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HTC has longed been heralded as a leader in smartphone design, the company that pushes the envelope forward and gives us a premium experience paired with solid specs. On the other hand, Samsung has been lambasted for rehasing the same design year and after year with little new to set itself apart from Galaxies of the past. Now at MWC 2015, it seems that, in some ways, Samsung and HTC may have just swapped places in an instant.

While the One M9 is mostly a refresh of the M8’ design, the Galaxy S6 sees a much more noticeable push forward in aesthetic. Of course, design is only one part of the picture here. There’s also the specs and features both phones are packing, and the list goes on. So what exactly are tech publications, and web users in general, saying about the two phones?

HTC One M9: what we’re hearing so far

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HTC is falling under some pretty harsh criticism for sticking to the overall design of the M8 with its new One M9, both from everyday folks on the web and from some tech publications as well. While some of this criticism might be a bit unfair, considering HTC has at least somewhat polished the design, it’s a pretty minor step forward, and the kind we’d typically expect from one generation of the Galaxy S family to the next.

Turning to Android Authority’s own comment section from the M9 announcement page, we find responses like:

No optical stabilization, 1080 screen, pictures look terrible.. New HTC flagship? just a new processor.. don’t know, doesn’t look attractive to me as a 2015 flagship phone, it’s not too ahead and in some cases behind the 2014 flagship phones.

So basically the only thing new is the camera and the ill performing SD810? Nice.

You all can not talk about Samsung anymore. They barely improved anything on this phone. It looks just like the m8, m7, the desire, pretty much every phone they make. And their specs are average. Smh!

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As you can see, it isn’t pretty. To be fair, the responses of the tech community don’t necessarily represent how the general public will receive the device, though with the M8 and M9 looking so similar, we suspect consumer confusion to ensue to at least some degree.

For all the negative comments we are hearing, not everyone is responding to the One M9 in such a light. Not only did Engadget have a few nice things to say, we were pretty happy with the device as well when we got some time with in during our hands on.

Here’s a few of the responses from our user comments that further show not everyone is turned off by the M9:

I could care less if it doesn’t have a 2k display. 1080p and a Snapdragon 810 will make this phone FLY.

I’m still an owner of my M7 (with the crappy violet-cam-bug) and all i know is: i’m gonna buy this phone anyway. it’s the perfect replacement for M7 users… M8 users should stop hating and wait for 2016… or switch to appl…eeh samsung.

What are your thoughts, are you more than willing to overlook the One M9’s design changes (or arguable lack thereof), in favor of the many hardware and software improvements it brings to the table?

Samsung Galaxy S6 (and S6 Edge): what we’re hearing so far

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Turning to the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge, several tech publications have been lauding Samsung for its efforts with their latest flagship, including Android Authority, as we thoroughly enjoyed our time with the device ahead of MWC. Even The Verge had some nice things to say about the device. While far from perfect, melding glass and metal has given the Galaxy S6 a much needed infusion of premium materials. And yet, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows.

The media – and I suspect many general phone buyers once the device hits store shelves – may be somewhat enamored with the Galaxy S6, but this sentiment doesn’t apply to quite a few Samsung users and general tech enthusiasts that are very upset with Samsung’s decision to ditch microSD and removable batteries. And I can’t say I blame these folks.

While I personally like the look of the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge, I’m a Nexus user that has long gotten used to the idea of non-removable batteries and a lack of expandable storage. For Samsung fans, this has always been one of the areas that Samsung had going for it and taking it away certainly could rub many folks the wrong way. Here’s just a sampling of the comments found in our Galaxy S6 announcement page:

No removable battery !? no Sd card slot ?? Com’on Samsung are you kidding me !!!

No removable battery? NO SD CARD???? ok no more samsung for me!!! switching to htc…

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There’s many more comments like this, in fact, that’s the majority of the comments found. That said, there are some folks that say they feel the change isn’t that big of a deal, and is more in-line with the moves many other OEMs have taken:

No support for MicroSD sucks (I don’t care for the battery though, gotten used to it) but I believe the internal memory is going to make S6 a lot faster than any MicroSD card. (UFS 2.0 memory modules, remember?) SD Cards act as a bottleneck. Maybe, that’s why Samsung ditched it. TouchWiz doesn’t seem to lag anymore. Smooth Sailing from now on.

Duuude its 2015 cloud storage and streaming are a way better option then SD cards. Cards were great when high speed data wasn’t plentifull and cloud storage was weak. Swapping batteries is so 1990 we have way better battery tech now…

What are your thoughts, is the microSD and lack of a removable battery a deal breaker? Or are you excited that Samsung finally made a much needed change in design?

One M9 vs the Galaxy S6

It’s obvious that both devices are drumming up some mixed reactions from our readers at AA, as well as from tech publications and readers all over the web. Whether it is the One M9 for not changing enough, or the Galaxy S6 for making a change so big that it moved away from two previous Samsung staples (microSD and removable battery) — neither device seems to have gotten everything just right. Whether that will matter when it comes to sales? Only time will tell.

If you had to choose between the One M9 or the Galaxy S6 (and/or Edge), which would you choose? What device do you find more impressive, putting aside any potential downsides to either device?

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