Which handset do you prefer: Samsung Galaxy S5 or HTC One M8?

by: Andrew GrushApril 11, 2014

samsung galaxy s5 vs htc one m8 aa (9 of 19)

Two of the hottest phones in the Android world have become widely available this week, the HTC One M8 and the Samsung Galaxy S5. We covered both handsets in-depth over the last month or so, and we’ve heard very contrasting opinions about the two devices as well.

While both handsets have solid specs and several improvements over their predecessors, they also have some very real differences when it comes to their UI and design language. This Friday Debate, let’s talk about Galaxy S5 vs One M8. Although the GS5 and HTC One M8 each have their positive qualities, which handset do you prefer and why?

Join us in the comments and answer our poll!

Robert Triggs

Can I get away with saying neither? No, alright then I choose the Galaxy S5, simply because it’s a bigger jump from the S4 than the M8 is to the M7.

In terms of processing power, the subtle differences between CPU and GPU speeds aren’t worth comparing in terms of real world uses, and there’s not much to choose between the handsets sizes or Android functionality.

Where the Galaxy S5 wins out for me is in practical improvements to its hardware. The new 16 megapixel ISOCELL image sensor provides a good leap in image quality over the old S4, and produces some of the best looking pictures you can capture on a smartphone. IP57 certification is also a nice touch, helping to keep your expensive device safe from accidental spillages and the effects of a dusty desk like mine. Whilst I don’t care for the fingerprint or heart rate monitors myself, Samsung has shown some foresight with the inclusion of little features like 4K video recording, multi-window apps, and a removable battery.

HTC has done little to add anything substantial to the One M8 since the M7. You can argue that LCD is more realistic looking than AMOLED or that metal produces a nicer look and feel than plastic, but if you care about that stuff why not just buy the original HTC One for a fraction of the price?

I’m not convinced that HTC made the right choice by keeping the same 4 Ultrapixel camera and opting for a duo configuration. Ultrapixels didn’t wow us when they first appeared, and everyone else has continued to improve their designs over the last year whilst HTC remains stagnant. Even as an audio man, Boomsound isn’t a handset seller for me and increased volume isn’t a big enough change to tempt me this time around either, I’d rather buy a decent pair of headphones. Boomsound is about as useful as a heart rate monitor to me, I just don’t listen to content over my smartphone speakers often enough to care about it. HTC still has good software, tap to wake is a nice minor addition, but is it enough to buy a new handset for? Not in my opinion.

I guess my position can be summed up by thinking about what the two companies have been doing over the past year. Hardware wise, Samsung’s been working hard in the lab creating its new ISOCELL, fingerprint tech, and IP57 features. HTC has tweaked Boomsound and its camera, and that’s about it.

Joe Hindy

This is really a tough call because both phones have their merits. Much like last year with the HTC One M7 and the Samsung Galaxy S4, the winner really depends on what kind of a user you are.

In terms of sheer functionality, the Galaxy S5 wins. It can do more things and has more integrated features than the HTC One M8. The camera is better, the heart rated monitor is…well…there, and the stuff baked into the OS can be useful for some people. If I had to give a blanket recommendation, I’d say the Galaxy S5 simply because it has more features than the M8 and the more features a device has, the more likely it has the features that a specific user wants.

That said, the HTC One M8 has its perks as well. The better speakers, the sleeker, more premium phone design, and lack of unnecessary extras (no physical home button, no heart rate monitor) make it a much more streamlined device for people who want something more minimal. Granted, HTC Sense isn’t stock Android (it doesn’t get anymore minimal than stock Android) but Sense does a good job of keeping it short and sweet while relying on third party applications to provide features.

Personally, I’m in the camp of the HTC One M8. I think that the third party app scene has improved and evolved to an extend where OEMs don’t need to bake so many features into the OS anymore and while I’ll never lobby for OEM skins to be removed entirely, I will conceded that Samsung puts a lot of stuff in their phones and not everyone needs all of it.

If you don’t know what you want in your device or you want a whole bunch of features for the sake of having a whole bunch of features, I’d recommend the Galaxy S5.

If you want something more minimal and streamlined while relying on third party apps and accessories for more functionality, I’d recommend the HTC One M8.

If you put both in front of me right now and told me I could have one for free, I’d pick up the M8.

Jonathan Feist

I must echo many of the same sentiments as Robert and Joseph. We have in front of us two very impressive devices. Both pack a powerful punch and are fine examples of the best that these manufacturers have to offer.

