Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs HTC One (M8)

Introduction


Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs HTC One (M8)
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs HTC One (M8)
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs HTC One (M8)
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs HTC One (M8)
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs HTC One (M8)
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs HTC One (M8)
HTC was the first Android _phone_ maker to put its focus on style: its phones have been the embodiment of good industrial design, a refuge for people who value the marriage of premium quality feel and top-notch silicon running Android operating system. HTC’s latest flagship, the One (M8), released this spring, is the most refined version of HTC’s industrial design efforts, standing out amidst its plastic Android rivals like the Galaxy S5 and LG G3.

On the other side of the fence, after long taking hits for its uninspiring designs, Samsung seems to have finally taken note and it has reacted. The result of its new design work arrives with the Galaxy Note 4: a phablet with a sturdy metal frame and a nice faux leather finish that can finally approach HTC’s creations in terms of style. And while the two may differ in terms of size (the 5.7” Note 4 phablet is much larger than the 5” M8), fashionistas need no longer write off the Note series just for its looks.

The Note 4 has also got time on its side: it packs the latest silicon in the form of the Snapdragon 805 system chip and a polished 16-megapixel camera with optical image stabilization.

But is this enough of a reason to pick it over the One (M8)? Let’s take a deeper look at how the Note 4 compares to the One (M8).

Design

The Note 4 ushers Samsung in the era of premium materials with a sturdy metal frame, and a nice faux-leather back. The M8, on the other hand, exudes an aura of style with its curved unibody design.

The Note 4 marks a departure from plastic for Samsung and opens the era of metal smartphones for the company. This applies to the frame, though - the Note 4 still features a plastic back, but it is styled as faux-leather with a nice texture and feel (a bit rougher than the one on the S5). The HTC One (M8) in comparison features an all-metal unibody construction, a single seamless piece of aluminum that exudes confidence and a feeling of stability. Speaking of pure aesthetic appearance - as subjective as it is - the Note 4 feels like a step forward, but still not really on par with the meticulous finish of the M8. It's also worth mentioning that the Note 4 is noticeably larger than the M8, which makes it harder to operate with one hand.

The buttons on the Note 4 are in the traditional for Samsung position and layout: the physical home key with a fingerprint reader right below the screen, surrounded by two capacitive keys, one for multitasking and the back key. All other physical buttons are on the sides: you have a power/lock key on the right, and the volume rocker is on the left. The keys are a bit too recessed, but very clicky and fairly comfortable to press on the Note 4. The One (M8) in comparison relies on on-screen buttons only, there are no physical keys up front. The biggest flaw in the M8 design remains the weird positioning of the power/lock key - it’s at the top of the phone, making it very hard to reach. Apart from that, it’s clicky and easy to press, it’s just the position that feels wrong. The only other key on the M8 is the volume rocker on the right - within easy reach and with conveniently large size, excellent travel and reassuring click.

Note that neither device is water or dust proof, and you’d need to take extra care to not get them wet.

 

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Front view | Side view
Samsung Galaxy Note 4
Samsung Galaxy Note 4
6.04 x 3.09 x 0.33 inches
153.5 x 78.6 x 8.5 mm
6.21 oz (176 g)

Samsung Galaxy Note 4

HTC One (M8)
HTC One (M8)
5.76 x 2.78 x 0.37 inches
146.36 x 70.6 x 9.35 mm
5.64 oz (160 g)

HTC One (M8)



Display

Samsung's 5.7” Quad HD AMOLED is gorgeous, while the M8’s 5” 1080p screen is good, but not great.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 comes with a 5.7-inch Super AMOLED display with a resolution of 1440 x 2560-pixels (Quad HD), while the HTC One (M8) sports a smaller, 5-inch screen of the IPS LCD kind, but a lower, 1080 x 1920-pixel resolution.

Both are very sharp, but the Note 4 has the upper hand with a pixel density of 515ppi, much higher than the 441ppi on the M8. In real-life use, the difference is very minimal though - you have to hold your _phone_ very close to your eyes to see any pixelization. Pixel peepers would find it most noticeable when looking at text presented in tiny fonts. It’s worth mentioning that the AMOLED screen on the Note 4 uses Samsung’s PenTile Diamond pixel arrangement instead of the traditional RGB (used in the M8).

