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Smartphone Smackdown: S4 vs. HTC One, Xperia Z and Optimus G Pro

Steven Blum
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DataTable S4 One XperiaZ OprimusG 02
Nice Bodies ;)/ © AndroidPIT

There have been a lot of comparison charts popping up recently, pitting the Galaxy S4 against a range of other phones, including the iPhone 5 and the Nokia Lumia 920. But, this being an Android, site, I think we can all agree we'd prefer to not be shackled by iOS or deal with the limited app ecosystem of Windows. How does the Galaxy S4 compare to the leading Android phones recently released? Here's a look at how the Galaxy S4 stacks up against the Sony Xperia Z, HTC One and Optimus G Pro:

DataTable S4 One XperiaZ OprimusG EN
CAPTION – REPLACE ME! / © AndroidPIT

 

They all look good to me! / © AndroidPIT

Android OS Version

The Galaxy S4 ships with Android 4.2.2, giving it a tiny leg up over the competition. The HTC One, Sony Xperia Z and LG Optimus G Pro ship with Android 4.1.2. That means, you'll be able to use new features like Photo Sphere and the new and improved lockscreen on the Galaxy S4, but not on any of its competitors.

Winner: Galaxy S4

Design

This one's a toughie. While the Galaxy S4 and the Sony Xperia Z are both thinner than the HTC One, the One is supposedly the most beautiful Android ever designed. This is not surprising; HTC's biggest selling point is its design and materials. That said, the Galaxy S4 is the lightest of them all, and ties for thinnest. So if that kind of thing is most important to you, the Galaxy S4 wins. Still, have you felt the HTC One? It feels amazing in the hand. The LG Optimus Pro is far too thick to compete in the design realm.

Winner: HTC One

Display

The HTC One, Sony Xperia Z, Galaxy S4 and LG Optimus G all have a 1080 x 1920p displays. But when it comes to PPI, the HTC One clearly wins, with a pretty incredible 468 pixels per square inch. The Galaxy S4 and the Sony Xperia have around 440 pixels per square inch, while the LG Optimus G has just 400 ppi. The Verge calls the HTC One the best-looking display ever created.

Winner: HTC One

Battery

In terms of sheer size, the LG Optimus G wins this segment, with a 3,140 mAh battery (the HTC One, Galaxy S4, Sony Xperia Z have 2300 2600, and 2330 mAh batteries, respectively). But we'll have to run a full battery of tests before we decide who wins this match.

Predicted Winner: LG Optimus G Pro

Processor

At least on paper, the Galaxy S4 has the fastest processor chip around, with a massive 8 cores, capable of speeds up to 1.9 GHz. The HTC One has a speedy 1.7 GHz quad-core processor, while the Sony Xperia Z has a 1.5 GHz quad-core processor. The LG Optimus G's 1.7 GHyz processor should suffice. In hands-on demos, ALL of these phones are fast, and it's not likely you'll notice a difference between them. But at least on paper, the Galaxy S4 wins for now…

Winner: Galaxy S4

Camera

The Galaxy S4 and the Sony Xperia Z both have 13 MP cameras, with a wide range of features. The HTC One has a 4MP Ultra Pixel camera which is supposed to be able to take in more light for superior night time shots. In the Verge's tests, the HTC One performed quite badly, while the Sony Xperia Z shined. We have no idea how the LG Optimus G's camera will perform, but it's also packing a competitive  13MP. We're guessing the Galaxy S4 will also perform well, but we can't really decide between the Xperia Z and the Galaxy S4 quite yet.

Predicted Winner: Galaxy S4 or Sony Xperia Z

Extra Goodies

Do you want a waterproof phone or one that doubles as a TV remote. Do you like the idea of the HTC One's blink feed – which curates all of your social networking and news feeds into one homepage or would you prefer a bunch of Samsung apps that help you train for a marathon, play games wirelessly among friends or share music via NFC? This one's all up to you.

Winner (our opinion): Galaxy S4

Conclusion

There are so many considerations to make when choosing a smartphone that it's impossible to declare a winner in a field where each competitor is so different. That said, I'm sure many will appreciate the wide range of special features Samsung has baked into its latest and greatest. It's a competitive entry that not only competes well on the spec side, but also brings a few irresistible innovations to the mix. Ultimately, the HTC One is the better bet, design-wise, but its camera is so bad that I'm guessing many won't bite. The Xperia Z is a gorgeous phone, but it doesn't have enough features to really compete in the big leagues. Which phone do you want to buy?

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Comments

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  • Rutger Mar 15, 2013 Link

    It doesn't matter if it is Android 4.2.2 in the Galaxy, Xperia UI is far more better looking and smoother that Samsungs UI

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  • Imran Mar 15, 2013 Link

    xperia z is what i will get

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  • User picture
    markbc c. Mar 15, 2013 Link

    I enjoy reading every article you write Steve, because they are fresh, always take an innovative approach and provide some useful data and valuable opinions.

    I hope you can follow up on this same test again after you have had more time to personally test all the phones and then layout a "smack down" champion again using more detailed data, and perhaps a bit more uniform and clear comparisons.

    Not to complain, but I for one was a bit unclear when the comparisons started hopping between different factors for different phones and strayed away from a uniform standard to judge them all (like in design or Extras for example).

    I like all of these phones and one of them is likely to be the replacement for my (excellent!) Galaxy S2 in the not-too-distant future (well, except for those with no SD (HTC One) and no removable battery (HTC One and Xperia Z ;-(

    Understand you are really busy (and write about 1000 article each day it seems ;-) but if you get a chance to do this again it would be great. (also why was the pix with the comparison of the iPhone5 embedded in your article? hmm!)

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  • Steven Blum Mar 15, 2013 Link

    OMG, the images were switched, thanks for notifying! Should be okay now.

    As for a real comparison, I would love to do so after I get a chance to play around with each phone for a longer time period. The comparison I wrote up is more based on the specs as they appear on paper, which is all we can do at the moment. You're right: a hands-on approach is needed in the future.

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  • Marlon Milligan Mar 16, 2013 Link

    A few websites said the htc one has great battery life. Also one site had a few tests shots of the GS4 pics & HTC One pics... The Htc One came out on top. Also as far as processor the HTC One performed higher in benchmarks.. I'm just saying

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  • User picture
    markbc c. Mar 16, 2013 Link

    Hi @ Marlon

    I have to agree that the HTC One claims great battery life --and it is well designed -beautiful even! & Everything I have read about the new HC One says it is a really great phone.. .

    But if i can swap batteries --I feel that I am less tied down. It makes me forget about any charger issue --and when i am out using the phone taking video or calls or even GPS navigation -and the battery goes, well then I have an extra battery with me and keep going. That's why I wish the One had a replaceable battery.

    Also no SD disk bothers me. I know it is difficult for the file system, but already I have come close to filling my 16gig SGS2 internal AND the external 32Gig --a couple of times. So if I had only the built in storage, well it seems limited for no reason (or a reason that helps the manufacture not me so much).

    Of course, if someone (like AndroidPit maybe?) offered me an HTC One, I would not turn it down ;-)

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How many inches does a smartphone need to be for it to be considered a phablet?