HTC Amaze 4G vs Samsung Galaxy S II

Introduction and Design

It seems that every week a new Android superphone is released, and last week it was the HTC Amaze 4G and Samsung Galaxy S II launching for T-Mobile. These two flagship devices pack the latest processors, 4G data speed, 8 megapixel cameras and large displays. One is thin and light as a feather, the other unapologetically big and bold. With lots of onboard memory and a helping of Gingerbread these devices are pretty similar on paper. So, which device is right for you? Come along with us as we explore these two beastly phones.


Thin, large, light, sleek. Samsung has crammed so much technology into the waif-like Galaxy S II that one can’t help but be amazed (no pun intended.) The phone is super thin at just 9.4mm yet sports a large 4.5” WVGA Super AMOLED display. The 8 megapixel camera is on the back and a minimalist set of buttons and ports ring the latest Galaxy flagship. The black monotony is only barely broken up with some dark chrome trim. For being such a large phone the Galaxy S II feels almost natural in your hands, with the soft touch battery door offering just enough grip and texture. It slides effortlessly into a front pocket, where it remains undetected until you feel it vibrate.

HTC Amaze 4G is quite the opposite. The Amaze is just as tall as the Galaxy S II and just a few mm narrower, but it is also more than 2mm thicker and weighs over an ounce and a quarter more. A sharp, beveled display and bright, faux aluminum accenting make the Amaze 4G stand out. HTC two upped Samsung by including not only a dedicated camera button, but also a dedicated camcorder button on the Amaze 4G. The rounded edges make the Amaze easy to hold, but wrap your fingers around too tight and the pronounced beveling of the display will cut into them. For as rough as its edges are, the 4.3” qHD Super LCD panel sure is easy on the eyes.

The 4.3” Amaze display has a higher PPI thanks to its qHD resolution, but Samsung’s larger 4.5” has the Super AMOLED Plus technology. Neither display will disappoint, but when you place them side by side it’s hard we found ourselves consistently drawn to the Super AMOLED panel. It is brighter and colors are more vivid (some would say to a fault,) but what really gets us is the deepness of the black. The lower resolution is unfortunate, and despite the 16 million color depth we still saw some banding which was not apparent on the Amaze 4G. This is nothing new for AMOLED panels, but whites are very blue which gives the Amaze’s Super LCD more natural reproduction most of the time. The Amaze has its own shortcomings though, such as being able to see pixels now and again.

With no disrespect to HTC, the Galaxy S II is a more attractive phone both to hold and use. There will no doubt be some of you out there who prefer the extra heft and solid built, but for the majority of you the Galaxy is the design to go with.


At their cores the Galaxy S II and Amaze 4G both run Gingerbread, with the former running the slightly newer 2.3.5 over 2.3.4 on the HTC. As 2.3.5 is simply a maintenance release its unlikely anyone would notice a difference if both devices were pure Google. They’re not, however, and there is a huge difference between them

The Galaxy S II features TouchWiz 4.0, the best version yet. The T-Mobile variant has the most widgets of any of the three Stateside Galaxy S IIs and they are big, bold and some can even be resized. Samsung has made it easier for the average user to customize their homescreens and users have the ability to rearrange the 7 homescreens as they see fit. The overlay is fast and fluid and getting better with each iteration. All of that said, scrap the whole darn thing and just go vanilla. Android is good enough to stand on its own at this point, and as notoriously bad as Samsung’s update track record has been there is little doubt that TouchWiz plays a role in users being left with outdated versions of the OS.

HTC Sense 3.0 is familiar, but new features keep this king of Android overlays fresh and worthwhile. The lock screen is awesome, widgets are better and speed is improved all around. HTC is the only manufacturer who has managed to improve on many of the core apps, such as the dialer, web browser and phonebook. When we first saw it Sense brought together and beautified a pretty ugly Android OS, but this has moved to the background as Android has gotten prettier and more cohesive. Sense is still relevant because HTC has made sure it also improves functionality, and they dig deep into the heart of the OS to do it. Any other Android overlay is usually pretty transparent once you get away from the homescreen, but Sense goes down to the core of Android. The story might be different on Android 4.0, but for now we have 2.3 and Sense very much has its place. On the Amaze 4G Sense 3.0 flies, and HTC has had a pretty good track record at updating phones quickly despite such an extensive overlay.