Turning to color accuracy, we’re impressed with what Samsung has done with the AMOLED screen of the Note 4, especially after earlier generations of AMOLEDs that were pretty inaccurate. In order to see the accurate colors, though, you’d first need to switch from the default ‘Adaptive’ screen mode to the color-accurate ‘Basic’ mode. In this mode, the greyscale balance is spot-on all across, as the white point is almost exactly at the reference 6500K value (meaning that we have pure white instead of colder one), and colors are very, very accurate. Impressive! As usual with AMOLED screens, Samsung also includes other screen modes, where you have richer, oversaturated colors that are definitely not accurate, but are pleasant for many people.

The HTC One (M8), on the other hand, while technically trying to adhere to the industry standard sRGB gamut, has a few problems. First off, the white point is a bit on the cold side at 7182K Then, HTC puts on its own fair share of artificial saturation boost, and the end result is a display with colors with an artificial pop, but very realistic look.

The AMOLED technology has long struggled with low brightness, but Samsung’s continuous improvements pay off in the Note 4 which reaches a sufficiently good 468nits, and reflections are also nicely filtered out so outdoor readability of the new Note is very good. The M8 does a decent job, but is a bit harder to read outdoors. Turning the page to night viewing, Samsung has also managed to cap off minimum brightness at the impressive 1 nit on the Note 4, which means that the screen won’t tire your eyes with excessive glow. The respective value on the M8 is the rather eye-torturing at night 16 nits.

Display measurements and quality

Maximum brightness (nits)Higher is better Minimum brightness (nits)Lower is better Contrast Higher is better Color temperature (Kelvins) Gamma Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better Delta E grayscale Lower is better
HTC One (M8) 490
(Good)
16
(Poor)
1:1362
(Excellent)
7182
(Good)
2.11
4.33
(Average)
4.82
(Average)
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 468
(Good)
1
(Excellent)
unmeasurable
(Excellent)
6667
(Excellent)
1.97
2.61
(Good)
3.1
(Good)
View all

The numbers below represent the amount of deviation in the respective property, observed when a display is viewed from a 45-degree angle as opposed to direct viewing.

Maximum brightness Lower is better Minimum brightness Lower is better Contrast Lower is better Color temperature Lower is better Gamma Lower is better Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better Delta E grayscale Lower is better
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 68.8%
0%
unmeasurable
35.4%
1%
127.6%
231.9%
HTC One (M8) 79.6%
81.3%
67.8%
9.9%
1.4%
9.9%
24.7%
View all

The CIE 1931 xy color gamut chart represents the set (area) of colors that a display can reproduce, with the sRGB colorspace (the highlighted triangle) serving as reference. The chart also provides a visual representation of a display's color accuracy. The small squares across the boundaries of the triangle are the reference points for the various colors, while the small dots are the actual measurements. Ideally, each dot should be positioned on top of its respective square. The 'x: CIE31' and 'y: CIE31' values in the table below the chart indicate the position of each measurement on the chart. 'Y' shows the luminance (in nits) of each measured color, while 'Target Y' is the desired luminance level for that color. Finally, 'ΔE 2000' is the Delta E value of the measured color. Delta E values of below 2 are ideal.

This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

The Color accuracy chart gives an idea of how close a display's measured colors are to their referential values. The first line holds the measured (actual) colors, while the second line holds the reference (target) colors. The closer the actual colors are to the target ones, the better.

This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

The Grayscale accuracy chart shows whether a display has a correct white balance (balance between red, green and blue) across different levels of grey (from dark to bright). The closer the Actual colors are to the Target ones, the better.

