My S4 and HTC One Comparison (Ongoing)

Arailah

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Thank you so much for posting this comparison.
I'm thinking of jumping the iOS ship, I've always had iPhones - and am terrified to make the leap.
I've been trying to decide between the S4 & One and this helped tremendously. I really appreciate the time you took to put the screenshots up.

I'm thinking I will be getting the One when Verizon gets them this month. I just have been drawn to how colorful and "happy" the S4 looks. Plus S Health looks like a really good app. I'm figuring I can find something somewhat comparable in the App store.

Anyway - Thank you so much!
 

jaleesag88

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I've owned the One and now the s4, and the picture quality on my s4 is way better than it was with the One. I'm no professional photographer, but I definitely enjoy the photos more that I have taken with the s4.

- - - Updated - - -

I've owned the One and now the s4, and the picture quality on my s4 is way better than it was with the One. I'm no professional photographer, but I definitely enjoy the photos more that I have taken with the s4.
 

WickedRabbit

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Thank you so much for posting this comparison.
I'm thinking of jumping the iOS ship, I've always had iPhones - and am terrified to make the leap.
I've been trying to decide between the S4 & One and this helped tremendously. I really appreciate the time you took to put the screenshots up.

I'm thinking I will be getting the One when Verizon gets them this month. I just have been drawn to how colorful and "happy" the S4 looks. Plus S Health looks like a really good app. I'm figuring I can find something somewhat comparable in the App store.

Anyway - Thank you so much!

Glad you enjoyed the write up

Sent from my SCH-I545 using Tapatalk 4 Beta
 

WickedRabbit

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Update: Since I'm an incredibly picky customer and I obviously have some time to kill before Verizon releases the HTC One anyway, I decided to pickup a Google Edition phone. Haven't decided between the HTC One or S4 Google Edition, but mostly I'm just curious how stock android would fare to me in this comparison. Stay tuned for more updates.
 

Cool Jeff

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Great comparison!
As we say only God is perfect.Both One and S4 are exellent devices,as an owner of a One I wonder if a 5" screen is not better for my eyes(I have to use glasses for near sight),the camera of the One is big illusion,the limited 4mp are meh in daylight and low light is full of noises and missed focus.The aluminum shell is wow but extremly prone to micro scratches and chipping,also way more difficult to repair outside htc centers.
The S4 in another hand is "unsusable" under sunlight,and wouldn't give me such high quality sound output on my hifiman RE-272 earphones.
As for ringtones volume,is that true that a mod on S4 can make them as loud as on the One?
 

shoii

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Great comparison!
As we say only God is perfect.Both One and S4 are exellent devices,as an owner of a One I wonder if a 5" screen is not better for my eyes(I have to use glasses for near sight),the camera of the One is big illusion,the limited 4mp are meh in daylight and low light is full of noises and missed focus.The aluminum shell is wow but extremly prone to micro scratches and chipping,also way more difficult to repair outside htc centers.
The S4 in another hand is "unsusable" under sunlight,and wouldn't give me such high quality sound output on my hifiman RE-272 earphones.
As for ringtones volume,is that true that a mod on S4 can make them as loud as on the One?

It is in no way "unusable" under sunlight. It is also in no way the best phone under sunlight but very "usable".
 

WickedRabbit

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Updated: Well, I was too impatient to wait for a Google Edition phone to arrive so I decided to go pick up an LG Nexus 4 at T-Mobile locally since I mainly just want to compare the stock android experience anyway. I'm not too concerned about the hardware for the sake of this comparison, as that can be decided on later. As of right now, the phone is updating to 4.3 (came with 4.2.1 and not 4.2.2 strangely).
 

WickedRabbit

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Updated: Apparently, couldn't edit the original post and thought it had saved (reached a character limit). So, going forward I will just add replies, starting here:

New Challenger - LG Nexus 4 (Stock Android Challenger)

Well, I just couldn't resist. I had to throw in another to quench my thirst and curiosity for 'the perfect Android phone for me'. Besides, I had some time to kill while I waited for the HTC One anyway. :)

So, I picked it up today from T-Mobile and have finished setting it up the same way as the others. Strangely enough, the Nexus 4 came preloaded with 4.1.2. I wasn't expecting 4.3, but definitely thought 4.2.2. would have been loaded at least. Makes me wonder how few of these they are selling at T-Mobile for it to be shipped with that version of the OS - but that's another discussion entirely.

