Jun 26 AT 3:19 PM Nick Gray 11 Comments

HTC One, Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Play edition review roundup

htc-one-samsung-galaxy-s4-gpe

Today the HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Play editions went on sale through Google Play. A few sites were given early access to the devices and have started posting full reviews or initial hands-on impressions. We took the time to round up some of the best reviews and pulled out some of the highlights. Read on to see how the Google Play editions of the Samsung Galaxy S4 and HTC One stack up.

HTC One Google Play edition highlights

  • Camera: ”The only significant drawback in the Google Edition unit we tested is that the camera doesn’t work nearly as well anymore.” ”Google’s not going to win any awards for stock Android’s lackluster camera app.” “Stock Android means living without Zoe and its wonderful features — that’s unfortunate, but perhaps Google’s fun Photo Sphere is a suitable consolation prize?” “The custom gallery with Zoes and the Highlights reel, a huge part of the HTC One imaging experience, isn’t there either.” ”In many cases, I was unable to discern any difference between the skinned-version photos and the stock-version.” “ Google has a lot of catching up to do. The stock camera does offer some basic settings, but they’re hidden behind its poorly-thought-out radial menu.” “No Zoes. No Video Highlights.”
  • Performance: “Home screens and app drawer are as snappy as you’d expect the ‘stock’ home screens and app drawer to be.” “It certainly feels snappier.” ”Both phones are at least as snappy as their skinned counterparts, if not slightly faster.” “Benchmarks across the board were practically within the margin of error, including stock vs skinned and GS4 vs HTC One.” “Here we also see some gains for both the SGS4 GPe and HTC One GPe over the normal versions.” “With stock Android, it’s even faster.”
  • Software: “There’s no doubt that stock Android makes this powerhouse of a phone even better.” ”Android users could happily forgo TouchWiz and Sense, making either the stock Galaxy S4 or stock HTC One a better option than what you can get from the carriers.” “The software preferences between stock and skinned end up being a largely subjective thing.” “Even though I regularly critique OEM skins and software decisions, there’s an undeniable certainty that HTC and Samsung respectively do add a lot to their software that makes things better.”

Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Play edition highlights

  • Camera: ”In many cases, I was unable to discern any difference between the skinned-version photos and the stock-version.” “Google has a lot of catching up to do. The stock camera does offer some basic settings, but they’re hidden behind its poorly-thought-out radial menu.” “Pictures taken with this Galaxy S 4 look just as impressive as those snapped with the skinned models.” “None of Samsung’s excellent camera app.” “Photos the 13MP camera took look almost identical to those on the TouchWiz version.”
  • Performance: “Both phones are at least as snappy as their skinned counterparts, if not slightly faster.” “Benchmarks across the board were practically within the margin of error, including stock vs skinned and GS4 vs HTC One.” “It feels zippy and light weight — in fact, there’s 12GB of storage available vs. 7GB on units skinned with TouchWiz.” “Home screens and app drawer are as snappy as you’d expect the ‘stock’ home screens and app drawer to be.” “Here we also see some gains for both the SGS4 GPe and HTC One GPe over the normal versions.” “While stock Android makes the HTC One a little faster, it’s a serious change in the Galaxy S4.”
  • Software: “Android users could happily forgo TouchWiz and Sense, making either the stock Galaxy S4 or stock HTC One a better option than what you can get from the carriers.” “This Galaxy S 4 provides the best user experience of any Samsung handset since the unlocked Galaxy Nexus.” “Stock Android is, like almost everything mobile related, a polarizing thing.” “Obviously all the Samsung-specific features which require Samsung apps like Air View, Air Gesture and S Beam are gone.” “Although unadulterated Android is great, as I mentioned earlier I still can’t shake that there’s-something-missing feeling when using it.” “The stock apps look better and are more intuitive to use almost without exception.”

HTC One review roundup

Samsung Galaxy S4 review roundup

What’s your take on the new Google Play editions of Samsung and HTC’s flagship Android phones? Does the benefit of running stock Android outweigh the custom software tweaks that make each of these devices unique?

Nick is a tech enthusiast who has a soft spot for HTC and its devices. He started HTCsource.com (the first HTC blog) back in 2007 and later joined the Android and Me family in the summer of 2010.

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