This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

View all


Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs HTC One (M8)

Introduction


Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs HTC One (M8)
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs HTC One (M8)
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs HTC One (M8)
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs HTC One (M8)
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs HTC One (M8)
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs HTC One (M8)
HTC was the first Android phone maker to put its focus on style: its phones have been the embodiment of good industrial design, a refuge for people who value the marriage of premium quality feel and top-notch silicon running Android operating system. HTC’s latest flagship, the One (M8), released this spring, is the most refined version of HTC’s industrial design efforts, standing out amidst its plastic Android rivals like the Galaxy S5 and LG G3.

On the other side of the fence, after long taking hits for its uninspiring designs, Samsung seems to have finally taken note and it has reacted. The result of its new design work arrives with the Galaxy Note 4: a phablet with a sturdy metal frame and a nice faux leather finish that can finally approach HTC’s creations in terms of style. And while the two may differ in terms of size (the 5.7” Note 4 phablet is much larger than the 5” M8), fashionistas need no longer write off the Note series just for its looks.

The Note 4 has also got time on its side: it packs the latest silicon in the form of the Snapdragon 805 system chip and a polished 16-megapixel camera with optical image stabilization.

But is this enough of a reason to pick it over the One (M8)? Let’s take a deeper look at how the Note 4 compares to the One (M8).

Design

The Note 4 ushers Samsung in the era of premium materials with a sturdy metal frame, and a nice faux-leather back. The M8, on the other hand, exudes an aura of style with its curved unibody design.

The Note 4 marks a departure from plastic for Samsung and opens the era of metal smartphones for the company. This applies to the frame, though - the Note 4 still features a plastic back, but it is styled as faux-leather with a nice texture and feel (a bit rougher than the one on the S5). The HTC One (M8) in comparison features an all-metal unibody construction, a single seamless piece of aluminum that exudes confidence and a feeling of stability. Speaking of pure aesthetic appearance - as subjective as it is - the Note 4 feels like a step forward, but still not really on par with the meticulous finish of the M8. It's also worth mentioning that the Note 4 is noticeably larger than the M8, which makes it harder to operate with one hand.

The buttons on the Note 4 are in the traditional for Samsung position and layout: the physical home key with a fingerprint reader right below the screen, surrounded by two capacitive keys, one for multitasking and the back key. All other physical buttons are on the sides: you have a power/lock key on the right, and the volume rocker is on the left. The keys are a bit too recessed, but very clicky and fairly comfortable to press on the Note 4. The One (M8) in comparison relies on on-screen buttons only, there are no physical keys up front. The biggest flaw in the M8 design remains the weird positioning of the power/lock key - it’s at the top of the phone, making it very hard to reach. Apart from that, it’s clicky and easy to press, it’s just the position that feels wrong. The only other key on the M8 is the volume rocker on the right - within easy reach and with conveniently large size, excellent travel and reassuring click.

Note that neither device is water or dust proof, and you’d need to take extra care to not get them wet.


Front view | Side view
Samsung Galaxy Note 4
Samsung Galaxy Note 4
6.04 x 3.09 x 0.33 inches
153.5 x 78.6 x 8.5 mm
6.21 oz (176 g)

Samsung Galaxy Note 4

HTC One (M8)
HTC One (M8)
5.76 x 2.78 x 0.37 inches
146.36 x 70.6 x 9.35 mm
5.64 oz (160 g)

HTC One (M8)



Display

Samsung's 5.7” Quad HD AMOLED is gorgeous, while the M8’s 5” 1080p screen is good, but not great.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 comes with a 5.7-inch Super AMOLED display with a resolution of 1440 x 2560-pixels (Quad HD), while the HTC One (M8) sports a smaller, 5-inch screen of the IPS LCD kind, but a lower, 1080 x 1920-pixel resolution.

Both are very sharp, but the Note 4 has the upper hand with a pixel density of 515ppi, much higher than the 441ppi on the M8. In real-life use, the difference is very minimal though - you have to hold your phone very close to your eyes to see any pixelization. Pixel peepers would find it most noticeable when looking at text presented in tiny fonts. It’s worth mentioning that the AMOLED screen on the Note 4 uses Samsung’s PenTile Diamond pixel arrangement instead of the traditional RGB (used in the M8).

