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April 2nd 2014 5:26 pm

S5 or M8? and Why?

I am really stuck here. I lost my S3 and have been waiting for these two phones to launch. Now that the time is here, I cannot decide! I have Samsung accessories, but the M8 is coming out with some pretty awesome accessories. The S5 has a removable battery (which I LOVE!). Its also water resistant, but I can Liquipel the M8. The S5 also supports Qi Wireless Charging as the M8 does not. Hoping one of you can help me decide. I greatly appreciate it!

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29 replies

It depends on how you use the phone. The M8's biggest flaw (for me) is the camera because I use my phone for taking pictures. The S5 has the fingerprint reader and heartbeat monitor, both of which are cool but I can do without it. The M8 definitely looks much nicer with the metallic body, however it's also a bit heavier than the S5, which can be problematic if you want to stick in a [shirt, shallow jacket] pocket. Both are bigger than the S3.

I personally like the ability to remove the battery out of the S5.

The S5 available for pre-order has only 16MB of memory on board. If I recall, the S4's operating system took up more than half of that and you will have to rely on an SD card (provided that you can run most of the apps off SD). If Samsung did the same thing with the S5, this is something you must consider if you need/want a phone this month. The 32GB version of the S5 has not made an appearance.

The M8 with 32GB is available now.

I would make a list of what is the most important to you about each phone and see which comes out in the end.
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From what you said, the S5 has the things you want- no Liquipel necessary!

I am sure you could be happy with either phone, but if a removable battery and wireless charging mean a lot to you, go for the S5
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I've been planning on upgrading to the M8 for some time now. Just earlier today I bought a HTC Desire 601 because I got a great deal on it ($150 brand new when carriers sell it for $300) - with the intention of checking out Sense, reviewing it on a website I occasionally contribute to, and then re-sell it.

Anyways, the Desire runs Sense and it's great. Coming from a Nexus there are very few things I dislike, and quite a few things I prefer. I value software a LOT because it's something you deal with every day, and if you dislike the software on your phone you 're going to have a bad time. The Sense keyboard is great, and their multitasking as well as BlinkFeed are things I appreciate. The M8 runs a newer version of Sense which only gets better - so the M8's software is going to be killer.

I have no doubt the hardware is fantastic. Every recent phone they've made (including budget options like this Desire 601) are built great.

Battery life is reported to be crazy awesome even without the power saving mode turned on.

The one 'flaw' of the HTC One M8 is it's camera. It still takes good pictures, but not as high quality as it's competition.

