC One M9, here's what the word on the street is.

Design


Samsung excels at many things, but has so far failed to really intrigue us with the designs of its Galaxy S line. The Galaxy S5, for example, stuck to the same old plastic built with arguably tacky ornamentation, despite the constant feedback from the community that clearly stated its preference for more premium-feeling materials like aluminum and glass. The Galaxy S5, however, was released in a different world from now – a world in which Samsung is suddenly losing steam and is finding itself in need of a shake-up. That shake-up is called Project Zero, and it's how Samsung refers to the Galaxy S6 internally from what we've heard. The company is apparently hitting the reset button.

So what does that mean? Well, word on the street is that the Galaxy S6 will be re-designed from the ground up and finally include premium materials within its body. We know of two possibilities so far – the S6 will either feature a full aluminum unibody or just an aluminum frame (alike to the Note 4) and glass panels at the front and back. Considering Samsung's approach with the Note 4, we believe the latter scenario to be more likely, which means that the GS6 will definitely class it up, but probably not as much as the HTC One M9.

Codenamed "Hima", the One M9 is expected to feature a very similar design to its predecessor, the One M8, and that means the same aluminum unibody. This time around, however, HTC is said to be utilizing aluminum silicon-carbide composite, which is expected to provide the M9 with better micro-hardness and ultimate tensile strength (UTS). Compared to the One M8, Hima will also feature smaller bezels, smaller front-facing speakers, an extra button next to the volume rocker on the right (a camera shutter key?) and a giant cutout for the rear sensor. All of this is based on supposed prototypes of the M9, so keep that in mind.

Display


We expect 2015 to be the year in which the term "phablet" will start its gloomy march towards extinction. Why? Simply because flagship devices are likely to crawl ever closer to 5.5-inches, which we tend to consider a phablet-sized screen. After a small, 0.1-inch increase in screen real estate from the Galaxy S4 to the Galaxy S5, whispers on the grapevine are heard speculating that the Galaxy S6 may go for either a 5.2- or 5.5-incher of a display. As for resolution and make, we expect to see a Quad HD (1440 x 2560) Super AMOLED panel, and one that will hopefully do better than the GS5's in terms of color reproduction.

As for the HTC One M9, the back story is quite different. Back in 2013, the HTC One (M7) was actually the smallest flagship in terms of display size compared with other mainstream Android makers (4.7-inches versus 5-inches). With the One M8, HTC bumped the size to 5-inches, but competitors were still ahead – Sony with its 5.2-inch Xperia Z2/Z3, Samsung with the aforementioned, 5.1-inch Galaxy S5, and LG with the 5.5-inch G3. According to rumors, HTC may or may not stick to that same strategy of being conservative in this regard. In other words, the current assumption is that the One M9 will either come with a 5-inch, 1080 x 1920 resolution display or a 5.5-inch one with Quad HD (1440 x 2560) resolution. If we have to be completely fair, so long as it keeps the pixels-per-inch count above 400, we'd actually prefer a 1080p panel – it's much easier on the battery and processor, and preferable, in our opinion, over what are arguably small improvements in image sharpness.

Interface


While the Samsung community admittedly doesn't share our stance on TouchWiz, we do feel like Samsung's proprietary software has grown way too fat and clunky. Hiccups are visible even with bleeding edge hardware, and the interface as a whole could be far more welcoming to newbies, who can easily get lost in one of the many, many sub-menus of TouchWiz. Thankfully, one of the latest rumors on the Galaxy S6 suggests that Samsung will be going for a more stock-like Android experience starting with the Galaxy S6 and ditch unneeded functionality. We're not entirely sure if that will, indeed, end up being the case, but at least we're safe in the assumption that whatever the Galaxy S6 ends up offering software wise, it will be served with Android 5.0 Lollipop as a base.

As for the HTC One M9, we're a little light on details about its expected Sense UI bump to version 7.0. What we do know is that the minimum acceptable Android version it can allow itself to arrive with is Android 5.0 Lollipop. We've seen Sense on Lollipop already, and liked what we were seeing. Then again, we like Sense on the whole – it's very lean and down to point. On the other hand, however, it is a bit too light on extra features, and that does affect HTC's sales, at least when techies are concerned.

Processor and memory


Processors-wise, Samsung has largely depended upon Qualcomm, but also on its own semiconductor arm, which manufactures the Exynos line of chipsets. Usually, a Galaxy S flagship will have a variant with each, with either being distributed in different regions. A Bloomberg report, however, suggests that Samsung may well be ditching Qualcomm and its chips altogether in favor of its home-grown Exynos 7 Octa – the same or a variation of the processor available with some versions of the Note 4. 

