If you're looking for a high-end Android phone, you're probably split between two options: the new HTC One and Samsung's Galaxy S5. You should probably go with the HTC One, though, and you'll only need a few reasons to prove why.
This one pretty much goes without saying, but we'll say it anyway: the HTC One is just miles ahead of the GS5 when it comes to how the smartphone feels in the hand. Just as they did with last year's One, HTC has constructed the 2014 version of the One out of premium materials, giving it an aluminum build that you can really only compare to Apple's iPhone. When the best all-around phone in the business is your only real competition in terms of build quality, you know you've done something right, and that's exactly where the HTC One sits right now.
Samsung's GS5, by comparison, has basically the same plastic construction seen on previous Galaxy S models. This year, Samsung tweaked the GS5's design, giving it a soft, stippled feel, much like the leather one might find on a steering wheel. It's better than previous Galaxy S models, but it really doesn't hold a candle to the HTC One's premium build. If you care about the way your phone feels in your hand – and you do, even if you don't realize it – you'll want to go with the HTC One.
One other thing: with the 2014 edition of the One, HTC once again got right one thing that no other manufacturer seems to understand – put the speakers on the front of the phone. The front-facing BoomSound speakers on the One deliver better sound than any phone on the market.
What do you use your smartphone for? If you're like most everybody else, you get do some texting, some web-surfing, snap a few pictures, and sneak in a few rounds of Flappy Bird or maybe even Threes! when you've got the time. What you'll want, then, is a phone that largely gets out of your way to let you do your thing. That's why the HTC One wins out even though it actually packs fewer features than the GS5.
ComputerWorld pointed out last week that the HTC One has "a meaningfully more polished and cohesive user interface" than the GS5. That's because HTC doesn't take the route that Samsung does when it comes to modifying Android. Where Samsung throws in everything they can think of and develop to a beta stage – eye-tracking cameras, screens that supposedly turn on when you wave a hand above them, videos that pause when you look away, heart rate monitors, etc. – HTC's One isn't nearly so scatterbrained. The result is a device with fewer features, but each of those features is more polished.
Updates and Extras
For the nerdier among us, regular Android updates are an essential part of the decision on a new phone. HTC is committed to pushing out quick updates for its handsets, and last year's HTC One has already gotten two software updates tweaking its Android 4.4 KitKat build. Samsung's Galaxy S4 from last year? The Verizon model should be getting an update to Android 4.4 some time in May, according to Into Mobile. That's about eight months after Google initially released the new operating system, and possibly only about a month before Google shows off Android 4.5.
Since HTC isn't in Samsung's position with regard to sales, it has to be more on the ball in pushing out updates and keeping customers happy. Grab an HTC One, and you can count on the next operating system updates landing on your device soon after release. There just isn't the same sort of guarantee with the Galaxy S line.
HTC's also got one more bonus for One buyers. If you drop your phone – shame on you! – and break its screen within the first six months of buying it, HTC will fix your screen for free.
Image via BGR.