Samsung Ativ S vs HTC 8X

We put Samsung and HTC’s new flagship Windows Phone 8 devices side by side

Windows Phone 8 devices are set to launch towards the end of this month and early November. We don’t have the devices in store yet so an in depth discussion of how the new operating system works on these devices and comparison is still a little way off. What we can do is put the released hardware specifications side by side and look at how the flagship devices from Samsung and HTC, the Samsung Ativ S and HTC 8X, are shaping up.

Follow the break to read the full comparison

Operating System

Windows Phone 8 will not be able to be ‘skinned’ as current Android users will be familiar with. This stops HTC or Samsung from overly customising the initial appearance of the device so much with a custom interface. There will undoubtedly be some home grown WP8 apps pre-installed from both manufacturers but until we have the devices in hand we can’t judge the quality of each manufacturer’s offerings here.

Result – DRAW - for now. Both devices will have the base WP8 install and functionality – the possibility of either having some kind of ‘killer app’ or suite of apps that would make a recommendation easier at this time seems quite slim.

Raw Power

  Samsung Ativ S HTC 8X
Processor 1.5GHz dual-core Qualcomm 8960 1.5GHz dual-core Qualcomm 8960
RAM 1 GB 1 GB

Result – DRAW To be expected really, Microsoft are known for having base hardware requirement specifications for their operating systems and this is probably the reason why both devices match up here with an identical processor.

Display

Samsung Ativ S HTC 8X
Size 4.8” S AMOLED 4.3” SLCD 2
Resolution 720 x 1280 720 x 1280
Glass Gorilla Glass 2 Gorilla Glass 2

Result – Ativ S A bit of a personal choice here, the trend these days is for the largest screen possible and Samsung deliver. When coupled with the actual dimensions of the devices, the Ativ S is only about 5mm taller and wider whilst actually being thinner, so ‘in the hand’ there looks to be very little difference. Samsung squeezing in more real estate makes for a winner here. The SAMOLED vs SLCD debate will continue to rage with both having their pros and cons so this comparison will steer clear of that for now.

Connectivity

  Samsung Ativ S HTC 8X
Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n 802.11 a/b/g/n
DLNA Yes No
NFC Yes Yes
Bluetooth 3.0 2.1
Connector Micro USB Micro USB
Expansion slot MicroSD (SDXC support) No

Result – Ativ S Samsung pull a clear winner here, in my opinion with the expansion slot alone. HTC have moved away from expandable storage in recent times, which many users lament. Neither device’s official specifications make note of MHL compatibility through microUSB which is interesting as it is a standard feature on the Android flagships; perhaps this is a WP8 issue. Surprisingly HTC make no note of DLNA support either. Whether this is an oversight in the spec list is to be seen – HTC Media Link utilises DLNA and works well on Android. Whether Samsung offer a variant of their AllShare software for WP8 or simply adopt an open DLNA using the standard Windows environment remains to be seen.

Camera

  Samsung Ativ S HTC 8X
Megapixels 8 MP 8 MP
Flash Autofocus / LED Autofocus / LED
Front Facing 1.9 MP 2.1 MP

Result – DRAW I wont be calling HTC a winner here over 0.2 MP on the front facing camera. The proof will be in getting the devices in hand to give a proper side by side on how they perform in real conditions. Camera technology relies on the lens, image processing and far more to give a detailed idea of performance. HTC’s experience and previous results on smartphones may give them the edge but only time will tell.

Battery

  Samsung Ativ S HTC 8X
Capacity 2300 mAh 1800 mAh
Removable Yes No

Winner – Ativ S Of course actual battery performance depends on real life situations but with the underlying hardware / software combination being almost identical, one can assume the extra 500 mAh provided by the Ativ S battery is going to have you managing power less towards the end of a busy day. HTC are continuing their recent mentality of closed devices with a unibody design and no access to the battery, the Samsung promo images clearly show the back cover can be removed. Whilst this doesn’t bother many consumers, the techy amongst us prefer to be able to pop in a spare battery if required and this always helps when making long trips and finding yourself away from power.

