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HTC One vs. Sony Xperia Z vs. Samsung Galaxy S4

After reviewing all top 3 flagship phones for first half of 2013, we’d like to revisit and share with you what we think of them. Here’s our round-up of the three handsets you’ve been dying to get your hands on — the Samsung Galaxy S4, Sony Xperia Z and the HTC One.

In the open arena of Android smartphones, these three are probably the most aspired handsets.

HTC One. Undoubtedly the best-looking handset of the lot. Made of solid aluminum and enjoyed a good number of following. While it has the smallest screen (at 4.7 inches) compared to the other two (at 5 inches), it also benefited from it by having the highest pixel density at 469ppi.

However, the HTC One was plagued with shipment delays, shortage of supply and came in a few thousand pesos more expensive than the other two.

What we liked about the device:
* Impressive design and build
* Great performance
* Impressive camera performance
* LTE connectivity
* Great display
* Very good sound quality
* IR blaster as remote control
* Large internal storage
* Built-in NFC
* Great Sense UI

What we did not like about it:
* Average battery life
* Heats up quite fast
* No expandable memory

The HTC One earns the title “Sexiest Smartphone Alive” in our book. You can read our review of the HTC One here.

Samsung Galaxy S4. Riding on the success of the Galaxy S2 and the S3, the Galaxy S4 remains to be one of the best selling handsets in the world. It has spawned a lot of siblings too, including one that is dust and water-proof like the Xperia Z.

However, Samsung continued to be criticized for employing seemingly cheap, all-plastic body for the Galaxy S4, losing out that engineering battle from the all-glass construction of the Xperia Z and aluminum body of the HTC One.

What we liked about it:
* Top-notch performance
* Very high display resolution
* Great camera performance and features
* High-speed LTE connectivity
* NFC functions and features
* IR Blaster
* Good battery life

What we did not like:
* More gimmicky features and bloatware
* Plastic body

Banking on two chips to power their handset, Samsung’s strategy paid off. The Galaxy S4 earned the title of “Most Powerful Beast on Earth” in our book. You can read our review of the Galaxy S4 here.

Sony Xperia Z. This handset enjoyed the exclusive position of being the first flagship to be able to weather a storm, or a drop in the swimming pool — no wonder Samsung just had to make an S4 variant just like it. An all-glass construction and very thin form factor places it as one the sexiest handsets around.

However, in a rush to get their flagship out early, Sony had to settle with a slightly older yet still powerful chip from Qualcomm. The TFT screen is also something some folks didn’t appreciated that much.

What we liked about it:
* Solid design and build quality
* Great performance
* Impressive camera
* NFC features with other Sony devices
* Water and dust resistance

What we did not like:
* Highly reflective TFT display
* Smudge and fingerprint magnet

We give the Xperia Z the title of “Most Celebrated Triathlete” in the smartphone world. You can read our full review of the Sony Xperia Z here.

What’s your pick?

Whichever of the three you pick, we are sure you are going to like it. We just have a few footnotes you might want to consider first.

* The Galaxy S4 and Xperia Z are both compatible with Smart and Globe LTE networks. The HTC One only works with Globe LTE.

* The Xperia Z is currently the most affordable of the three, selling as low as around Php23k in some online stores.

* The HTC One already ran out of stocks. The first shipment was just about 1,000 units, all sold out even the ones from Globe. There’s a waiting period that’s already clocking in at 4 weeks now.

Abe is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of YugaTech. You Can follow him on Twitter @abeolandres.

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33 Responses

  1. Ex-Alodian Knight says:

    Never support the Hallyu Wave. Xperia Z for the win.

  2. johnonline says:

    Got the s4..no complains..all issues or things we read about the s4 in some tech sites are inexistent..plastic has it’s advantages.

  3. Yo says:

    Xperia z baby!!

  4. Michael says:

    S4 is for me, even for the plastic body, unit performance vs price is still my way for choosing a phone

  5. dan_MD says:

    Hard decision. Phone performance, I would go for the SGS4 or HTC One. Internet connectivity, I would go for Smart’s Offerings: SGS4, Xperia Z. Price: Xperia Z, Camera: SGS 4.

    If you’re willing to go for a Windows Phone, then Nokia Lumia 925 or the yet to be announced Nokia EOS.

  6. Ice says:

    top 3, badtrip tagal ng htc butterfly s

  7. Al says:

    No doubt, the xperia Z. The spec sheet is just in form. But in substance, the Z is the best. i tried all the 3 handsets before buying. In S4, I was sad using it, nothing special, plus all samsung devices resembles the S4, even the grand.

    HTC one was ok but the “unworkable touch buttons” and the homepage is not usable :( plus the ultrapixel isnt just right, but the build quality and sounds are great. re screen, it was bold but I think lacks the punch.

    Z’s design plus the waterproof capability and the awesome bravia engine makes the Z my choice. The viewing angles is not an issue for me. Im excited for the update of the software as it will upgrade the phone BIGTIME.

