With the successful launch of the Galaxy S6, it seems to be a given that Samsung will continue to lead the Android pack well into the remainder of the year. Its flagship boasts a ton of features, an awesome camera, great performance, and has a lot of marketing and brand muscle behind it. (Every other commercial on Hulu is an advertisement for the Galaxy S6.) The HTC One M9, on the other hand, is a solid device, but it failed to attract the same kind of awe and wonder the Galaxy S6 has.
How does LG fit into all of this? Well, HTC’s best hope for success was that the One M9 would be the go-to premium phone option for those who didn’t want to deal with Samsung. But with the G4 having arrived, HTC may have lost its edge. LG’s latest flagship is packed with a great camera and almost as many awesome features as the Galaxy S6, and though its leather outfitting might take some getting used to, the whole package already trumps the One M9 in so many ways.
It has a better camera
We haven’t lab-tested it yet, but G4’s 16-megapixel rear-facing camera is already so much more capable than the One M9’s 20-megapixel sensor—at least on paper. First off, it features a f/1.8 aperture compared to the One M9’s f/2.2, which means the G4’s lens lets in considerably more light (useful for those common low-light situations). HTC’s flagship device also doesn’t offer any optical image stabilization, or anything similar to the fast and precise laser focus feature that the G4 carries over from the G3.
The G4’s selfie game is also miles ahead of the One M9’s. The 8-megapixel front-facing camera captures higher-quality head shots than the One M9’s 4-megapixel UltraPixel sensor. It also features a built-in beautify mode and a rapid selfie shot mode, so you can shoot four selfies at once within a second of one another, like a virtual selfie photo booth, and choose the one you like the best.
It has a better display
HTC didn’t do much to beef up the One M9’s display. It’s essentially the same 5-inch Super LCD3 display carried over from the One M8. That might be fine for some, but with competing phones pushing really high resolution displays, HTC can do better than just plain old 1080p.
The G4 takes it a step further with its 5.5-inch display. It basically shrunk the Quantum display technology it introduced for its televisions earlier this year into a smaller, smartphone size. In person, the G4’s display is stunning and vivid. And while there’s nothing inherently wrong with the One M9’s display, it’s just that for about the same price you can get a QuadHD display on the G4 instead.
It’s got a bigger battery—and it’s removable!
Hardcore Android enthusiasts are still bummed that HTC opted for an embedded battery for its One family of phones. It’s understandable why the company went in that direction, considering the unibody metal design of the One, but there’s still a subset of users out there who’d like a phone you can sort of take apart.
LG expects that the G4 will have an edge in the battery department precisely because of this. It touted its removable battery park at its event in New York City, and it even mentioned that it expects to sell a lot of extra battery packs this year.
The G4 also has a bigger 3,000 mAh battery pack, compared to the HTC One M9’s 2,840 mAh. It’s only a slightly bigger, but LG said it heeded to the requests of those users who’d said they’d choose a bigger battery pack over a thinner chassis.
HTC’s Sense 7 is fine, and though it’s definitely a better-looking version of Android than some others out there, it doesn’t jibe entirely well with Google’s Material Design.
LG’s UX 4.0 does. It’s bright, bold, and colorful. Apps like the Dialer and Calendar actually follow Material Design’s standards with its simple colors and large, obvious icons. Menus even appear more simplified than on previous iterations of LG’s interface. LG said it worked closely with Google to ensure that its version of Android was up to snuff. It seems to have paid off and I’m liking the interface the more I use it.
It has no processor overheating issues (probably)
LG packed in the Snapdragon 810 into its G Flex 2 handset, but shortly after its release, there were numerous reports that Qualcomm’s latest quad-core processor was prone to overheating. Then, the news came out that HTC’s One M9 was overheating in benchmark tests because of Qualcomm’s SoC.
A recent report on Ars Technica also shows how the Snapdragon 810, as found in the One M9, frequently throttles its clock speed when under heavy use.
Overall, there hasn’t been much positive press surrounding the Snapdragon 810, which puts the HTC One M9 in a precarious position. LG may have done itself a favor by sticking with the Snapdragon 808, which it swears it planned to use in its flagship device all along. Anandtech said that the only real struggle for the G4 may be its graphics benchmarks results, but other than that it’s a perfectly capable chip.
What does HTC’s flagship offer?
The One M9 still sports a sleek all-metal design and boasts the best stereo speakers of any smartphone out on the market. But that’s not enough to warrant second place. HTC’s devices used to be the top choice for U.S. Android users looking for an alternative to Samsung, but in this day and age, a smartphone needs to deliver the whole package. LG’s G4 seems to offer that already and it’s not even on sale yet.