Samsung Galaxy S4 vs HTC One vs Sony Xperia Z

samsung_galaxy_s_4_htc_one_sony_xperia_zSamsung has officially announced Galaxy S 4 earlier today and as expected it comes with some pretty impressive features. But, are these feature more than enough for the phone to compete with HTC’s One and Sony Xperia Z smartphones. We will try and find out in this post.


Similar to Samsung Galaxy S III, software customisations still remain a major positive for the company in Galaxy S 4. Raw specs are great, but how do you make your phone more usable (or even more gimmicky), Samsung has perfected that art.

Samsung has included over 20 new features or apps in S 4 that were not present of previous Samsung smartphones. Some of these are not that useful, but most of them do add value and this is one of the reasons, why Samsung is still going to sell more units than its competitors.

HTC is also not very far behind in the software department, it also brought several new interesting apps and features as a part of Sense 5.0 in HTC One.  Most of these are good like Blinkfeed, but still these are just a few and for the sheer number of features, Samsung wins in the software department.

Sony is far-far behind in terms of software customisations in Xperia Z. They only offer a few media apps like Walkman on the phone. If they would have given just stock Android that would have been better, but a little of nothing is no good.

Design/ Looks

Samsung has played safe with Galaxy S 4 and kept the Galaxy S III like design in Galaxy S 4 with a few tweaks here and there. The company still relies heavily on plastic, thus the phone does not look as premium compared to its competitors. We have no issues with the Galaxy S 4 design as such, but it is not really innovative.

There is no doubt that HTC One has one of best smartphone designs that we have seen in the recent times. Its aluminium unibody construction is just perfect and it wins hands down in this department.

Sony has also shown its design prowess with Xperia Z, it might not be as great as HTC One, but it is still better than Galaxy S 4. With tempered glass and anti-shatter film on the front and back, Xperia Z is a looker.

Raw horse-power

This is one area where high-end phones have reached a level, where every high-end Android phone has more than enough power for practical use. So, unless you really want to show-off that you have an 8-core processor in your phone, we don’t really think that anyone of the HTC One, Galaxy S 4 or Xperia Z users will have any performance issues with their phones.

Just for information:

Samsung Galaxy S 4: 1.6GHz Samsung Exynos 5 Octa 8-core processor with PowerVR SGX 544MP3 GPU/ or 1.9GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro quad-core processor with Adreno 320 GPU.

HTC One: 1.7GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 quad-core processor with Adreno 320 GPU

Sony Xperia Z:  1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro (update: Snapdragon 600 ) quad-core processor with Adreno 320 GPU

Samsung still holds some advantage here because of the use of ARM’s big-little technology in its processor; it is expected to be more power-efficient than others. We will know more when we actually use it.


For your imaging needs, Samsung has kept it simple and went for the usual megapixel count and decent optics. The Galaxy S 4 comes with a 13MP rear camera and 2MP front camera, both with BSI and full HD recording support.  The initial camera performance previews of S 4 look good and company seems to have gotten it right.

HTC wanted to change the smartphone market with its Ultrapixel technology and if initial reviews are any indication, the company has failed. The 4MP rear camera with ultrapixel sensor and 2.1MP front camera do not overthrow anyone, it is just you average camera with good low-light performance.

Sony is known for its camera sensors and the ones used in company’s Xperia Z don’t let anyone down. The Japanese manufacturer has included a 13MP rear camera and 2.2MP front camera; both have been dubbed as good performers in the initial reviews.


It is the year of 1080p displays and every flagship this year is coming with one. No one seems to be extra-special in terms of display among Galaxy S 4, HTC One and Sony Xperia Z, although HTC One does have more PPI because of the smaller display, but it does not really make that much of a difference.

For more features and specs comparison, check out the table below:[table id=64 /]

Overall, it looks like Samsung has been able to provide a good Galaxy S III successor, but the factors like final pricing are going to matter a lot. HTC One is going to be a great competitor; however Sony Xperia Z slightly lags behind.

What do you guys think about these three phones and will Galaxy S 4 be as big a success as Galaxy S III? Let us know in the comments.

Post Author: Gaurav Shukla

Gaurav Shukla is the editor of If you'd like to reach him, drop an email at '' or connect with him on Twitter (@gauravshukla).

12 thoughts on “Samsung Galaxy S4 vs HTC One vs Sony Xperia Z

    Ryan Lewis

    (March 16, 2013 - 6:04 pm)

    In the high-end Android space, we’ve reached a point where specifications don’t really matter, as sooner or later, they all even out and every OEM ends up with something more or less the same. The above three phones are the perfect example of this.

    Other than a few differences in the screen size and technology they will all run apps smoothly, will make a very good gaming platform, will have above average camera performance and will always need to be charged before the day ends.

    The Samsung Galaxy S4 may not be the most attractive handset, but if you fancy TouchWiz and all the gesture-based features it packs in, it may suit you. The Xperia Z has the rugged quality going for it while the HTC One is for the suave, sophisticated type.

