Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Edition vs HTC One Google Edition: Stock Android Flagships Head to Head

Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Edition vs HTC One Google Edition

Google held the I/O 2013 conference in May and some expected to see the Nexus 5 and the Android 4.3 Jelly Bean at the San Francisco-based event. Well, the Mountain View-based giant didn’t announce any of them, but in a surprising move it announced a Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Edition.

Fast forward a couple of weeks and the HTC One Google Edition is officially announced. Summing up, Google has teamed-up with two of the biggest smartphone manufactures on the market and transformed their flagship smartphones into Nexus-like terminals.

But what are the Samsung Galaxy S4 and HTC One Google Editions after all. Well they are using the same hardware platforms of the devices running the customized TouchWiz Nature UX and HTC Sense interfaces, but the Google Edition terminals are running an unaltered version of Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean bringing a Nexus-like user experience.

Of course, the Air Control Gestures of the Samsung Galaxy S4 and the Beats Audio and Zoe features of the HTC One are no longer available in the Google Edition of the two smartphones, but the devices will always be in the first wave of Android software updates, just like it’s happening with the members of the Nexus family.

Since the two smartphones will definitely be one of the best selling smartphones on the market I thought it’s about time to put them in a Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Edition vs HTC One Google Edition heads-on battle. The Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Edition vs HTC One Google Edition battle will be split in ten rounds where I will judge the smartphones’ performance based on Dimensions, Display, Memory, Connectivity, Operating System, Processor, Battery, Price, Design, and Camera.

The winner of a round will be awarded one points, and the winner of the Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Edition vs HTC One Google Edition will be the smartphone that managed to score the most points. With all these being said, all I can to now is say “Gentlemen, let’s get ready to ruuumble!”

Dimensions

I thought the Dimensions round would be appropriate to begin with in the Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Edition vs HTC One Google Edition battle, because most of you are looking at this aspect when it comes to purchasing a new smartphone. Anyway, the smartphone makers are currently attempting to make their smartphones as thin and as light as possible, and, in the same time, provide a compact body while fitting large displays.

The Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Edition measures 136.6 x 69.8 x 7.9 mm, while its HTC One Google Edition rival is 137.4 mm tall, 68.2 mm wide, and 9.3 mm thin. In terms of weight, the Galaxy S4 Google Edition has 130 grams, while the HTC One Google Edition has 143 grams, being 13 grams heavier than its rival.

As you probably noticed, the Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Edition is the more compact terminal, despite the fact it has to accommodate a slightly larger display. Moreover, the Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Edition is also thinner (7.9 mm vs 9.3 mm) and lighter than the HTC One Google Edition, so the Dimensions round goes to the flagship smartphone of the South Korean company. The first point of the Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Edition vs HTC One Google Edition battle goes to the SGS4 Google Edition.

Display

To me and probably to many of you, the display is one of the most important parts of the smartphone, because you will have to look at it each time you get to use your smartphone.

The big players of the smartphone market have fitted full HD displays on their flagship smartphones for 2013, and the Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Edition and HTC One Google Edition make no exception from the rule.

While the Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Edition boats a 5-inch Super AMOLED display with a resolution of 1,080 x 1,920 pixels and Gorilla Glass 3 protection, the HTC One Google Edition packs a 4.7-inch Super LCD3 screen with a Gorilla Glass 2 protective layer and the same resolution of 1,080 x 1,920 pixels. Despite the fact that the pixel density is slightly higher on the HTC One (because it has the same resolution as the SGS4, but on a smaller display), you can’t really separate the two smartphones when it comes to their displays.

If you want a big screen that will display more information you will have to go for the Samsung Galaxy S4, but if you want your smartphone to be easier to handle with one hand you will have to choose the HTC One.

Moreover, the technologies used for the displays are different too, and each comes with advantages and disadvantages. While the Super AMOLED display of the Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Edition is unrivaled when it comes to battery life, it performs badly under direct sun light. The Super LCD3 panel of the HTC One Google Edition comes with great brightens, but it simply can’t match the “true blacks” of the Super AMOLED unit.

Since the two smartphones come with similar displays both in terms of size and quality, this round of the Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Edition vs HTC One Google Edition ends as tie.

Memory

Since Google Play Store accommodates loads of high quality content you will definitely need a lot of internal storage inside your smartphone, that’s why the Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Edition vs HTC One Google Edition battle continues with the Memory round. The amount of RAM is equally important, as Android’s real multitasking will require some. Anyway, both come with 2 GB of RAM, thus we can’t differentiate them here.

