With the HTC One (M8) and Samsung Galaxy S5 now available in stores as of this morning, it’s time to look at what’s between them, and in which areas one pulls ahead of the other. Our review of the One (M8) is round the corner, and Joel will be reviewing the Galaxy S5 for us from today.
We’ve put together this comparison based on what we know from spec sheets, our hands-on experience with a couple of One (M8)’s, and having a play with a Galaxy S5 briefly, though we don’t (at the time of publishing) have a review unit in our hands.
The HTC One (M8) features a 5-inch display with a 1920 x 1080-pixel resolution with a pixel density of 441ppi. The Samsung Galaxy S5 features a 5.1-inch Super AMOLED 1920 x 1080-pixel resolution and 430ppi. That means the Samsung Galaxy S5 has slightly larger display but a slightly lower pixel density.
The human eye isn’t going to notice much of a difference between the pixel densities, but you may notice a difference in terms of screen technology. The Galaxy S5’s AMOLED display offers more vibrant colours and deeper blacks, whereas the HTC One (M8) is more realistic in its presentation of these colours. Which you’ll prefer is entirely a subjective determination; we ourselves think each display is pretty damned good.
There’s other minor details: the Samsung Galaxy S5 gives you slightly more screen space, not only because it’s fractionally larger, but because the HTC One has on-screen controls as opposed to Samsung’s retention of capacitive buttons. Screen fiends might side with Samsung on this one, but those who dislike capacitive buttons might go to HTC.
Let’s call it basically a dead heat.
The Australian version of the HTC One (M8) features a 2.5 GHz quad-core Snapdragon 801 chipset, paired with 2GB of RAM.
The Samsung Galaxy S5 features a 2.5GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor as well as 2GB of RAM.
Yes, they’re exactly the same chipset, with exactly the same amount of RAM.
Even though they’re running the same CPU with the same RAM, if anything, the SGS5 feels a little slower because the TouchWiz user interface just doesn’t feel as slick as the HTC One’s Sense 6.0. Maybe its because it tries to do more, or because it’s not as optimised, but the reasons don’t really matter — it just doesn’t feel as quick.
With these devices side-by-side, the HTC One (M8) feels faster.
The HTC One (M8) features 16GB of on-board storage, a microSD card slot capable of up to 128GB, and 65GB of free Google Drive space.
The Samsung Galaxy S5 features 16GB and 32GB on-board storage variants, with microSD support for cards up to 128GB, and 50GB of free cloud storage through Dropdox for 2 years.
There’s really no difference here; Samsung offers more on-board space, but its operating system also takes up more space. On a 16GB Galaxy S5, you’d be lucky to see much more than 10GB of free space.
MicroSD support is new to HTC’s flagship, and it’s a welcome change. You can sync your Google Play Music down to SD, store your videos and TV shows and the like there… taking the differences in storage proposition between the two handsets to effectively nothing.
The HTC One (M8) features a 2600mAh battery that is supposedly 40 per cent more efficient than the first HTC One, which could last up to two days with core business use. However, HTC has added aggressive power saver options to make sure your device lasts the distance and in our early assessment, it’s fairly impressive. I never got a full day out of the Nexus 5, but the One (M8) can reach a full day fairly easily.
The Samsung Galaxy S5 features a 2800mAh battery that will get you through the day. It also offers power saving features to match those of HTC. Both devices are a step above the previous generation, giving much better endurance.
We’ve not played with Samsung’s extensive power saving options yet, which can go as far as making the display black-and-white only, turning off basically everything besides phone and SMS functionality. It might render your smartphone more of a dumbphone, but it will get your Galaxy S5 lasting for days on end if you’re away from power.
With this, and a removable battery, Samsung wins hands down.
The HTC One (M8) features the same UltraPixel sensor (f/2.0 aperture) found in the original HTC One, although it’s a better all-round performer than last year’s model. It also has a Duo Camera for depth perception only, meaning there’s a range of fancy features on offer, and 5-megapixel (f/2.0 aperture) front-facing camera which is excellent for selfies. We can say this. We’ve tried. They’re great.
The Samsung Galaxy S5 features a 16-megapixel sensor with fast 0.3 second capture speed. The smartphone can also capture Ultra HD video – something the HTC One is incapable of – and there are a range of smart functions, including “selective focus” which produces similar to HTC’s Ufocus, without the requirement for the additional lens. HTC’s UFocus works a bit better…
The HTC offers some nice features and is a slightly better performer in dimmer conditions, but the SGS5 is simple to use and delivers lovely vibrant colours, along with the advantage of a higher resolution if you want to crop in a bit.
We haven’t been able to experiment too much with the Galaxy S5’s camera performance just yet, besides some tinkering at the launch event, but it does seem likely that across the full range, the Galaxy S5 will probably be the better shooter.
The HTC One (M8) features Android 4.4.2 KitKat and Sense 6.0. The Samsung Galaxy S5 features Android 4.4.2 KitKat and a new version of TouchWiz.
Underneath, the Android is the same. The only difference is the user experience offered by the manufacturer’s skins on top. Sense 6.0 and TouchWiz essentially come down to taste.
TouchWiz offers more options than most people would know how to use, but the price for this is the somewhat slower experienced performance. Sense 6.0 is much more minimal, both compared to TouchWiz and to earlier versions of Sense as well. It’s pared back, it’s faster, and it’s less intrusive into the Android experience.
In a nutshell, if you’ve used other Android handsets, the HTC represents a much easier learning curve; the Galaxy S5 is much more different, and puts things in different places.
HTC Sense looks and feels a little more mature, but importantly, as we said before, it feels snappier in operation: folders open faster, it’s faster to start, faster to unlock, faster to move around the UI, so it wins for now.
Something pointed out by a few of our readers is the status of the Galaxy S5 as a Telstra Blue Tick handset. What does this mean? Basically, the handset has been tested by Telstra and they believe it offers the best coverage for users outside of metropolitan and regional areas. The Galaxy S5 has been ticked for rural coverage outside the places where we normally live, and so if you’re an off the beaten track kind of person, this might be a factor for you.
The HTC One (M8) however has not been so ‘Blue Ticked’. This won’t matter to you much if you’re not a Telstra customer, but if you do live in a remote area and cell coverage is already a concern, the Galaxy S5 is likely to perform a little better.
The HTC One (M8) features a machined aluminium body that wraps around the sides making for a 90 per cent metal finish. There will be three colours available: gunmetal grey, arctic silver and amber gold (depending on your carrier and country, of course). It’s a beautiful design, it looks the part and feels sensational to hold.
The Samsung Galaxy S5 is mainly plastic, sticking to familiar design, but with a more tactile back for better grip. The big positives are that it is dust-proof and water-resistant down to a metre in depth (grade IP67), and it’ll be available in a range of colours (shimmery white, charcoal black, copper gold and electric blue).
While the protection of the SGS5 is handy, the HTC One’s premium finish easily betters it. The HTC is the phone to be seen with.
The Samsung Galaxy S5 offers more features. TouchWiz does more, its compatible with more accessories and third-party services, it has a nice bright display and plenty of power. However, just as it was with the S4, it feels slow in some parts, and some of the more gimmicky options really won’t be used by many people, making their inclusion a questionable choice.
The HTC One (M8) is a slicker device in daily use, though it’s not too fair a comparison at this point, because we’ve not had the same time with the Galaxy S5.
The user interface is faster and although it has less options and features, the interface feels more sophisticated, more refined. It offers amazing sound quality, a great display, but the real winner is the design. It just looks so much more premium.
I’d give it to HTC, but your opinions may (and should) vary. Let us know in the comments — which of this year’s superphones do you think will take the crown?