    If I had to pick one out of the three, I will choose SONY! It’s just awesome.

    Ankush Kaul

    (March 16, 2013 - 11:28 am)

    Samsung by keeping the same hardware and sofware design for its entire rannge (from S Duos to S4) shows lack of innovation and makes S4 loose the premium feel. Rather than spending money on real quality products they are relying more on marketing. As several reviews claim the plactic body of S4 feels even more cheap than S3, S4 definately dosent look like a 40k phone.
    On the other had both One and Z look stunning have a premium feel, also the camera on One comes very close to Lumia 920 which is a great plus.

    But some how i still feel that S4 will take the cake due the the deceptive marketing and negligence of people!


      (March 16, 2013 - 12:39 pm)

      completely agreed! 🙂

      Ashish Prasad

      (March 16, 2013 - 7:06 pm)

      Totally agree with you….

    harminder s

    (March 15, 2013 - 9:12 pm)

    Real Innovation provided by HTC One with ultra pixels and you are completely wrong with software customization it has sense 4.0 which is father of all innovations. Then comes the designs s 4 have same allover plastic like in s 3. The new thing i liked the Air flow gestures in s 4.

      Ankush Kaul

      (March 16, 2013 - 11:30 am)

      Dont think there will be much use of the Air flow feature… just another marketing gimmik


    (March 15, 2013 - 7:32 pm)

    Sony xperia z has got the WATER AND DUST PROOF technology which is not present in both the other phones which will be a more than handy feature at the same price or at a lower price than the other two.So i will go with XPERIA ZZZZ….


    (March 15, 2013 - 3:51 pm)

    I’d like to point out a slight error – The quad core version is not a Snapdragon S4 Pro, it’s a Snapdragon 600.

      Gaurav Shukla

      (March 15, 2013 - 6:56 pm)

      @Gaurav There is contradicting information available so far. Samsung has officially just said that the phone has 1.9GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon, online reports suggest that it is S4 Pro, but some also think that it might be Snapdragon 600 given the fact that S4 Pro is older than S4 Pro.


    (March 15, 2013 - 1:36 pm)

    Samsung has lacked innovation here, Why u ask me?
    8 core is just 4 cores working at any 1 time

    5 inch screen is still pentile

    13 mp camera? sony and lg have been making 13 mp phones for sometime

    Touchwiz? gimme a break people prefer stock android and Xperia ui is the most stock feeling ui of all 3

    4th for a flagship samsung didnt bother at all with the looks… even last year’s htc one X and xperia S look better than the cheap plastic….Samsung and Apple are at a point where they cant innovate any further… S4 seems like a S3+….same as what htc did with one X+

    for the new so called features

    pfft Floating touch was introduced by sony on xperia Sola
    Eye scroll has been announced by lg before samsung

    Samsung says both these features r there so that if ur hands r dirty or wet u dont have to touch your screen… than y dont u guys just make it waterproof like Xperia Z…where u can wash it later…or even use it in the shower… i doubt eye scroll or float touch is going to let u do that… so another useless feature

    So where is the innovation samsung? what new did u bring to the table?
    HTC did with the one’s 4 ultra pixel thingy

    sony did with xperia z’s awsome and killer looks and slim body and water and dust resistance thingy + the hdr recording..
    Where did samsung innovate? i wasnt this much disappointed with iphone 5 announcement like i am with galaxy s4


      (March 15, 2013 - 4:49 pm)

      i agree with you in most exact a few:
      1. pentile but with such a high resolution, you’ll need a magnifying glass if you want to point at the pentile matrix.
      2. about touchwiz, Samsung have to differentiate in some way. i agree Touchwiz looks BAD for a flagship and Samsung have no plan to retire it (rather they renamed it Nature UI) but it packs some useful features that makes the interaction slightly better. still lot of room for improvement.
      3. absolute agreed on looks. S4 looks bad actually. really bad and boring.
      4. i doubt there will be many who’ll use their mobile under the shower. rather i’ll say if you by accident get your mobile wet, it’ll work just fine and it is a handly addition to a flagship. and that alone can differentiate Xperia Z from A-to-X mobiles.

      Samsung actually is copying Apple. Apple copy features from other mobiles (4″ screen WOW, paranorma photography WOW, slim yet big WOW) and so Samsung did same. and now they’ll advertise them. as simple as that 🙂

    Mukesh Verma

    (March 15, 2013 - 12:48 pm)

    Guys Samsung Galaxy S IV is going to recreate history as its predecessor has did and probabley it has potential to topple down the Apple iphone. One more spectacular step in journey of Samsung towards leader in global smartphone arena.
    Its evident from the over emphasis given to the software part that alone android OS is not good enoungh to differntaiate from the other android devices out there (HTC, SONY and LG).
    But disapponted by the fact that no major out of the box thing has not come out as expected (advanced display, bendable/flexible screen).
    Overall a smart product is right out there grab it!!! N yeah beware Apple !!!! No concerns or threat from other Android makers as of now…

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