The just like the smartphone it is based on, the Samsung Galaxy S4 Google comes with 16 GB of internal storage that can be expanded using a microSD card of up to 64 GB. On the other hand the HTC One Google Edition has 32 GB of internal storage, but the unibody aluminium case of the smartphone didn’t allow the manufacturer to make a microSD card slot. While on the HTC One you will be stuck on 32 GB of storage, the Samsung Galaxy S4 can reach a total of 80 GB of storage.

It’s as simple as that. The Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Edition is the device that provides the most internal storage, thus it is the winner of this round. +1 Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Edition.

Connectivity

The 4G support is one of the major selling points of the modern smartphones and the manufacturing companies know that, thus all the flagship devices are 4G-friendly nowadays. Of course, since both Samsung and HTC want their sales to skyrocket they included 4G LTE chips on their Galaxy S4 and HTC One terminals.

Let’s have a closer look at the connectivity features of the two smartphones engaged in the Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Edition vs HTC One Google Edition battle.

The Samsung Galaxy S4 comes with HSDPA, 42.2 Mbps; HSUPA, 5.76 Mbps; LTE, Cat3, 50 Mbps UL, 100 Mbps DL, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, DLNA, Wi-Fi Direct, Wi-Fi hotspot, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC chip, and microUSB 2.0. On the other hand the HTC One brings HSDPA, 42.2 Mbps; HSUPA, 5.76 Mbps; LTE, Cat3, 50 Mbps UL, 100 Mbps DL, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, DLNA, Wi-Fi Direct, Wi-Fi hotspot, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC chip, and microUSB 2.0.

Even though both smartphones come with an infrared port, it was announced that on the HTC One Google Edition the IR blaster was disabled. It’s not sure yet whether the IR blaster of the Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Edition is fully functional out of the box, but I don’t see a reason why it should be, considering that the one of the HTC One was killed.

Either way, have no fear, as the infrared functionality can be resorted with ease with some simple mods.

Since the Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Edition and the HTC One Google Edition are practically identical in terms of connectivity features, this round has no winner.

Operating System

How do you differentiate to smartphones that both run stock Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean out of the box? You don’t. Since we know from the beginning that this round of the Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Edition vs HTC One Google Edition battle will be a draw, let’s talk about the benefits brought by the Android version that comes pre-loaded on the two devices.

Even though original Samsung Galaxy S4 comes with touchless gestures and eye tracking controls and the HTC One brings the highly-appreciated BlinkFeed and Zoe, the Google Editions of the two smartphones lost all these features, over a stock Android and over an update system that will include them in the first wave of devices.

But is it worth losing all those features over the stock Android. Of course it does. First of all you will get that Nexus-like experience and get the feel of the real Android, second, and most important, you will be among the first to receive the latest Android updates. Moreover, both the Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Edition and the HTC One Google Edition come with unlocked bootloaders which means less headaches.

Summing up, the HTC One Google Edition wins the operating system battle. Neah, I was messing with you. The Galaxy S4 Google Edition has won the OS battle. Oh, it’s a draw? Again? So be it.

Processor

If you take a look at the high-end smartphones that saw the light of day in the first half of the year your will quickly figure out which is the most popular solution when it comes to processing units: Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 600 chipset.

As you probably know, there are to Samsung Galaxy S4 variants out there, one powered by the company’s proprietary Exynos 5 Octa chipset with four Cortex A15 cores at 1.6 GHz (for the tasks that require more processing power) and four Cortex A7 cores at 1.2 GHz (for improved battery life) and another one based on a Snapdragon 600 SoC with a quad-core Krait 300 CPU clocked at 1.9 GHz and Adreno 320 GPU. Google and Samsung chose the latter one to become the Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Edition.

The HTC One is powered by the same Snapdragon 600 chipset, but unlike the one used for the Galaxy S4, it has a clock speed of 1.7 GHz. If you say that 200 MHz is not to much of a difference, I will come to contradict you. The benchmark tests have proven that extra 200 MHz of the Samsung Galaxy S4 can help the GS4 beat the HTC One at a difference of 5,000 points in AnTuTu and 600 points in GeekBench.

Since higher benchmark scores usually mean more processing power and processing power is what we’re comparing here, this round of the Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Edition vs HTC One Google Edition battle is won by the flagship smartphone of the South Korean phone maker.

