HTC One S vs Samsung Galaxy S II

On first read the Samsung Galaxy S II is pretty similar to the new HTC One S - both have 4.3” AMOLED displays, dual-core processors, 8MP cameras and the same battery capacity. When you dig deeper, though, the choice is not that hard as there are key differences in software, hardware and design.

The HTC One S has only been on sale for a short while, but you are very likely to be comparing it with the Galaxy S II in the store before making a purchasing decision, despite that it was announced more than a year ago, as it is still one of your best options when it comes to smartphones. Can last year’s Samsung record breaker measure up to HTC’s current upper mid-range echelon? Read on our comparison to find out...


HTC has nailed the design of the One S, with a very thin and compact yet rigid frame, which is made of anodized or oxidized aluminum, depending on the color. The simple plastic construction of the Samsung Galaxy S II pales in comparison, more so since it weighs almost as much as the metal HTC One S.

Not only does HTC’s phone feel more sophisticated in the hand, but it is also more ergonomic with its slightly curved chassis and rounded corners, compared to the black rectangular slab that is the Galaxy S II. The prize for one-handed operation goes to the One S as well, since it is slightly narrower (and taller) than the SGS II, so your thumb can reach almost everywhere on the screen.

We would have given the design round to the HTC One S unanimously, if it wasn’t for one key difference - the thinnest HTC smartphone to date lacks usage flexibility, compared to Samsung’s finest. The HTC One S doesn’t allow you to add more storage than the 16GB which the manufacturer provided from the kindness of their heart, has sealed battery compartment, and only takes micro-SIM cards. The Samsung Galaxy S II? Well, you can pop in a 32GB microSD card for a total of 48GB local storage that is not dependent on the cloud servers, and won’t cost you in data charges. You can also carry a spare battery with you and put your good ol’ regular SIM card in.


The HTC One S has a 4.3” AMOLED screen of Samsung make, like we find on the Galaxy S II, but with a difference in pixel structure- it is done with a PenTile subpixel matrix arrangement, whereas Samsung’s phone offers a regular RGB matrix. The alternative arrangement might make the screen appear pixelated at times, if you are nitpicking, which could very well eliminate the resolution advantage a 540x960 pixels screen has over the 480x800 one on the Galaxy S II.

Still, the PenTile AMOLED on the HTC One S is way brighter than the RGB one on the SGS II, thus better for outdoor usage. The cold colors typical for Samsung’s AMOLED screens only start getting evident at an angle on the One S, whereas the Galaxy S II white appears blueish head-on, compared to a good LCD display.

Both phones exhibit the joyful oversaturated colors typical for Super AMOLEDs, which might look a bit tacky in the interface, but are a godsend when watching movies, along with the practically unlimited contrast ratio and very wide viewing angles.

HTC One S 360-degrees View:

Samsung Galaxy S II 360-degrees View:



42. Foilies

Posts: 1; Member since: Aug 18, 2013

can anyone post a video of the notification Led for the htc i wanna see if its bright like the s2 blue light

41. janiro

Posts: 1; Member since: Jan 25, 2013

I had both of them.Both of them are good

40. rahuliyer1996

Posts: 1; Member since: Oct 16, 2012

I think ONE S has a better performance clocking at 1.7 GHz Krait Dual-core processor! Is'int it?

38. BrettNDodds

Posts: 1; Member since: May 20, 2012

I purchased the GalaxyS2, it's brilliant for phone photography. HTC doesn't compare!

35. JamesVURV

Posts: 3; Member since: Jan 18, 2012

You miss a big point here when comparing screens. The SGSII has a "Super AMOLED Plus" screen which has sub-pixels that make the screen amazing and its brightness and outdoor view-ability on the SGSII are amazing because of this!

37. JamesVURV

Posts: 3; Member since: Jan 18, 2012

Another note on this is the photos clearly show the "Auto" screen brightness feature enabled on the SGSII and this will automatically dim the screen indoors to save battery life. This would be a more fair comparison is the SGSII had the screen brightness turned all the way up! I think the this review needs some editing done to make this a more accurate comparison.

31. DigitalMD

Posts: 226; Member since: Feb 17, 2010

Boring, please phone vendors, Bring us something new, not retread of the same old tired UI from 3 years ago........... yuck.!!!

30. jonahleq

Posts: 6; Member since: Apr 17, 2012

27. abcdefucker

Posts: 2; Member since: Apr 21, 2012

HTC's screen made by Samsung.

23. henrickrw

Posts: 408; Member since: Sep 16, 2011

Gs3 is my next alternative

22. henrickrw

Posts: 408; Member since: Sep 16, 2011

HTC developed a great device. I'm still enjoying my gs2 and galaxy note.

