Shoppers can be fickle. Two companies will release competing products that are similar in nearly every way, and one will often outsell the other by leaps and bounds. This can often be attributed to marketing or timing, but sometimes the reasoning is a mystery.
In the smartphone realm, you could argue that the same thing is playing out between HTC and Samsung. HTC's One series – an attempt to return to form – has been praised by critics, but hasn't exactly sold like hotcakes. Samsung's Galaxy S series, meanwhile, has run away from the pack. The high-end offerings from both companies have a lot in common, so what gives?
Specs rarely directly correlate with sales, but they can hint at a device's capabilities. Let's see if there are many differences between the technical details of the Samsung Galaxy S III and the just-announced HTC One X+.
The two phones have similar proportions. The S3 is slightly longer and wider, and a bit thinner, but the margins are narrow.
Here's another close category. The One X+ is a smidge heavier than the Galaxy S3, but – like with the other dimensions – it isn't a big difference.
We're seeing a lot of similarities here. Both handsets have identical resolution; the Galaxy S3 merely has those pixels spread out over an extra (diagonal) 0.1-inch. This gives the One X+ a higher pixel density, but both displays should be plenty sharp.
At least on paper, the edge here goes to the One X+. Its quad-core Tegra 3 chip is clocked at a screaming 1.7GHz. The international version of the Galaxy S3 also carries a quad-core chip, but the US edition sports a dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon.
International editions are evenly-matched with 1GB of RAM, but the US version of the Galaxy S3 packs a full 2GB (to help compensate for the missing quad-core processor).
Samsung offers more storage options with the Galaxy S3, but the One X+ packs a ton of flash memory into a single model. Its standard 64GB matches the storage in the priciest S3 model. Though the S3 adds an SD card slot, the One X+ offers 25GB of cloud storage in Dropbox.
Both phones ride speedy LTE networks, but if you live outside the US, your edition of the One X+ may not support LTE. We'd recommend checking with your local carrier closer to the device's launch.
In the US, AT&T will be the exclusive provider of the One X+. The Galaxy S3 is available on all major US carriers.
Here's another category with a lot of similarities. Both devices pack top-of-the-line cameras. The only difference on paper is the 1.9MP front shooter in the S3.
Both smartphones pack 2100mAh batteries, which – even on LTE – should provide a full day's charge for most people. Other factors can influence battery life (especially processors), so we'd recommend checking back for real-world stats closer to the launch of the One X+.
The One X+ – along with all of HTC's recent phones – ships with built-in Beats Audio. Beats hasn't exactly been the killer feature that HTC hoped it would be, but under the right circumstances (like buying a pair of Beats headphones) it can potentially enhance your audio.
For the Galaxy S3, we're highlighting its S-Voice feature. Obviously created as a Siri rival, it's a virtual assistant that can help with your day-to-day tasks.
The One X+ ships with Android 4.1 Jellybean, though it will have HTC Sense 4+ pasted on top. As for the S3, the Jellybean update is expected in the coming months, but with no firm release date. Samsung's software features the company's TouchWiz UI.
So we're left with two devices that look remarkably similar on paper. Will that lead to equal sales? Nope: the S3 is already one of the top-selling smartphones of all time, and the One X+ won't likely approach that.
If you're due for an upgrade, Samsung's über-popular handset could well be the best choice for you … but – after the One X+ is released – it couldn't hurt to go to a store and check it out. You might discover a hidden treasure.
See the stories that matter in your inbox every morning