Battery

Let’s face it, the battery life is one of the biggest issues of the modern smartphones. Just like Google’s Larry Page stressed the smartphones can barely go past one day of moderate usage and the smartphone manufacturers should really try to do something about this.

Just like the original Samsung Galaxy S4, the Google Edition of the already popular smartphone is powered by a removable Li-Ion 2,600 mAh battery. We’ve got our hands on the Samsung Galaxy S4 here at Android Geeks and the flagship smartphone of the South Korea-based company can easily make it through one and a half days of normal usage, which is pretty decent.

On the other hand, the HTC One comes with a 2,300 mAh battery, but you will not be able to remove it due to the unibody case. We’ve tested the HTC One as well, and we’ve seen that the terminal can easily make it through one day of moderate usage, but not past beyond this point.

Since the Google Editions of the two aforementioned smartphones come with the same battery units as the original versions, the autonomy of the smartphones will pretty much be the same, that’s why this round of the Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Edition vs HTC One Google Edition battle goes to the SGS4.

Price

Both devices will go on sale exclusively through Google Play Store, and both will only be available on the US market. While some reports are saying that the HTC One Google Edition will only be available in 50,000 copies once it hits Google’s virtual store, there are no details about the Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Edition availability.

The Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Edition will be available with 16 GB of storage at a price of $649, of course contract free, while the 32 GB model of the HTC One Google Edition will have a price tag of $599.

Since 50 bucks is 50 bucks, the HTC One wins this round of the Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Edition vs HTC One Google Edition fight.

Design

In my opinion there’s no point comparing the Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Edition and the HTC One Google Edition when it comes to design as there’s a clear winner right from the start.

The Samsung Galaxy S4 continues the design language introduced last year with the Galaxy S3, but compared with its successor, the new flagship comes with a good looking bezel around the edges with an aluminium finishing. The Samsung Galaxy S4 is thinner than its successor, and looks way more solid, while the thin bezel around the display makes it look more compact. As usual, the South Koreans used plastic for the case of their flagship smartphone, but this material also comes with advantages, as it gives access to the battery slot.

There’s no doubt that the HTC One is an amazingly looking smartphone. It has an aluminium case that looks magnificent, but, unfortunately, the unibody construction won’t allow you to change its battery.

HTC did a great job with the design of the HTC One, as the smartphone brings unrivalled design lines and, personally, I am appreciating that the camera sensor blends with the design of the back. Everything looks great at the HTC One, from the slightly bended back to the grilles of the front speakers.

The HTC One Google Edition wins this round of the Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Edition vs HTC One Google Edition by miles and scores another precious point.

Camera

It will be an interesting round here, as both smartphones come with impressive camera sensors, each based on a different technology. Moreover the original versions of the Samsung Galaxy S4 and the HTC One come with proprietary camera features, but all disappeared when the stock Android was installed.

The Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Edition features a 13 megapixel camera with autofocus, LED flash, 1,080p@30fps video recording support, and simultaneous HD video and image recording, geo-tagging, touch focus, face and smile detection, image stabilization, and HDR, while the front facing 2 megapixel sensor is recording full HD videos.

While most of the smartphone manufacturers decided to fit 13 megapixel sensors on the back of their flagship smartphones of 2013 (see Samsung Galaxy S4, LG Optimus G Pro, Sony Xperia Z), the Taiwanese company has put its money on a 4 megapxiel sensor with UltraPixel technology. What are the features of the HTC One Google Edition 4 megapixel UltraPixel camera? I’m glad you’ve asked. It comes with autofocus, LED flash, 1/3” sensor size, 2µm pixel size, simultaneous HD video and image recording, geo-tagging, face and smile detection, optical image stabilization, and full HD video recording support at 30fps.

The user-facing camera of the HTC One Google Edition has a 2.1 megapixel sensor with support for 1,080p@30fps video recording and HDR.

The real life tests have proven that the cameras of the two smartphones are pretty similar, but the 4 megapixel UltraPixel unit of the HTC One has a slight advantage when it comes to capturing photos in low light conditions. For this particular reason this round of the Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Edition vs HTC One Google Edition battle goes to the Taiwanese flagship smartphone.

Conclusions

Here we are at the end of the Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Edition vs HTC One Google Edition confrontation. Let’s go back and have a look at how the battle of the stock Android-powered flagships went.

