Okay, out of everything that Google announced at I/O today the only thing I can really think about is the pure-Google Samsung Galaxy S4. I mean, when they first started talking about it I nearly fell out of my chair. I love smartphones in general, but there’s a special place in my heart for high end smartphones that run a pure version of Android.
With that said, today’s announcement and the article I wrote earlier got me to thinking: Would I rather have a “Nexus” HTC One (not to be confused with the HTC Nexus One) or a “Nexus” Samsung Galaxy S4? And to answer that question, the only thing you can really look at is hardware since the software side of things would be just about equal. So, let’s take a look at the hardware advantages of each phone relative to one another.
Hardware advantages of the Samsung Galaxy S4:
Screen: The 4.99 inch Super AMOLED display with 1920×1080 resolution (441 PPI) is larger and more battery efficient. Learn why AMOLED is more battery efficient here. Also, the screen is protected by Gorilla Glass 3 (compared to GG2 on the One) and works with gloves.
Processor: At 1.9 GHz, the quad-core Snapdragon 600 processor is clocked higher on the SGS4 than it is on the HTC One, giving it a slight advantage in processing power.
RAM: Just like with the processor, the two phones are very similar in that they each have 2 GB of RAM. However, the Galaxy S4 has faster DDR3 RAM compared to DDR2 on the One.
Camera: There’s lots of debate as to which camera is better, but as far as overall photo quality goes the 13 MP camera edges out the One’s 4 MP shooter.
Storage: While the “Google” Galaxy S4 will only come with 16 GB of internal storage, memory can be expanded by microSD up to an additional 64 GB.
Battery: Not only is the battery removable on the Galaxy S4, it also has a larger capacity at 2600 mAh compared to 2300 mAh on the One.
Button Layout: It will be interesting to see how Google maps the buttons since technically “Nexus” devices aren’t supposed to have hardware/capactive buttons. But having a physical home button makes bringing the S4 out of standby easier because of its convenient location.
Also, the dedicated menu button gives you more screen real estate in apps that aren’t yet optimized with the action bar (which on the One gives you a big black bar for menu at the bottom of the screen taking up space).
Sensors: While stock Android might not take advantage of the extra sensors on the Galaxy S4 (hygrometer, thermomter, infrared, gesture, etc), it does somewhat future proof your phone if more apps start taking advantage of it.
Hardware advantages of the HTC One:
Screen: Due to being slightly smaller at 4.7 inches, the 1080p display on the HTC One gives you a higher pixel density at 469 PPI. Also, the Super LCD3 display gives you brighter whites and better outdoor visibility.
Camera: While it technically doesn’t offer you as much image quality, the Ultrapixel camera on the One performs better in low-light conditions (at night, indoors, sun glaring at the lens, etc). Also, both the rear and the front facing cameras have wide angle lens, which is especially useful the subject is close up (while taking self portraits for example).
Storage: The Google version of the Galaxy S4 costs $650 and comes with 16 GB of internal storage. If Google were to make a Google-fied HTC One, it would come with 64 GB at the same price point considering the fact that HTC is selling its 64 GB developer edition for that much.
Speakers: While Beats Audio would be missed (a little), the stock Android HTC One would still have the dual front facing stereo speakers with built-in apps which provide a better audio experience.
Build Quality: There is no denying that the all-metal build on the HTC One feels more premium than the plastic material found on the Samsung Galaxy S4, which makes the phone feel more high end.
So, which phone do you think has the better hardware?
Remember, we’re talking strictly about the hardware here. Which out of the two devices do you think would make for a better “Nexus” smartphone? Personally, I think Google got it right by going with the Galaxy S4. Why? Because as much as I love the speakers and the build quality on the HTC One, I think the Galaxy S4 has the more-future proof specs overall. And to me, that is one of the biggest advantages of owning a Nexus device.
If the battery goes bad, you can replace it (not to mention it will last longer). If you somehow manage to run out of memory, you can expand it with a 64 GB microSD for a total of 80 GB of storage. If a future version of Android or third party apps start taking advantage of DDR3 RAM and sensors like thermometers and hygrometers, you’ve got them. Of course, those awesome speakers and the best ever build on a smartphone are hard to pass on. What do you think?