Samsung Galaxy S3 vs One X: Why HTC Kicks Butt

Samsung Galaxy S3 & HTC One X – These two giants of the smartphone arena are both on AT&T in the US, with infuriatingly similar specs. Namely the 16GB of internal storage, 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Krait dual core CPU with Adreno 225 graphics, LTE 4G with HSPA+, large 720p display,  Android Ice Cream Sandwich, $199 contract price and 8-megapixel rear camera with BSI sensor.

Samsung Galaxy S3 vs HTC One X

So how do you choose between the two? As these phones run on the same core internals, data speeds, benchmarks and gaming performance are pretty much the same. So, we’ll look at what’s different – build quality, materials and screens, HTC Sense v TouchWiz, battery access and storage expansion.

Storage and Replaceable Battery: The Samsung Galaxy S3 (somewhat predictably) wins out on storage expansion and battery accessibility. The HTC One X has no microSD slot and an inaccessible battery. The winner is the Samsung Galaxy S3

Build Quality, Materials and Looks: Lots of reviews – on here and elsewhere – have already criticized the Samsung Galaxy S3 for its shiny and gaudy casing. Both phones have polycarbonate casings, but the One X looks and feels classier. The Samsung Galaxy S3 simply looks and feels like a cheapo phone from 2001. Nice shape, low-rent finish.. The winner is the HTC One X

The display of any smartphone, laptop or tablet is the first thing you notice, and you’ll soon notice a sharp, colourful display. Both phones have 1280x720p screens that immediately grab your attention. If you’re used to Samsung’s AMOLED displays you’ll love the GS3’s hyper-real colors and high contrast. However, Super AMOLED is getting a bit passé now, using a Pentile matrix with fewer sub-pixels against LCDs and Samsung’s newer Super AMOLED Plus tech. The colour palette is wider than the human eye can actually see, so colors look oversaturated and whites can look almost bluish. The HTC One X’s Super LCD screen is just sharp with natural, easy on the eye colours. It also performs better in outdoors as the S3 has been found to be dim (even dimmer than the S2 mind you). The winner is the HTC One X

Software: TouchWiz v HTC Sense is becoming as pitched a battle as iOS vs Android. Usability and popularity has shifted back and forth between the two over the years. Right now, HTC Sense is in the ascendant, as it lets Android 4.0 ICS do its thing, with simple, subtle customizations. HTC has a lot of little tricks that make using the phone more intuitive. It’s easy to see which UI is the best.

Samsung has stuffed the Galaxy S3 with lots of widgets to beat the iPhone. The “it’s about the software, dummy” mantra of last year must have stung, leading to S-Voice, PiP, S-Memo, S-Suggest, lots of camera mini-apps and so forth. In some ways, it’s too much. Some features are great, like sharing photos with friends while you’re actually AT the party, and the Kies air-syncing is useful. In general, though, it feels like Samsung has thrown money at random and has missed the problem it should have been aimed at – like getting big features like S-Voice running decently. It should also be noted that many of the “S sharing features” that the Galaxy S3 boasts will only work with another S3. The winner is HTC One X for following the KISS philosophy and delivering a better overall UI look (the TouchWiz on S3 can still be mistaken for Gingerbread).

In the end, some of you have a strong preference for Samsung or HTC and that will govern your decision. And though the HTC One X wins more of our comparison points, the Galaxy S3 takes one that’s so important it could easily have the weight of two depending on the user: the microSD card slot if you find space a little too restrictive, and a swappable battery if you are the type of user who keeps a spare in your pocket.