Either way, here are my first day's impressions:

  • I really like the size of this smartphone. After having gargantuan smartphones for quite some time, this actually feels like a phone and less like a phablet to me and that's a good thing. If you're going to have the menu button at the top of the screen (because of no dedidated menu key) then having a slightly smaller screen helps quite a bit.
  • You'll be hardpressed to tell the difference between this 720p display and the Galaxy S4 or HTC One at normal (think 12" away) viewing distance. However, get a little closer and it's there. You'll see the pixels with the N4, whereas you'll strain trying to find them on 1080p displays. Like I said, though, at normal viewing distance, this isn't noticeable. Colors are closer to the HTC One, meaning more natural and whites look more white, people look more natural, but of course vibrancy, saturation and blacks are king on the S4. Also, in terms of outdoor visibility, the N4 sits between the HTC One (as best in my opinion) and S4 (worst of the 3).
  • Performance of stock android is superb - ever so slightly smoother than the HTC One, which I mentioned ran pretty flawless even with CPU Power Save on. Virtually everything opens and closes with no lag and almost instantly. It's a great experience. Given that this is 1yr old hardware, it's easy to tell how optimized the OS is. It's a pleasure to use. I'm normally a huge fan of physical buttons (hence my love for the S4), but I will admit I have absolutely no issue switching and using onscreen nav keys at all and today is only Day 1 of possibly 30.
  • Haven't played around much with the camera, but I will say it will take some time to get use to the controls and options. It's a very different experience than the standard versions of the S4 and HTC One. Also worth noting is that on 4.2.1 the screen had to rotate when switching from landscape to portrait or vice versa. A dumb thing and not sure why and after upgrading to 4.3 it's still there, however it's much faster and has a different animation (fading in/out instead of rotating)

My overall first impression for Day 1 with stock android is that I'm impressed. It's very smooth and fluid and reminds me very much of my experience with the HTC One, albeit just ever so slightly smoother. The onscreen navigation keys are very easy to adjust to, even coming from a Galaxy S4 and I was so surprised by this in fact it really did sort of make me question why other companies haven't adopted this route yet. I'm still a huge fan of physical buttons, but the main advantage I see to onscreen is that response time seems to be much quicker than both the HTC One and S4. The downside I could see with this, though, is that if you drop your phone and crack the screen you may very well end up having a phone that's not usable if you damage it to the point of not being able to use the onscreen keys.

While I haven't gotten as much time yet to dive into the main areas I'm comparing (similar to my HTC One vs. S4 above), there were a few quick caveats I'd like to point out.

For starters, the stock email (not gmail) app is overly simplistic and also in a questionable way. For example, here are your options:

Screenshot_2013-08-03-22-50-34.png


Yup, other than being able to change your display name, a basic (non-html) signature and the above that's pretty much all you get. Granted, I will say that in terms of looks it's still nicer looking than the one Samsung uses, but not nearly as elegant as HTC's. Samsung wins in options - also the only one having an HTML signature - whereas HTC wins in functionality. For stock android, you basically get a stripped down version of Gmail and I mean that quite literally. Take the Gmail add, strip out some options and that's email right down to the look except you don't get contact photos next to emails. Questionable omissions include the following:
  • Inability to swipe left/right within messages to navigate to the next one (the Gmail app has this, why doesn't email?). There are arrows you can press at the bottom to go left or right to the next/previous message, but no swipe. Doesn't make sense.
  • No options for sorting whatsoever
  • No conversation view
  • No way to send a new meeting invitation
  • 'Flagging' is displayed as 'stars' (ala Gmail style)
  • NO OUT OF OFFICE SETTINGS (NOOO!)

As someone who relies quite heavily on corporate exchange this alone may very well be a deal breaker. I haven't seen any good exchange replacements that don't look like sin (please, if you know of any let me know) and it amazes me how little attention Google has given this area. I guess Android people as a whole aren't business users apparently in Google's eyes for this to be as terrible as it is.

