This year has got off to a flying start in terms of new mobile tech. Just two months in and we already had two of the biggest phones of 2015 revealed. Now that we’ve had time to get to know the Samsung Galaxy S6 and HTC One M9, we want to show you how they compare. So let’s take a look.
Design and display
This year is the first time Samsung has made a flagship smartphone from metal, making the Galaxy S6 much more premium and chic than its predecessors. HTC really set the trend for super stylish metal phones with the original HTC One, and the One M9 is simply an evolution of that iconic design. But we honestly feel that Samsung’s first attempt at a metal phone looks and feels better than HTC’s third.
The smooth metal back of the M9 doesn’t wrap right around to the screen like it did on the original One, and that makes it look like the phone’s been put in an odd metal case. Although we do like that every colour option of the HTC now has a brushed metal finish. Maybe we’re being a bit picky, but we’ve come to expect great things from the HTC design team.
By comparison, the Galaxy S6 feels almost completely seamless. And it has a panel of super tough Gorilla Glass 4 on the back that adds a nice shine and real depth of colour. From the front, it looks distinctly Samsung. But the edges of the phone look like they’ve borrowed design ideas from Sony and Apple. Although the Galaxy S6 edge, with its curved screen, looks completely unique and really benefits from that.
There’s not much difference in size between the two phones, although the Galaxy S6 is a bit thinner, because they both have screens measuring around 5 inches. But while the screens are similar in size, they’re definitely not equal. With a Quad HD resolution, the Galaxy S6 screen shows twice as much detail as the Full HD HTC screen.
Samsung also uses Super AMOLED screen technology, rather than the more usual LCD that HTC uses. When an AMOLED screen shows blacks, it just turns off those pixels. That saves battery and gives perfect black colours, which in turn makes things look more realistic. That makes the S6 fantastic for movies, where scenes are often dark, but not so great for web pages that are mostly white.
Both HTC and Samsung have worked to improve their cameras. The Galaxy S6 has a 16 megapixel (MP) sensor, a number that’s long been heralded as the most a professional photographer needs, and optical image stabilisation that keeps the camera steady even if you’ve got shaky hands. It also has a new lens with a super wide f1.9 aperture that lets in more light – perfect for taking photos on a night out.
The One M9, on the other hand, has an even sharper 20MP resolution. But HTC’s main focus has been on creating powerful photo editing software so you can easily perfect those sharp shots and make really unique images.
Samsung Galaxy S6 camera sample
HTC One M9 camera sample
So how do their photos compare? Well, HTC really has closed the gap and the M9’s photos carry a lot of detail. But compared to the photos taken with the S6, they look too bright, which gives some unnatural colours. That’s most likely because the version of the M9 that we’re using doesn’t have HTC’s final software yet, so it probably isn’t processing pictures properly.
The One M9 and Galaxy S6 are two of the most powerful phones around. They both have big octa core processors and 3GB RAM for smooth multitasking and both run the latest version of Android, 5.0 Lollipop. The only time you can see a small difference in speed is when you open a big game or app. Samsung has a new type of built in storage that responds really quickly, meaning the S6 open big files a little quicker than the M9 does.
When it comes to batteries, the One M9 has the advantage on paper. Its battery is more than 10% bigger than the one in the Galaxy S6. But battery life isn’t all about size, the efficiency of the screen, processor and software make a big difference. From our limited testing, there isn’t much difference in battery life between the two phones, you’ll get a couple of days use from a charge, but we’ll keep you updated if we see that change.
When you need to recharge the phones, both offer fast charging so you don’t have to stay plugged in for too long. Samsung’s official figure says a 10 minute charge will give you four hours of use from the phone, HTC hasn’t given us any official estimate. Samsung has also squeezed wireless charging into its phone, which means you’ll be able to refuel it more conveniently.
We couldn’t be happier to have these two phones launch at the same time. It means we’ve got a really tough decision to make when it comes to upgrading our phone. The only thing we can find fault with in the HTC One M9 is its new design, and even that’s just down to personal preference. But we’ve fallen in love with the Samsung Galaxy S6. It seems to be an unbeatable complete package.
We’re going to spend a week living with both phones and will report back about what they’re like in everyday life. In the meantime, let us know whether you’d go for the Samsung Galaxy S6 of HTC One M9 in the comments below.