Two great smartphones are hitting store shelves in April. Samsung’s new S6 smartphone and HTC’s new One M9 phone have both gotten solid reviews. For Android fans, it can be tough to decide which phone is worthy of their hard-earned cash.
Should you buy the HTC One M9 or the Samsung Galaxy S6? That depends on who you are, and what you’re looking for in a smartphone. We’ve compared these phones across four key areas: price, features, battery life, and camera quality. We’ll also see how these phones compare across key specs like display, processor, and RAM. Read on to see how these two flagship smartphones stack up against each other.
Still not sure whether the S6 or S6 Edge is better? Check out our comparison post on the S6 vs. S6 Edge.
1. HTC One M9 vs. Samsung Galaxy S6: Price
For lots of shoppers, the decision about what phone to buy comes down to price. However, it’s hard to find a clear winner between these two devices, since the prices are so close. The on-contract prices are exactly the same, though there is a small difference in unlocked or off-contract devices.
The 32GB S6 will cost $199.99 on contract. The 64GB model costs $299.99 on contract, or $399.99 for the 128GB version. It is also available off-contract (but tied to a specific network) for around $684.99, or $999 for a factory unlocked version.
The 32GB HTC One M9 will also cost $199.99 on contract. It is also available unlocked for around $708.99 off-contract and without a service plan. The factory unlocked version costs between $649.99 and $715, depending on where you shop.
For more detailed pricing information for each carrier, or for information about specific phone plans, check out the links below.
2. HTC One M9 vs. Samsung Galaxy S6: Camera
For many people, their smartphone has completely replaced their other digital cameras. The smartphone camera makes it easy to share your photos on Facebook or Instagram. A smartphone camera needs to be powerful, crisp, and simple to use. Smartphone owners have high expectations about the camera on a flagship phone. So how do the cameras on the M9 and S6 compare?
The biggest complaint about the HTC One line over the years has been the camera. Both the original One and One M8 were panned for taking photographs that looked washed out. HTC has made some changes to the camera in the One M9. The rear camera sensor is a respectable 20MP, while the much-despised UltraPixel camera has been moved from the rear to the front. However, not everyone agrees that those changes were able to fully address the One’s legacy of mediocre cameras. Mashable’s review of the One M9 argues that the camera on the M9 is actually a step backward, at least when it comes to capturing images in low-light conditions.
As for the camera on the S6, it actually has a smaller rear camera sensor. But despite having a 16MP sensor to the One M9’s 20, the optically stabilized camera on the S6 seems to be getting better reviews. The Wall Street Journal gives the S6 high marks for both indoor and outdoor shooting conditions, though they did note that low-light shooting could be something of a mixed bag. That same review also notes that the camera menu itself is much easier to navigate. All that being said, some people may dislike the way the camera protrudes from the rear of the S6. Of course, the One M9 also has a protruding camera.
3. HTC One M9 vs. Samsung Galaxy S6: Battery Life
The Galaxy S6 has a 2,550 mAh battery. The One M9 has a 2,800mAh battery. However, determining which phone has the superior battery life isn’t as simple as noting which phone has the bigger battery. There are lots of factors at play when you have to estimate battery life.
Re/code’s comparison of these two devices found that the M9’s battery actually drained more quickly than that of the S6. That being said, the Verge’s review found that battery life with the S6 was noticeably worse than with an iPhone 6. They went so far as to say that battery life was “distressingly less” when using power-intensive apps. It’s worth noting that the S6 actually has a smaller battery than the S5. Both devices offer fast/”turbo” charging modes.
4. HTC One M9 vs. Samsung Galaxy S6: Specs & Special Features
The HTC One M9 has a 5-inch display, with a resolution of 1920 x 1080. In contrast, the S6 has a 5.1-inch display with a 2160 x 1440 resolution. The One M9 has 3GB of RAM, which is the same as the S6. Under the hood of Samsung’s latest offering, you’ll find Samsung’s own Exynos 7420 processor. The S6 is compatible with two forms of wireless charging. However, the S6 will not offer microSD expansion. In contrast, the One M9 will offer microSD expansion, up to 2TB. The One M9 is running a Qualcomm Snapdragon 810. The One M9 does not offer built-in wireless charging.
But specs alone don’t tell the whole story. When you’re shopping for a smartphone, sometimes the deciding factor is a cool special feature that you really, really want. One notable feature that the S6 has is the fingerprint sensor, a thing you won’t be seeing on the HTC One M9. That being said, the One M9 does have a few tricks up its sleeve.
The rear of the HTC One M9 has a scratch-resistant finish. As with past devices, you’ll also get HTC’s acclaimed BoomSound dual front speakers. But arguably the best special feature of the HTC One M9 isn’t found on the phone itself, but rather found in the fine print of your purchase. HTC is offering free “UH OH” protection with every new HTC One M9. That means if you drop your phone and it breaks, or even if the screen just cracks, HTC will give you a free replacement phone. This promotion is good for the first 12 months after the One M9 hits stores.
But the S6 also has some note-worthy features. One of the coolest, at least for gamers, is the Gear VR. Previously only available for the Note 4, the S6 will be getting its own version of the Gear VR headset, which will have a higher pixel density than the Note 4 version of Gear VR. HTC is getting into the VR game as well, with their Vive headset. You can read about how these two headsets compare in our Vive vs. Gear VR guide. There’s also Samsung Pay, a feature that is similar to Apple Pay. However, Samsung Pay won’t debut until this summer.
5. HTC One M9 vs. Samsung Galaxy S6: Final Thoughts
Picking the right Android smartphone for your needs is always tricky, and both the S6 and One M9 are definitely worthy of your consideration. It doesn’t help that these two phones are so close in price. While the One M9 may lack features like wireless charging and fingerprint sensors, it does offer an outstanding build and respectable specs. However, the S6 arguably has a richer suite of cool features, along with a camera that is arguably better in some shooting conditions.
If you are accident-prone, the HTC One M9 should be your choice. The UH OH replacement plan is a really great deal for people who have a history of cracking their screens or bricking their devices. If you tend to let your kids play with your phone, this replacement plan will be especially appealing to you. The HTC One M9 is also great for people who use another camera as their primary photography tool. We also recommend the One M9 if storage is a concern, since there will be no microSD expansion on the S6.
But for some people, the S6 is clearly the better choice. The camera menu is redesigned to be more user-friendly, and the camera itself has optical image stabilization. The S6 also has some nice battery-saving and quick-charging features, and some tests have shown that the smaller battery of the S6 lasts a bit longer than the battery on the M9. If you are interested in VR technology or digital payments, this phone has the features you’ve been craving.