Battle of the Titans: Samsung Galaxy S3 vs HTC One X

While there have been plenty of debates and reviews about Samsung vs HTC, one of the best ways to measure up these companies is through their strongest product offerings at the time of writing. Through this, we can build up an indirect comparative review on how both have advanced in mobile technology.

The launching of the latest monster handset, Samsung Galaxy S3, now follows the South Korean company as it pits itself against the flagship device from a Taiwanese archrival in the smartphone industry: the HTC One X. Concisely, both mobile devices come with industry-leading hardware specifications and have hordes of customized software improvements over the stock Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich mobile operating system.

From a buyer’s standpoint, which of these Android heavyweights is a wiser option? We start our Battle of the Titans series by playing off the best of the best in Samsung vs HTC with a Samsung Galaxy S3 vs HTC One X face-off.

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Note: From this point onwards, Social Barrel will use six critical consumer areas in mobile phone comparative reviews (in this order): display, performance, camera, design, software, and pricing.

Display

When HTC released the Rezound in the U.S. market, it sparked a newly found interest among consumers: 720p high-definition (HD) display. The company started a trend in display technology that gave major manufacturers a heads up for their flagship devices. Now every OEM has a high demand of HD display orders from competing phone makers. HTC One X is the company’s successor for the Rezound and the second one to boast a 720p HD screen. With a 4.7-inch Super IPS LCD2 technology beneath, the One X display is one of the best in the market today. The relatively newer display offers excellent viewing angles and point-blank reproduction of colors.

Samsung, regardless of its proprietary PenTile display, is popular for its Super AMOLED display technology, which allegedly reflects 5 times less sunlight compared to first-generation AMOLEDs. Its last two Android flagship devices are proof of this. The company already has a better display with its Super AMOLED Plus with HD but this is not yet ready for mass production. As such, Samsung preferred to use a 4.8-inch Super AMOLED screen on the Galaxy S3. Super AMOLED comes in 720p HD resolution. However, the bluish tint is still noticeable and whites are a little below satisfactory on the phone.

The HTC One X surely wins against the Samsung Galaxy S3 in the display department with a near-perfect display, which includes a 312 ppi pixel density compared to the latter’s 306 ppi. Apart from only carrying the first-generation Corning Gorilla Glass protection (the S3 has Gorilla Glass 2), there are barely any downside with the One X display.

Winner: HTC One X

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HTC One X. Image: Jemimus via Flickr (CC)

Performance

The latest craze in the smartphone market is quad-core processors. The HTC One X takes pride as one the world’s first quad-core smartphones and the first to come with an NVIDIA Tegra 3 chip on-board. Thanks to its 1.5 GHz quad-core processor and 1 GB of RAM, the handset’s actual performance is plain exceptional, without signs of lags or hiccups. HTC also threw in an 1800 mAh battery for an average usage time of one day if used moderately. Unfortunately, it is not easy to remove and requires tools and a little expertise if replaced.

Samsung already went up a notch with 1 GB of RAM on the Galaxy S2. It continues the trend with the same amount of random access memory on the Galaxy S3. This time around, it added a punch with a quad-core processor using its very own Exynos 4212 Quad chipset. Just like the Exynos 4212 Dual in Galaxy S2, Exynos 4212 Quad clearly outperforms the competition, and the HTC One X is no exemption. Thanks to its ultra-quick 1.4 GHz Cortex-A9 quad-core processor and 1 GB of RAM, the Galaxy S3 soars over homescreens, menus, large webpages and a whole lot more, without showing any sign of resistance. Samsung has chosen a 2100 mAh battery, which would last a day on moderate use. This user-removable power source on S3 is another advantage that Samsung’s flagship holds against the competition.

Moreover, several benchmark lists for mobile graphics cards/processors are in unison to show that Galaxy S3’s ARM Mali 400 MP GPU trumps out HTC’s ULP GeForce graphics. That’s thrice the Galaxy S3 outdid the One X in the performance category.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy S3

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Samsung Galaxy S3. Image: Houang Stephane via Flickr (CC)

Camera

All of a sudden, a smartphone camera has turned into a major selling point for a consumer, which reflects in new mid-range to high-end product offerings in the market. HTC One X falls in that category with its immensely revamped camera app UI and the hardware itself. The company opted for an f/2.0 aperture to enhance low-light imagery.