Recommended Stories

Hardware, Internet and Connectivity:

Both devices run essentially the same dual core, 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S3 processor with an Adreno 220 GPU. Both offer 1GB of RAM and 16GB of total internal memory with microSD expansion. Both phones feature 8 megapixel cameras with 1080p recording with 2MP cameras up front for video chat. Both devices support T-Mobile’s 42Mbps network. Both have NFC, Bluetooth 3.0, Wi-Fi a/b/g/n and GPS. Both have loads of T-Mobile bloatware preinstalled. We have a feeling you get the point by now. Benchmarks aren’t the be all and end all, but when the two devices are so similar inside they can help separate the two. Average Quadrant Standard scores for the Galaxy S II were in the neighborhood of 3300, whereas the Amaze 4G consistently put up scores in the 2600-2800 range. So why the difference? We’re really not sure, and to be honest the HTC feels a little faster in everyday use so maybe it means nothing, but we thought we’d point that out for you.

HTC uses a more customized browser than does the Galaxy S II and, much like Sense itself, we appreciated some of the finer touches like easier to navigate and more extensive settings and better bookmark handling. In terms of performance it was a wash, with load times virtually identical. Pinch zooming was incredibly smooth on both, but double tapping was markedly more consistent on the HTC. At times the Galaxy S II would zoom in about 40% when double tapped, and other times it would bring the text or picture right into the foreground as we would expect.


As we stated earlier, both devices have an 8MP main camera capable of recording 1080p video. The HTC Amaze 4G has a dual LED flash whereas the Galaxy S II’s LED flash is solitary. The Amaze is advertised as having zero shutter lag, and it is certainly fast. The limitation is the auto-focus, which can be wonky at times and as you can see a few photos ended up out of focus despite the phone thinking otherwise. Once the auto focus settles down you can snap photos back to back in about a second as compared to around four seconds with the Galaxy S II. The Galaxy beats the Amaze in cold start performance; we were able to launch, focus and snap in 4s. The Amaze grabbed the image in 4s as well, but auto-focus didn’t do its job.

Assuming you take the time to set up the shot the Amaze 4G did a bit better with color reproduction and detail of the focused object. Once you got out of the focus range though the peripheral began to get oddly blurry. This can be best visualized on the image with the pool of water by looking at the mud on the drain as well as the shamrocks in the top right. With the Galaxy S II those parts are very clear, but on the Amaze’s image they are progressively blurrier. The two cameras honestly are very similar, but if given the choice we’d trade the slight drawbacks of the Galaxy S II with the more consistent performance.

Both devices shoot 1080p video at 30fps. The Amaze looks a bit crisper initially, but does not auto focus on the fly so changing depth of field results in blurry videos. The Galaxy S II took a second or two to focus and was shakier than the Amaze, but was a solid performer all around. Like the camera, we’ll take the Galaxy S II’s consistency over the Amaze.

HTC Amaze 4G Sample Video:

Samsung Galaxy S II Sample Video:

Both of these devices, when working as they should, are able to replace your everyday point and shoot. We took some sample shots with our Panasonic FZ35 which, not surprisingly, outperformed both of the phones due to both image quality as well as versatility.


Both Samsung and HTC have replaced the stock music player with their own variants. Neither really add anything new to the mix, and there are several other- arguably better- options in the Market. With such large, high quality screens movies look great on both devices. The Amaze 4G has a higher pixel resolution, but both devices were able to smoothly play 720p video in MPEG-4, H.264, DivX and Xvid formats.


Callers liked both phones when we tested them, but gave the slight edge to the Galaxy S II. While there was a slight hollowness to it they said that we sounded good overall. They weren’t displeased with the HTC Amaze 4G, but complained of a bit more tininess and some “fuzziness” to our voices. We were the opposite on our side, preferring the incoming voice quality of the Amaze 4G over that of the Galaxy S II. Both were good, but the Amaze 4G sounded a bit closer and louder.

Battery life on both phones is a bit weak: the Amaze 4G only offers 6 hours of talk time with the Galaxy S II besting it by only an hour.


The HTC Amaze 4G and Samsung Galaxy S II are superphones that take a different approach. HTC comes at you with blunt force, with a bold and brash design. The Galaxy goes about it with sleek and sexy. With nearly identical hardware and similar performance what separates these phones is software and personal preference. HTC does a better job with their Sense 3.0 overlay, but Samsung manages not to mess things up with TouchWiz 4.0. Our personal preference is for the larger Super AMOLED Plus display, thinner body and better battery life on the Galaxy S II, but then again we couldn’t fault you for choosing the Amaze 4G for its higher resolution and more sturdy construction.

Android: 2.3.5
Baseband: T989UVKID

Android: 2.3.4
Baseband: 1.07.550L.04DC_30.64.550L.07D
Build: 1.36.531.5 CL157207 release-keys

HTC Amaze 4G vs Samsung Galaxy S II Comparison Video:

Recommended Stories

Loading Comments...
FCC OKs Cingular\'s purchase of AT&T Wireless