Turning to color accuracy, we’re impressed with what Samsung has done with the AMOLED screen of the Note 4, especially after earlier generations of AMOLEDs that were pretty inaccurate. In order to see the accurate colors, though, you’d first need to switch from the default ‘Adaptive’ screen mode to the color-accurate ‘Basic’ mode. In this mode, the greyscale balance is spot-on all across, as the white point is almost exactly at the reference 6500K value (meaning that we have pure white instead of colder one), and colors are very, very accurate. Impressive! As usual with AMOLED screens, Samsung also includes other screen modes, where you have richer, oversaturated colors that are definitely not accurate, but are pleasant for many people.

The HTC One (M8), on the other hand, while technically trying to adhere to the industry standard sRGB gamut, has a few problems. First off, the white point is a bit on the cold side at 7182K Then, HTC puts on its own fair share of artificial saturation boost, and the end result is a display with colors with an artificial pop, but very realistic look.

The AMOLED technology has long struggled with low brightness, but Samsung’s continuous improvements pay off in the Note 4 which reaches a sufficiently good 468nits, and reflections are also nicely filtered out so outdoor readability of the new Note is very good. The M8 does a decent job, but is a bit harder to read outdoors. Turning the page to night viewing, Samsung has also managed to cap off minimum brightness at the impressive 1 nit on the Note 4, which means that the screen won’t tire your eyes with excessive glow. The respective value on the M8 is the rather eye-torturing at night 16 nits.

Display measurements and quality

Maximum brightness (nits)Higher is better Minimum brightness (nits)Lower is better Contrast Higher is better Color temperature (Kelvins) Gamma Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better Delta E grayscale Lower is better
HTC One (M8) 490
(Good)
16
(Poor)
1:1362
(Excellent)
7182
(Good)
2.11
4.33
(Average)
4.82
(Average)
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 468
(Good)
1
(Excellent)
unmeasurable
(Excellent)
6667
(Excellent)
1.97
2.61
(Good)
3.1
(Good)
View all

The numbers below represent the amount of deviation in the respective property, observed when a display is viewed from a 45-degree angle as opposed to direct viewing.

Maximum brightness Lower is better Minimum brightness Lower is better Contrast Lower is better Color temperature Lower is better Gamma Lower is better Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better Delta E grayscale Lower is better
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 68.8%
0%
unmeasurable
35.4%
1%
127.6%
231.9%
HTC One (M8) 79.6%
81.3%
67.8%
9.9%
1.4%
9.9%
24.7%
View all

The CIE 1931 xy color gamut chart represents the set (area) of colors that a display can reproduce, with the sRGB colorspace (the highlighted triangle) serving as reference. The chart also provides a visual representation of a display's color accuracy. The small squares across the boundaries of the triangle are the reference points for the various colors, while the small dots are the actual measurements. Ideally, each dot should be positioned on top of its respective square. The 'x: CIE31' and 'y: CIE31' values in the table below the chart indicate the position of each measurement on the chart. 'Y' shows the luminance (in nits) of each measured color, while 'Target Y' is the desired luminance level for that color. Finally, 'ΔE 2000' is the Delta E value of the measured color. Delta E values of below 2 are ideal.

This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

The Color accuracy chart gives an idea of how close a display's measured colors are to their referential values. The first line holds the measured (actual) colors, while the second line holds the reference (target) colors. The closer the actual colors are to the target ones, the better.

This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

The Grayscale accuracy chart shows whether a display has a correct white balance (balance between red, green and blue) across different levels of grey (from dark to bright). The closer the Actual colors are to the Target ones, the better.

This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

View all


Interface and Functionality

TouchWiz in the Note 4 is another small step in the right direction for Samsung, and the S Pen is better than ever, while Sense in the M8 is lean and clean, but lacks some features.

Both the Note 4 and One (M8) come with the latest version of Android, 4.4 KitKat, on board, but the looks of the platform differ due to the two vastly different custom skins on top of it. TouchWiz on the Note 4 is modernized, but still retains a lot of its familiar colorfulness and some of cartoonish style. Samsung has moved in a slow, but consistent tempo with TouchWiz, and comparing it with the version we saw last in the S5, it is a slightly rehashed take on the familiar Samsung skin, brightening it up a bit with a new white-toned backgrounds, and cleaning it of clutter. The new set of fresh Quad HD wallpapers also looks great on the Note 4. While we did notice less of that typical TouchWiz lag, it was still there, and the difference could be felt when comparing with the snappy Sense skin on the M8.

