It's as though the smartphone manufacturers said "send in the clones".
A pair of pimped up smartphones running Google's Android operating system have entered the market and it's hard to tell them apart at a casual glance.
For a start they are both iPhone white.
While the HTC One X slipped in under the radar, the Samsung Galaxy S III was ushered into the market in the same way as one of Apple's products.
The HTC One X was dubbed "the Android phone you should lust after" by New Zealand PC World. The magazine called the Samsung Galaxy S III "the most powerful Android smartphone on the market".
I received them in that order too, not at the same time, so a literal side-by-side comparison was impossible.
At first, the HTC One X looks like any other white smartphone.
It measures 134.36mm by 69.9mm by 8.9mm and weighs 130 grams. It has a 4.7 inch (1280 x 720 resolution) touch screen which is made from super tough Gorilla Glass.
On closer inspection it becomes clear the HTC One X is moderately curved. Not so much so that you consider racing a Hot Wheels car on it, but enough for you to wonder "why did they do that". And then you work it out. The curve protects the screen from making contact with the surface of your desk when you put it down face down which is handy if you're prone to spilling stuff on your desk.
It includes Beats Audio, an upper end audio system, but it's hard to tell its musical abilities from any other high-end smart phone with the human ear. And these days I listen to a lot of music on my phone.
The other major thing about this phone, and I think it's overkill, is the fact that it has quad-core central processing unit which shuts down when you're doing less processor-hungry tasks and fires up a fifth, single, core.
The Samsung Galaxy S III also has a quad core central processing unit.
It measures 136.6mm by 70.6mm by 8.6mm and is noticeably bigger than the HTC One. It too has a Gorilla Glass screen, but a straight one rather than curved.
I like the feel of this larger phone in my hand ... but it also feels too thin. Somehow, the $1049 Galaxy S III feels cheaper than the, er, $50 cheaper HTC One X. Its battery cover is thin so it doesn't feel as robust as the HTC One and the Galaxy S III doesn't feel like it would survive many drops either.
I was looking forward to trying out the S III's Smart stay setting, which I had read about, and couldn't find how to turn it on until I dove into the Galaxy S III's Settings and clicked Display to swipe it on. The idea is that the phone's camera monitors your eyes and doesn't put the screen to sleep until you look away – avoiding you having to re swipe the screen every time it powers down while you're reading a web page or an email. It works, but a refinement would be to have the screen wake with a blink too. That would probably drain the batteries though.
Smart stay, without a doubt, is the point of difference of the Samsung Galaxy S III .
Battery life is similar on both of these phones, lasting just over a day, so there's very little to distinguish them.
At the end of the day you'd find it hard to go wrong with either of these choice if you were positive about getting a new Android device. If you were open to trying another eco system I'd recommend the Nokia Lumia 800 – Siri.
- © Fairfax NZ News
Do you dual screen?Related story: (See story)