HTC One (M8) vs Samsung Galaxy S5: What's the difference?

HTC announced the HTC One (M8) in March, making it the third major player in the Android space to launch a much-anticipated flagship in recent months. It goes head-to-head with the Samsung Galaxy S5, announced in February.

We've reviewed the HTC One (M8). We've reviewed the Samsung Galaxy S5. If you're confused about which high-end Android smartphone offers the best features, software, and hardware - fear not, Pocket-lint will guide you through the mire of smartphone befuddlement.

So, which is best, the HTC One (M8) or the Samsung Galaxy S5?

Display

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, which will launch globally on 11 April, 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.

In real life, you won't notice the difference in density, however the technology behind these displays is different. The Samsung's AMOLED display offers more vibrant colours and deeper blacks, the HTC One (M8) is more realistic in its presentation of these colours, and this is very much down to personal preference as both displays are very good.

There's another 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. Screen fiends might side with Samsung on this one.

Processor

The HTC One (M8) features a 2.3GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 chipset and has 2GB of RAM. The Samsung Galaxy S5 features a 2.5GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor as well as 2GB of RAM.

READ: Samsung Galaxy S5 review

If simply looking at the spec sheet, the Samsung Galaxy S5 should have the fastest processor, but in the real world, that minor difference in clock speed has almost no bearing on actual applications. If anything, the SGS5 feels a little slower because the TouchWiz user interface doesn't seem to be as fast as the HTC One's Sense 6.0.

With these devices side-by-side, we've found that in daily use the HTC One (M8) feels faster. It seems that 0.2GHz makes very little difference.

Storage

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 little to call between the two: the big difference here is that HTC has stepped up its game in offering microSD support on this level of device. This has long been an advantage offered by Samsung, but the playing field has been levelled. 

Battery

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 it's very impressive.

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.

However, Samsung has a trump card. You can pull the back off the phone and swap the battery and you can't argue with that if battery life is your prime concern.

Camera

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 before. 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.

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 additional lens.

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.

Both are very capable, but the Samsung has given us some great shots really easily, and that's the important point.

OS

The HTC One (M8) features Android 4.4 KitKat and Sense 6.0. The Samsung Galaxy S5 features Android 4.4 KitKat and a new version of TouchWiz.

Both these user interfaces offer bags of features. If this was simply a case of comparing who offers the most options, then Samsung would win. However, there's so much in the SGS5 that a lot seems superfluous. What is good, though, is Samsung's sensible use of display space: there are features that let you multitask better on a big display.

READ: HTC One (M8) review

HTC Sense looks and feels a little more mature (a question of personal taste), 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 takes this round.

Build

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. It's a triumph of design, it looks stunning 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 dustproof and resistant in liquid 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.

Conclusion

The Samsung Galaxy S5 offers a wider range of features and comes with great connectivity, a stunning display, plenty of power and a camera that performs well. However it feels like it could be faster in daily use and the unique features of the heart rate sensor and fingerprint scanner may well get turned off and ignored.

The HTC One (M8) feels like the slicker device in daily use. The user interface is faster and although it has less options and features, the interface feels more sophisticted and mature. It offers class-leading sound quality, a great display, but the real winner is the design. In the battle of these two giants, HTC takes it, but only just.



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