19. HTCiscool

Posts: 449; Member since: Jul 16, 2011

Stop complaining about how it is unfair to compare the 2. He even said they cost around the same, and if they both cost the same, then the One S wins because it has more value for money and is better in most aspects. Again, this is assuming thy both cost the same

15. khanmhsn

Posts: 25; Member since: Apr 11, 2012

GS2 is too amazing........because after a year it is still standing upto current phones.

25. gwuhua1984

Posts: 1237; Member since: Mar 06, 2012

Don't compare the phones by how long they've been in the market, just simply compare the specs and see which is better at the moment. GS2 as a high end phone at the time of it's release should be able to stand up to current mid level phones and that's nothing to be surprised about. I think that the One S itself is pretty amazing that it has the capability to do better than One X.

14. 1701nino unregistered

I just don't get it!!! Please help me understand, how can anyone buy a samsung phone over htc one???Samsung has an uuuugggglllyyyy UI the worst in the techworld. And the ICS upgrade for the SGII,is that a joke??? It looks and feels the same as gingerbread. Personaly I would never buy a samsung phone except maybe galaxy nexus. I know you got custom ROMs and this and that but an regular user should not know about that stuff. And one more last thing,samsung you better amaze us with GS III, not just the hardware the UI must look awesome;)

32. jan25

Posts: 470; Member since: Feb 26, 2012

i agree with you, but dev support + removable battery + SD card makes the GSII a winner for me, and on par with One S to many. if those three aren't a biggy for you then the One S is a better option.

12. jackhammeR

Posts: 1548; Member since: Oct 17, 2011

Sorry lost again:)

16. Mario1017

Posts: 336; Member since: Sep 04, 2011

The one s won...

17. pegasso

Posts: 285; Member since: Nov 27, 2011

they're comparing a new phone versus a year old phone. guess who win the battle, and who win the war?

18. Mario1017

Posts: 336; Member since: Sep 04, 2011

it doesnt matter how old the phone is. it was still the best phone out there. A lot of people who like samsung are starting to become like apple fanboys

20. HTCiscool

Posts: 449; Member since: Jul 16, 2011

They won because they provided a product which cost the same, and was better in most regards. You compare things by price, not age.

11. Tsepz_GP

Posts: 1227; Member since: Apr 12, 2012

The GS2 seems to hold its own very well for a phone that's a year old. In summary i'd say GS2 for us smartphone enthusiast who want SD slot, and mem expansion and One S for the average user, either way you're getting an excellent smartphone.

10. taz89

Posts: 2014; Member since: May 03, 2011

duh if you have a phusical/capacitive menu button already then of course you are still going to use would be silly to disable the menu button on the s2..

9. kunzj646

Posts: 2; Member since: Apr 16, 2012

I still love my galaxy s2...! One s may b a grt just is being compared with Gs2 which is almost a year older.!

29. Berzerk000

Posts: 4275; Member since: Jun 26, 2011

Well, it's only natural to compare it to the GS2. The GS2 was basically crowned the king of the android phones, so it should be a necessity that every high end phone being released be compared to it. But it seems now that the One X is king ;) well, the GS3 might de-throne the One X lol

39. ricky0702

Posts: 11; Member since: Jul 09, 2012

I would prefer the smausng S3 because its features like the S-Voice and S-Beam, with the bigger screen and a better feel towards it software as well as having a MORE user friendly interface. The S3 also has expandable memory and better audio visual abilities. I would think the Samsung S3 as a HTC one x but with more features and a better design therefore there is no reason why I wouldn't go for the Samsung another briefed comparison of the One X and Galaxy S III

8. kshell1

Posts: 1143; Member since: Oct 05, 2011

I still prefer the galaxy s2 because of the non-pentile super amoled, exynos, and sd card.

13. Mario1017

Posts: 336; Member since: Sep 04, 2011

You still prefer it even though it has a slower processor, worse display

24. kshell1

Posts: 1143; Member since: Oct 05, 2011

better camera, my 1.8ghz dual core exynos is plenty fast, and i don't need an insanely high resolution display on a phone, sure its nice to have but its not needed, im waiting on the sgs3 before i get a new phone, hoping it will have expandable memory and if not multiple storage options


Posts: 187; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

finally wishes do come true a comparison of SG2 and ONE S! :) hmmm... impressive i like one s for its built and interface but its sad that it only has 16gb and a dropbox that is good for only 2 years :( i have to think though im still enjoying my WP for now i just want to try the new ICS built phones :) how i hope ther next match wil;l be galaxy note vs one s and xperia s vs one s please...

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