The Samsung Galaxy S III cannot boast the same for its camera user interface since it has not changed for quite a while now, but the optical part is extraordinary. The 8-megapixel camera photos taken out of the box are stunning and truly outperforming most smartphones with a similar resolution – and again this includes the HTC One X.

Both phones come with front cameras, which give decent results for video calling purposes. The Galaxy S3 features a 1.9-megapixel front-facing shooter whereas the One X has a 1.3-megapixel snapper. Both secondary cameras support 720p videos.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy S3

Design

Obviously, HTC did a fine work during the designing stage of the One X. It features a curved overall profile composed of polycarbonate material. This is the same material that Nokia uses on its high-end devices – hardware that made the Finnish phone maker popular. The HTC One X is simply gorgeous but does not compromise appearance with its highly usable real-life performance.

Samsung appears to be trudging on the borderline when it comes to the Galaxy S3 design. The company did not risk for the bold and beautiful, and eventually ended up with a rather dull design. However, this can be set aside if you consider the company’s huge effort to squeeze a gigantic 4.8-inch display screen into a smaller profile. Its glossy appearance may be depressing to the spirit of some people, but Samsung still managed to make it very functional for end users.

Winner: HTC One X

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HTC One X. Image: Ashley Kyd via Flickr (CC)

Software

With Android 4.0.3 Ice Cream Sandwich out of the box, the HTC One X features the company’s latest Sense UI. A tonic climb from its user interface predecessors, Sense 4.0 is softer. It is a well-received development but still has room for improvement. HTC Sense 4.0 carried over one major negative aspect from previous versions: the use of RAM. It is still a heavy memory hog and consumes RAM like there’s no tomorrow. Thanks to 1 GB of RAM, backslide in memory consumption is hardly noticeable in actual usage.

Samsung, which comes with Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich, also has its own user interface, the latest of which is TouchWiz Nature UX. The company also included its proprietary software features that are exclusive to the S3 for now. Direct Call and S-Voice works pretty well but Smart Stay is somewhat a little inconsistent. The tweaked folder feature is a letdown, among others. If you intend to stay on the Galaxy S3 for a little while longer, you will find it disappointing to know that Samsung has one of the poorest track records in bringing the latest Android updates to its smartphones.

This category really depends on the user as both UI customizations have their pros and cons. User interface is more on personal choice. However, since we have to pronounce only one winner in this category, we will go with quantity over quality. The Galaxy S3 has the most number of bundled software between the two.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy S3 (open to debate)

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Samsung Galaxy S3. Image: Houang Stephane via Flickr (CC)

Pricing

One last factor that plays a crucial role in consumers’ decisions and the major selling point for most people is the pricing. This is where the Samsung Galaxy S3 crumbles. Amazon sellers offer an unlocked Samsung Galaxy S3 for $650, while an unlocked HTC One X costs $550 on average.

If pricing is important for you, HTC One X clearly offers a better deal; if you have a deeper pocket, you should go for the Galaxy S3.

Winner: HTC One X

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Verdict

While this is not a direct review of Samsung vs HTC, it somehow gives us a glimpse on which smartphone maker is quicker to respond to consumer demands concerning the latest technologies.

Samsung Galaxy S3 vs HTC One X certainly is a hard decision to make. While One X has better display, design and pricing, Galaxy S3 scores on performance, camera and software. However, we will reiterate that bundled software/UI depends on personal preference.

As much as we want to settle for a tie, we will give our hats off to the Samsung Galaxy S3 on this one. This is clearly arguable but, as tech junkies, we will offer the slightest upper hand possible to the faster device. Feel free to sound off in the comments section below if you completely disagree with our points of contention.

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Francis Rey Balolong

A coffee junkie who spends most of his time writing about the latest news on social media and mobile technology. I would definitely consider myself a nerd (in the coolest most hipster way possible). That being said, I love technology, music, writing, and all things mobile.
Tags: samsung vs htc, battle of the titans, htc one x

Francis Rey Balolong the author

A coffee junkie who spends most of his time writing about the latest news on social media and mobile technology. I would definitely consider myself a nerd (in the coolest most hipster way possible). That being said, I love technology, music, writing, and all things mobile.
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