    Fyi: the speed of the 3 phones are almost the same, so its just a matter of preference, choose the phone that will have the possibility of acquiring UPDATES from android/manufacturer

  8. Karl says:

    Galaxy Note II pa rin!

  9. GalanT says:

    But which one has the best build against falls and impact? :)

  10. Jeremiah says:

    wanted the htc one sana but yun availability and price sa globe hindi subsidize unlike the s4 so mas mahal, kaya got the s4 instead and so far i’m very satisfied with it, plus yun mga gimmicky additional features niya is also fun to use!

  11. Yusuf says:

    1. Galaxy S4
    2. One
    3. Xperia Z (in a matter of months, this phone will be replaced by another Sony flagship. Unlike Samsung and HTC, Sony releases two flagship phones in 1 year. Basically makes the first one obsolete or a beta test. Lol)

    • red says:

      the question is who sell the most!!!
      My prediction would be
      1. Sammy S4 – 60M(due to lagging sales)
      2. Xperia Z – 15M(due too many flagship from one brand)
      3. HTC One – 6M(Q2 finance fall in an instant)

  12. Abed says:

    Prefer Sense UI than TouchWiz. But I like those gimmicky camera features on S4. If only Xperia Z has a low reflective screen. :)

  13. Ron says:

    Xperia Z.

    Best looking UI among the bunch.
    Great community with the help of Sony themselves.
    Sleek looking phone.

  14. xtinab says:

    S4 and XZ lang ang the best sa tatlo. . . Hindi ko ma feel ang htc parang china phone na ginawang bakal kuno ang housing. It’s just my opinion.

  15. awdog says:

    I think Galaxy S4 is the best buy given that these are expensive devices.

    1) There is a HUGE install base so definitely there will be community support even years past ahead.

    2) Removeable battery will keep your device working for as long as you take good care of it. What will happen to HTC One and Xperia Z once their batteries are past their age? You cant replace them.

    3) Samsung’s product support is the best there is in the industry. Im sure HTC will abandon HTC One in less than a year. They keep doing that. Sony? they have a bad track as well

    4) S4 screen alone fantastic.

    • nono says:

      your #2 comment is a little bit misleading…you cant replace the battery by YOURSELF because they are not user-removable but if there comes a time na mabilis na maglowbat ang phone mo you can let the battery be replaced by a technician because its still removable.

    • Mackaryo says:

      Yap. There are tech like on my friend’s experia (not the Z) but the 2012 flagship. He spend around Php 750 to pay someone in Robinson’s to open the phone for him every time. And the phone is somewhat problematic and he needs it to be opened to reboot it. More badnews is Sony told him it’s not under the warranty. Better be sure than sorry..

  16. jcnjcjcnjc says:

    S4 pa rin, since m from S2 & S3, so what I installed on my old device are on my S4 na rin. Even transfering data from iphone is just click of a button. maybe xperia z will b my back up phone, better looking than one.

  17. galaxyaceuser says:

    Hi readers =) may i ask kung bakit para sa inyo pangit ang touchwiz UI???(im not a fan nor a hater of touchwiz UI but i dont see anything bad,just curious)tnx =)

  18. Ric says:

    Chose the HTC One and couldn’t be happier. The build is just fantastic and is really nice to hold. Was a Galaxy Note ans S2 user before.

    Don’t really consider the heat issue as a con since the body is made of metal so its expected. Temperature should be the same as any phone although its easier for the user to feel it with the One because of the material used.

  19. Justin says:

    Where is the LG Optimus G Pro?

  20. ian says:

    get the S4, root it and install the google edition of it.

  21. lawrence says:

    I got the XPeria Z. been uysing it for more than 2 months. Loving it!

    What I don’t like about the S4 is the “Glaxy” looks. most Samsung phones look the same, from entry level to mid range to flagship. It’s so “generic”.

    What I don’t like about the HTC One is the non-espandable memory.

    The real-world performance of the three phones are almost the same.

    So, I got myself the XZ. Still loving it after more than 2 months. :)

    • lawrence says:

      i wish there’s a way of editing your post here. too many typographical errors! hehe :P

  22. meh says:

    My vote is galaxy s4, and then flash the google edition rom. Thats my plan

  23. HTCOneMukhangBBZ10 says:

    Galaxy s4 yan. yugatech na ang nagasbi oh

    What we liked about it:
    * Top-notch performance

    i dont care about the looks of the phone naman dahil ilalagay ko din naman sa loob ng otterbox case LOL

    expandable memory and USER replaceable battery pa. the best pa ang support ng samsung nakailang update na yung software ng galaxy s4 ko. kamusta naman htc at sony sa pag update ng phones nila?

  24. Marc says:

    1000 units lang ang nirelease ng htc dito sa pinas? that’s why wala pa akong nakikitang one masyado dito.

  25. ronald says:

    I own all three. Xpreria is performs the least when it comes to playing music and videos. I download zip files containing music and movies then after opening one, the screen flickers. I have to restart the phone. This never happens with one and s4.

  26. Quinton says:

    I have read so many posts on the topic of
    the blogger lovers however this article is in fact
    a good post, keep it up.

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