Unless you really need a great camera, fingerprint scanner, or heart rate monitor, or have a smaller phone I see no reason why anybody would choose the S5 over the M8. I know full reviews aren't out yet for the S5, but I'm with the majority of tech-inclined puerile that feel the M8 is the superior phone.
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I have an HTC One X+ that I will be able to replace in July when my 2-year contract expires. I was really hoping to stay with HTC, but the non-removable battery is a deal-breaker, for me. My One X+ still works great in every respect, except battery life. Just today, I took a day trip from Philadelphia to NYC, which is 4 hours of driving round trip. Even with mobile data turned off while in NY, my phone started dying on the trip home. It won't charge in the car with the GPS on, so I had to turn off my phone completely for a section of the trip, just so it would make it home. BTW, the entire trip was less than 12 hours total; I have a portable external battery, but forgot to bring it today. Maybe I could have been more conscientious about when and how much to charge my phone over the past 22 months; maybe it wouldn't have mattered. Regardless, I can't do anything about it now, except never buy a phone with a non-removable battery again.
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This is the eternal decision between HTC and Samsung. I had to make the same choice between the Samsung Galaxy S2 and the HTC Sensation a very long long time ago. It was a close call back then too. I ultimately went with a phone that had a replaceable battery. And I have never looked back. Samsung is the only Android phone maker with replaceable batteries on most of their phones. If it's as important a feature to you as it is to me, then there is no debate. I really really REALLY want to support HTC, I think they make really great phones, but there is no getting over popping in a fully charged battery into your phone when you really need to. And maybe HTC should pay attention to this.
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I hate opening my case and phone to swap out the battery. That's a good way to break your case and/or battery. I much prefer to do a permanent swap to a double or triple sized battery. I'll take the weight and thickness penalty in favor of all day, heavy use reliability.
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It's true that htc's launcher /software overlay is superior to Samsung's. And that would be relevant. . .. If I were to use the phone with its preloaded firmware... But i prefer custom made roms (cyanogenmod and similar) so then it comes down to chassis. Namely waterproofness, durability and third-party hacker support.. And battery life, battery life is huge. The simple fact that I can upgrade the Samsung's battery for a much larger one is hugely important. Touchwiz sucks, no doubt. (sent from my vzw s3 running cyanogenmod 11 with a triple sized battery pack)
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So you like the S5 cause of the battery as well, but hate Touchwiz (understandable), but which are you leaning toward and why?
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Of all the software overlays to use, htc' is the best,. If you are planning to use the phone as is out of the box. ... But if you like me, could care less about the manufacturer's software, because you're probably going to root it anyway. .. Then the S5 is the way to go. Physical appearance is of minimal importance because it will definitely go into a case, and I'm going to upgrade the battery. Samsung also has official support from the cyanogenmod team. So I'll be getting the S5 and making the same mods I made to my S3.
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I've been trying the One M8 for awhile (article on that soon!), and I think the GS5 might have a tough fight on its hands... it'll probably have the better overall camera and the replaceable battery that some want, but the One M8 is a very polished design. It may be hard to use the "glam" GS5. Not ruling out a change of heart later, though!
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I have until July to decide, so I am waiting to see what the LG G3 looks like. It is rumored to have a better screen than either the HTC or the Samsung. If it has removable storage and battery (not guaranteed at all), it might prove to be the top dog.
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M8 is your device, it is Quietly Brilliant. Nothing compares to the performance and the elegance of HTC. Big fan talking here !!
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I love the Qi charging that the S5 will support but you need to buy a different case to support that and thats another 30 + bucks just for the case and possibly a battery if it requires a different battery also. Plus i have only seen it on sell with a 16 GB model. how much real storage space does that leave you?

The M8 is supposed to have a better battery life but gave up image stabilization for the 2nd camera for depth. But they added an SD card and you can get it in both 16 and 32 GB models.

Personally, I think the M8 looks great. i wish it had a replace able battery but if its delivering the 7 plus hours in some of the test around the web i could easily get a full day of usage from this device. Also the M8 doesn't come across as gimmicky as the S5 does to me. Its more of a solid phone that deliver great device with its gimmick being the Camera. On the S5 the fingerprint sensor, the hear rate monitor and all the bloat ware can come across as gimmick.

On the S5 the heart rate monitor and the finger print scanner are interesting but i don't see myself using the heart rate monitor i would prefer that on a watch or a fit bit type device that i can wear when exercising as i don't usually have my phone with me when exercising. As for the finger print scanner, this seems to be more of "we have it too" feature than an actual one. i have seen a couple videos on line comparing the iPhones 5s and the S5's scanners and they don't leave me with a positive impression of the S5s. But i will wait for more reviews.
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My s4 with the Qi-enabled batter cover works fine with most all of my cases. If they say it's Qi-enabled, you won't need to buy anything more to enable it. It will wirelessly charge out of the box, and hopefully it will come with a wireless charger. You are right, in that your case choice MAY be altered based on how thick they are. But in my experience with an S4, and a Nexus 5, the Qi works fine through most cases. Granted, I haven't tried an Otterbox-type case, because I've never wanted to triple the size of my phone.
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As others have mentioned I think, for me at least, it is going to come down to Sense 6 vs TouchWiz because the UI is what you spend most of your time interacting with.

My last two phones were the Droid Incredible 2 (by HTC) and the Galaxy S3. I absolutely loved Sense on my DINC2, so much so that when I unlocked and rooted the phone I made it a point to find a ROM with Sense built-in. When that phone was due for upgrade I got the GS3 and hated TouchWiz right from the start. I installed launcher after launcher from the Play store until I found one I could deal with and then as soon as a root and unlock came out for my phone I did so and ran as far from TouchWiz as I could.