One cited reason for this is the alleged overheating of the Snapdragon 810, though manufacturers like LG have denied such a problem. Obviously, money also figures somewhere in there. Besides, with Samsung's new S-LTE modem now in production with the South Korea-exclusive Note 4 S-LTE flavor, one of Qualcomm's major advantages (support for multiple LTE bands) is becoming moot. Samsung's blazing-fast modem is built on a 14nm process and satisfies Category 9 LTE specs, meaning download speeds of up to the mind-blowing 450 Mbps – so fast that only South Korea's SK Telecom's record fast new network can actually claim to be adequate. That said, numerous reports seem to agree that Samsung simply can't yet rely solely on itself and will likely have no choice but to go continue its partnership with Qualcomm, so a Snapdragon 810 in your Galaxy S6 is still possible.

A Snapdragon 810, precisely, is what we're told to expect the HTC One M9 to ship with, and we'd bet the same. HTC is a tiny company in comparison, and one that is entirely focused on smartphone manufacturing, so its partnership with Qualcomm is unlikely to be under threat. As for the amount of RAM on board, rumors say 3GB – for both the Galaxy S6 and One M9. Rumors could end up being proven wrong, for both devices' 64-bit processors can theoretically utilize 4GB of RAM.

Camera


When it comes to camera quality, Samsung's flagships have consistently ranked among the best on the market. The Galaxy S5 was no exception at the time, and neither is the excellent unit on the Note 4, so we have good reason to expect a top notch sensor with the Galaxy S6, too. Currently, it is speculated that Samsung will either go for the optically-stabilized, 16-megapixel camera found on the Note 4 (perhaps with a few improvements here and there) or a different, 20-megapixel shooter. Another sweet detail that we've been talking about lately is the front-facing camera of the S6, which could be as generous as 5-megapixels (the Note 4 offers a 3.7-megapixel selfie snapper).

As for the One M9, we actually have an interesting development (supposedly). If rumors are true, then HTC's highly controversial UltraPixel sensors have reached their end-of-life (kind of) and will not make an appearance on the back of the company's upcoming flagship. Instead, a more conventional, 20-megapixel unit with optical image stabilization is what sources are telling us (Bloomberg included). Whether that means a possibly identical sensor between the GS6 and the Hima remains to be seen. As for the front camera, that's where the UltraPixel snapper might be exiled to, which would actually mean that the M9 may just end up as one of the best selfie phones around.

Expectations


Samsung's smartphone arm is struggling, and HTC has been doing even worse. When the knife starts getting near the bone, we tend to expect bold moves that can easily transform into successes, but also monumental flops. From what we think we know so far about the Galaxy S6 and the HTC One M9, neither really sounds like a disappointment, but specs and design are only part of the game – distribution, marketing, and carrier deals also figure into the success equation. 

Based on the two's respective past flagships, we obviously forecast bigger sales volumes for Samsung's next flagship, but that doesn't mean that HTC can't conquer new ground with the M9. In fact, with them ditching the under-performing UltraPixel camera, the One M9 could materialize as a true, no-compromise device (within a reason, of course). We aren't underestimating Samsung, either, however. As we pointed out, the company is really hurting, and that should have its team motivated to prove that Samsung is still a force to be reckoned with.

As for release dates and prices, we have to admit that nothing is quite certain. What we do have good reason to believe, however, is that both devices will be showcased during MWC 2015, which means early March. A subsequent release on the market will likely take place sometime in the spring. In terms of pricing, we expect both the Galaxy S6 and the One M9 to take their predecessors' price slots, so $199 on a 2-year contract in the US, or about $650 unlocked.

Related phones

Galaxy S6
  • 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 2550 mAh(23h 3G 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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33 Comments

1. fzacek

Posts: 2486; Member since: Jan 26, 2014

What a pointless comparison. We barely have any idea about what the devices will look like, and we're just guessing what specs they will have. None of this is final...

3. Neros

Posts: 1016; Member since: Dec 19, 2014

Specs are pretty much known for both devices. It's not hard to predict anyway. Go to bgr dot com. Dudes have solid specs leak for s6.

2. Neros

Posts: 1016; Member since: Dec 19, 2014

14nm... Sorry, htc, but sammy is the king. Plus m9 looks freaking ugly.

