HTC One M8 is a smartphone that turned many Android users from being Samsung fans into being HTC fans, thanks to its metallic design, good battery life, duo camera, very neat Sense UI and a sturdy construction. Compared to the Samsung Galaxy S5, the HTC One M8 is regarded as a highly superior smartphone, not only because the South Korean company botched things up in terms of design, but because performance and the user interface on the new flagship for the year were not as good as expected. But mostly, it was the design which made Samsung lose a lot of fans in 2014. That development ultimately led to the best smartphone the company has ever unveiled, the Samsung Galaxy S6 and its edgy counterpart, the Galaxy S6 Edge. Now these are much more fit to compete against the HTC One M8 and the newly announced HTC One M9.
This time around, I’ve decided that a comparison between the HTC One M8 battery life and the Galaxy S5 battery life would further help out smartphone fans who are still thinking about purchasing one of these flagships this year. Since a year has passed since these two were launched, a drop in price is expected for both of them as soon as their 2015 counterparts officially go on sale in a couple of days. Both are said to start shipping on April 10, although some carriers and retailers have already started the process. April 10 is the official date, so that’s when we should start seeing some discounts for the older models appear. As a smartphone reaches its one year anniversary and sees the birth of its successor, its value drops abruptly, sometimes by as much as half of its original price. Thus, the HTC One M8 price is expected to go as low as $350, while the Galaxy S5 price is expected to move to $400 – $500 spectrum. As they get even older, their prices will keep dropping, so keep an eye out if you’re a discount hunter.
One of the most important aspects users are interested in when it comes to smartphones is battery life. In 2014, the best battery life belonged to the Xperia Z3 and the Galaxy Note 4, followed by the HTC One M8, LG G3, Galaxy S5 and other smartphones. The advancements in battery life technology haven’t been noteworthy this year, so it’s hard to find a smartphone that has a battery life of more than 2 days on average, with average to moderate usage. Of course battery life depends a lot on how people actually use and interact with the smartphone in question, which means that there’s no finite conclusion one can reach when comparing the battery life of one phone with another.
There is a factor in this battery life comparison that is one of the most crucial triggers for bad battery life: bad user interface and we’re talking about TouchWiz, not Sense UI. TouchWiz has been criticized a lot in the past few years, especially when users started buying the Galaxy S5, which has notoriously heavy TouchWiz skinning on top. That negative feedback from users who started complaining about sluggish performance and a bad battery life prompted Samsung to start making changes. Of course battery life and TouchWiz were not the only problems users found with the Galaxy S5, as the design was also heavily criticized. There is the side which likes the Galaxy S5 design, but there’s another side which refers to it as the “band-aid design”, and with good reason. But since preference cannot be objected, that’s not the point of this comparison.
The Galaxy S5 battery life suffers at the hands of TouchWiz, as the Samsung-made UI takes its toll on the way in which Android handles processes and tasks. Besides making the overall performance sluggish, TouchWiz takes a toll on battery life as well, as the animations are many and the transitions are heavy. Many users report that the Galaxy S5 battery life was excruciatingly bad for them, while others say that it was manageable. That demonstrates that it depends a lot on how you use your smartphone. The Galaxy S5, with average use, involving some data usage for video viewing and browsing, half an hour of gaming, heavy texting, the usual social networking for about an hour each day and two hours of call time result in a battery life that maxes out at the end of the day. With heavy use, at medium brightness, the Galaxy S5 battery life konks out at about 8 PM, which is not very good for an active user and not a very good trait for Samsung.
By heavy use, we mean at least an hour and a half of gaming, about an hour of video streaming, social networking for about an hour, 3 hours of calls and the same amount of texting and browsing. These were the tests that we conducted while using the Galaxy S5 as a daily driver and we got sub-par results when it comes to battery life. Honestly, the Galaxy S5 battery life isn’t exceptionally bad, compared to other smartphones we did the same tests on, but it’s not good either. We’ve seen worse results on the iPhone 5s, for example. But if we compare it to the results the HTC One M8 got, it’s decidedly inferior.
Once again, there are almost no smartphones out there with battery lives exceeding the three day mark, tops, so you shouldn’t be disappointed in the results you get with either of these phones. Nonetheless, the HTC One M8 has a clear advantage thanks to the lightness and smoothness of the UI, Sense and manages to get more battery life even though it has a smaller battery than that which is found in the Galaxy S5. The HTC One M8 gets a 2600 mAh unit, while the Galaxy S5 gets a larger 2800 mAh unit. Although the actual difference is small, somehow the Galaxy S5 doesn’t manage power as well as the HTC One M8 does. The actual difference between how long the One M8 battery lasts and how long the Galaxy S5 battery does, it comes down to about 2 hours in favor of the former, in most situations.
In our tests, the HTC One M8 got about two days of moderate use in, by doing the same tasks as on the Galaxy S5, and managed to get through the day with heavy usage, which is acceptable. It’s not an exceptional battery life and you’d be much better off if you chose the Galaxy Note 4 and made use of the power saving options than with the One M8 in terms of battery life. Similarly, it’s still inferior to the Sony Xperia Z3 battery life and most Lumia smartphones, too. Still, if you put the Galaxy S5 and the HTC One M8 next to each other and examine their power management and how much they can last with different types of users, the One M8 usually comes out ahead. The only thing we haven’t included in our tests is camera usage, as the superior Galaxy S5 camera might impact battery life negatively, compared to the sub-par camera on the One M8. Ultimately, it comes to down to how well you can manage your own use and how you can adjust your own schedule to that of your phone. If you’re all for battery life, neither of these are good picks for you. But if you’re looking at the Galaxy S5 and HTC One M8 as your last two options and you value battery life more than camera performance, the One M8 should be your choice.