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HTC One vs Samsung Galaxy Note 2: spec comparison

The HTC One (opens in new tab)and Samsung Galaxy Note 2 stand out as two of the most important mobile products in recent memory. When the former launched in late February 2013, it quickly established itself as more than just another premium handset - it staked an immediate and compelling claim to the title of best smartphone in the world. Similarly, the Note 2 single-handedly redefined the large-display handset segment when it arrived at IFA 2012 (opens in new tab). In terms of headline grabbing impact, there is scarcely a better matched pair of gadgets, but how do the influential duo match up in terms of their specifications? Let's take a look.

Size and weight

The slender but sturdy HTC One has a thickness of 9.3mm and weighs 143g. Samsung's Galaxy Note 2 (opens in new tab) has a similar girth (9.4mm) but is considerably heavier at 182.5g. The disruptive "phablet" is also a fair whack taller (151mm vs the HTC One's 137.4mm) and wider (80.5mm vs 68.2mm).


The HTC One looks like it's really going to seduce the retinas, offering a Full HD resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 pixels on its 4.7in LCD screen - a relatively modest size that packs a stunning pixel density of 468ppi. The 5.5in Galaxy Note 2 is a more run-of-the-mill HD proposition, featuring a 720p display at a comparatively meagre 267ppi.


In the Galaxy Note 2 and the HTC One, the Android platform has one of its biggest ever sellers and one of its brightest new stars, respectively. The One features Sense 5.0, the latest version of HTC's heavily customised Android skin, which is based on Android 4.1 Jelly Bean (opens in new tab) but offers a number of neat features including Zoe Highlights, which transforms your otherwise static image gallery into flowing cinematic media. The Samsung handset ships with Jelly Bean 4.1, with an upgrade to the newer Android 4.2 (opens in new tab) thought to be on the cards in the near future.


The HTC One boasts one of the very best cameras on the market, serving up a 4-megapixel CMOS sensor consisting of what the company refers to as 'UltraPixels' - a marketing term to describe the sensor's 2 micron pixels. These are larger than the photosites typically found on cameraphone sensors and should improve low-light shooting (bigger is better when gathering light). The Galaxy Note 2's 8-megapixel shooter might sound more impressive, but the One's snapper promises more when it comes to noise and low-light photography.

Processor and battery

Under the hood, the HTC One packs Qualcomm's latest high-end SoC, the Snapdragon 600, comprised of Krait 300 CPUs clocked at 1.7GHz and an Adreno 320 GPU - a slick quad-core processor setup. Samsung's aging flagship sports a quad-core Exynos 4412 configuration with a processor speed of 1.6GHz. The HTC One features a 2,300mAh battery, while the Note 2 sports a mammoth 3,100mAh battery with a claimed maximum 3G talk-time of an impressive 16 hours.

Storage and memory

The HTC One will be available in 32GB and 64GB models, though content hoarders won't be pleased that there's no option of expanding the device's capacity. The Galaxy Note 2 is available in 16GB and has been seen in 32GB and 64GB versions, although in reality only the least capacious model is readily available. However, the large form factor Samsung handset does offer a microSD card slot for cheap and easy augmentation. Both devices come with 2GB of RAM.

Connectivity and wireless

Both the HTC One and Samsung Galaxy Note 2 support the LTE standard, with the latter already featuring on EE's UK 4G network. They also come with NFC technology, though neither can charge up wirelessly. Each has a micro-USB port that supports the Mobile High-Definition Link (MHL) standard for HDMI connection.


The HTC One offers some real points of differentiation courtesy of Sense 5.0. Along with Zoe Highlights, there's also Sense TV, which sees your handset double as a remote control via an integrated infrared technology. More of an obvious "extra," however, is the amusingly named BoomSound - HTC's audio setup includes two built-in amplifiers based on Beats Audio technology and a pair of front-facing speaker grills. The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 comes with the S Pen, of course - the snazzy stylus offers digitised note-taking, annotating, drawing, and is an all-round productivity boon.

Price, availability and opinion

The HTC One will start shipping from 14 March and is currently available for pre-order via Phones 4u (opens in new tab) - the handset can be had for naught on contracts starting from £36 a month. You can't officially buy the One outright just yet, but established online retailer Clove Technology lists the HTC One at £510 SIM-free (opens in new tab), if that's the route you want to take. The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 joined us in September 2012 and is now widely available - an EE contract will cost from £31 per month (opens in new tab) plus an upfront cost. If it's a SIM-free Galaxy Note 2 you're after, get your sleuth hat on as the official 4G LTE version for the UK isn't the easiest iteration to come by off-contract (many are 3G-only grey imports). Where it can be had, it will typically set you back around £550 - Handtec is a good place to start. (opens in new tab)

For our money, we'd take the HTC One for its full suite of new-generation features and the £40-odd saving. We want to love the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 (opens in new tab) as much as we did when we reviewed it and fully appreciate its many strengths, not least the productivity boosting S Pen stylus and behemoth of a battery. But the fact is that the HTC One may well be the "best phone ever made," as the Taiwanese company claims. If not, it's certainly seems like it's king of the smartphone pile for now. The Jelly Bean-based Sense 5.0 UI looks like offering one of the slickest custom user experiences around, while the handset's full aluminium build feels sturdy but slender at the same time.

While the 'UltraPixel' term will only serve to confuse, we thoroughly approve of the way HTC is moving away from the 'bigger is better' megapixel race in the camera department, and it's difficult to find better than the 1.7GHz quad-core Snapdragon 600 SoC featured under the hood. Ultimately, it just feels great to hold, and while definitive judgement can't be passed until we've put it through its paces in full - stay tuned for our HTC One review in the near future - we're fairly confident that it will hold up admirably to more acute investigations.


Samsung Galaxy Note 2 LTE


Screen size




1,920 x 1,080 pixels

1,280 x 720 pixels

Pixel density






Processor and battery


Snapdragon 600

Samsung Exynos 4412


Krait 300





Clock speed




Adreno 320




3,100 mAh

Claimed 3G talk time


Up to 16 hours

Storage and memory




Internal storage

32GB / 64GB

16GB / 32GB / 64GB









1080p @ 30fps

1080p @ 30fps









802.11 a / b / g / n

802.11 a / b / g / n







Integrated wireless charging





137.4 x 68.2 x 9.3mm

151 x 80.5 x 9.4mm




Operating System

Android 4.1 Jelly Bean w/Sense 5.0

Android 4.2 Jelly Bean w/TouchWiz

Price (SIM-free)



James is a freelance editor, journalist, and writer with 10+ years experience in digital media, SEO and news writing. He has produced content on a number of Future sites, including TechRadar, ITProPortal, Tom's Guide, and T3, and was Senior Staff Writer at ITProPortal.