4. Gp_Customs

Posts: 269; Member since: Jan 14, 2015

Especially those curves. Get rid of those unbalanced rear awkward back, and replace it with flat back. Sharp edge corners looks better.

6. DeusExCellula

Posts: 1390; Member since: Oct 05, 2014

For godsake a flat back >_>

19. haroonazeem638

Posts: 141; Member since: Mar 29, 2011

What you are asking for is the Sony Xperia Z1/2/3/4... :/

20. Gp_Customs

Posts: 269; Member since: Jan 14, 2015

I have the Z3 in copper.

5. Dubs816

Posts: 39; Member since: Jun 02, 2014

Why does phonearena keep labeling the first picture as the Galaxy S6? It's already been proven that it isn't. That yellow phone is the SM-G430, not the Galaxy S6.

7. DeusExCellula

Posts: 1390; Member since: Oct 05, 2014

Different round up suspected specs comparison everyday... 4GB RAM no wait 3 GB RAM 1080p screen wait 4k screen ah wait 1080p screen... SD 810 ah overheating SD 805 wait but LG have SD 810... back to SD 810.. and its not even February.... Turn down a bit because I have been taking all articles with a grain of salt and now I could pretty much start a salt mine in my bedroom....

8. TimCook

Posts: 450; Member since: Oct 23, 2014

These phones don't stand a chance against the iPhone 6.

10. SuperNova

Posts: 649; Member since: Jan 15, 2015

Nice joke, Mr Apple paid troll! The article doesn't even mention about the iPhone, how the heck you dare to compare our king Galaxy S6 with your iToy 6?

17. tdslam720

Posts: 70; Member since: Jan 05, 2015

iPhone 6 is king, we'll have to wait for S6 benchmarks to find out otherwise. Until then.. bow down

25. SuperNova

Posts: 649; Member since: Jan 15, 2015

Everything about iphone is king because you are brainwashed by Cook.

31. tdslam720

Posts: 70; Member since: Jan 05, 2015

Not really. Check Anandtech reviews. Respected site, no one will tell you otherwise. Shows IPhone 6 destroying almost every android phone in every category.

13. darkkjedii

Posts: 31055; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

How so?

27. Zack_2014

Posts: 677; Member since: Mar 25, 2014

iPhone 6 had been long beaten by the 2012 Android smartphones. The 2014/15 Android smartphones are out of the comparison.

34. oldelwood

Posts: 3; Member since: Jan 10, 2015

The I-Phone 6 doesn't even compare to the S-5 let alone the S-6!

9. Supraman21

Posts: 467; Member since: Jun 09, 2010

Well the HTC doesn't have Sense or a home button so it already won in my book

11. SuperNova

Posts: 649; Member since: Jan 15, 2015

First job for HTC is to minimize its bezel. For Samsung, everything is perfectly fine, just release it soon!

16. DeusExCellula

Posts: 1390; Member since: Oct 05, 2014

how about slimming that TouchWhiz?

26. SuperNova

Posts: 649; Member since: Jan 15, 2015

You mean flat UI like LG G3?

12. darkkjedii

Posts: 31055; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

They'll both look really good, HTC's look will be hard to beat though. The M series is about the best looking line of phones out there.

18. jaytai0106

Posts: 1888; Member since: Mar 30, 2011

One of the loudest front facing speakers will just make that beat drop.

23. darkkjedii

Posts: 31055; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Yessirrrr.

14. j2001m

Posts: 3061; Member since: Apr 28, 2014

Ha none of the Samsung images have anything to do with the gs6

21. Cyagocaliz unregistered

I don't care, both of them are going to get beaten by iPhone 6S anyway!

22. Mube007

Posts: 260; Member since: Sep 24, 2013

lets wait for lg g4

24. rkoforever90

Posts: 445; Member since: Dec 03, 2011

i kind of a have a feeling that LG G4 is gonna blow both these device out of water

28. tokuzumi

Posts: 1900; Member since: Aug 27, 2009

Great. Let's compare vaporware and rumors to vaporware and rumors. Sounds like a great way to be let down. While it's good to get excited about the upcoming announcements, basing your expectations on the rumors/leaks will only lead to disappointment. But it's what keeps the tech sites alive, so keep on trucking.

32. Chris.P

Posts: 567; Member since: Jun 27, 2013

I agree that these are not technically factual, but I do nevertheless invite you to have a look through our previous rumor round-ups and contrast/compare with the real thing. With the iPhone 6/6 Plus, we got about 90% of it correctly, thanks to people who literally risk their jobs to provide the community with a heads up.

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