Time has really flown by this year, hasn’t it? It feels like we just celebrated the new year, and shortly thereafter CES 2015, the first glimpse of new technology we can hope to see in the near future, was already upon us. If the past couple of years have been any indicator of what we can expect out of this year, many of us are eagerly awaiting the arrival of two major Android flagships from two major manufacturers: Samsung’s Galaxy S6 and HTC’s One M9.
The two devices typically release a new generation within a month or two of each other, which is probably why so many people like to compare the two. They’re each other’s closest competition. I’ll admit, when HTC’s One (M7) first debuted back in 2013 shortly before Samsung’s Galaxy S4, the two phones quickly became my number one focus because I knew that I wanted one or the other to replace my 2-year-old Apple iPhone 4S. When their respective successors released last year around the same time, I found myself again enamored with the idea of how the two compared to each other. The story is no different for this year.
Of course, with either phone not having been released or even given an official announcement, most of the predictions for how this year’s battle between these two titans are going to be made from rumors, leaks, and speculation at this point.
I’ll get straight to the point: I think this year might be the year that the Samsung Galaxy S6 wins me over.
Back in 2013 I was able to test both the M7 and the Galaxy S4, with the Galaxy S4 having been my first choice. I went with the S4 because I had heard so many great things about the Galaxy S III over the past year, and although the last time I had owned an Android (the EVO 3D back in 2011) left a sour taste in my mouth about the platform, the praises that were sang of the Galaxy S III gave me interest in the platform again. I figured that the Galaxy S4 would only make that positive experience I had been hearing about that much better.
As it turned out, though, I wasn’t all that pleased with my Galaxy S4 experience. Within the first day I realized something was off about the device because it would get so hot that I had to set it down. I also had a problem adjusting to the 5-inch display, which was much larger than the 3.5-inch display I was used to on my iPhone. I was still within my 14-day exchange period, so at the point that I realized that the Galaxy S4 and I weren’t going to work out, I moved on to the HTC One. The HTC One was the phone that I originally wanted for its premium design, but given that my last Android before had been an HTC and I hadn’t had a great experience, I was wary of how well the One would pan out for me. After I made the exchange, I couldn’t have been happier. The HTC One was a huge improvement from the EVOs of yesteryear. Color me impressed.
Last year, the HTC One (M8) was, again, another hit device in my opinion. I enjoyed using the phone from my 30-Day Challenge, but it was still very similar to the One from the year before. Not a lot had changed, so the experience felt very similar. The Galaxy S5 was kind of the same story; it felt like a slightly upgraded refresh of the Galaxy S4. To me, there wasn’t a whole lot that I could have considered wow-worthy of either phone. Nothing seemed to have anything I hadn’t seen before, and both were pretty much exactly what I could have expected to see.
But I think this year is the year that Samsung might change up their usual style and go for something a little different with the Galaxy S6. I also think HTC will play it safe and stick with the same (or very similar) design when it comes to the HTC One M9.
Naturally it takes more than design to win a person over when it comes to flagship devices, and I think this is another area that Samsung could shine in if they decided to. There has been a lot of scrutiny over Samsung’s use of bloatware for several years now, and I really hope that this is the year the company chooses to condense some of those services. If they can get rid of the bloatware, make TouchWiz a little more lightweight, and change the design of the Galaxy S6 to be something a little more unconventional to what we’re used to from Samsung, then I think it’s a formula for another popular device. I’m already pleased that Samsung still incorporates removable batteries and external storage options (something I hope doesn’t change this year), and the specs on the Galaxy S line is hardly ever lacking from year-to-year. It could be very easy for Samsung to make a lasting impression with their next flagship.
And that’s not to say that I expect the One M9 to be any less of a beast as it has been over the past couple of years, but I think the Galaxy S6 has more potential to impress me more than HTC does at this point.
Readers, when it comes to these two major flagships, which one do you think will win you over? Let us know which one and what you hope to see in the comments below!