All that being said, when my current phone is due for upgrade I'll to go the Verizon store and handle both the GS5 and M8 side-by-side, but I really think HTC (and Sense) will win me over.
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This is funny cause those are the last two phone I owned as well. I worked for VZW and was given a HTC I2 that I used for 2 years, when I quit my job they took my phone away and I jumped on the S3 wagon. I LOVED the S3 compared to the I2. (now that I lost my S3 im using the HTC I2 on WiFi and remember why I hate it).
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HTC really soured its reputation in 2011, and I'd say it didn't truly recover until 2013... if that! Would be worth trying the One M8 just to see how far the company has come, I'd say.
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I have the S3 at the moment too, but I was a little underwhelmed by the S5. In my opinion (bar the camera) the M8 is far superior to the S5 with no stupid gimmicks, great build quality and htc sense is pretty good. However if you desperately need the removal battery and wireless charging go for the S5. Personally I'm going to upgrade to the Z2. Because it has an awesome camera, it's waterproof and it has a stunning design. Maybe you should look into that device too! I prefer it too the M8 and it trumps all over the S5!
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Whichever you decide... get the Google Play Edition.
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I bought this phone over S5 and am very happy with my decision.
Reasons for rating it higher than the S5:
-It has a great design and build. Metal body is great and feels very premium.
-sense UI is ok; however, the optimisations done by HTC are great. The UI is super smooth and very responsive. It is even better than an IPhone. The S5 is not as smooth and tends to have a stutter or 2.
-battery life is pretty good. It is better at times than my previous phone(Note 2)
-fast processor makes every task blazing fast.
-Camera is very good for everyday use (phone is never meant to replace the DSLR)
-There is not too much bloatware
-great sound and speaker quality
-motion gestures are useful and convenient (not too many, just right)
-touch screen customisable (if rooted) navbar buttons

Some drawbacks:
-The low pixel count in camera, might be a problem for some who use this as only camera
-Screen is not as Vibrant as AMOLED screens.

I would sincerely recommend this to anyone who wants to buy a high end phone.
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nexus 5 :)
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Duffman, it would help if you explained why you are suggesting a phone that is not one of the ones he is considering. Especially one with a non-removable battery which is a feature that he says he would love.

I know that the Nexus 5 is a cheaper phone and has great price for performance, but it is not the phone for everyone. It is 2014 now and we shouldn't have to settle for a phone with an awful battery life. Also, the Nexus 5 may run stock android, but it is missing all of the added features (like S-Health and such) that Samsung packs into their phone. Initial tests show the HTC's ultrapixel camera to be better than the camera on any Nexus device.

Maybe I am just frustrated with my Nexus 4, but I wouldn't recommend a Nexus 5 to a power user.
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I'm pretty frustrated with my HTC One M7's camera too anyway. I think the camera is the biggest downside of the M8. Having said that, I don't think I could do without the premium feel of the M7 or M8 in this case.
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I agree with Duffman. I've had the 5 for 6 months and haven't looked back. I'm not sure what else you need with a phone.
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Find 7
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A warning about the M8.

The m8 suffers from onscreen buttons that take up to about 15% of the screens real-estate when viewing web pages..

I messed around with one for the last day.. and the on screen buttons are really obtrusive.
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Get a Sony Xperia Z2. It's probably the best phone of 2014 so far.
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i think you have to buy s5 it great performance and you will save money.........
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I'm not reading the other responses first on purpose just to be honest 100 percent honest with you. I'm an owner of both of the phones and have spent enough time with both to almost declare a draw between both beasts. I really really like the M8. I must mention the dot view case is an essential item to have if you own the m8. It can be somewhat awkward to hold at times but for me that just took getting a little used to. The functionality is very fresh and combined with the gestures it's really fun. Dot view aside I love sense 6 also. I should have led off with this but if there's one thing about me it's I'm nobody's fan boy. I love vanilla android but I'm starting to trust our skins a bit more now that kitkat is here. The whole point of android is for devs to make it better. Both sense 6 and the new (hurts to say the words I've hated it soo much) TouchWiz have both taken advantage of kitkat and it's power saving features along with smooth performance all around. I'm being very back and forth here but if u get the chance to spend time with both. (More than 10 min in a store) you will find things you love about both phones and very little you hate.

