Last year Samsung and HTC faced off in the summer-smartphone-showdown with their respective dual-core combatants, the Galaxy S II and Sensation. We all know what became of that battle. Samsung’s sleek, Exynos powered, 4.3-inch Super AMOLED device took the world by storm, while HTC’s profits sank 70%.
The latest round in this epic bout continues summer of 2012 as we eagerly await the launch of the Galaxy S III. Based on the Sensation’s beatdown in the last battle, one might be quick to side with Samsung come this summer but HTC has revamped their phone lineup and with it, their latest flagship, the One X.
The One X represents an about-face in HTC’s product design philosophy. The smooth lines of the One X’s premium polycarbonate unibody and 4.7-inch 720p Super LCD2 display give user’s an unparalleled first impression of extreme quality and sexiness. Inside the beauty we find brains and brawn to boot–powered by NVIDIA’s Tegra 3 quad-core processor paired with 1GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage. What about the camera? An 8MP shooter with dedicated ImageChip and ImageSense technologies which reduce startup and shutter lag and improve low-light and focus performance.
The Galaxy S III mirrors the One X in many ways, including its 4.8 inch 720p display and quad core processor, but is quite different at the same time. First off, the display technology used in the Galaxy S III is Samsung’s venerable Super AMOLED panel, in this case very similar to the one seen in the Galaxy Nexus. Detractors have decried its use of the PenTile subpixel arrangement but for practical purposes the difference is hardly noticeable. Users will however notice that the great contrast ratio provided by the AMOLED display will provide amazingly deep blacks and vibrant colors that pop from the screen. Although some users prefer the more neutral color reproduction of the Super LCD displays, we’ll leave that up to the user to decide (check out our LG Nitro AH-IPS vs Galaxy S II Super AMOLED comparison).
Aside from the displays, the second most noticeable cosmetic difference between the two phones will be their chassis. HTC went with a seamless unibody design while Samsung stuck with its classic thin, removable back plate. Although the Galaxy S III comes in a hair thinner at 8.6mm (8.9mm for the One X), the latter has received universal praise for it’s fashion forward design. I must admit, I too was rather impressed by HTC’s chic design choice however I was quickly set back by the fact that the One X offers no access to the battery compartment. It then becomes clear why Samsung decided to stick with the removable back cover; people like being able to swap batteries and SD cards. Once again, up to the user to decide whether form or function will be the best fit for their style.
Now here’s the kicker: what may make all the difference in the end is the processors that power the phone, and the amount of battery life they can sustain. You can debate cosmetics and design philosophies all you want, but nobody can argue with class leading battery life and performance–hopefully both at the same time. Last year Samsung’s Exynos 4210 SoC was hands down the best performer, besting Qualcomm, NVIDIA and TI when it came to CPU, GPU and web browsing performance. This was delivered with above average battery life, especially amid the slew of 4G LTE phones that began cropping up. The quad-core Exynos looks like it could pull a repeat, with the latest benchmarks already showing significant improvements which can be attributed to Samsung’s new 32nm chips:
Upon first inspection, most consumer’s won’t notice the huge 2100 mAh battery or expandable storage slot of the Galaxy S III, but its features like these that will garner positive reviews in the long run. . And what about the the TouchWiz vs Sense UIs? Both add useful features but Samsung’s TouchWiz has always been a lighter touch than Sense. While HTC seems to have toned down Sense in its latest iteration, Samsung has added a slew of new features through their nature UX, adding more breadth (moreso than depth) to the TouchWiz UI. Will these new features be helpful additions to Android 4.0 or hindrances to the AOSP experience?
What it really boils down to is, which is the greater of two awesomes (a la two evils)? Only time will tell and in the mean time, I can’t wait to get try both!