Some other weird quibbles I have are with the dialer. Why does the dial screen have an awkward lined background that doesn't show up anywhere else in the OS? This is really jarring since it doesn't match anything. It would have made more sense to use the same background gradient as the very next page over (call logs) that's also shared with everything else in the contacts area. The lines just look tacky.

acstockdialer.jpg


I will say this though, the dialer at least works decently. Smooth animations and apparently in 4.3 they finally added 'auto complete' so that it will find names in your address book as you type the numbers/letters using the dial pad. They didn't give it an elegant solution by any means, though, as it just shows 3 options in a small line above the dial pad, but at least it's there. HTC One and S4 definitely win here to me in the fact that you at least get to see a half screen picture (if you have one) of your friends as you type it. Just looks more pleasing.

smart-dialer-animated_v2.gif


Also, I'm not sure if this is a bug or what, but it's weird how previews show in 4.3. If you look, some preview windows only show a corner of the entire window. I took a screenshot to compare to my S4 to see how it shows the entire preview for all windows.

acpreviews.jpg


Lastly for today, I thought that in stock android you were able to have a pin lock and still pull down the notification shade? Doesn't seem to be the case with my N4 unless it has to do with my corporate email or some setting I'm missing. A little disappointed by that.
 

WickedRabbit

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Another day and a few more observations:

Everything just opens, loads and closes a lot quicker/smoother on stock android.
Yes, everything. Solely comparing just the apps that I use on all 3 devices - Nexus 4, HTC One and S4 - I feel comfortable saying that everything is nearly flawless on the Nexus 4 when it comes to speed. Given that this device is running on year-old hardware (not bad hardware by any means, but definitely behind when it comes to the One and S4) that's very impressive and also proves that optimizing your software is far more important than maximizing your hardware (I'm looking at you, Samsung). Score 1 for stock android.

Stock Android is the Apple of the Android world
Like Apple, you don't get every feature you would want (that's what the skinned version of Android is for) in the stock Android OS (or hardware for that matter). But, also like Apple, you get a very smooth, simple experience. Everything works as it should and while there may be little things you dislike here or there because it's probably missing, it may not be a huge enough issue to force you to a skinned version of Android. You're reading this from a guy who has never owned a stock android smartphone until now and has only had it for a few days. I personally love skinned versions of Android because of the extra features they sometimes add to the experience and before actually owning a stock android smartphone I always looked at stock android as sort of 'lacking' and 'not worth my time'. Overall, in just a few days, I definitely see the charm in stock android and it's also a mind-tickling to know that you own a device that you'll for sure get updates on.

Suddenly, my S4 feels cheap...
Using the HTC One first made me look at my S4 with a little less zeal. Then, using the Nexus 4 pretty much made my S4 feel cheap. I'm referring to the combination of using both the N4 and One. Both of these devices just flat out outperform the S4 in terms of speed and fluidity and in that way make the device feel more premium to me. Before using those two devices I had sort of gotten use to the idea that Android is "buggy" - something that I personally think some companies take advantage of (knowing their customers likely have not used an Android smartphone that isn't buggy) - and just expected to see bugs. But, then I was brought into the light with the HTC One and N4 to realize that no, Android is no longer buggy and probably hasn't been for quite some time. But rather, some companies just haven't optimized their versions well at all. *wags finger at these companies*

...could I make the switch from skinned to stock?
This is a tough one. With the S4 I will say that I no longer feel that this is the best Android smartphone you could own as I once did when I bought it. In fact, I am sort of just counting the days down to when I replace it with something else. I can easily replace it with an HTC One (or One Max if Verizon gets it) and be happy with that. However, then came the Nexus 4. While the HTC One really impressed me with its near flawless performance and a skin that I do think adds a lot of value to Android, the Nexus 4 is just simple, fluid in every way and looks sharp doing it. Sense to me adds a lot of features to Android that I do find useful (especially the email application), but then there's that lingering thought that I really do feel that HTC hasn't changed much when it comes to their poor upgrade history and likely a very late appearance of 4.3 (sometime late next year) will be the last OS upgrade any HTC device released this year will see given the fact that as of now they are technically 2 versions behind in the states.

So, this raises the almighty question: What do I value more: software upgrades or features? If you would have asked me that before trying out the Nexus 4 I would have said software features without hesitation. In fact, before deciding to add the Nexus 4 to this test you'll recall I already said I was going to happily grab an HTC One when it hit Verizon. As of right now, I'm quite torn in the middle, but every time I pick up the Nexus 4 I'm leaning more and more toward stock Android, as I think in the long run it seems like it'd be a lot easier to keep a stock android smartphone for more than a year than it would be for a skinned version that'd likely be running 1-2 year old OS.

