Two more different Android phones couldn’t have been announced so close to each other. Where one (the HTC One, specifically) has a clean aluminum chassis, the other — the Samsung Galaxy S4 — is a huge chunk of plastic. And while their hardware specs are nearly identical, the two smartphones are worlds apart.
Here’s a look at what they’ll have going for them when they launch — the HTC One supposedly doing so on March 22, and the Galaxy S4 apparently sometime in May.
The HTC One
The HTC One’s specs are actually competitive with the Galaxy S4’s — CNet’s Lynn La has the details — but they’re not what HTC’s trying to emphasize. Instead, if you go to the HTC One’s website, it’s all about the experience; the “sleek aluminum body,” the “dual frontal stereo speakers,” and HTC BlinkFeed, which is sort of like Flipboard for your home screen.
The “UltraPixel” camera is a case in point. It has fewer megapixels than most smartphone cameras; 4, to be precise. But they capture more light, resulting in a clearer picture. It also has premium speakers and microphones (yes, more than one).
The Samsung Galaxy S4
While the HTC One redefines what it means to be an Android smartphone, the Galaxy S4 is basically an upgraded version of the Galaxy S3 with more bells and whistles. Some of these are of dubious value, like the Air Gesture, Smart Scroll, and eye tracking features. You might not like that it pauses videos whenever you look away — or that it’s watching your face while you’re using it, to begin with — and I personally wonder how many times you’ll accidentally get it to scroll or swipe without even touching the screen. (I haven’t seen any reviewers complain about that, though.)
On the plus side, the shotgun approach that Samsung is taking means that you may find you can’t live without one of the Galaxy S4’s features, after you’ve gotten used to it. Its screen is also a little bit larger than the HTC One’s (they’re about equally sharp), it has a microSD slot for expandable memory, and it’ll be available on Verizon — the HTC One will not.
A foregone conclusion?
Horace Dediu’s research shows perhaps the biggest reason why Samsung is dominating the Android phone market: It spends so much money on advertising, far more than Apple or even Coca-Cola.
When was the last time you saw an HTC ad?
You owe it to yourself to at least check out the HTC One, and see whether or not you think you’d like it better than Samsung’s latest and greatest. For better or worse, though, it may be “one” of HTC’s last.