Since your coming from an older galaxy model I say with 100 percent confidence that you will see feel a big difference on both devices. Overall smoothness goes to the m8. With that said I'm standing here addicted to holding the galaxy S5 and typing this answer for you. They are both really fasts devices. Not a surprise due to the fact they both share the same ram module I believe and the same processor. S5 is clocked just a bit higher and that may be the only little thing keeping me from hating this phone like I have every previous Samsung offering. TouchWiz is much lighter than before but still retains the same blood. You can almost feel how if it were just a tad bit slower it would show the famous laggy performance. Even the new super expensive note 12.2 pro tablet got returned by me because I could just feel the lag just enough to the point of annoyance. Samsung found the sweet spot with the S5. I can't guarantee you won't feel a small hiccup from time to time but I can tell you it's fast enough to keep me happy and I'm super picky about being buttery smooth. Slight edge goes to HTC with Samsung almost taking the lead if you do want to take the time to use some of its very packed feature set. I can't say myself I will ever use half of the stuff the S5 has packed inside but it feels good knowing I'm ready for battle without sacrificing too much performance and leaving that "sweetspot" I spoke of earlier.

Real brief on the camera's. I'm a photographer so I do know a little bit about this stuff. Both phones have capable cameras but the hardware goes to Samsung and the software go's to HTC making for a really nice process and final product from both. I personally prefer the S5' s camera for almost everything. BTW it has a sex fast auto focus and burst. So fast it will make the Canon 1dx users turn their head. As far as low light goes there's only one thing to be said guys. You can't get super clean shots at night with these size sensors but with that said they both get the job done for 70% percent of people. They are constantly getting better at making better capturing light with these small sensors. I would have chosen the m8 overall had they upgraded the sensor.

Look and feel to me is a personal preference completely. I love metal, I love heavy but I can't really say I love the plain finish on the m8. If it were black I may retract my statement. Big fail on their part for not launching with black. So I just said I loved two things about the m8 in that is both heavy and metal. To make it five things I'll mention it does feel good in the hand ( slick without the dot view case) , it's a bit too tall for me though but I forgive it because of the speaker's! Speakers- winner boomsound enough said. I'll stretch my hand a little to have those speakers in the larger chins. I hate Samsung plastic. Yes I just said that. I love the way the S5 feels. History proves itself and my personal experience has taught me that plastic holds up very well. It can take more abuse than the metal one body I can promise you. I'm referring to who's gonna give you that first little scratch or nick that's going to ruin your day type of abuse. I loved the design of the galaxy s2 back in its glory days. The international version specifically reminds me of the S5. Sometimes going back to your roots and making something good better is one step closer to perfection. To me ip 67 is enough for me. I'm not going underwater to use my phone. Sony phones have a higher spec but i dare anyone to try and not get pissed using ur phone with water on the screen. You will be water droplet dialing people. I forget if it's Sony that's 57 or 67. Who cares anyway just know the Sony can go deeper by about 1 foot. Not a Sony conversation but i do love their hardware and hope they are able to have a huge hit soon to put them up in one of the top spots again. No dot view case for the S5 but if your a case whore like me the S5 is the choice. There already is a vast selection on the market already.

My final thoughts are this. I'm lucky enough to enjoy both of these phones for the next few months until the big Apple throws their next punch. I can't honestly say which phone i will end of ultimately enjoying more in the end. Only time will tell. It's very much personal preference with trade offs here and there that separate these two highly awaited phones. They are going to continue to change the way we look at photography as well as many other fitness related lifestyle assisting tools. Neither phone is perfect but they are too close not to care.

If i were you and had to choose one of the devices i would pick the m8 is you want something that feels different. If you like Samsung but just but just needed to see its cleaned up and soothed out like i did then buy the s5. All cards on the table I'm a fan of both the phones but i will be using the White Samsung Galaxy S5 with a spegin (sgp) super slim case and nano thin glass T screen protector as my daily driver workhorse for the months to come.

Both display s are really nice and pleasing to the eye. I love both but if u twisted my arm the S5 has the nicest display that's been put on a smartphone. Ever.

Winner=Samsung "sweetspot"

I realized my rant turned into somewhat of a review and initially I tried to be the first to write one on the s5 but the link wasn't working for some reason. If someone wants to move my post feel free to do so. If there are a bunch of typos I blame Samsung and not my horrible spelling. Haha.

This was really pleasant typing this up on the s5 with the stock Samsung keyboard which I'm in love with. Much better than the HTC stock keyboard. Sorry to make the decision so hard for everyone but these are two extreme phones and extreme situations require extreme measures. So if u have to choose really think about the little things entirely because in the end your gonna have an awesome speed demon in your hands that's finally built with specs to harness the full potential of android power and possibilities.

Love to hear your thoughts and final decisions.

Keenan Bracey
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