HTC has certainly grabbed everyone's attention with the One, its newest top-of-the-line Android smartphone. It's not out just yet, but if you're in the market for a new high-end handset, it's impossible to ignore.
Still, even though the Samsung Galaxy S3 has been around a while, it continues to be a great Android choice, thanks to its ultra-fast LTE data connection, fast performance, and oversized screen. The HTC One also boasts LTE support.
Underneath the hood, the Galaxy S3 features a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 1.5GHz dual-core CPU. The HTC One has it beat, though, thanks to its quad-core, next-generation Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 CPU.
In terms of build quality, it's also going to be no contest. The HTC One is a solid piece of aluminium, with beautifully machined edges and details. The Galaxy S3, by contrast, is made entirely of plastic, with rounded, tapered edges and chrome buttons.
Both feature a glass screen, but beneath it the similarities end. The Samsung Galaxy S3's 4.8in 1,280 x 720 resolution (720p) panel, while sharp and a tenth of an inch larger, is no match for the HTC One's ultra-dense 4.7in 1,920 x 1,080 pixel (1080p) display.
HTC revamped its Sense UI to include BlinkFeed, which fills your home screen with new updates automatically using a Flipboard-like series of tiles. Otherwise, the HTC One runs Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. Samsung's Galaxy S3 also runs a heavily skinned version of Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, though Samsung's TouchWiz UI looks a lot different, and has more dedicated apps for improving specific functions. Both phones should have little problem running any of the 700,000+ apps in the Google Play store.
The HTC One features a pair of Beats Audio-enhanced stereo speakers bracketing the screen, along with dual-membrane microphones. The Galaxy S3 is known for its excellent voice quality, thanks in part to Samsung's custom EQ tuning (which we discuss in our Galaxy S3 tips article), but music doesn't sound all that great coming out of its mono speaker.
The Galaxy S3's 8-megapixel rear-facing camera is excellent, and gives the iPhone 5's 8-megapixel shooter a run for its money. But the HTC One includes what it calls an ultrapixel camera – equivalent to 4-megapixels to be precise, but the technology uses fewer, larger pixels that capture more light, and therefore offer more detail and less noise (megapixels aren’t everything when it comes to image quality). As to how the One’s snaps hold up in practice, we’ll know for sure once we conduct our own tests. The HTC One also offers more internal storage, and an ever-so-slightly better front-facing camera, at least on paper.
HTC said the One will be available across 185 carriers globally beginning in March. In the UK, the ship date has been marked down as 14 March, and the handset is currently available for pre-order via Phones 4u – you can bag it for free on contracts starting from £36 per month. Clove Technology has the One’s sim-free price pitched at £510. The Galaxy S3 is, of course, everywhere, and can be had for £450 sim-free.
In short, the HTC One looks like it’s about claim the mantle of best Android phone on the market, but we won't know for sure until we test it. But with the Samsung Galaxy S4 reveal just around the corner, that could all change before too long, anyway. Which one do you like more? Let us know in the comments section below.
And for more on the HTC handset, check out our HTC One: hands-on preview, and our discussion of the HTC’s ultrapixel camera technology. You might also want to see our HTC One vs. Sony Xperia Z: spec comparison.
See the full One vs. Galaxy S3 spec comparison table below:
Samsung Galaxy S3 LTE
1,920 x 1,080 pixels
1,280 x 720 pixels
Processor and battery
Samsung Exynos 4412
Claimed 3G talk time
Up to 11 hours
Storage and memory
32GB / 64GB
1080p @ 30fps
1080p @ 30fps
802.11 a / b / g / n
802.11 a / b / g / n
137.4 x 68.2 x 9.3mm
136.6 x 70.6 x 8.6mm
Android 4.1 Jelly Bean w/Sense 5.0
Android 4.1 Jelly Bean w/TouchWiz