This week, HTC introduced the 2014 One, its latest flagship smart phone. The device is nice to look at – thanks to the polished metal exterior – and snappier than the last One (courtesy of a Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor and the Android 4.4 KitKat operating system). Add the so-called Duo Camera, with its two lenses, and you've got a handset that should gin up just as much buzz as its predecessor.
Reviewing the device for Engadget, Brad Molen calls the One "a great smartphone that does a lot of fantastic things."
"The new design looks fresh and inviting; the Duo Camera's new abilities are fun and useful (a rare combination, it seems); the performance is fantastic; battery life has improved significantly... and the company continues to improve features like BoomSound and BlinkFeed," Mr. Molen adds. "Naturally, these factors are convincing enough for us to give high marks on the new One."
Still, there is at least one major roadblock standing in the way of HTC's flagship, which goes on sale this week, and it's not the Apple iPhone. Instead, it's the Samsung Galaxy S5, the latest in the long line of very popular Galaxy smart phones. The S5 is expected to begin shipping in April, with a starting price – assuming you sign a two-year contract – of $200.
That's on par with the HTC One.
Also on par: The KitKat operating system; the 5-inch display (to be fair, the S5 gets a 5.1-inch display, a fraction of an inch larger than the 5-inch display on the HTC One); and the Qualcomm Snapdragon processor. In fact, the major differences between the S5 and the One will lie in each device's respective design, and the user interface layered over the Android OS: For the One, it's HTC Sense, and for the S5, it's Samsung's TouchWiz.
As Elyse Betters at Pocket-lint points out, there's also the question of connectivity.
"The HTC One features support for Wi-Fi, NFC, Bluetooth 4.0, 4G LTE, USB 2.0, and nano SIM," she writes. "The Samsung Galaxy S5 features support for Wi-Fi, NFC, 4G LTE, Bluetooth 4.0, USB 3.0, and IrLED. The latter smart phone obviously has more connectivity options, though it is missing nano SIM."
So which phone is the better bet? Well, we suspect that for many users, it'll come down to personal preference: the Galaxy S5, with its friendly, plastic look, or the HTC One, with its sleek, industrial aesthetic. And it'll come down to momentum: The Galaxy S5 comes on the heels of the top-selling Galaxy S4, while the 2013 HTC One seemed to peak early, and then struggled to attract attention with consumers.