Samsung Galaxy S4 vs. Sony Xperia Z vs. HTC One: Who Will Win In 2013?
Samsung Galaxy S4 vs. Sony Xperia Z vs. HTC One

Samsung Galaxy S4 Leaked Render @evleaks

The most talked about and the most awaited smartphone of 2013 is, without a doubt, the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S4. Yet not unveiled, the official unveiling of Samsung Galaxy S4 is set to be on March 14, 2013 in grand way at Times Square, New York. Samsung is the only Android smartphone manufacturer which is yet to announce its flagship smartphone for the year of 2013. But almost complete hardware specifications of the Samsung Galaxy S4 have come out from leaks or calculated guesstimates. All others have announced or launched their flagship smartphones in the market. The most competitive in almost all of the terms are Sony Xperia Z and HTC One. One of these three smartphones will become the new king of Android arena. Today we are going to compare them in depth regarding hardware and software. Like the Sony Xperia Z, the Samsung Galaxy S4 Price In India and the HTC One price is expected to be near or above the INR 40K mark.

1. Display

HTC One Full HD Super LCD 3 Display

Difference between various mobile displays and pixel densities.

All of them will have full HD displays with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels at over 440 ppi. The screen on the Sony Xperia Z is 5 inch TFT LCD with Mobile Bravia Engine. It has low contrast ratio and brightness when compared to other full HD mobile displays. While the screen on the HTC one has 468 ppi at 4.7 inches with almost accurate colour reproduction and wide viewing angles. The screen on the Samsung Galaxy S4 is set to be full HD Super AMOLED but there are rumours that it will have ‘Green PHOLED’ displays which will have 25% better power efficiency than previous generation AMOLEDs. Also, it is rumoured that it will have extra features such as smart scroll and floating touch which will track user’s eyes to automatically scroll the screen items to desired location. Although Super AMOLEDs are generally confronted to have over saturated colours and a bluish/greenish tint, may be Samsung has done some improvements in its technology. As of now, it seems that the screen used in the HTC One is the best one due to its adequate size and correct colour reproduction.

2. Processing, Memory & Storage

Samsung Galaxy S4 Processor Exynos Octa

Exynos Octa Processor to be used in the Samsung Galaxy S4

The Sony Xperia Z uses an ultra-popular Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro processor with quad-core CPUs which are very similar to ARM Cortex A15 architecture based CPUs in accordance with ultra-powerful Adreno 320 GPU which is adequate to display 30 fps frame rates in heavy games on full HD resolution. It also has 2 GB of RAM and 16 GB of internal storage with additional micro SD card slot. The HTC One has Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 processor which is nothing but a slightly tweaked (read: better) version of the processor used in the Xperia Z. It also has 2 GB of RAM and 32/64 GB of internal storage with no option to expand it as it lacks micro SD card slot. The processor used in the Samsung Galaxy S4 is the companies own designed and manufactured; Exynos Octa 5410. This processor has 8 CPU cores; 4 ARM Cortex A15 based cores (which runs when there is heavy work load) and 4 ARM Cortex A7 based cores (which are used when there is less load on the CPU). It also has the PowerVR SGX544MP GPU whose, number of cores are not known yet. But according to the previous tests and performance of SGX544 GPU, its performance will be nearly similar to the Adreno 320 GPU used in HTC One and Sony Xperia Z. Apart from that, it has 2 GB of RAM for smooth multitasking and either 16/32/64 GB of internal storage in addition to the in-built micro SD card slot. By the looks of it, all the phones will have nearly similar performance in CPU and graphics but the large internal storage and external storage option of the Samsung Galaxy S4 will make it the leader in its department.

3. Design & Build Quality

Sony Xperia Z Water Proof

Sony Xperia Z body is water resistant, dust resistant & shatter proof

Although the Samsung Galaxy S4 picture has been leaked by a very trusted source; @evleaks (Twitter account), it was later identified as just a conceptual render. As per other trusted sources, the Samsung Galaxy S4 will continue the legacy of using plastic materials. But it is rumoured to be using Aluminium side walls. The HTC is one beautiful handset whose casing is made up of Aluminium unibody and plastic inserts. It has sleek body and sturdy build quality. But no one can defeat the Sony Xperia Z which has a very slim 7.9 mm body which is also water-resistant (IP57 certified), dust and shatter proof which makes sure that, when you are spending a bomb on a premium smartphone, it should last ages for you. This will be the most respected and unique point about the Sony Xperia Z.