The UI of the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 - Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs HTC One (M8)
The UI of the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 - Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs HTC One (M8)
The UI of the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 - Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs HTC One (M8)
The UI of the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 - Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs HTC One (M8)
The UI of the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 - Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs HTC One (M8)
The UI of the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 - Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs HTC One (M8)
The UI of the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 - Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs HTC One (M8)
The UI of the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 - Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs HTC One (M8)

The UI of the Samsung Galaxy Note 4


HTC’s Sense user interface, on its part, feels lean and clean. Animations are fast and to the point, icons have a mature, modern look, and things are well optimized for touch throughout, while on TouchWiz, even core apps like the phonebook - annoyingly - do not support swiping to change between tabs.

HTC One (M8) user interface - Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs HTC One (M8)
HTC One (M8) user interface - Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs HTC One (M8)
HTC One (M8) user interface - Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs HTC One (M8)
HTC One (M8) user interface - Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs HTC One (M8)

HTC One (M8) user interface


Apart from that, basic functionality is as rich of an experience as you’d expect from these top-shelf devices. Typing on the built-in keyboard of the Note 4 is fairly fast as you have the convenience of a separate, fifth row for the numbers, but the One (M8) despite its 0.7-inch smaller display, features one of our favorite keyboard solutions, filled with large keys from one edge to the other, and typing on it is equally fast, if not even faster.

With the Note 4, Samsung introduces a few new functionalities, some of which, are absent on the One (M8).

The first one is health tracking, an area where the M8 lags noticeably behind as it features no single app hub. The Note 4 with its updated S Health and new blood oximetry and UV radiation sensors brings more to the table.

Then, there is the fingerprint sensor that is not to be found on the M8. On the Note 4, the fingerprint reader is of the same swipe type as in the Galaxy S5 - it requires you to swipe from slightly above the button (actually, starting from the bottom part of the screen itself) and through the key.

Accuracy seems to have improved slightly over the original finger reader in the S5 and we find it decent, though, not great.

Finally, the S Pen signature feature of the Note series is improved on the Note 4. It’s a bit easier to take out the pen in comparison with the Note 3, where you had to literally chop it out vigorously.

The S Pen is powered by Wacom and it uses a digitiser. The new S Pen comes with double the sensitivity: it now detect 2,048 levels of pressure, compared to 1,024 on the Note 3.

The big question for most users, however, would really be a very simple one: can I use this to take notes as I usually do on paper? The answer is ‘not quite’. Despite being more accurate, for handwriting the S Pen still draws with an annoying lag, and if you want to actually be able to read what you’ve written, you need to switch to a gargantuan font, so that your notes end up looking like a kid’s first attempts at writing (especially if you jot down quickly, on the move).

Processor and Memory

The Snapdragon 805 on the Note 4 does a good job coping with the load of the Quad HD resolution, but the M8 - despite its Snapdragon 801 - often feels snappier.

The Galaxy Note 4 arrives nearly half a year after the HTC One (M8) hit store shelves, and it takes full advantage of this as quietly humming under its hood is the latest and most powerful Qualcomm SoC: the Snapdragon 805. The M8, in comparison, also runs on a Snapdragon 800-series chip, but in its earlier iteration - the 801.

In daily usage the difference in speed is perceptible, but interestingly, it’s in HTC One (M8)’s favor. The M8 runs faster, and we’d attribute this to two things - the optimizations in the Sense UI, and the lower resolution. The Note 4 is not a slouch by any means (we actually think it runs slightly faster than the Note 3), but there is this noticeable pause between after you hit a button and you see the result of that action taking place.