We dealt with two powerful smartphones, thus we had three rounds ending as a draw. The Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Edition and HTC One Google Edition were equally matched when it came to Display, Connectivity, and Operating System, because the two smartphones pack full HD displays with similar sizes and have all the connectivity options worthy of modern smartphones, while running the latest stock Android versions.

The HTC One Google Edition came on top when it came to Price, Design, and Camera, courtesy of the $50 difference, amazingly-looking aluminium unibody case, and high-quality 4 megapixel UltraPixel sensor. Three points for the HTC One Google Edition

On the other hand, the Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Edition scored four points, outmatching its rival because it’s thinner and lighter, it has more storage, more processing power, and longer battery life, winning the Dimensions, Memory, Processor, and Battery rounds.

In my opinion, the smartphone co-developed by the South Korean company and the Mountain View-based giant wins the Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Edition vs HTC One Google Edition battle, but you may think otherwise. Maybe I misjudged certain aspects. Maybe the HTC One Google Edition deserved to win. Feel free to prove me wrong in the comments section below.

  • PhoneDecision

    thanks for the article. I helped me decide to save $50 and go with the HTC ONE Google Edition

  • Niffin

    To me, the slightly slimmer dimensions of the HTC One are a bonus because I have smaller hands. Also, as I take very few pictures with my phone, the camera is not a huge concern to me. I currently have a Galaxy S3, and watch a lot of Netflix on my phone. I can say that the speakers in the front on the HTC One is a huge bonus to me. Even though you might lose the Beats audio with the Google edition. For me the obvious choice is the HTC One.

  • Jeremy

    Love android but idk if I should buy the htc one or the Google edition. The beats audio is what’s making it hard to pic I already have a nexus 7 , so I’m kind of confused on which one to buy.
    Any suggestions?

    • saab

      Take the HTC One and dont let anyone tell you other, would you rather have a cheap piece of plastic for 650 or a metal phone that comes with beats for 600?

    • http://www.android.gs Liviu Anca

      IMHO, Beats Audio is overrated, and Marques Brownlee has explained best why.

      • Funem

        HTC use Beats audio because HTC used to own 51% of Beats, now they own 25% so they have a vested interest in using the tech, not because its any better than any other tech. Any decent review website will score beats low as they – as you say – are overrated.

    • Obama Zombie Killer

      Having used both, the HTC wins in my opinion. Of course I’ll have to see how the GE works. Stock HTC might actually work better than the GE in this case.

      • Jay Rock

        suckmyblack junk ! Mitt Romney is my bitch.

  • Funem

    The S4 has a lot of new tech, I take it this will not be usable as the apps that use it would not be loaded into the Google edition ? Will the software be available to download, picking and choosing which to install. For instance the ability to hover over images in the gallery. Also the S4 has had some bad press because of the extra software eating into the 16gb of available memory, so how much is left with the Google edition ?

  • saab

    You must be crazy, I dont know anybody that needs more memory then 32 gb, which is already preloaded and if you want 80 gb, you have to get an sd card, and the htc one wins everything other than the battery. HTC One all the way

    • Funem

      If you want to put your music collection on it, use it to play movies etc, then 32gb will be gone really quickly. You shouldn’t judge other peoples needs by your own requirements. My music collection is 50gb and its sits completely on a 64gig memory card on my S3. I use this to Bluetooth the music to some speakers, the HTC would not be able to do this as it cant hold my music collection. Not to mention games are now becoming gigs in size so all internal phone memory is precious.

      • jay03275

        But at the same time you need to think about the fact that with an S4 those games that are gigs in size will only have 8 gbs to split with other Apps that you download. Compared to the 32 GB on the One you will have 25 gb. So to me you have to compare the 32GB S4 to the standard One with 32 GB. So in this comparison the S4 is more for equivalency.

        • Funem

          Would be interesting to know what space is left on the Google version though. In theory it should be more than the 8gb available on the standard 16gb version.

  • Geordio

    Htc one is better choice they perfected it. Imagine if they use iOS software instead of android.
    They’ll be unbeatable for sure….

    • AltayKai

      Yeah right…iOS is so good that everyone wants it. You must be joking. iOS operating system is a joke.

  • dr3wfr4nk

    Does anyone have any idea what time of day the phones will actually go on sale?

    • dr3wfr4nk

      I actually called Google Play Store customer service, but was told that they have no idea what time of day the phones will go on sale.