This, of course, creates another decision for me: carrier. Remember, I'm on Verizon and Verizon likely will never see a stock Android smartphone again. The closest they'll get is probably the Motorola X and while that's not 'stock' it's close, but also it'll be launching with 4.2.2 and not 4.3 (also proving how slow their updates likely will be). I have T-Mobile now for this Nexus 4 test and while I love the price, their service sucks here. I didn't have any problems with AT&T when I tested the HTC One, but I don't like the fact that I'd have to give up my grandfathered unlimited everything plan if I left Verizon. What does this tell you, though? Well, the fact that I'm even considering giving up my unlimited plan says how impressed I am with stock android. I really do think this is the best way to experience android and if I'm able to let go of a few features (there's nothing I've 'missed' about my S4 when playing with the Nexus 4 and while I love Zoe on the HTC One I know I could live without it) I likely will end up with a stock android smartphone on AT&T. I might even just keep my Verizon, use it for something random, like an iPad if I can switch it to my unlimited plan and then get a phone on AT&T for a stock android smartphone.

Try before you knock it...
I knocked stock android for years before ever really trying it. Don't make my mistake. Android is really solid at this point and I think many people may actually be surprised by its performance. If you can live without some of the bells and whistles found in skins, stock android may be very impressive to you. Right now, I haven't completely made up my mind which way I'm going, but I do like stock android. I can definitely see that not everyone will, but if you value a smooth performance over some features you may use 'some of the time' then you can't go wrong. Also, you know you'll get updates when they come out.

I will say this, though, I'm not impressed currently with any of the current hardware for stock android in terms of what I'd buy to keep me satisfied for 1-2 years. The S4 GPe would probably be my favorite device right now, but coming with only 16gb built in and limited memory card support this doesn't give me the most confidence I'd be happy with it. The HTC One GPe has more storage, but the wrong button layout, creating the dreaded menu bar in some apps I use that I think would kill the experience. The Nexus 4 performs flawlessly, but there's no way I can live with only 16gb storage as its biggest option. I'm curious to see what other GPe's come out, as currently the rumored Xperia Z GPe and Moto X may be the better versions given that they have the stock android button layout. Or, if Google updates the next Nexus as I hope they do (1080p screen - not likely - more storage (possible) and better battery life (possible) and I decide to go with stock android then I may just end up with the next Nexus.
 

niko_orsini

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Another day and a few more observations:

Everything just opens, loads and closes a lot quicker/smoother on stock android.
Yes, everything. Solely comparing just the apps that I use on all 3 devices - Nexus 4, HTC One and S4 - I feel comfortable saying that everything is nearly flawless on the Nexus 4 when it comes to speed. Given that this device is running on year-old hardware (not bad hardware by any means, but definitely behind when it comes to the One and S4) that's very impressive and also proves that optimizing your software is far more important than maximizing your hardware (I'm looking at you, Samsung). Score 1 for stock android.

Stock Android is the Apple of the Android world
Like Apple, you don't get every feature you would want (that's what the skinned version of Android is for) in the stock Android OS (or hardware for that matter). But, also like Apple, you get a very smooth, simple experience. Everything works as it should and while there may be little things you dislike here or there because it's probably missing, it may not be a huge enough issue to force you to a skinned version of Android. You're reading this from a guy who has never owned a stock android smartphone until now and has only had it for a few days. I personally love skinned versions of Android because of the extra features they sometimes add to the experience and before actually owning a stock android smartphone I always looked at stock android as sort of 'lacking' and 'not worth my time'. Overall, in just a few days, I definitely see the charm in stock android and it's also a mind-tickling to know that you own a device that you'll for sure get updates on.