Looking at pure specifications, both the Snapdragon 805 and 801 are quad-core chips, but the Krait 450 CPU in the 805 runs at slightly higher clock speeds of up to 2.7GHz, while the Krait 400 processor in the 801 - at up to 2.5GHz. The Note 4 also features 3GB of RAM, while the M8 has slightly less - 2GB.

While the difference in CPU compute is not huge, the Adreno 420 in the Note 4 is a big step forward from the Adreno 330. The new GPU allows the Note 4 to run practically on par with its predecessor, the Note 3, despite the huge bump in screen resolution. In practical terms, this means that games will run at similar frame rates on the Note 4 and the M8, and the benchmarks below prove that.

We should also point out that - while most Western markets will get a Snapdragon 805-equipped Galaxy Note 4 - other markets, mostly in Asia, will get a different version of the Note 4, powered by Samsung’s own Exynos 5433 chip. Unlike the Snapdragon 805, the Exynos 5433 is a 64-bit chip that ensures compatibility with all the 64-bit optimizations coming with Android L and the ART runtime. The Exynos 5433 itself is an octa-core chip with four low-power Cortex A53 cores and four performance-driven Cortex A57s in a big.LITTLE configuration.

The Galaxy Note 4 and One (M8) both feature 32GB of internal storage on board, ampler than most other smartphones that are offered with only 16 gigs of built-in storage. You can also expand on that initial storage allowance via microSD cards of up to 128GB on both.

Performance benchmarks

Quadrant
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 24053
HTC One (M8) 19139
AnTuTu
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 41185.33
HTC One (M8) 31075
Vellamo Metal
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 1230.33
HTC One (M8) 1171
Vellamo Browser
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 3041
HTC One (M8) 3657
Sunspider
Lower is better
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 1087.87
HTC One (M8) 693.1
GFXBench T-Rex HD on-screen
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 25.9
HTC One (M8) 28.3
GFXBench Manhattan on-screen
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 11.2
HTC One (M8) 11
Basemark OS II
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 1038.67
HTC One (M8) 1071
Geekbench 3 single-core
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 1112.67
HTC One (M8) 888
Geekbench 3 multi-core
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 3259.67
HTC One (M8) 2613
View all

Internet and Connectivity


You have a choice of two pre-installed browsers to surf the web on both the Galaxy Note 4 and the HTC One (M8): a custom solution, and Google’s mobile Chrome. Chrome features the familiar card-based interface, while the custom browsers in each one differ in their look, but are otherwise identical in functionality and both load webpages quickly (the HTC is a bit faster), and scrolling as well as zooming in and out is snappy.

Web browsing on the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 - Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs HTC One (M8)
Web browsing on the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 - Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs HTC One (M8)
Web browsing on the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 - Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs HTC One (M8)

Web browsing on the Samsung Galaxy Note 4


The web browser of the HTC One (M8) - Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs HTC One (M8)
The web browser of the HTC One (M8) - Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs HTC One (M8)
The web browser of the HTC One (M8) - Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs HTC One (M8)
The web browser of the HTC One (M8) - Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs HTC One (M8)

The web browser of the HTC One (M8)


In terms of connectivity, you have 4G LTE on both, but theoretical max on the Note 4 reach 300Mbps for downloads (on the Snapdragon model, that is, the Exynos model is equipped with a 150Mbps modem), while the One (M8) maxes out at 150Mbps. Other connectivity options include Bluetooth 4.1 on the Note 4 versus 4.0 on the M8, dual-channel Wi-Fi on both, GPS, and NFC. Both devices also have an infra-red beamers with an accompanying app, so that you can use your phone as a remote for, say, your TV.

Camera

The 16-megapixel OIS camera on the Note 4 captures great images with an excellent amount of detail, and it does 4K, while the M8’s UltraPixel is sub-par.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 features a 16-megapixel main camera that supports optical image stabilization, while HTC perseveres with its 4-megapixel “UltraPixel” camera setup, with a secondary rear “Duo” camera that serves primarily for adding a fake bokeh effect to images.

