Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Clash of the Titans: HTC One X Vs Samsung Galaxy S III

Samsung Galaxy S III in Pebble Blue

The Samsung I9300 Galaxy S III was officially launched in the Philippines last night, and the suggested retail price was set at Php32,990 and being available on retail stores by June 9, 2012. This matches the suggested retail price of HTC's current flagship phone, the HTC One X, which is also Php32,990. 

HTC One X in Grey.

The street price of a HTC One X is lower and can be found at a price range of Php27,600 to Php29,900 with an official HTC warranty. Once the Samsung Galaxy S III become widely available we also do expect it to sell for a bit lower than its suggested retail price. The Samsung Galaxy S III does have the advantage of being offered by both Globe Telecom and Smart Communications on postpaid plans.

So, the two Titans of the Android world have their flagship phones clashing with its other toe-to-toe on price.  Which is the better choice for you?

Both phone are very similar, combining large high resolution 720p (720 x 1280) displays in thin and light designs. The Samsung Galaxy S III has a slight larger 4.8 inch Super AMOLED display of the Pentile Matrix variety which is an improved version of that found in the Galaxy Nexus. The HTC One X has a 4.7-inch IPS2 LCD display. Both are excellent displays, and we don't see buyers choosing one over the other because of the display.

The Samsung Galaxy S III is thinner at 8.6 mm thin, but being just 0.3 mm less than the HTC One X, I doubt you will actually notice the difference. The Samsung Galaxy S III is a bit wider at 70.6 mm, the HTC One X measuring at 69.9 mm, but again the difference is too small to be of significance. The HTC One X is the lighter of the two at 130 grams in weight, while the Samsung Galaxy S III.

On the  hardware front Samsung Galaxy S III has a slight faster processor and graphics chips, but both phones are so fast it is not likely that there is a significant difference in real world performance. With a quad core processor on either both phones, you probably cannot find any app which would push either phone to its limits. Both phone use HSDPA 21.1 Mbps radios for 3G connectivity. Both phones have excellent 8 MP camera's, and which produces better pictures will be more a function of the user rather than the hardware. 

With the two so evenly matched, what should you consider in selecting one over the other?

Internal Storage. For the same money, the HTC One X comes with more internal storage at 32 GB, of which 26 GB is user available. The Samsung Galaxy S III comes with 16 GB of internal storage. We do not yet know what the user available storage is with the Samsung Galaxy S III, but it would be somewhere between 11 to 13 GB. The Samsung though in part makes up for the lower internal storage with a MicroSD card slot.

Getting a 16GB MicroSD card will cost you a bit less than Php800 these days.

I prefer internal storage to SDCard storage. Accessing it is a tad bit faster. So I would say that if 26 GB is enough, I would give the HTC One X than advantage in this regard. If you need more than 26 GB, with the Samsung Galaxy S III it is a matter of buying a large capacity MicroSD card. With the HTC One X you are out of luck.

Winner: Draw. Depends on the users need. If you only need 26 GB or less the HTC One X. If you need more the Samsung Galaxy S III.

Cloud Storage. Both phones come with two years of Dropbox cloud storage. The HTC One X comes with 25 GB while the Samsung Galaxy S III comes with 50 GB.

Winner: GSIII. More is better so the Samsung Galaxy S III wins.

Gaming. Both phones are wickedly fast and have the power to tear trough the latest 3D games on the Android market. But use mature graphics chips as their base so compatibility should not be an issue.

The HTC One X does sport the 12-core Nvidia ULP GeForce graphics chip which has some really amazing capability and developers do build gamed optimized to take advantage of the ULP GeForce's capability.

Most games wont take advantage of ULP GeForce, but a fair number do, and those that do, look a lot better.

Winner: HOX. If you want console quality grapchics, the HTC One X is the way to go.

Battery life. Both phones use modern energy saving technology, and in terms of battery life are pretty much as good as it gets. We have covered that matter in a separate article at this link. While both phones have excellent battery life. 

Basically, GSM Arena which conducts the test we use for comparison rated the Samsung Galaxy S III's battery life with an endurance of 43 hours, while the HTC One has an endurance rating of 37 hours.

Winner. GSIII. The Galaxy S III will last significantly longer on a charge.

User replaceable battery. The Samsung Galaxy S III's battery can be easily replaced by popping of the batter cover. The HTC One X battery is an internal. Replacing it requires removing the LCD display and the mother board. Only a skilled professional should try it.

Winner. GSIII. Despite the good battery life, if you keep the phone more than a year or a year and a half, you will probably want to replace the battery. The Samsung Galaxy S III makes this easier.

Others. The other area where both phones differ is in their installed operating system. While both run Android 4.0, HTC places a Sense 4.0 overlay on top of Android. Samsung puts its TouchWiz 4.0 overlay.

In the past we would have given this category to HTC which really includes some very useful enhancements. But Samsung has built a lot, new features into TouchWiz like Smart Stay and S-Voice. We have a separate article covering this here

Ultimately, user interface and enhancements are subjective matters and there is really no way to measure one against the other. Best advice, try both and see which you like best.

This also depends on what you used before. If you have been using HTC Sense for some time, I suspect you will want to stay with Sense. If you have been using Samsung phones in the past and like TouchWiz, you will feel more comfortable with the the Samsung Galaxy S III. It is easier to leave TouchWiz behind than Sense, but I really cannot quantify that.

Conclusion.  If you want one postpaid, the Samsung Galaxy S III is the only game in town. If you are buying a phone, than you have some decisions to make.

Overall Samsung Galaxy S III had built a better smartphone. If I owned a HTC One X, the advantages of the Samsung Galaxy S III would not be enough for me to want to upgrade. For the typical user, this would be the better choice. If you spend a lot of time viewing multi-media, will last twice as long on the battery as compared to the HTC One X.

HTC on the other hand has built an excellent smartphone in its own regard, which is also the best Android hand held gaming platform in the market today. If you having a bit of gaming in your blood, it is really hard to ignore the Nvidia ULP GeForce graphics.   

So which do we recommend, pick your own poison. I do not think you will regret either choice. It is also unlikely that you will feel device envy with anything else coming out in the market, well not for another year when HTC and Samsung duke it out for round four.

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