Suddenly, my S4 feels cheap...
Using the HTC One first made me look at my S4 with a little less zeal. Then, using the Nexus 4 pretty much made my S4 feel cheap. I'm referring to the combination of using both the N4 and One. Both of these devices just flat out outperform the S4 in terms of speed and fluidity and in that way make the device feel more premium to me. Before using those two devices I had sort of gotten use to the idea that Android is "buggy" - something that I personally think some companies take advantage of (knowing their customers likely have not used an Android smartphone that isn't buggy) - and just expected to see bugs. But, then I was brought into the light with the HTC One and N4 to realize that no, Android is no longer buggy and probably hasn't been for quite some time. But rather, some companies just haven't optimized their versions well at all. *wags finger at these companies*

...could I make the switch from skinned to stock?
This is a tough one. With the S4 I will say that I no longer feel that this is the best Android smartphone you could own as I once did when I bought it. In fact, I am sort of just counting the days down to when I replace it with something else. I can easily replace it with an HTC One (or One Max if Verizon gets it) and be happy with that. However, then came the Nexus 4. While the HTC One really impressed me with its near flawless performance and a skin that I do think adds a lot of value to Android, the Nexus 4 is just simple, fluid in every way and looks sharp doing it. Sense to me adds a lot of features to Android that I do find useful (especially the email application), but then there's that lingering thought that I really do feel that HTC hasn't changed much when it comes to their poor upgrade history and likely a very late appearance of 4.3 (sometime late next year) will be the last OS upgrade any HTC device released this year will see given the fact that as of now they are technically 2 versions behind in the states.

So, this raises the almighty question: What do I value more: software upgrades or features? If you would have asked me that before trying out the Nexus 4 I would have said software features without hesitation. In fact, before deciding to add the Nexus 4 to this test you'll recall I already said I was going to happily grab an HTC One when it hit Verizon. As of right now, I'm quite torn in the middle, but every time I pick up the Nexus 4 I'm leaning more and more toward stock Android, as I think in the long run it seems like it'd be a lot easier to keep a stock android smartphone for more than a year than it would be for a skinned version that'd likely be running 1-2 year old OS.

This, of course, creates another decision for me: carrier. Remember, I'm on Verizon and Verizon likely will never see a stock Android smartphone again. The closest they'll get is probably the Motorola X and while that's not 'stock' it's close, but also it'll be launching with 4.2.2 and not 4.3 (also proving how slow their updates likely will be). I have T-Mobile now for this Nexus 4 test and while I love the price, their service sucks here. I didn't have any problems with AT&T when I tested the HTC One, but I don't like the fact that I'd have to give up my grandfathered unlimited everything plan if I left Verizon. What does this tell you, though? Well, the fact that I'm even considering giving up my unlimited plan says how impressed I am with stock android. I really do think this is the best way to experience android and if I'm able to let go of a few features (there's nothing I've 'missed' about my S4 when playing with the Nexus 4 and while I love Zoe on the HTC One I know I could live without it) I likely will end up with a stock android smartphone on AT&T. I might even just keep my Verizon, use it for something random, like an iPad if I can switch it to my unlimited plan and then get a phone on AT&T for a stock android smartphone.

Try before you knock it...
I knocked stock android for years before ever really trying it. Don't make my mistake. Android is really solid at this point and I think many people may actually be surprised by its performance. If you can live without some of the bells and whistles found in skins, stock android may be very impressive to you. Right now, I haven't completely made up my mind which way I'm going, but I do like stock android. I can definitely see that not everyone will, but if you value a smooth performance over some features you may use 'some of the time' then you can't go wrong. Also, you know you'll get updates when they come out.

I will say this, though, I'm not impressed currently with any of the current hardware for stock android in terms of what I'd buy to keep me satisfied for 1-2 years. The S4 GPe would probably be my favorite device right now, but coming with only 16gb built in and limited memory card support this doesn't give me the most confidence I'd be happy with it. The HTC One GPe has more storage, but the wrong button layout, creating the dreaded menu bar in some apps I use that I think would kill the experience. The Nexus 4 performs flawlessly, but there's no way I can live with only 16gb storage as its biggest option. I'm curious to see what other GPe's come out, as currently the rumored Xperia Z GPe and Moto X may be the better versions given that they have the stock android button layout. Or, if Google updates the next Nexus as I hope they do (1080p screen - not likely - more storage (possible) and better battery life (possible) and I decide to go with stock android then I may just end up with the next Nexus.

Interesting comparison.
How do you find N4's battery life and camera compared to the SGS4 and One?
 

AMG_Roadster

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I seem to be in the minority (but far from the only one) that is having issues after AT&T rolled out a radio update for the HTC One. I am having issues with dropped calls, sound quality on calls, and a decrease in batter life. The screen size and camera on the S4 have been a big draw for me. While I have been debating what I am doing with the HTC One I think the issues I am now encountering have killed the device for me. I think I am going to have to swap it out for the S4 unless the G2 hits stores in time for me to get it.
 

