2014 HTC One M8

If you’re looking to buy a phone and the one at the top of your list has been around for a while (the Nexus 5, for example) you could easily take it for a spin. For devices that have just been released (or are still awaiting release from certain carriers), or if you’ll be ordering your phone online, going “hands on” before pulling out your wallet may be a luxury that you cannot afford, or may be impossible depending the part of the world you call home. In those situations, sites likes Pocketnow try and take the guess work out of your decision process by providing in-depth reviews and videos to show you everything you need to make an informed choice.

That sounds fine and dandy, but how can you trust us? After all, we’ve already got a 2014 HTC One in-house, and have already played with the Galaxy S 5. You’re absolutely right, so we decided to do something about it. We put ourselves in your shoes and asked the question: if we were to buy one of the two latest flagships from HTC and Samsung, without having actually experience either first-hand, which would it be, and why?

HTC One versus the Samsung Galaxy S 5

HTC One versus the Samsung Galaxy S 5

As luck would have it, neither of those devices have made it to our Utah offices, and I haven’t attended any launch events or unveilings. I haven’t used or even held either the all-new HTC One nor the Samsung Galaxy S 5. All I know about them is what I’ve learned online and through helpful videos like those featured on Pocketnow.

Put another way, I’m in exactly the same situation as any of you when researching a new phone.

It I were to make a decision today, right now, which smartphone would I get when comparing the HTC One versus the Samsung Galaxy S5? Just in case the title and images didn’t already tip you off, I’d get the 2014 HTC One. But the real question isn’t which one, it’s why that one?

HTC has always held a special place in my heart. Ever since the early days of Pocket PC and Palm when HTC made iPaqs and the Palm Treo for other companies, I’ve always been impressed with its quality of workmanship, attention to detail, and innovative designs. Those qualities have carried through to the products it now makes which proudly display its own label. But that’s not why I’m picking the HTC One over the Galaxy S 5.

Google Play Edition

I don’t know if Samsung will release a Google Play Edition of the GS5, however I would be surprised if it didn’t. After all, the GS4 is still being offered there. Interestingly, the GS4 is priced at US$649, whereas the 2013 HTC One is $499. The 2014 version of the One is already listed, though its price is $200 more than its predecessor. If that’s the same pricing we can expect from Samsung, the GS5 will cost $849.

I’m sure Google or Samsung will drop the price of the old version once the new one is available for sale, but for now it just seems odd.

Aluminum vs. Plastic

Like its predecessor, the 2014 HTC One has an aluminum chassis. Aluminum dissipates heat and generally feels “cool” to the touch. Whether or not this actually extends the life of the components beneath the outer shell is anyone’s guess, but it certainly can’t hurt. Not only that, metal just feels more premium than a “band-aid” pattern embossed into a plastic panel. But that’s only one reason why I’m picking the HTC One over the Galaxy S5.

Front-Firing Speakers

One of the curses of being a tech writer is that many of the best quotes to perfectly describe a situation are your own. Repeating my own words seems cliché, but I’ll do it anyway:

“Rear-firing speakers make about as much sense as an away-facing screen.”

HTC is on to something with it’s front-firing speakers. Have you seen people trying to watch a video or share it with a friend? If they aren’t using ear buds, there’s almost always some sort of yoga-esque hand cupping in an attempt to amplify and direct the sound where they want it to go… you know, in the same direction that they want the photons to go. You wouldn’t pack around a mirror to try and bounce the display to where you want it — well, unless you’re Google Glass, but I digress — so why would you settle for doing that with your audio?

Not only that, even in the videos demonstrating the audio, the HTC One sounds amazing. But that’s just one more reason why I’m picking the HTC One over the Galaxy S 5.

Available today

In my neck of the woods, I can go and pick up a 2014 HTC One today. I don’t know when the Galaxy S5 will be released, and it seems like we’re hearing rumors of delays due to issues in manufacturing every day. If I were to pick up a phone today, it would be the HTC One.

I know, that’s not fair since the GS5 isn’t yet available, but if the One weren’t around and I had to wait, I’d probably wait and see what the Nexus 6 holds, since I’d be waiting anyway. That’s an important reason why I’m picking the HTC One over the Galaxy S 5.

Taken all together, there’s no doubt in my mind that the 2014 HTC One is superior to the Samsung Galaxy S5, and if both were available today, I’m certain I’d pick the HTC One.

What about you?

You’ve heard my reasoning when considering the HTC One versus the Samsung Galaxy S 5. Are my arguments valid? Would you come to the same conclusion? If you could choose between the two smartphones today, which one would you pick, and why? We’re all anxious to hear! Head down to the comments and let us know!

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