Design

  Samsung Ativ S HTC 8X
Dimensions (mm) 137.2 x 70.5 x 8.7 132.4 x 66.2 x 10.1
Weight 135g 130g

Result – personal choice! From a purely numbers point of view this is tough to call. The Ativ S is slightly larger (to be expected with a bigger screen) but actually manages to be thinner. Also, looking at the screen size, it shows that the Ativ S will be ‘more screen’ with the 8X having more bordering, although this may not be instantly apparent with the glass approaching the edge of the device of the HTC and appearing to have more screen. From a subjective view I find the HTC design to be far more appealing. The squarer, edge to edge glass reminiscent of Nokia’s Lumia devices and the choice of colour options is much more modern and in keeping with the style and marketing of Windows Phone 8 against Samsung’s more traditional looking smartphone. Of course this does nothing to impact on the phone’s capabilities however those buying in to the new direction of Windows as a whole are probably more likely to go for the HTC on the style front.

Price

  Samsung Ativ S HTC 8X
SIM free (GBP) 369.00 ex VAT 333.32 ex VAT

Result – HTC 8X The price is close but HTC seem to have kept theirs down as low as possible. Samsung are offering a larger screen for the price and you can argue this justifies the extra 30 odd pounds however HTC’s design is a change of direction from their traditional Android devices, whereas the Ativ S looks like any other Samsung unit with WP8 installed – the extra cash spent on design clearly hasn’t been passed down to the consumer with the 8X.

Conclusion

It’s far too early to start calling winners and losers in the Windows Phone 8 game just yet and so I’m not going to. What is apparent is that the Samsung Ativ S has the edge on HTC on the spec sheet in a few areas that may sway the more tech savvy customer. Coupled with their recent success and popularity in the Android space this could mean they walk the battle in sales. I’m not convinced though, HTC have designed a gorgeous phone in the 8X and although I personally loathe style over substance you can’t argue it can drive sales. That’s not to say the 8X has no substance though – the phone is clearly more than capable and a worthy flagship for the new Windows OS so once they start hitting stores I think the look and feel of the HTC 8X device is going to win support for those looking at moving to WP8 devices.

Both the Samsung Ativ S (expected 22nd October) and HTC 8X (expected early November) are available to order from the Clove site, follow the links to place your order.

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About Clove

A specialist provider of mobile technology products, including smartphones, tablets, wearables, connected home products, memory cards and associated accessories.

Telephone: 01202 552936
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Comments

  1. HerrinSchadenfreude says:

    A very fair comparison between devices I must say. However, I find it surprising that in a comparison of this sort you do not touch on the one shortcoming with the 8X that is likely to be the deal breaker that sends them to the AtivS when coupled with the lack of SD storage expansion, and that is of course the inclusion of only 16GB storage at maximum with the 8X. This storage capacity can’t even claim to be a progression from the original launch devices for Windows Phone 7, or for that matter even from the iPhone Classic, which could be had 5 years ago in 32GB configuration. This is an inexcusable and unjustifiable gaffe on the part of HTC that is in no way explained by the inclusion of 7GB of SkyDrive storage that comes with the new phones, as I’ve heard is being touted as the reason.

    For audiophiles, those watching movies on such a great screen, or those using the business features of WP8 to work with many documents, this “most don’t need more than 16GB” assumption by HTC results in a complete waste and limitation of an otherwise great phone and smacks of the same attitude Microsoft had when Gates claimed nobody would ever need more than 640K.

    Really naive, and probably the reason I will go with the AtivS barring some incredible development discovered with both phones in hand.

    • Chris Ward says:

      Hi Herrin,

      Thanks for your comment. We have mentioned the microSD slot under the ‘connectivity’ section. It is a shame that one has not been included. We understand that for both the Lumia 920 and the HTC 8X the microSD slot has been omitted so as not to ‘disrupt’ the unibody design. It does give the Ativ S a big advantage in that sense.