HTC One X+ vs Samsung Galaxy S3

October 30, 2012
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Although just one of the two following companies is financially successful at the time being, Samsung and HTC are probably the two best Android smartphone manufacturers in the world (with Google-owned Motorola arriving on the remaining step of the podium as far as I’m concerned).

Obviously enough, each one of these companies has a flagship Android smartphone that they claim is better than its competitors, but unfortunately for the Taiwanese manufacturer (HTC), the original international version of the HTC One X isn’t topping off the Samsung Galaxy S3 in too many areas. However, that is likely to change as HTC plans to soon release the HTC One X+, an improved version of HTC’s flagship for the main part of 2012.

Is the HTC One X+ a true Samsung Galaxy S3 killer? Join us as we try to answer that question by dissecting these wonders of Android technology into tiny bits and pieces!

Specs

Display

As the display of the original HTC One X is still considered to be (by plenty of experts) the best smartphone display currently around, HTC probably did the right thing by not making any changes to it in the HTC One X+. As a result, the One X+ retains the 4.7-inch Super IPS LCD2 of its predecessor, one that features amazing color reproduction, brightness and viewing angles. The resolution is somewhat standard for a modern flagship: 1280 x 720 pixels, meaning that the One X+ features a 312 Pixel Per Inch (PPI) ratio.

On the other hand, you can’t just go out and claim that the display on the Samsung Galaxy S3 is a poor display: you get 4.8 inches of Super AMOLED goodness running at the same 1280 x 720 pixel resolution, but one important aspect where the Galaxy S3 loses its display battle against the HTC One X+ is the color reproduction area. Another reason why we think of the HTC One X+ display to be better is the fact that Samsung has opted to use the PenTile arrangement in the S3 display, and not a regular RGB matrix.

The HTC One X+ takes this round despite the fact that the Samsung Galaxy S3 has one of the top 5 displays currently available on a smartphone.

Build Quality and Design

While only a few very picky fellows might call the Samsung Galaxy S3 an ugly smartphone, the reality is that Samsung could really have done better in designing its 2012 flagship Android Smartphone. Build quality could also have been improved, as the S3 doesn’t feel like a flagship smartphone in most people’s hands.

On the other side, the HTC One X+ retains exactly the same build quality and design that have earned its predecessor the title of the sexiest Android smartphone to ever reach the consumer market. If it isn’t broke, why fix it? HTC seems to have no answer for that question, and this leads to a result that I personally applaud.

While this section of our comparison is the most subjective to personal taste, most of you guys will surely find that the HTC One X+ is a better looking device than the Samsung Galaxy S3, so HTC wins this round as well.

Hardware

As most of you already know, the international version of the Galaxy S3 runs a 1.4GHz quad-core Exynos 4 processor (the fastest processor currently available for an Android smartphone) alongside 1GB of RAM and a 2100 mAh battery. The U.S., LTE-enabled version of the Galaxy S3 swaps the Exynos 4 SoC for the slightly lesser Snapdragon S4, but also increases the amount of RAM memory up to 2GB.

The main improvement that HTC has brought to the HTC One X+ when compared against its older brother is a bumped up Tegra 3 quad-core processor running at 1.7GHz per core. Add 1GB of RAM and Jelly Bean in the mix, and some leaked benchmark results have shown that the HTC One X+ is actually faster than any other Android smartphone currently available on the market (with the exception of the Galaxy Note 2, which is actually a phablet and not a smartphone by the true meaning of the word).

However, the best thing about the HTC One X+ is that it will not switch the improved Tegra 3 SoC with a Snapdragon S4 one once it reaches LTE-enabled carriers in the U.S. (AT&T). This means that the HTC One X+ is bound to be the first Tegra 3 smartphone with LTE connectivity.

Both the Samsung Galaxy S3 and the HTC One X will feature a 2100mAh batteries, meaning we should expect similar battery life from the two smartphones. As both these flagships use an 8MP camera each, expect photo quality to be on par as well.

Performance wise, the HTC One X+ should be right on par with the international version of the Galaxy S3, with the U.S. version of the Galaxy S3 falling a bit behind HTC’s upcoming flagship. On the other hand, the HTC One X+ comes with a non-removable battery and does not feature a microSD card slot (features that are available on the Galaxy S3), so I’m going to call this round a draw.

Software and Ecosystem

As it should be the case for all Android flagships nowadays, the HTC One X+ will run Android 4.1 Jelly Bean out of the box, with HTC’s Sense 4+ custom UI layered on top. While I definitely welcome the inclusion of the latest version of the Android OS in HTC’s upcoming flagship, there is really nothing to be amazed about here.

Currently, in some markets, the Samsung Galaxy S3 is officially running Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, although the South Korean manufacturer has started releasing Jelly Bean updates in various regions. While it is paining to see that the best selling Android smartphone ever is still not updated to the latest Android version (one that comes with significant improvements to the overall feel of the operating system), the Galaxy S3 somewhat makes up for this via its Smart Functions, a few software tweaks that are unique to Samsung flagships (the Note 2 also has them).

You can read more about the Smart Functions on the Galaxy S3 in our previous article here, but in the context of this Vs piece, it should be said that this range of unique features has received loads of positive feedback from the community.

The way I see things, Samsung is bound to update the Galaxy S3 to Jelly Bean in more markets at around the same time that the HTC One X+ launches. As the Smart Functions are a most welcomed software addition, the Galaxy S3 wins this round.

Pros and Cons

HTC One X+ Pros

  • 1.7GHz quad-core Tegra 3 + LTE
  • Awesome design and best display around
  • Android 4.1 Jelly Bean Preinstalled

HTC One X+ Cons

  • Non removable battery
  • No MicroSD card slot

Samsung Galaxy S3 Pros

  • 1.4 GHz quad-core Exynos 4 processor (international version)
  • Smart Functions

Samsung Galaxy S3 Cons

  • PenTile display
  • The U.S. version’s Snapdragon S4 is not slow, but not the fastest around

Conclusion

If you’re living in the U.S. and planning to get a Samsung Galaxy S3, the reality is that you’re better of waiting until the HTC One X+ is launched.

The differences between the international versions of the Galaxy S3 and the HTC One X+ ultimately boil down to this: go for the HTC One X+ if you want the best display around in a sexy package, or go for the Samsung Galaxy S3 if the Smart Functions seem interesting enough. I would personally go for the HTC One X+ in this scenario as well though!

What are your thoughts on the matter? Is the HTC One X+ the real Samsung Galaxy S3 killer? Let us know in the comment section below!

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