Samsung Galaxy S6 or HTC One M9: Which Android flagship did you pre-order today?

You can order the latest Android flagships today. Matthew Miller was leaning toward the Galaxy S6 Edge, but then he took a closer look at his options.
Written by Matthew Miller, Contributing Writer
Early this morning, the new HTC One M9 and Samsung Galaxy S6 became available for pre-order. As a mobile phone fanatic, it was very difficult for me to choose one over the other.

I was able to use each of these smartphones a few weeks ago in Spain and if you look at my initial comparison it sounds like the Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge gained much more than the HTC One M9 over the respective previous generation devices.

After reading several initial hands-on articles, including the CNET preview, I was leaning heavily towards the Galaxy S6 Edge on T-Mobile, but decided to take a closer look at my options.

Samsung Galaxy S6, S6 Edge, and HTC One M9 specifications

If you are making this same decision, here is a summary of the key specifications to consider:

Samsung Galaxy S6 Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge HTC One M9
Processor Exynos 7420 octa core Exynos 7420 octa core Snapdragon 810 octa core
Display 5.1" 2560 x 1440 Super AMOLED 5.1" 2560 x 1440 Super AMOLED 5" 1080p LCD
Storage 32GB, 64GB, 128GB 32GB, 64GB, 128GB 32GB with microSD card slot
Cameras 16 megapixel rear with OIS, 5 megapixel front 16 megapixel rear with OIS, 5 megapixel front 20 megapixel rear, UltraPixel front
Battery 2550 mAh 2600 mAh 2840 mAh
Other Fast charging, Qi & PMA wireless charging Fast charging, Qi & PMA wireless charging, dual edge display BoomSound front facing stereo speakers, dual tone color

Beyond the specs

The specs are quite comparable so my decision really came down to upgrade history, design aspects, service offers, camera performance, and price.

Upgrade history: As part of its HTC Advantage program, HTC promises to provide timely updates for its devices for at least two years. I have an HTC One M7 now running Android Lollipop that is over two years old. HTC regularly gets the current generation device updates out within 90 days.

The evaluation Samsung Galaxy Note Edge still has Android KitKat, but my wife's Galaxy S5 does have Lollipop. I personally trust HTC to provide timely updates more than I do Samsung.

Design aspects: The Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge are fantastic pieces of hardware, likely the finest Samsung has ever produced, and I can't get the S6 Edge out of my mind. I'm fine with an integrated battery and even with the lack of a microSD card slot if there is ample memory. Many people have stated Samsung copied Apple and the S6 is just an iPhone running Android. I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing.

CNET Review:HTC One M9 - A gorgeous Android phone with a touch of déjà vu

The HTC One M9 further evolved the One design and is my favorite of the last three One devices. I like that there is still a microSD card slot as it is much less expensive to expand the memory in this manner. The One M9 has rocking BoomSound speakers and a great performing amped up 3.5mm headphone jack.

The integrated wireless charging of the Galaxy S6 is a nice bonus and all reports show that the camera may be the best of any current smartphone. I honestly switch to my iPhone 6 Plus when I am going out with a single phone and am looking for an Android device that will allow me to leave the iPhone 6 Plus at home or even put it up for sale on Swappa. I'm hopeful that the HTC One M9 can serve in that role. So far, the camera has proven to be good, but I don't think the image processing software is quite where it needs to be yet. HTC released a camera update last week that greatly improved image processing and so HTC has the ability to improve things further.

Service offers: Samsung provides Galaxy Gifts in the form of free software and trial subscriptions. HTC provides its new Uh Oh Protection service so you can use your device without worrying about breaking it or switching carriers.

When you spend $650+, this peace of mind is very valuable. I personally love seeing a company think a bit outside the box to bring in customers.

Samsung Pay interests me so if that rollout looks to be successful, then I may sell my iPhone 6 Plus and go with a Galaxy S6 Edge for my primary device.

Camera performance: If camera performance is one of your primary factors, I think the Galaxy S6 or S6 Edge are probably the best.

HTC really had one item to focus on over the past year to improve on the HTC One M8 and that was the camera. It has improved the potential camera experience by going with a more standard 20 megapixel rear camera, but HTC still has some tweaking to do to get things right.

CNET Review: Samsung Galaxy S6 wowed us from day one

HTC does have great image editing and capture mode software that Samsung seems to have copied a bit in these new S6 and S6 Edge devices, just look at the camera modules and the large buttons used to select capture modes.

The Samsung Note 4 camera is excellent and Samsung made it a bit better with the new S6 and S6 Edge by increasing the aperture. Samsung also includes OIS, another feature where HTC dropped the ball by not including this in the One M9.

Price: You can buy the HTC One M9 for $649 with no contract. This is for the 32GB model, there is supposed to be a 64GB model available in the future too, that is the only memory configuration being sold.

The Galaxy S6 is priced at a whopping $680, $760, and $860 for the 32GB, 64GB, and 128GB models. The Galaxy S6 Edge is priced at $780, $860, and $960 for the 32GB, 64GB, and 128GB models. The HTC One M9 is only available in 32GB, with a microSD card slot, for $649.

For comparison, the iPhone 6 is priced at $649, $749, and $849 for 16GB, 64GB, and 128GB. The iPhone 6 Plus is priced at $749, $849, and $949 for 16GB, 64GB, and 128GB. Thus, the two Galaxy S models are priced even higher than the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, taking the new crown as the most expensive smartphones available today.

While I prefer the design of the Galaxy S6 Edge, I'm not sure the curved edges provide as much functionality as the Note Edge. However, I am a huge fan of unique designs so the Edge is calling my name. I don't need 128GB so am considering the 64GB model. That one is $860, which is $110 more than the HTC One M9.

Which did I purchase?

When 9:00 pm Pacific hit last night, I went to the HTC website and purchased a gunmetal gray HTC One M9. I like the WiFi Calling and VoLTE support found in official T-Mobile devices so I skipped the developer and unlocked models. It's also not clear if those two fully support T-Mobile HSPA+ and LTE.

I also pre-ordered a 64GB black Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge using the T-Mobile interest-free monthly payment option so the pain to my bank account isn't felt all at once. The camera and wireless charging greatly interest me and the improvements in the design are significant enough to convince me to give the new Galaxy S6 Edge a try.

It was very difficult to make a purchase decision and I guess I went the easy, yet expensive, route by choosing both. With a family of five phones on T-Mobile I figure if one of these ends up being preferred then I can pass along the other to a family member.

Did you make a pre-order decision between these two today and if so, which one did you choose?

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