WickedRabbit

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Try Google Edition (same OS as N4) roms on your One and you won't leave the One for N4 anymore

I understand your suggestion, but I have absolutely zero desire or interest in rooting my devices any further. I won't be going down this route.


Interesting comparison.
How do you find N4's battery life and camera compared to the SGS4 and One?

Camera is ok in bright sunlight. Doesn't take the best photos, but doesn't take the worse photos. It's a midrange camera. If you only care about looking at the pictures on your smartphone or at lower resolutions it's fine. Anything bigger, not so much. As far as battery life it's nothing to brag home about. It'll probably make it through a standard work day for a light to medium user. Heavy user I doubt it. It seems to drain quick compared to the HTC One and S4 when idle. I can go to sleep for about 7-8 hours and wake up with may 1-2% gone on the One and S4, whereas 10-15% gone on the N4. I'm guessing that's one of the advantages of the newer Snapdragon S600 compared to the S4 Pro.
 

WickedRabbit

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Interesting comparison.
How do you find N4's battery life and camera compared to the SGS4 and One?

Well, I decided to do a very unscientific camera comparison. I'm no professional in these types of tests, so I decided to just use the cameras as most people will: auto mode. I took two shots and tried my best to get the exact same angle by first taking one shot and then replacing the phone with the other without moving one of the hands that I held the phone with. Both lenses are placed relatively in the same spots on both the N4 and S4 so they really should be as close to the same shot as possible.

Here are the three shots that I took and I'll note some observations below as well:

accamera1.jpg


The first thing that surprised me is that when I posted above that the N4 wasn't bad, but wasn't great I was making that claim based on how the photos looked on the screens. Big mistake. On screen, the S4 appeared to take a much better shot. Looking at these two photos (which I scaled the resolution width from 3200'ish to 1920 on both) revealed things not seen on the screens.

In the first photo of my dog, the N4 clearly took a better photo. The S4 looks washed out and the floor detail to the right of my dog is virtually gone entirely. Compare that to the N4 and you can clearly see the carpet floor detail. What's interesting to note for me is that neither replicated colors accurately. Colors would actually fall somewhere in the middle between these two photos. Whereas the S4 tried to lighten up the photo too much, the N4 darkened it, losing some detail that a little more light would have made up for. Both cameras had flash set to auto, but neither used the flash and the room at that corner has moderate light levels coming in through a large window. The S4 tries to bring out more detail than the N4 does. If you focus on the ears and nose, you'll see what I mean. By darkening the photo the N4 loses some finer details. It makes this particular photo look better overall, but detail is lost. While the S4 looks washed out, it still has a little more detail to me than the N4. Had there been a lot more light my guess is that the S4 would have taken a better shot overall. But, in this test, the N4 wins.

accamera2.jpg


Moving on to the second photo of a thick placemat there are some similarities here that also showed up in the first photo. Again, colors of both are off, but this time the S4 would be much closer in color reproduction than the N4. This part of the room was being lit by a standard ceiling fan light bulb (yellow'ish tint bulb). The N4 takes the light in the room and then basically added it to the photo, making the placemat look orange in appearance. The S4 compensated and got very close to the actual colors - making this photo much more natural and the better looking of the two. In terms of detail, right above the word 'Italia' to the left you'll see there's damage on the placement that's almost hidden entirely in the N4 photo. Winner here: S4.

accamera3.jpg


Let's take one more photo of something just to see how it stacks up. Outside time. Here, I took a picture of my neighbors motorcycle under natural sunlight this morning. At first glance I really had a hard time telling the difference between the two. They are virtually identical to me. The only real difference I spotted has to do with the red color on the motorcycle. The S4 over saturated the red slightly, making it appear brighter than it really is. The N4 is more accurate in this respect, looking slightly darker. Really, this is probably personal preference at this point for these two photos, as they are practically the same.

Well, after actually looking at the photos on a computer it seems the camera on the N4 isn't that bad after all. Lighting will definitely play a big part since the indoor shot under a light bulb I thought colors were way off in color mode. Outside, though, it seems to hold up well to the S4. If you tinker with settings (I don't like to cause I'm lazy) you can get good shots out of the N4 easily.
 

niko_orsini

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I'm in the market to buy my first Android phone and I still don't know what to choose.
It's hard to decide between the Nexus 4, the SGS4 and the HTC One.

