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The Friday Debate: Galaxy S4 vs HTC One

Today, we fight over discuss two amazing Android smartphones, the sleek HTC One and the feature-filled Samsung Galaxy S4. These are likely the best Android phones of 2013, and they will both draw huge followings. But which one is better?
April 26, 2013
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Image: Evan Forester/Flickr 

We are all mobile geeks, here at Android Authority. We love everything with a power button. We like to comment the latest news and endlessly argue over which phone is better. On the Friday Debate, we pick a hot issue and proceed to discuss it. Join us!

This could be the debate of the year in the Android community. Today, we fight over discuss two amazing Android smartphones, the sleek HTC One and the feature-filled Samsung Galaxy S4. These are likely the best Android phones of 2013, and they will both draw huge followings. But which one is better? Is the HTC One, with its premium build, superior to the S4? Do the software and hardware features of the Galaxy S4 make it better than the One?  In this week’s Friday Debate, we look at the Samsung Galaxy S4 vs the HTC One.

Join us in the comments section and vote in our poll.

Gary Sims

I am a big HTC fan, my current phone is from HTC and I have always avoided getting a Samsung as I didn’t really want to become just another Samsung Galaxy owner. The HTC One has style with its aluminum unibody and the S4’s plastic design is looking old. But, having said all that the lack of removable battery and the lack of SD card in my current HTC and in the HTC One means that if I was buying a new phone today it would be the S4. Sorry HTC!

Adam Koueider

Let’s get it out right away. With the Galaxy S4, Samsung is proving itself to be obnoxious and arrogant. No joke, creating a similar design, both with the UI and the physical design, prove Samsung has gone the way of Apple in creating devices that feel familiar and therefore sell because of their heritage rather than their innovation (By the way, Samsung did this with all of its2012 smartphones).Where is the innovation? That ‘drama shot’ Samsung have been crowing about, it was in the GS1 and S2 (it went by the name of ‘action shot’), but they took it out in the S3 and are now promoting it like a new feature. This isn’t a hate on Samsung, my belief is the G.Note 2 is the best phone money can buy. It’s the greatest mobile computing device available right now and I would have bought it except my hands are extremely small (No joke, they’re tiny).

With the HTC One, HTC finally had enough courage to become innovative. BoomSound, BlinkFeed, Ultrapixels, love them or hate them, they are innovation at its finest. Sure I would have loved a MicroSD slot, but hey, you win some you lose some.

The Galaxy S4 has its pros, I for one prefer AMOLED over LCD, but I wouldn’t be able to buy the GS4, because one day I’d bump into someone with a GS3 and he’ll say “Hey, you’ve got an S3 as well” and then I’ll say “No this is the new GS4.” He’ll then ask, “so what can yours do that mine can’t?” and i’ll reply “look, no hands” (while I show off smart scroll).

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Joe Hindy

Well now this is going to be the debate of the year isn’t it? There is a lot to consider going into buying either device. The HTC One is more of a premium device that looks slick and performs well. It has some consumer features, like Blinkfeed, HTC Zoe, and Boomsound. However, for all intents and purposes, it’s a premium device for people who want a nice phone that looks nice and performs nicely too.

The Galaxy S4 takes a wholly different approach. It looks nice but it’s really nothing we heaven’t seen with the Galaxy S3 and, to an extent, the Galaxy S2. It has the same hardware layout with the middle button. It is plastic, which is fine, but Samsung definitely focused more on consumer wants. They have the health monitors, the barometer, the Smart Scroll, and stuff like that. They don’t focus so much on the premium look or feel, but focus more on packing the most possible features into the device.

So it boils down to what you, the consumer, wants. The HTC One took the sports car look. Sleek, powerful, looks good under the hood, and it has what you need to enjoy the HTC One and that’s about it. The Galaxy S4 is like a minivan. It’s looks like the minivans that preceded it, but it’s safer with more features and it’s something the whole family will enjoy. The conundrum with the Galaxy S4 isn’t even the build quality, it’s the fact that they packed more bloat into the S4 than any phone before it. Sure it’s useful bloat, but it’s bloat nevertheless.

I went with the HTC One (currently on back order at T-Mobile). I owned the Galaxy S3 and the Note 2 and they were great phones and I’ve no doubt that the Galaxy S4 will be equally impressive. However, I yearn for a phone that isn’t made from the same materials as a Speak’n’Spell. Personally, I don’t need all those software features and do not need those various new hardware sensors. The HTC One looks like the device I’ve been waiting for HTC to build since the HTC EVO 4G. Something different, something fun, and something that isn’t packed with software and hardware that, while awesome, I’ll never actually use.

Brad Ward

It’s a hard choice, really. You can’t deny that the Galaxy S4 and the HTC One are very nice smartphones. They both have their positives and negatives. That said, I’m going to have to choose the HTC One this time around.

While many may not like it, HTC really tried to do something different with the One. Features like BoomSound and Ultrapixels are very different from what you find in your standard smartphone. Innovation at its finest, I say.

Yeah, HTC may have had some serious supply issues, and the lack of a microSD card may have upset some, but the HTC One, despite its production flaws, is a very, very nice smartphone. Heck, I’m not even a fan of Sense and I’d still get it in a heartbeat.

On the other hand, when’s the Note 3 going to be available? :)

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Robert Triggs

I seem to be one of the odd ones out here, but I prefer the Galaxy S4. But only slightly.

The Galaxy S4 appeals to me for improvements to the little things like Touchwizz, the camera features, and new gallery options. Although not necessarily ground breaking, these things definitely make it a step-up from the fantastic Galaxy S3.

On the other hand I love the HTC One’s style, and it’s avoided going over the top with pointless software like S Health and Group Play, which I would never ever use. They’re both fantastic handsets, it’s really a toss up for which one wins on hardware and software features.

The only way I can separate the two is in the little differences. Why the HTC One comes with a small non-changeable battery and no SD card slot will forever confuse me. I just don’t think that these are features that a premium handset should skip on; especially considering that cheaper smartphones have these options.

However if they were offering the Chinese version of the HTC One in Europe then I’d probably change my mind.

Check out our Samsung Galaxy S4 vs HTC One video review!

Vote in our poll! Note: we use the same poll from the Versus post.

[poll id=”266″]