Unfortunately, when it comes to important technicalities like the sensor used in the Galaxy Note 4, Samsung is not sharing any details. We will thus assume that it’s using the same 16-megapixel 1/2.6” sensor as in the Galaxy S5 with the same phase-detection auto-focus. HTC, uses a 4-megapixel OmniVision sensor, the OV4688, of a nearly 15% smaller, 1/3" size. Both shoot in a 16:9 native aspect ratio. In terms of optics, the lens on the Note 4 has a focal length of 31mm (in 35mm equivalent) and aperture of f/2.2, while the M8 has a wider 28mm lens with a faster, f/2.0 aperture.

Turning to the camera app, both HTC and Samsung have simple and user-friendly controls on the surface with a separate image still and video recording buttons. Under that cover, though, you have access to a lot of manual settings on both - great for those who want such level of control. HTC’s implementation of manual mode, however, is the one that really stands out with easily adjustable sliders, all conveniently placed on one screen: you can control ISO, white balance, focus (you have manual focus option), and so on.

The camera interface of the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 - Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs HTC One (M8)
The camera interface of the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 - Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs HTC One (M8)
The camera interface of the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 - Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs HTC One (M8)
The camera interface of the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 - Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs HTC One (M8)

The camera interface of the Samsung Galaxy Note 4


The camera of the HTC One (M8) - Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs HTC One (M8)
The camera of the HTC One (M8) - Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs HTC One (M8)
The camera of the HTC One (M8) - Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs HTC One (M8)
The camera of the HTC One (M8) - Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs HTC One (M8)
The camera of the HTC One (M8) - Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs HTC One (M8)
The camera of the HTC One (M8) - Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs HTC One (M8)
The camera of the HTC One (M8) - Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs HTC One (M8)
The camera of the HTC One (M8) - Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs HTC One (M8)

The camera of the HTC One (M8)


When it comes to image quality, the Galaxy Note 4 captures an impressive amount of detail, with pleasing colors (just ever so slightly on the cold side), and a fairly dynamic look to shots. The HTC One (M8), on the other hand, has images that are much less detailed, but the bigger issue is that they lack in dynamics and white balance is often way off.

Turning over to low-light photography, the Note 4 does well with images turning out with very little noise, as the optical image stabilization on board can be felt, and color rendering is also pleasing. The One (M8) has low-light shooting as its forte, and it indeed suppresses noise nicely, but images turn out with slightly overblown and often with unnatural colors. You have dual LED flash on the M8, and it automatically adjusts its brightness depending on the distance from the subject. In most shots, it lights up the frame very nicely, without affecting color accuracy. The Note 4's single LED flash is also capable of lighting up the frame sufficiently, but it introduces a slight bluish cast.

The Note 4 has a 3.7-megapixel front camera, and it can capture some decent selfies, while on the HTC One (M8) we’re witnessing a very unusual situation - its front camera actually has a higher-resolution than the main, UltraPixel camera. The front snapper captures 5-megapixel selfies, and those look very detailed and we’d say a notch better than those on the Note 4.


Camera speed

Taking a pic (sec)Lower is better Taking an HDR pic (sec)Lower is better CamSpeed score Higher is better CamSpeed score with flash Higher is better
HTC One (M8) 2.3
No data
444
363
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 2.8
2.8
353
273
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When speaking of video, the Note 4 is capable of recording 4K at 30 frames per second (fps), or 1080p at either 60 fps or 30 fps, while the One (M8) is only capable of recording 1080p at 30 fps. 4K is a nice extra that looks great, but it has its limitations - you can record only 5-minute long clips, those recordings turn out very large in size (there is still no H.265 encoding on the Note 4), and probably more importantly, we haven’t seen many 4K monitors or TVs out there just yet.

Comparing apples to apples, or 1080p recording at 30fps, we can see that the Note 4 again has the upper hand with nice and vivid footage, with the added bonus of optical stabilization. The One (M8), on the other hand, does well, but you can feel every shake of your hand. The quality of sound recording is very good on the M8, but it’s even better on the Note 4 that features three microphones for better noise cancellation.

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Multimedia

The accurate screen on the Note 4 makes media come to life, but its speaker is on the quiet side. The One (M8) has got its excellent speakers for a great sound experience.