Thank you, anyway, for this helpful post.
 

WickedRabbit

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Updated:

Well, in less time than it took me with the HTC One to feel that it was better than the S4, the Nexus 4 has absolutely made me feel that stock android is the best way to go. I don't particularly care for the Nexus 4 much due to its lack of LTE and limited 16GB storage though. However, the rest of the phone is quite nice and given how much older the hardware is by today's standards it has me quite curious to see what the next Nexus will be like.

So, I've decided that I'm going to convert my S4 to a business phone to keep my unlimited data (which is typically where I use most of my data anyway) and then later - at least after waiting to see what other Google Editions or the next Nexus brings - will pick up one of those when they are released this holiday season for my personal line.

What led to my liking stock android even over the HTC One that I was very impressed with? Well, a few things:

Smooth as butter... in everything...
Whereas I really enjoyed the HTC One's smooth experience, there were still a few performance hiccups in some of my apps. Comparing the experience next to stock android that displayed no performance problems my guess is that it's HTC's Sense overlay that's interfering with the experience, adding a little more burden to the processor and/or simply forcing the app to try to adjust for some Sense related feature. The HTC One is fast, but stock android is faster and is the most consistent experience no matter what you're doing. Both of these blow my S4 out of the water. It's no contest.

I don't really miss any of the skinned 'features' of HTC or the S4
Other than Smart Stay, I can't say that I cared much for any other 'feature' in my S4. I pretty much disabled everything because I felt it was either useless to me or just simply didn't work as well as it should. The HTC One fared a bit better in that I was incredibly impressed with Zoe and Video Highlights. Hands down, those two things work great. However, I'm a light camera user at best in that I only really use my camera when I'm on vacation (which isn't often) and when I'm just at home or out and about I either forget or don't care to take pictures of everything and often times just rely on my friends to send me photos. Once I got back home I pretty much could care less about Zoe and Video Highlights because I won't really use it much in my day to day life since I won't take pictures all of time. Taking pictures is what makes Zoe and Video Highlights fun. Sure, you can shuffle your photos around slightly to create a different video highlight, but the best experience is with new photos entirely. Also, while I liked the BoomSound speakers of the HTC One, in my day to day testing it didn't always live up to the hype. Many third party applications actually had worse sound on this phone likely because of software and I found myself sometimes disabling Beats entirely just to hear things at all because the volume was so low. The front stereo speakers are still phenomenal idea that others need to implement, but again, if you're not using it all the time it loses its value (you'll recall I mostly watch videos on my tablet) and I rarely play music from my phone speakers (typically connected to some type of bluetooth device). So, while I love that feature, it hasn't been missed in my day to day life because of how I use my phone.

I'm an Onscreen Button Convert!
I'm just going to say it flat out, onscreen buttons are better. I never thought I'd say that, as I've personally been a fan of physical buttons for as long as I can remember. It was one of the reasons I've stuck with Samsung in fact. But, after using the Nexus 4 I can definitely say that I feel onscreen is just better. Why? Speed. Since the navigation keys are on the same super sensitive touch screen you're already touching, response time is exactly the same = fast. Compared to a physical button, there is a noticeable delay in activating things because you first have to press the button down and then wait for it to activate the press action. In half the time it took you to press down a physical key and then wait for the action you're already there when using onscreen buttons. While we're literally talking milliseconds of difference (or a second or more in the case of the S4, which can lag) it does become very noticeable in day to day use and it just makes stock android experience that much more fluid.

Stock = Software Updates...
This goes without saying, but if you want timely upgrades without rooting, you pretty much have to get a stock android phone. I'm tired of wondering if it'll take 6 or 10 or 14 months for my phone to get an update - and half the time it's not even to the most current version of Android. These companies simply take way too long to get it out and then the carriers just make the situation worse with insane testing lengths and added bloat. I'm done waiting and I'm done knowing that at best my skinned phone will see ONE update sometime after the next update is already out and then my phone support pretty much dies after that.

