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HTC One M8 vs Samsung Galaxy S5: Which is better?

Two of the biggest smartphones of 2014, the Samsung Galaxy S5 and the HTC One M8, have already launched – but which is better value for money? We compare both mobiles in our full versus review…

Ali vs Frazier. Bugs vs Elmer. Ovaltine vs Nesquik. Some of history’s greatest all-time clashes, and now you can add the HTC One M8 vs Samsung’s Galaxy S5 to that list. These two smartphone heavyweights are early contenders for the 2014 Phone of the Year, boasting incredible unique features and premium specs.

But which mobile offers the best value for money? Is it HTC’s beautiful 5-inch handset, with its dual-lens camera, or Samsung’s latest flagship phone with its water-resistant body and fingerprint scanner? It’s fight time…

HTC One M8 vs Samsung Galaxy S5: Design

If you’re all about the looks (you shallow person you), then this comparison is pretty much over before it even began. The Samsung Galaxy S5 feels pretty solid and we appreciate the new strokeably-soft rear, which is a serious improvement over the cheap-o glossy finish of previous models. But it’s still plastic, and the crinkle-cut finish pales in comparison to the HTC One M8’s eyeball-caressing one-piece brushed metal finish.

HTC One M8 vs Samsung Galaxy S5 comparison review  HTC One M8 vs Samsung Galaxy S5 comparison review

The HTC One M8 is easily the best-looking mobile out there right now. I mean, come on. Look at that. Doesn’t that make you just want to skip down the street, singing ‘Walking on sunshine’ as you toss rose petals over strangers?

HTC One M8 vs Samsung Galaxy S5 comparison review

Don’t discount the Samsung Galaxy S5 so easily, however, as it stashes a couple of cool tricks up its plastic sleeves. Take the nifty fingerprint scanner, secreted inside the home button (much like the Apple iPhone 5’s). Not only can you keep nasty criminal types out of your phone, you can use the scanner to authorise online payments, great news if you’re a shopping addict who’s constantly forgetting your password.

HTC One M8 vs Samsung Galaxy S5 comparison review

The Samsung Galaxy S5 is also water resistant, unlike the HTC One, which is particularly great news if you enjoy using your phone outside in the UK. You might also enjoy Snapchatting in the shower, or whatever. Don’t worry. We don’t judge here.

HTC One M8 vs Samsung Galaxy S5: Screen and media

Both phones sport similarly-sized screens, with the Samsung Galaxy S5’s 5.1-inch Super AMOLED display only just having the edge over the HTC One M8’s 5-inch LCD-3 panel. With Full HD 1080p resolution, your high-def movies will look gorgeous on either device, and we’d happily while away a tedious long-distance journey by watching films on either phone.

 HTC One M8 vs Samsung Galaxy S5 comparison review HTC One M8 vs Samsung Galaxy S5 comparison review

However, while the HTC One M8’s screen offers true-to-life colours, the Galaxy S5’s Super AMOLED display goes for all-out uber-vibrancy, with bright colours really popping at your eyeballs. Both work well, and your favourite will come down to personal preference.

HTC One M8 vs Samsung Galaxy S5: Performance and battery life

There’s basically nothing between these phones when it comes to performance, as they both rock a quad-core SnapDragon 801 processor, the latest Qualcomm chip for smartphones. Either mobile can comfortably handle the latest intensive action games, and it’s refreshing that Samsung has sorted out the stuttery issues witnessed in the Galaxy S4 (caused by a feature-heavy TouchWiz interface).

Vodafone Smart 4 Mini screen: Good for the money

However, the HTC One M8 comes up trumps for battery life, with a solid two days of use per charge, even with pretty regular use. The Galaxy S5 just about managed a day and a half by comparison, although it does have a last-gasp Ultra Power Saving Mode if you’re desperate to wring some extra life. This mode drops a lot of functionality and leaves you with a basic black-and-white interface, so it really is for those truly desperate souls waiting for an important message with just a few percent remaining.

HTC One M8 vs Samsung Galaxy S5: Interface and overall experience

Google Android is buried away beneath custom overlays on both the Samsung Galaxy S5 and the HTC One M8, which dramatically alter their look and feel. We’re personally bigger fans of HTC’s Sense interface, now on its sixth iteration, with its handy Blinkfeed homepage that delivers social media updates and the latest news.

HTC One M8 vs Samsung Galaxy S5 comparison review HTC One M8 vs Samsung Galaxy S5 comparison review HTC One M8 vs Samsung Galaxy S5 comparison review

However, if you’re one of those jogger types, you’ll love the Galaxy S5’s built-in fitness widgetry goodness. The S Health app keeps track of your motions throughout the day, and you can check up on how active you’ve been using the desktop widget, before engaging uber-smug mode.

HTC One M8 vs Samsung Galaxy S5 comparison review

Of course, bear in mind that you can download alternative news feed and exercise apps from the Google Play store, usually for free, so these features shouldn’t really influence your final decision.

HTC One M8 vs Samsung Galaxy S5: Cameras

When it comes to cameras, there’s a world of difference between these two phones. The Samsung Galaxy S5 goes for all-out megapixels, with a 16-meg snapper that captures detailed photos and can shoot 4k video. The HTC One M8, on the other hand, uses a streamlined 4-meg ‘Ultrapixel’ camera. The resulting photos are still impressively detailed when viewed back on a TV, but the Samsung Galaxy S5 does capture more detail over a distance.

Vodafone Smart 4 Mini screen: Good for the money Vodafone Smart 4 Mini screen: Good for the money

HTC One M8 (left) versus Samsung Galaxy S5 (right)

However, the HTC One M8 camera’s real strength is low-light shots, which come out brighter and more attractive than the competition. If you’re always pulling out your camera in pubs and clubs, the M8 is a much better bet. We also prefer the M8’s selfie-cam, with its wide angle lens and countdown timer.

Vodafone Smart 4 Mini screen: Good for the money Vodafone Smart 4 Mini screen: Good for the money

HTC One M8 (left) versus Samsung Galaxy S5 (right)

The HTC One’s dual-lens rear camera allows for some cool visual trickery, such as the ability to alter a shot’s focus after it’s already been shot. Samsung offers a similar feature, but it’s much slower on the Galaxy S5 and you have to select a special mode first, which is fiddly.

Vodafone Smart 4 Mini screen: Good for the money Vodafone Smart 4 Mini screen: Good for the money

In the end, the two cameras offer very different experiences, but we’re personally swayed by the HTC One’s super-fast and adaptable Ultrapixel snapper. Of course, if you’re already on the 4k bandwagon, the Galaxy S5 may suit you better.

HTC One M8 vs Samsung Galaxy S5: Which is better?

All things considered, the Samsung Galaxy S5 is a powerful and feature-packed handset that we’d happily use every day. But it’s the HTC One M8’s gorgeous design, Ultrapixel camera and incredible battery life that really deliver the killer blow.

Check out our full review of the Samsung Galaxy S5, and the HTC One M8.

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