My Take on the HTC One X vs Galaxy S III Debate

, posted: 22-May-2012 12:02

UPDATE: "This blog post was originally written only a day after the announcement of the Galaxy S III and due to the delayed posting of it, it is not as relevant today as it was a few weeks ago. My views on the Galaxy S III, noticeably the design and performance areas, has improved noticeably. As such, if I get my hands on a certain Samsung flagship in time I will write a revised post as a follow-up to this one."

A few days ago we all witnessed the launch of Samsung’s Galaxy S III in London. Thanks to that annoying thing we call hype, many Android fans left their computer displays at 7am that morning somewhat disappointed. We saw it with the iPhone 4S, and we saw it again today with the Galaxy S III. Hype dramatically increases disappointment levels. This rule is universal.

I can’t help but think the design of the Galaxy is just a refresh of the Galaxy Nexus launched last year. Heck, it even reminds me of an enlarged Galaxy Mini, and the similarities are noticeable.

Samsung’s designs should be flowing downwards starting at the top rather than upwards.

Where the S III apparently has a polycarbonate back cover, the gloss finish presents the cheapo brushed plastic look. The One X on the other hand has the luxurious feeling of a polycarbonate body with a much more matte finish. Plus a body that won’t inherently vibrate on a desk, annoying anyone within a 10 foot radius.

The Galaxy is 0.1 cm wider than the One X, and in a world where the One X is not trusted in one handed use, the Galaxy won’t be any better. Honestly, I never realised where people were coming from when they wanted a smaller, yet powerful smartphone. I understand them now. The One X is just impossible to use securely in one hand, I always find my left right supporting it.

Let’s face it, the One X just looks better. It has a curved display and has a premium feel, as opposed to the slab of cheap looking plastic the S III is. If Samsung wants to be like Apple so much with their “feng shui” and “nature” marketing, why do they build something that appears so cheap?

Winner: HTC One X

The Display
Obviously I have not seen the Galaxy’s display in person, but specs go a long way to giving you a great idea. The 0.1 inch larger display seems more like a effort to out-do HTC - a secret little competition I don’t care about, and personally dislike.

The Super IPS LCD 2 display on the One X is amazing. It isn’t a display, it’s a moving picture. I use, and test, phones how I (and emphasis on the I) use them. I don’t watch HD movies or anything like that on it. That’s not me.

In everything else, from general phone duty use to browsing to gaming the One X’s display has it covered. Viewing angles, colour saturation and pixel density I have never witnessed better.

The S III’s screen is 0.1 inch larger with the same resolution and is of the HD Super AMOLED variety. The lack of a Plus badging means that indeed it has a Pentile matrix, but I really wonder how obvious this is going to be on a 4.8 inch display with over 900,000 pixels.

Samsung has apparently managed to turn down the colour saturation on the S III and as usual blacks are perfect so it could be the perfect, ultra-portable movie watching device (for those that are into that stuff) short of the Galaxy Note.

Winner: HTC One X

The One X has Nvidia’s Tegra 3 chipset, while the Galaxy has a Exynos 4 Quad (4412) chipset. Both have a quad core ARM Cortex A9 CPU. The four cores in the One X clock up to 1.5 GHz, I haven’t seen anything on the Galaxy.

GPU wise, the HTC has a ULP Geforce and the Samsung has the superior (hardware at least) ARM Mali400 MP4. And yes, this is the same GPU that was found in the Galaxy S II, it has just been clocked significantly higher.

Looking at early benchmarks CPU benchmarks are pretty even between the two, with the One X possibly just taking the lead. This could of course being caused by the Tegra 3 being clocked slightly higher than the Exynos.

Browser benchmarks show the Galaxy taking an impressive lead in Browsermark, Vellamo and a small one in Sunspider Javascript. The GPU benches is where the Exynos chipset gets to stretch its legs, comfortably beating the One X in GLBenchmark and Rightware Basemark.

However, the Tegra powered One X has full access to TegraZone, Qualcomm has their own Snapdragon GameCommand platform that will be expanded over the coming months. Exynos (and OMAP) on the other hand, they don’t really have anything.

TegraZone has games like Dark Meadow (pictured above) which finally gives Android the gaming experience that Apple has had sorted for a while now.

Do you want kickass games or 10-30% better benchmark scores?

Winner: Too close to say


I enjoy Sense 4.0, to the point I actually prefer it over stock Ice Cream Sandwich. I hate Samsung TouchWiz UX. I know you can always install custom launchers, but again, most people are going to be running stock most of the time so I am basing it on that.

Considering not much else really effects the software balance (or that I could compare without an Galaxy S III on hand)...

Winner: HTC One X

The Samsung Galaxy S III has created iPhone-type flame wars back and forth between not loyal Apple-ites, but the Android army’s own HTC allies. Many people have now come to their senses that the iPhone is lost in its own little world with its tiny 3.5 inch screen. The 4 inch HTC Incredible S (former daily driver) feels - and looks - tiny to me now, I’d hate to discover what an iPhone or smaller Android feels like.

Between the Galaxy S III and the HTC One X though, I am leaning towards the southern area of the East China Sea. If I did happen to buy the HTC One X outright (thanks Geekzone and Telecom!) then I would in no way be enduring buyer’s regret right now.

Saying this, I don’t speak for the 99% but I probably speak on behalf of them. Some of the Galaxy S III’s perceived benefits such as a Wolfson DAC,  GLONASS GPS support and a MicroSD slot really don’t matter to me, or 99% of the population.

a) It’s a phone, not a mobile mixing and mastering rig. b) Who cares about the Russian satellites? I can get a 6 foot lock easily from my windowsill and the sky view isn’t brilliant. c) 32 gigabytes of storage is more than enough for all the music, video and application you (should) need to have on your phone, plus there is always the cloud.

What phone is going to sell more? The Samsung Galaxy S III
What phone is going to be the quiet achiever? The HTC One X

About the author

I’ll be honest: there was once a day when I got bored and sick of seeing all the smartphone related news in my RSS feeds. This day was literally no more than nine months ago. Well here I stand today; known as Blair the college student in the real world, ArchSerpo in this one. Whilst not even considered an adult by the Government I have established myself as a Android and mobile technology news reporter and in depth reviewer for KitGuru, Android Mobile New Zealand, and now (hopefully) the TelecomTech blog. While bias towards the green team may appear given, I have had experience with all the major mobile operating systems except BlackBerry and MeeGo in the last six months and always keep an open mind.

Other related posts:
HTC One X: Bring on the Games!
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HTC One X Movie Editor

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