The large, 5.7-inch display is a great asset when it comes to media consumption, and that has been one of the main reasons for the success of the Note phablet series. Add to this the fact that the Note 4 is coming with a display that is also very well calibrated, with vibrant, realistic colors, and it has an important advantage on hand, especially for photography enthusiasts.

Gallery app of the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 - Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs HTC One (M8)
Gallery app of the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 - Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs HTC One (M8)
Gallery app of the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 - Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs HTC One (M8)

Gallery app of the Samsung Galaxy Note 4


Gallery app of the HTC One (M8) - Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs HTC One (M8)
Gallery app of the HTC One (M8) - Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs HTC One (M8)
Gallery app of the HTC One (M8) - Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs HTC One (M8)
Gallery app of the HTC One (M8) - Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs HTC One (M8)

Gallery app of the HTC One (M8)


Both handsets are capable of handling various movie formats and encoding with ease, and the video app on the Note 4 displays your collection of videos with a nice live animation, showing you a quick glance of its contents. The M8, on the other hand, has a very capable gallery that creates an automatic video reel of all your photos and videos for the day, which is a nice touch.

The One (M8), however, does have a hidden ace up its sleeve, and that is its superb sound output via two spacious front-firing speakers that provide a depth and richness of sound that is unmatched in the smartphone market. This is important for all sorts of media - videos, games, and music, of course. Samsung’s speaker, in comparison, sounds disappointingly average.

Audio output

Headphones output power (Volts)
Higher is better
HTC One (M8) 1.28
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 0.41
Loudspeaker loudness (dB)
Higher is better
HTC One (M8) 75.2
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 85
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Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs HTC One (M8)
Call Quality


Call quality is very good on both the Note 4 and the One (M8). The earpiece of the Note 4 produces clean sounds, with no audible distortions, but the volume could have been a bit louder, while the M8 offers very good clarity and volume. We have no complaints about sound on the other end of the line, as both sound clear and loud.

Battery


Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs HTC One (M8)
Large devices like the Galaxy Note 4 have the benefit of more physical space coming with size, which allows manufacturers to cram in larger batteries. The Note 4 in particular has a spacious 3220mAh juice pack, and there’s a number of benefits to that . What we’re mostly interested in is battery longevity under average use, and that’s why we have our battery test where it’s this kind of non-stop use that phones are tested against, and screen draw is normalized by pre-calibrating displays at 200 nits. Good news is that the Note 4 ends up being one of the top battery performers on our battery test, scoring an impressive 8 hours and 43 minutes. The HTC One (M8), on the other hand, comes with a 2600mAh battery, and while it does score fairly well at 7 hours and 12 minutes, it still lasts significantly less than Samsung’s Note 4.

We should note that the Galaxy Note 4 has the benefit of a user-removable battery, while on the M8 there is no easy way to swap batteries.

Battery life

We measure battery life by running a custom web-script, designed to replicate the power consumption of typical real-life usage.

name
Time
Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy Note 4
8h 43 min (Excellent)
HTC One (M8)
7h 12 min (Excellent)
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Charging time

name
minutes
Lower is better
Samsung Galaxy Note 4
95
HTC One (M8)
207
View all

Conclusion

An important factor to consider when choosing between the Note 4 and the One (M8) is the size difference - the 5.7” Note 4 is larger and that comes with its pros and cons.

If we take size out of the equation, though, the Note 4 has a clearly pronounced advantage: its brilliant Quad HD display is a beauty to behold with its accuracte colors, while the screen on the M8 does not look bad, but lacks that color fidelity, then, the Snapdragon 805 system chip on the Note 4 is an improvement over the 801 on the M8, and finally, the 16-megapixel optically stabilized camera is among the best smartphone shooters out there, while the M8's UltraPixel camera is not all that capable.
Where M8 still comes up is the stylish unibody aluminum body, but hardware-wise it is just not as impressive.

Picking between the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and HTC One (M8) also comes down to price, and that’s where the M8 has a clear advantage with a full, off-contract price of around $600 (540 euro), while the Note 4 carries a full retail cost of $825 (770 euro). So which one would you pick?