Way more free RAM
It really surprised me how much skins eat up the 2gb of ram these smartphones come with nowadays. For the S4 and HTC One they pretty much take 500-700mb right out of the 2GB just to run the phone. That's ridiculous. That's also likely (my theory) why even with just a few apps running your memory will say 1gb being used (most of that is the skin). For the HTC One their phone actually says 1.5gb of ram available and not 2gb (because 500mb is being used for Sense). Samsung just lumped it all together so it says 2gb of ram, but even with just a few apps running I was always between 700mb-1gb of use. Compare that to my N4 and I'm typically at 500-600 used and maybe in the 800's on the high end - that's when things like Double Twist, Google Services, Exchange Service are peaked (typically around 50mb each). I like having my ram for me and not for stuff I don't even use or care about.

That's all she wrote...
Well, there you have it. My incredibly long post (sorry) comparison of 3 great devices. I started with an S4, fell in love with the HTC One and was about to have an affair with her and then came along the simple, but elegant next door neighbor Nexus 4 wearing stock android to steal the show. Now, let the waiting for a Nexus 5 or whoever makes the best Google Edition this holiday season begin!
 

totalsmoshy

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Jul 27, 2013
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Hello, I couldn't decide between Samsung galaxy s4 and HTC One and it was driving me nuts:'(! When I heard about the menu bar problem, I thought I would get the Samsung galaxy s4, because I love the screen size of it, plus the menu bar would annoy me. But then, I heard about amoled burn-in, and that would annoy me too. So I was back to square one. I can't decide what would annoy me more and it's driving me nuts again:mad:. So I would like to ask if the following apps are updated for the HTC One so the menu bar won't show.
MX Player
BS Player
VLC
Twitter
Real Racing 3
Asphalt 7
Iron Man 3
Riptide 2
Subway Surfers
Temple Run 2
Utorrent
Also, is the HTC One update available in :
The UAE
Canada
If anyone answers, Thank you!:):)
 

WickedRabbit

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May 31, 2013
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Hello, I couldn't decide between Samsung galaxy s4 and HTC One and it was driving me nuts:'(! When I heard about the menu bar problem, I thought I would get the Samsung galaxy s4, because I love the screen size of it, plus the menu bar would annoy me. But then, I heard about amoled burn-in, and that would annoy me too. So I was back to square one. I can't decide what would annoy me more and it's driving me nuts again:mad:. So I would like to ask if the following apps are updated for the HTC One so the menu bar won't show.
MX Player
BS Player
VLC
Twitter
Real Racing 3
Asphalt 7
Iron Man 3
Riptide 2
Subway Surfers
Temple Run 2
Utorrent
Also, is the HTC One update available in :
The UAE
Canada
If anyone answers, Thank you!:):)

Personally, I have never heard of amoled burn in issues on smartphones. I've had a few Amoled devices and have never had any issues. I mean, I suppose if you leave your screen on ONE image for a whole day or something that could be a problem, but since that's not going to happen, I don't personally see that as being a big concern.

To answer your question about whether the following apps show the menu button along the bottom:

  • Twitter = No
  • VLC = No
  • BS Player = No
  • uTorrent = Yes
  • Riptide 2 = No
  • Asphalt 7 = No
  • MX Player = No
  • BS Player = No
  • Real Racing 3 = No
  • Iron Man 3 = No
  • Subway Surfers = No
  • Temple Run 2 = No


Additionally, out of everything I have installed for my own personal use, only the following apps display the menu bar:
  • Homerun Battle 2 (Com2Us)
  • AstroWings3
  • Swingshot (Com2Us)
  • Wikipedia
  • USPS
  • SugarSync
  • Speedtest
  • PayPal
  • FedEx
  • Fandango
  • Amazon
  • Engadget (lol...really? a tech site that hasn't updated? Guess we know which platform they prefer)
  • LBSFCU

Now, out of hundreds of things I have installed (including the ones you asked to check out) those are the only apps that have the menu bar. That's not a bad ratio by any means. Essentially, what I notice is that apps that display or don't display the menu bar from a particular developer (as in the case of games) typically follow the same trend across all their apps. So, for example, above I listed 2 games from Com2Us, both of which had the menu bar. Bigger apps and developers have pretty much updated by now. The rest are apps that few people will use on a daily basis so it's not a big enough deal to get on your nerves.

Also, depending on your hand size, while the menu bar at the bottom may or may not be your cup of tea, you'll appreciate it sometimes when it's easier to press than reaching for the top right corner of the screen.
 

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