Which of the flagships is best when playing games?
There are a couple of really powerful smartphones out there today, and those leading the pack are the Samsung Galaxy S3 and HTC One X. There are heap loads of reviews focusing on specs, numbers and other measurements too boring to even mention. I am not interested in how much memory there is, but rather how a device behaves and feels.
Design matters when it comes to playing games, and this is where the HTC One X definitely have the upper hand. Neither device have square corners, but the One X at least has rounded corners. The S3 has almost nothing to hold onto, as the design is truly rounded with no corners. Playing games, or general handling of the S3 is slippery, and I have dropped it on numerous occasions when not using a case. Given the lightweight of the S3 it feels like a toy, and not like one of the most powerful devices on the market today. The One X on the other hand feels like a robust device, and the test unit I have in my hand has seen quite a lot of drops when tested by numerous journalists.
The touch buttons found on the HTC One X sit protected by the outer border, and when playing games there is little to no risk to inadvertently touch them. On the S3 in the other hand the touch buttons are really easy to access by mistake when handling the phone, or playing games. It is really annoying playing Real Racing 2 just to be thrown to the pause screen due to touching the back touch button.
Another area where the One X beats the S3 is in the internal speaker quality. Both have speakers on the rear, but the One X comes with much more power. I says BeatsAudio on the back, but there is little sign of Monster Cable in the sound as there is no room to get heavy bass. Still it manages to produce loud, and quite balanced sound. The S3 isn’t as loud, but still clear and balanced.
When it comes to screen both are excellent for clarity, color and resolution. For playing games the screen size is great, and there is room for controls. The fun recreational aspect is where both these products excel. Playing games, and watching videos are great. Using them as phones, texting or playing around in the OS is less fun. I simply have too small hands to reach, and like most users I have to resort to using two hands texting. With my iPhone, or Samsung Galaxy W or Huawei Hero I can text when riding my bike and with these I have to stop by the side of the road.
Both suffer from having a lackluster pool of games to choose from. Compared to the App Store the Google Play Store is limited in content, and at times games don’t get updated. There are still some real gems available such as Dead Space, and a number of FPS games from Gameloft. Some games are available through the Samsung Store, and others through the Amazon Store. Most users seem to use various APK sites to find pirated software instead, as it is really easy to install pirated software on any Android phone. Without a common standard there is no evolution of the higher end games. I have not seen any exclusive game for the screen size, or power available in either of these phones.
Where the S3 has an edge is in smooth power. I have never had any slowdowns, or other issues on the S3 when it comes to pushing graphics. The HTC One X on the other hand had some issues with Dead Trigger despite using the same settings, and having all unnecessary processes shut off. The S3 can suffer slowdowns as well if I deck it out with too much animated wallpaper stuff, and lock screen extras.
WiFi speeds are great for the S3 if it manages to stay connected. A common problem with the S3 is dropping the WiFi network connections. On my home network it is blazingly fast, and at work it drops it after ten seconds. The HTC One X has not proven itself to be as fast, but is instead more dependable and never drops out of the networks.
If I wanted a smartphone to play games on instead of the iPhone 4/4S I would go for the HTC One X. I would not choose either the S3 or One X over the iPhone 5 coming in a couple of days. There is nothing really pushing the power in the Android games available, but there will definitely be a couple of next-gen smartphone games showing up for iOS.
Rating Samsung Galaxy S3
Rating HTC One X