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htc one m8 vs samsung galaxy s5

This year has been a stellar one for Android smartphones so far.

Samsung’s Galaxy S5 was unveiled at Mobile World Congress back in February, but only went on sale on April 11th.

It’s the latest instalment in Samsung’s flagship Galaxy S series. Its predecessor – the S4 – sold more than 40 million units.

In other words, the S5 is kind of a big deal.

HTC pulled back the curtain on the One (M8) on March 25th, and the handset went on sale later that day. It’s the sequel to last year’s HTC One (M7).

The One (M7) was an awesome handset, but it failed to catapult HTC out of the financial dire straits in which it currently resides.

So HTC has placed its hopes on the broad shoulders of the One (M8).

Both the S5 and One (M8) are great phones, with the latest version of Android and top-of-the-range specs. But which is the better handset?

First impressions

samsung galaxy s5 hands

With the S5, Samsung has left the gimmicks behind. Instead, it’s concentrated on improving the everyday features people actually use, like the camera and the battery life.

The S5 is water resistant and dustproof, has a fingerprint scanner and a heart rate sensor.

Download Booster tech speeds up your downloads, and an ultra low power mode prolongs the battery life. All of which are welcome additions.

It also works with Samsung’s new range of smartwatches, so you can read texts, make calls and more from your wrist.

htc one m8 rob front 18 real

The HTC One (M8) has the same ‘ultrapixel’ camera tech that means it gives great shots in low light.

You can shift the focus after you’ve taken a photo, and HTC’s BoomSound speakers will blast out audio at a volume usually found in standalone speakers.

It’s a close one, but we’d say the extra features of the S5 just give it the edge over the One (M8).

Samsung Galaxy S5: 9/10

HTC One (M8): 8/10

Design

samsung galaxy s5 gold detail

The S5 looks similar to the S4, but Samsung has swapped the plasticky back plate for a perforated rear. It’s still made of plastic, but it’s a bit easier on the eye.

And it’s certainly better than the fake leather of the Galaxy Note 3.

The S4 still feels a bit flimsy though. Once removed from the phone, the back plate feels very cheap, and not what you’d expect from a phone costing more than £500.

The S5 is water resistant and dustproof, but the only real change you’ll notice is that the charging dock has a tab you have to peel back every time you want to plug the phone in.

htc one m8 triplicate

Design-wise, the HTC One (M8) trounces the S5. It’s made of more metal than its predecessor, giving it a satisfyingly premium feel.

Despite its metal design, it’s not slippery like some handsets. And the back is infinitely strokeable.

The only real rival it has in terms of design is the iPhone 5S, which is high praise indeed. Full marks to HTC.

Samsung Galaxy S5: 7/10

HTC One (M8): 10/10

Features

samsung galaxy s5 hands on 5

Both handsets boast new camera features among their spec lists.

The Galaxy S5 has a ridiculously fast auto focus – just 0.3 seconds, which is the quickest we’ve seen on a smartphone.

Selective Focus lets you change the focus of a photo after you’ve taken it. But, just like the S5’s fingerprint scanner, it’s not as effective as those on rival devices, and feels a bit ‘me too’.

S Health is a fitness tracker, but a host of third-party apps do the same thing.

The other standout feature is the ultra low power mode – this disables most features except for calling and texting, and turns the screen black and white.

The result? Battery life will be extended to about 11 days.

The S5 is compatible with Samsung’s smartwatches too.

htc one m8 rob camera 20

Like the S5, the HTC One (M8) lets you switch the focus on photos, but its Ufocus feature is better thought out.

Unlike the S5, you don’t have to enable the mode before you start shooting. Samsung’s makes you position the subject 50cm or closer to the camera, whereas HTC’s lets you snap away no matter what’s in the frame.

HTC’s also lets you pick any focus point by tapping on the screen, whereas Samsung’s only gives you a choice of three predetermined options.

So HTC wins this one hands down.

The BoomSound speakers are excellent. If you’re watching a film or listening to music with friends, you won’t need an external speaker.

Finally, the ultrapixel camera on the One (M8) is very good in low light, though shots lack some detail compared to higher-resolution snappers.

Samsung Galaxy S5: 8/10

HTC One (M8): 9/10

Software

Both handsets run Android 4.4.2 KitKat, which is the latest version of Google’s mobile OS. Both also have their own UIs over the top – Samsung uses TouchWiz, while HTC’s is called Sense.

It’s a matter of personal preference, but we prefer Sense. TouchWiz looks cheap, and Sense is easier to find your way around.

Thankfully, both look cleaner and are less intrusive than previous iterations.

Samsung Galaxy S5: 8/10

HTC One (M8): 9/10

Ease of use

samsung galaxy s5 hands on 7

Both handsets absolutely fly thanks to their meaty processors.

The Samsung Galaxy S5 is slightly more powerful, with a 2.5GHz chip compared to the One (M8)’s 2.3GHz.

But there’s really nothing to choose between them.

TouchWiz and Sense are simple to navigate, and the cameras are a doddle to work out.

htc one m8 blinkfeed

The S5 has a slightly bigger screen than One (M8) – 5.1 inches to 5 inches – but again, you really won’t notice any difference.

Both screens are amazingly clear and bright too, making them easy to read in direct sunlight.

One point against them both: because of their homegrown UIs, they won’t be the first to get the latest version of Android when it’s released. That honour will go to handsets running pure Android, like Google’s own devices.

It’s not a deal breaker, but it’s annoying nonetheless.

Samsung Galaxy S5: 7/10

HTC One (M8): 8/10

Specifications

Samsung Galaxy S5

  • 5.1-inch, 1,920x1,080-pixel, 432ppi screen
  • Samsung TouchWiz running on Android 4.4.2 KitKat
  • 2GB RAM
  • 16/32GB storage
  • microSD card slot
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, NFC, Bluetooth 4.0
  • 16-megapixel rear camera, 2-megapixel front-facer
  • 2.5GHz quad-core processor

HTC One (M8)

  • 5-inch, 1,920x1,080-pixel, 441ppi screen
  • HTC Sense running on Android 4.4.2 KitKat -2GB RAM
  • 16/32GB storage -microSD card slot
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, NFC, Bluetooth 4.0
  • 4-megapixel ‘ultrapixel’ rear camera, 5-megapixel front-facer
  • 2.3GHz quad-core processor

Samsung Galaxy S5 overall mark: 8/10

HTC One (M8) overall mark: 9/10

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