1. zamboni52's Avatar
    I know this has been a topic of contention on many review sites so I thought I would share my experiences from both devices. Bottom line up front: I chose the Galaxy S4. First, a little background on myself so you can take my review in context. I have owned almost every personal gadget that has come out since 1996. The short list: the very first USR Palm Pilot through the M5, Treo 750, Sony Clie, HP iPaq, Casio Cassiopeia, all the Blackberrys up to the 9930, every iPhone with the exception of the 3GS, the first Droid on Verizon, Droid 2, Razr Maxx, Galaxy S3, Galaxy S4 and the HTC One. However, I have not used any of the Windows 8/Mobile phones as of yet.

    I am in the process of moving from Verizon to T-Mobile and that's where my saga started. I have used both phones for about a week trying to decide which one to keep. My priorities were: Device size (portability), Screen size and resolution, Speed, Battery life, and Camera (not necessarily in that order. I got the HTC One first and was smitten. The build quality was great. No gaps, perfect screen, excellent sound, great camera and battery seemed pretty good. Call quality was very good and it held the cell signal very well. In fact, I thought about not getting the S4 at all since I played with it at the AT&T store and while it was amazing, the HTC One was just different...in a good way. After using the HTC One for several days, I decided to order the Black Mist S4 when it became available online at T-Mobile. I loved the HTC One and had every intention of keeping it after putting the S4 through it's paces and convincing myself that the HTC One is the phone for me. Well, when the S4 showed up the next day...it was like Christmas all over again.

    While the HTC One has arguably a better screen (LCD, brighter, more pixel density, easier to view in sunlight, etc), the Galaxy S4 has the perfect size screen. Even though, both phones are almost equal in size, with the HTC One feeling slightly heavier due to the aluminum build, the S4 manages to squeeze in a 5-inch screen in roughly the same area. And it does make a difference, especially if you use apps that are not in full compliance with Google standards and you have the little menu dots at the bottom or side of the One, taking up precious space (this does not affect the S4 because of the menu soft key). Everything is sharp and crisp and the colors are great, but everything is just a little smaller. The S4's screen is just as beautiful...you could argue SAMOLED vs LCD, pentile...etc, but screen-wise the S4 wins because of the size.

    For me the cameras are a toss up. My perfect camera is one that I can quickly pull out and snap a picture with minimum preparation and take a good shot. Both cameras are excellent in their own right, but the HTC One takes great pictures even without trying too hard. Sure it's only 4 MP, but 98% of my shots are in focus, sharp and colorful. This is especially true indoors where light is limited. The S4's 13 MP camera takes awesome pictures outdoors, but it takes a little more work to take in-focus, sharp pictures in lower light conditions. Now comparing low-light pictures may not be fair, since the HTC One was "designed" to take great pictures indoors, but I guess it depends on where you take most of your pictures. For me, the HTC is the better all-around camera. It takes better indoor pictures and good outdoor pictures (limited only my MPs). The S4 takes excellent pictures outdoors and if you tweak the numerous settings and shot modes, it can take great indoor shots as well. There is also a little delay in the S4 when taking shots whether it is outdoors or indoors, however, this may be because I'm saving the pictures to my Class 10 SD card...but I'm not sure. Both cameras are great, but the HTC One is better for me.

    Battery life seems to be about the same for me during everyday use. Checking email (2 accounts, GMail and iCloud - every 30 minutes), 1 hour of Tapatalk reading,1 hour of Pulse/Flipboard/Blinkfeed reading, watching about an hour of DirecTV, HBO Go (Game of Thrones), You Tube videos, etc. Both get me through the day without trying too hard. I know the S4 has a replaceable battery, but I never used a spare battery with my S3. Even though both phones seem to be equal in terms of battery life, just the fact that I can replace the battery in the S4 if it goes bad makes me feel better. Also, it seems that the S4 charges faster than the One. Battery goes to the S4, but only because it is replaceable...endurance is roughly the same.

    The "speed" of the HTC One out of the box seemed faster and smoother than the S4 out of the box. This is just probably due to the implementation of Sense and TouchWiz. There was a slight hesitation when moving from screen to screen or going from the apps drawer to the home screen, but I would not call it "lag". TouchWiz just seemed a little more "bloated" than Sense. I made the adjustments in the developer options and the "lags" were no more. When I put Nova Launcher on both, I could not tell the difference...both were excellent...I just had more screen real estate on the S4. This was a tie for me.

    A big bonus for the HTC One is the front facing speakers! The sound is in stereo and very rich and full sounding compared to your typical phone speakers. This makes for a great experience when watching videos, listening to music, or just using the speakerphone during a phone call. The S4's speaker may be louder, but it can't compare to the sound quality that comes out of the One. The speaker on the S4 is not bad by any means. It is easily better than S3 and almost as good as the iPhone 5.

    Too sum this up, there was no plan to compare the points and then keep the phone that scores the most. To me it was a total package evaluation that will be different for everyone. I carry the phone most of the time and the S4 was a little lighter and just felt better in hand to me. Additionally, 95% of the time I am looking at the screen and having the bigger real estate is a big factor (the resolution/brightness/clarity/color reproduction is about the same to me), especially since I do a lot of reading and data surfing on my phone. The camera was also a big factor and the HTC One was better for me, but I just didn't see myself using it enough where it would significantly outweigh the benefit of the bigger screen and the very capable camera of the S4.

    Well, there you have it. If you've read this far, then you must have the same dilemma I have. When I started this article, I was ready to box up the HTC One and bring it back to T-Mobile in the morning. I used the S4 all day and killed the battery after about 15 hours of medium duty use. I popped out the sim card and put it into the One and started listening to music, watching videos and snapping random pictures while writing this article...and the cycle starts again...I hope this helps some of you choose...I guess I am undecided again

    Thanks for reading.
    05-06-2013 10:18 PM

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