With these equally effective devices available, it is no easy choice between the two. As such, if these were the only two phones in the world, I would choose the Samsung Galaxy S5 over the HTC One (M8). This decision would be based almost exclusively on the camera and the IP57 certification.

As Robert mentioned, these phones are really only incremental upgrades from their predecessors. I see this as a good thing, the HTC One and the Galaxy S4 were relatively solid devices, what better to build upon. Despite their improvements, I still find the new phones lacking in the ‘wow’ department. Perhaps, at least for the Galaxy S5, it is psychological. The fingerprint scanner, although a powerful tool and impressive upgrade, only serves to remind me of the evils of the world, where’s the fun in that?

I suspect that, in time, our general opinions of these devices will change. Right now, we are expecting such greatness that we are possibly feeling a little let down. I think we will eventually recognize that they are not the dream machines that we put posters of on our walls, but they are certainly very well equipped devices that prove excellent daily drivers.

Luckily, I do not think you could really go wrong in choosing either of these devices. They both pack powerful specs and feature sets that will keep us entertained and productive. They both offer cameras that will adequately preserve our memories in digital form. Both have large, bright and colorful screens to enjoy our media, and, strangely enough, these phones both still place excellent phone calls, for those that still do that sort of thing.

Darcy LaCouvee

Having interacted with both devices extensively, I have to really hand it to HTC for creating a device that truly represents arguably the most premium build quality of any Android device ever made. It’s astonishing how good it feels in the hand, and how it looks. It’s unquestionably a conversation starter. Actual ownership of said device though, is a different story. Metal is incredibly unforgiving when met with the hard realities of concrete, or any hard material. That being said, so is plastic, too. I think most device owners wrap their favorite, techno-be-all-contain-all-do-all in a case at this point, though I could be wrong. I’ve just paid the piper a few too many times at this point.

In terms of the technology, Samsung wins hands down. The ISOCELL camera in the S5 is best in class, there’s no question. The granular improvements made to the processor are appreciated, but not groundbreaking. Qualcomm appears to be holding out for the next generation of flagships. Samsung has tried to deliver a very good phone to all of us, and they’ve certainly succeeded in that respect, but I know a lot of nerds out there are still dealing with post flagship phone let-down syndrome. We’re all so damn spoiled.

The IP certification, ensuring that the device can take on more water and more dust than previous generations is a very welcome addition, and I wish every manufacturer would make it part of what they are doing.

That being said, who isn’t sick of plastic? Our device safoys a lot about us, and for the many that cant stand the tyranny of iOS, there’s no other choice than Android. Consumers have long clamoured for more devices with high build quality, in sizes a touch larger than the iPhone. Sony delivered with the Xperia Z1 compact. Motorola delivered with the Moto X, and the other large manufacturers seem keen to want to lower the specs of their mini offerings because they know they appeal to the least spec savvy among us. I digress.

There will never be a perfect phone. There will always be tradeoffs. Both HTC and Samsung are to be commended here for what they have been able to achieve. In particular, I think HTC should be singled out for actually being able to have a simultaneous coordinated global launch, wherein they actually have enough devices made available, and that they have enough supplies in the supply line; something they’ve never been able to achieve.

Samsung is Samsung. They are a machine that keeps on churning, regardless. Their technological prowess and multi-billion dollar strong R&D is laser focused on delivering best in class optics, display, battery life, and their tier one relationship with ARM, Qualcomm and Google increasingly will ensure that they likely have some of the best integration of hardware to software in the industry.

And speaking of the topic of Samsung making a metal device when I met with one of their VP’s last week, they said they would love to, just that it’s remarkably difficult to produce the millions and millions of frames necessary to satisfy consumer demand in a timely fashion. If HTC can do it, why can’t they? HTC is the little engine that could, and if they could just implement a better optic solution, than I would be very much holding a One M8 right now. Anyway, my humble thoughts.

[poll id=”518″]

  • Frankie Frankel

    i like both but the speaker and build quality are the only things keeping me from returning mine and getting the s5. the m8 speakers r the bomb, but i love touchwiz, physical buttons, camera, finger scanner, and everything else except for the speakers and build quality.

  • Shark Bait

    Both are great devices! Solid specs and great build. Both companies have done a strong iteration, but neither has done anything revolutionary and I think its any ones game at this stage.
    If anything Samsung looses a point for design, where HTC gains a point. Samsung however gains a point for the camera where HTC looses a point. Apart from that they look like 2 titans! Haven’t used or either seen either of these and I guess it will come down to real word usage with things like battery life, quality, camera and durability to decide the true winner.
    Ultimately the Samsung fan-boys will say the S5, and the HTC crowd will say the M8 (also where is the Sony? that is equally as good)

    For me it probably doesn’t matter since I’ll only buy a nexus again the autumn

    • patrik

      The S5 really looks ALOT better in real life, it’s also lighter, thinner then the M8 and it also has a grippier handle.

