Who makes the better smartphone, Samsung or HTC?

Samsung's Galaxy S5 versus HTC's One (M8)

Megapixels, Ultrapixels and darn DuoCameras

Imaging is less straightforward. The two smartphones aim to deliver great photos, but they go about doing so in very different ways. The Galaxy S5 has an improved 16MP camera, whereas the HTC One models a 4MP ‘Ultrapixel’ camera coupled with a secondary ‘DuoCamera’.

The HTC One’s dual-camera does introduce some interesting functionalities, but the headlining innovation is its ability to change the point of focus in photos after they have been captured. For samples and a more detailed breakdown, we recommend checking out our review of the One M8 here.

Refocusing a photo, and the ability to do so easily, is a perk previously unavailable to smartphones. HTC’s range of animations are enticing, and the company’s willingness to work with developers in an effort to add even more is commendable. Unfortunately for HTC, the post-focus doesn’t work every time and, truth be told, it feel more gimmick than necessity.

Samsung left, HTC right: The HTC can discern more detail in dim environments
Samsung left, HTC right: The HTC can discern more detail in dim environments

Returning for the second year is the company’s Ultrapixel technology, which has proven adept at identifying detail in low-light environments. The new sensor captures even more than the predecessor and really does have a knack for improving photos taken at night. Come morning, however, where lighting is ample, HTC’s camera can be too sensitive and tends to wash out some detail.

Samsung left, HTC right: HTC's camera tends to brighten light colours and darkens shady areas
Samsung left, HTC right: HTC's camera tends to brighten light colours and darkens shady areas

The camera featured on the Galaxy S5 inspires more confidence because it does the same thing we’ve loved for years, only better. Photos are now twice the size at 16MP, and Samsung has worked hard to make the camera faster, better suited to different lighting conditions and a little more functional. It might be lacking in low-light detail, but having 16 megapixels worth of photo to crop makes up for this shortfall.

Samsung's 16MP on the left, to HTC's 4MP on the right
Samsung's 16MP on the left, to HTC's 4MP on the right

And it’s the same case with the Galaxy S5’s video camera as it supports the next-generation Ultra high-definition (UHD) standard. UHD isn’t ripe for day-to-day use, but maybe in the not-too-distant tomorrow we’ll see UHD become the norm. Having the option there certainly doesn’t hurt.

Comparing the front cameras isn’t as tricky. The Samsung Galaxy S5 has a 2MP front facing camera, and that is no match for the HTC One’s face detecting, wide lensed 5MP snapper.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy S5

Power

Punch after punch the HTC and Samsung flagships will slug it out when it comes to performance. Inside the smartphones almost mirror one another. Both smartphones in Australia are powered by a 2.5GHz quad-core CPU and have 2GB of RAM.

HTC will be releasing the One with 16GB of memory, whereas Samsung will offer the S5 in 16GB and 32GB options. Both smartphones support 128GB of expandable microSD memory.

The screens tell a similar tale of one-upmanship. Although the Galaxy S5’s 5.1in screen is fractionally larger than the One M8’s 5in screen, both displays have Full HD resolutions. This means the HTC One scores back points for having a higher pixel-per-inch count than the Samsung flagship.

Samsung has equipped the Galaxy S5 with a 2800 milliamp-hour(mAh) battery and that’s 200mAh more than that of the One. Both of the smartphones have clever software modes that disable superfluous functions in an effort to make the battery last longer. Samsung’s mode will deliver 24 hours of standby time from just 10 per cent of charge, but HTC’s will deliver 30 hours from the same amount, and that’s in spite of the smartphone being equipped with a smaller battery.

Individual preferences and needs will tip customers one way or the other. The marginal differences stand testament to the intense competition between the two companies and, for customers, that only is good news.

Winner: Draw

Click over to find out who makes the better smartphone

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