4. Camera & Multimedia

HTC One Ultrapixel Camera

HTC One Ultrapixel Camera Sensor Size

In the camera department, the Sony Xperia Z has a 13 MP Exmor RS sensor with autofocus and LED flash. It has a 2.2 MP front facing camera as well. As per the initial reviews, the camera turned out not as great as thought. The camera used in the HTC One however, is something quite different. It has an ‘Ultrapixel’ camera whose sensor is 2 times as large as competitors as per HTC. Although the camera has a resolution of only 4 MP, the per-pixel quality is actually much better than competitors. But as per initial reviews and hands-on, it is not much of a difference when images of competitors are scaled down to 4 MP as well. Both these cameras can record full HD videos @ 30 frames per second. Both have 2.x MP front-camera which can record full HD 1080p videos at 30 frames per second as well. Both, HTC One and Sony Xperia Z has real-time HDR video recording which is actually amazing. But it seems that the camera on the Samsung Galaxy S4 will beat out its competitors going by previous records, but not by a huge margin as earlier.

Also, all the phones will be similar in carrying out multimedia playback with popular formats. The HTC comes with 2 large stereo speakers on the front which they call it as ‘Boom Sound’. It also comes with ‘Beats Audio’ and separate audio amplifiers for speakers and earphones.

5. Operating System & UI

HTC One UI Blinkfeed

HTC One UI – Blinkfeed On Home Screen

The Sony Xperia Z and the HTC One come pre-installed with Android 4.1.2 JellyBean with custom UIs of respective brands. The Sony Xperia Z has TimeScape UI while the HTC One has HTC Sense 5 UI and both of them are pretty well designed and attractive. The Samsung Galaxy S4 however, will come with Android 4.2 JellyBean pre-installed with new version of Samsung TouchWiz Nature UX. Samsung has some extra options such as smart stay, S-Voice, S-Beam, smart scroll and others to help users. The HTC One comes with ‘BlinkFeed’, a FlipBoard app like UI on the main home screen of the device which will keep you updated with all the stories that you are interested in. There is no particularly different or distinguishing factor in these phones in terms of software and UI but the ones in HTC and Sony look better.

6. Connectivity

Wi-Fi 820.11ac Transfer Speed Evolution

Wi-Fi 820.11ac transfer speed evolution graph compared to previous versions. Image Credit: ZDNet

Almost all the latest connectivity options are present in these 3 smartphones. All of them have 42 Mbps HSDPA (LTE is market dependant), Wi-Fi a/b/g/n, Wi-Fi Direct, Wi-Fi Hotspot, NFC, GLONASS A-GPS, Micro USB, MHL Port and 3.5 mm audio jack. But the HTC One has ultra-fast Wi-Fi 802.11ac which has a theoretical transfer speed of 1 Gbps.

7. Battery Life & Pricing

Samsung Galaxy S4 Battery Life 2600 mAh

Smartphone battery

The HTC One has a 2100 mAh battery, the Sony Xperia Z has a 2330 mAh battery while the Samsung Galaxy S4 is supposed to have a large 2600 mAh battery. But the practical battery life depends on a lot of factors such as processor, heat, screen, hardware optimization and usage. But in ideal usage, all these phones will usually last a day of normal usage. The Sony Xperia Z is priced at INR 38K in India and is already on sale. In Europe, the HTC One has been priced lower than the Xperia Z. But it needs to be seen how it will be priced in India. The Samsung Galaxy S4 Price in India is expected to be more than INR 40K.

To conclude, as per the hardware and features, the Samsung Galaxy S4 has more options but it lacks in terms of design and build quality.

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Written by Asif Iqbal Shaik

Asif Iqbal Shaik is a Consumer Electronics Expert with MySmartPrice, which is the best price comparison website in India. He is a computer sciences graduate and has been closely following consumer electronics space from last 6 years. He also is a technology blogger for the past 3 years.

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