Wait a minute, we don’t have a winner yet. Yes, Samsung snatched the spotlight and far more headlines than HTC with a two revolutionary designs, plus its typical marketing juggernaut behavior. But the One M9 is still in this fight, and hopes to win the whole thing.
After all, Sammy reformed GS5’s bland look because it had to, whereas HTC, say many, merely settled for not messing with perfection. Meanwhile, sans Note Edge’s functionality add-on, the GS6 Edge is a doomed gimmick, according to Android conservatives.
Finally, as far as the numbers race is concerned, the Galaxy S6 puts its creators in the ideal position to hit a home run, but (there’s always a but) a few of the specification upgrades are deemed unnecessary by some.
Here at The Droid Guy, we like to stay as objective as possible, so today, we’ll pit the One M9 against the S6 and S6 Edge, offer both sides of the “who’s best” debate, and leave the verdict all up to you.
Samsung Galaxy S6 vs. S6 Edge vs. HTC One M9 – design comparison
While we’ve certainly had our fair share of evenly-matched contests in the past, this three-way aesthetic duel takes the cake. Good thing we’ve already warned you we won’t pick a victor.
With plastic now a distant, lamentable memory, Samsung can match up at last to HTC’s exquisitely robust constructions. This is an aluminum vs. aluminum bout, though the S6 and S6 Edge blend metal with glass for a swankier, glossier vibe.
In the opposite corner, HTC does what it knows best – refinement work. The M9 is essentially a polished copy of the M8, which in turn looked a lot like the M7, just slightly more premium. The S6 Edge of course adds dual curves in the equation, and is therefore bound to catch the eye of fashionistas and people seeking attention in general.
At 6.8 mm, the standard S6 is the slimmest of the three, the S6 Edge affixing an unnoticeable 0.2 mm on top of that. The M9 measures a chunky 9.6 mm in depth, and is unsurprisingly 19 and 25 grams heavier than the S6 and S6 Edge respectively, at 157 grams. If you ask HTC about it however, they’ll tell you all that fat has all the noble goals in mind – extra strength and higher battery capacity.
On paper, M9’s screen doesn’t even play in the same league as the impeccable Super AMOLEDs on the GS6 duo. At approximately equivalent diagonals, the former delivers 1,920 x 1,080p resolution, and the latter(s) turn heads and break records with 2,560 x 1,440 pixel counts.
Resulting density? 441 vs. 577 ppi. A no-contest triumph for the next big thing(s)? Not so fast, as HTC will argue the human eye can only perceive so much clarity and pixel mass.
In other words, they’ll tell you the Quad HD panels on the S6/S6 Edge are overkill. Can you dispute that? Not really, at least not until we see all three phones in the flesh playing vids and games at the highest quality they’re capable of.
Processing speed clash
Say what you will about Samsung, but it took guts to give Qualcomm the cold shoulder and go the Koreans’ own way out of the blue. Will the Snapdragon 810 – Exynos 7420 swap pay off? Preliminary benchmarks are looking good, but it’s way too early to write the S810 off.
Besides, Exynos production has been in full swing for a few years, but until now, it’s never had to deal with global Galaxy S demand. Ergo, there’s a chance the OEM’s chip-making division won’t handle the extra workload very elegantly.
The S6 Edge in particular is in danger to hit delays or limited, staggered launches. But if everything goes according to plan, the 7420 has energy efficiency as a big advantage at the very least. It’s a 14 nm-based piece of silicon, so put simply, it’s more frugal than the 20 nm 810.
Both are octa-core big.LITTLE concoctions, with separate clusters for high-power and lighter tasks. And they’re naturally both 64-bit-capable.
RAM and storage
Despite rampant speculation in the months leading up to the announcements, no one went overboard in the memory department. 3 gigs of RAM is enough for Android “computing”, and we’re glad Samsung and HTC acknowledged that.
But boy oh boy, did the mobile champions from Seoul goof up storage options. We get it, you had to seal the battery up, and bolt down the rear cover. But there are ways to do all that and permit microSD expansion, you know? Just look at HTC for “inspiration” next time.
Good thing you can at least get local 64 or 128 GB space on the GS6 and S6 Edge, although we don’t want to imagine how much the highest-capacity “edgy” handheld might cost. 1,000 bucks? 2,000? Why even toy with such a crazy concept when you could purchase the 32 GB One M9 for $650 or so, and throw in a cheapo 64 or 128 GB external card.
Samsung Galaxy S6 vs. S6 Edge vs. HTC One M9 – software and battery life
Don’t you just hate it when rumors spoil a delightful surprise like the TouchWiz bloatware dilution on the S6/S6 Edge pair? Granted, early demos and hands-on previews star a UI still a little stuffier than purists would like.
But the evolution and simplification are obvious, and for once, TW completes Android instead of suffocating it. Android 5.0 Lollipop, of course, the same software iteration found on the M9 alongside Sense 7.0, the prettiest yet possibly most intrusive version of HTC’s proprietary UI to date.
Back to Samsung’s particular set of skills goodies, let’s underline (again) the S6 Edge has far fewer aces up its sleeve than the Note Edge, but can still display things like a night clock on the curves without having to unlock the main, central screen.
As for device autonomy, like raw speed and display excellence, we’ll need to wait and see how the three behave in real-life conditions. In theory, the M9 should prevail, with a 2,840 mAh cell that’s a massive 300 mAh or so larger than the tickers inside its two main rivals. HTC has the “edge” in fast charging tech as well, while Samsung counter-attacks with wireless charging.
Cameras, sensors and prices
We’re likely about to badly piss you off, but the camera fight can’t be settled just yet either. It’s simply too close to call it. On one hand, HTC has the superior megapixel count – 20.7. But Samsung is close enough, at 16 MP, to make up lost ground with optical image stabilization.
Interested in selfies first and foremost? You have another tough choice to make – 4 Ultrapixels or 5 megapixels?
Alas, HTC has no answer for Samsung’s vastly improved, PayPal-certified, touch-based fingerprint sensor, or the heart rate monitor on both the S6 and S6 Edge. Then again, the Taiwanese may come out on top with off-contract affordability, and a swifter turnaround.
The One M9 is expected out later this month starting at roughly $650, while the S6 and S6 Edge should cost north of $700 and $800 respectively and roll out in April. Overall, do you think timing and a familiar, acclaimed build will help HTC dominate, or is Samsung unbeatable, thanks to the risks they’ve taken?