      Honestly, for people who buys phones solely on the matter of design, they shouldn’t be using a smartphone.

      • MattHail

        I admit that the design is one of the reasons i bought M8, but another important factor, Sense is superior to Touchwiz in terms of performance and it looks clean/ organized.

      • Tony Chiang

        That last bit.. give me two spoons to dig out my eyes.

        Not sure wtf I just read. Wow.

    • Balraj

      Your right… I tried the s5
      It’s soooo light but that poor thing this laags during video playback n fast use
      It really put me off -.-
      Samsung’s major weakness….
      But I just loved the screen… Best screen I have seen on a phone.

      • Tyrone_83

        The phone lags?? Sorry but I call BS on your comment.

        • Balraj

          Look, I work for Univercell India
          I had a chance to play with s5 for hours
          The video which came with s5 for demo gets stuck or lags for few sec during fast forward/backward

          Same video transferred to xperia t2 ultra played flawlessly..
          It’s just shows Samsung is still bad at TOUCHWIZ

          COST OF S5 IS 51500
          COST OF T2 IS 25000

          Touchwiz is still heavy….
          I don’t give false info

          • StraightEdgeNexus

            try a snapdragon powered S5. the india S5 has craxynos chipset.

          • DivyanshuSharma

            The Indian version comes with Samsung’s own Exonys (false) Octa Core processor instead of the Snapdragon 801 in America and Europe. That could have been the cause of the lag.

        • DivyanshuSharma

          The Indian version of S5 ships with Samsung’s own exonys false octa core processor, that could be the reason!

        • Tan

          I actually have both HTC M8 and Samsung S5. It’s actually a laggy phone. I noticed the lag about 30% of the use each day. It’s not a bad bad lag but still laggy.

    • Stephan Hall

      I agree! The HTC and Samsung fan boys will be “bending over” again!

    • BenGezarit

      I’m waiting for SD 830, no matter which OEM would use it first :D

  • Luka Mlinar

    I expect OnePlus One to beat everything out of the water with it’s <350€/<400$ price.

  • hoggleboggle

    After holding both in store my impression is that the M8’s material is certainly nicer but the s5 actually feels less slippery in hand and less likely to be dropped.

  • Michael McGrade

    Neither…I’ll be sticking with my Note 3.

  • AsakuraZero

    Z2, but if im obliged to choose, i would choose the M8

  • Aloo

    Why aren’t you guys comparing the xperia z2

    • Shark Bait

      Totally agree! All look equally paced to be the phone of the year, sony would maybe pinch it for me

    • thartist

      ‘Cause not enough people care about Sony, they have nothing special going on for them.

    • DivyanshuSharma

      That’s because sony has run into many problems in manufacturing and nobody knows for sure when it’ll be shipping z2’s

    • John A

      I wonder that too. I think that the Z2 just might have the beating of those two phones this year.

  • Guest123

    LG G Pro 2 :)

    • Stephan Hall

      I agree …… it’s a much better value!

    • Heisenberg

      Note 3.

  • Balraj

    HTC wins in votes
    Nice :)

    • StraightEdgeNexus

      votes nowadays show #Woah #FanboyismAtItsBest

    • The-Sailor-Man

      Of course.
      All the mad iboys didn’t miiss to vote ALUMINUM here,, but NEVER buy anything else than iCrap.
      We don’t even bother to vote those stupid polls but you’ll see the real sale.

      • cee

        Samsung lie about every aspect of their sales, performance and falsify benchmarks (and pay out to people who slam other devices with lies).

        I trust HTC to be honest, and you’d have to be foolish to believe any marketing hype from Samsung. A $14 billion marketing budgets mean your product is crap, why? Because good products sell themselves.

  • Ivan Alfaro

    I am absolutely disappointed with the service HTC provides here in the UK… I own a One S and was gutted when the promised updates were cancelled. I am never choosing HTC again. The thing that inclines me towards the S5 are simple things. Removable back and battery, battery life, IP67 and screen. I don’t mind a plastic back, as long as I can change the battery inside. Samsung devices play well with third party customisation apps (a lot better than HTC in my experiences), and also are better with headphones with mics (first world problem I know)… The Z2 is also a good option, but as I said, lack of the removable battery

  • Stephan Hall

    I think both devices are excellent. If I had to choose …. I’d pick the Samsung because of the features and the removable battery. I will not be buying either. Neither provides a compelling argument that justifies the price. I understand that some have to have the “latest and greatest”! That’s not me. Even today if I were to buy a phone …. it would be the N5 or Moto X. My perspective is that I could buy a N5 or a Moto X and a nice tablet and still have change in the pocket. The Moto X might have the best internals ….but it’s innovation. It’s just a sweet phone to use every day! The N5 ….. it’s $359.00 … enough said! The G2 would be high on my list too …… it’s just $400.00.

  • [S]unjay Burn[s] Red

    Xperia Z2 > HTC One > Galaxy S5

    • bloodymackey

      Z2>S5(because of developers support and availability of accessories here in philippines)>M8

  • Milton

    I think I’d stick to my reliable Nokia lumia, but I like the htc better than the crapsung

  • The-Sailor-Man

    You didn’t stop with those nonsense polls PA. Did you?:)
    Of course all the iboys here will vote for the ALUMINUM brick POS. And iboys NEVER miss the polls like this and vote many times.
    BUT THE iBOYS NEVER buy something else than apple logo.
    There is where HTC will fail again. You mislead them again, iboys.
    Not you, but we want to save HTC, iboys. You just push them over the cliff.

    • StraightEdgeNexus

      lol very true i dnt see aluminium hiding that epic fail poor ultragimmick pixel and the relatively low contrast display.

      • What will be your next phone? A poor galaxy s5? Or a poor Note 3.

        • StraightEdgeNexus

          Xperia Z2 or Galaxy S5. i dont mind looks. I dont even want a killer camera. 4mp is a poor joke

  • willemco

    I still have my S3… 2 years now and still flying like a rocket! Can’t see the point of upgrading although I WOULD like a bigger phone. Waiting for the Note4 and then decide

  • StraightEdgeNexus

    Woah #fanboyismAtItsBest. Lots of sammy haters. No way lcd beats amoled, no way ultragimmickpixel beats 16mp camera, build quality and design i prefer removable battery. One is only a beautiful phone though nothing else.

    • Tony Chiang

      I prefer slcd over lolmoled thanks. I loathe oversaturated colors and intense contrasts.

      • Guest

        it’s clear who’s a fanboy here. lol

        • Tony Chiang

          I like how you talk. Shoot first ask questions later style. Makes you feel special right? Lol

  • If HTC One (M8) vs Galaxy S5 – HTC One (M8) for design, Galaxy S5 for camera.
    But since I want an all rounder with great design and specs and camera, i’ll go with the Xperia Z2.

  • DivyanshuSharma

    I strongly believe this is the Samsung’s huge marketing budget speaking. I am removing you from my bookmarks AA.

  • yes i know more than 400 bots have chosen for galaxy s5. in the poll.

    • StraightEdgeNexus

      #FanboyismAtItsBest. UltraGimmickpixel wins

  • Andrea Manconi

    Sony Z1 and Z2

  • From both of them, I’d say the S5. I’ve always liked Samsung more than HTC, for some reason…

  • The-Sailor-Man

    Nonsense poll. All the desperate iboys are voting, pretending that will buy M8. LOL
    But we will see how much ALUMINUM will sell HTC in real.

  • Heisenberg

    I’m underwhelmed by both phones, but if I had to choose one, I’d go for the GS5.

  • iMowLawns4Cheap

    Thr GS4. The m8 is ugly, fat, and too big for its screen size.

  • toomuchgame441

    I can’t believe all you faggots chose the S5

    • Pasalacqua

      I can’t believe that people still use that word in 2014.

    • TransMaroBird

      What the hell did your mom do to you to make you such a throbbing penis? Really?

  • jaydub110

    Neither the Xperia z2 is the one to get

  • arjman22

    Got the M8, Best decision ever. This phone is blazing fats and the battery last all day long.

    • The-Sailor-Man

      Can not compare with S4.

      The cheap ALUMINUM does’t help.

      I can bet on that your phone is not HTC but iphone.

      • arjman22

        Wana put money where your mouth is?

  • DisQussIt

    My Samsung Note II Was slow on Updates and I dislike their UI. HTC much faster Updates and their UI is logical to me. My vote went to the HTC One M8 and I put my money on my opinion Too. Still a very good choice, no regrets to write about. 1st Phone I’ve owned in 5 years that does not Stress me out.

  • @derywine

    Take it or leave it, the one m8 is overall the better phone.

  • badnproud

    Could not stop laughing, everytime i look at smasung s5 and touchwiz.
    if this is called a smartphone, i rather get a nokia 8210