Both phones come with a complete Office package courtesy of Polaris Office 5. It handles viewing and editing of Office documents and PDF files with a comprehensive feature set. You can, of course, use the Google Office suite.
Samsung and HTC have provided their own custom apps for the gallery, music and video players. HTC's player lacks an equalizer, the only audio settings is turning BoomSound on or off and that's only for headphones.
Samsung's music player has SoundAlive presets and a manual equalizer too. It can automatically adjust the equalizer with the Adapt Sound feature and level out differences in volume between tracks with Smart volume.
The Galaxy Alpha's music player has more options, including an equalizer
Both players support FLAC audio (both 16 and 24 bit), and each phone has a microSD card slot since you'll need the extra storage for FLAC or DLNA. Album art and artist info can be automatically downloaded.
Check out the Audio quality section to see if the two phones have quality audio processing hardware to make FLAC really count.
The One mini 2 certainly has a big advantage when playing music on the loudspeakers. It won't let you tune the player to your liking but another player from the app store will open that door for those who want it. The Galaxy Alpha has a single loudspeaker at the bottom, which doesn't get muffled but is hardly an audiophile's dream.
The HTC One mini 2 has an FM radio with RDS if you want to listen to local broadcast stations for news or music. Samsung has been ignoring old-school broadcast radio for a while now.
Zoe is now a standalone app in Sense 6. It lets you manually select the photos and videos that will be compiled into a Highlights video, also choose a theme and sound track for them. Better yet, Zoe is now a social experience - you can collaborate with friends and share multimedia to create a combined Highlights video.
While not quite Zoe, Samsung has preloaded the Studio app, which lets you edit photos, create collages, process Shot & more pics and even do some video editing - from simple trimming to organizing clips and photos into a video.
The Gallery app on the HTC One mini 2 shows your albums by default. Albums automatically get a Highlights video, which you can customize with effects and soundtracks. There's an option that automatically searches the gallery for images similar to the current one, which works pretty well.
Gallery app on the HTC One mini 2
Samsung's Gallery can also show photos by time and by album, though here "album" just means folder. One special trick that Samsung implemented is that you can filter images by person - the facial recognition software will group photos by the people in them.
The TouchWiz gallery integrates with Facebook, Dropbox and Picasa so you can browse online albums as easily as local ones. The HTC app lacks this feature, but both support DLNA.
Both phones have custom video players but codec support is patchy. The popular MKV and MP4 formats with H.264 works but audio is limited to MP3 and AAC. Neither handled DTS, Dolby or AC3 sound. Worse still, the phones had issues with DivX, though XviD is supported.
Galaxy Alpha video player • HTC One mini 2 video player
The Galaxy Alpha does have extensive subtitle support, which is a must-have for non-English speakers. It also has the audio options from the music player. The HTC One mini 2 carries over its own advantage - the front-facing speakers let you better appreciate movie audio.
Subtitles and audio options are available in the Galaxy Alpha video player
The Samsung Galaxy Alpha has the feature-rich S Health app, which can use the on-phone sensors (including heart rate) as well as Gear smartwatches and third-party accessories. It can track exercise (walking, jogging, cycling) and what you eat. It will even track your sleep and stress.
S Health app works with third-party accessories too
The HTC Guide app can help you troubleshoot the phone and diagnose issues. And if it comes to calling tech support, a helpful screen shows info support might ask you about, great for non-techies who don't know what IMEI means.
Both phones feature backup solutions that can automatically do daily backups and send the info to the cloud. It can be restored from there in the event you lose your phone or have to remote-wipe it.
Both apps will back up contacts, messages, bookmarks and additional info. HTC will also back up app data so reinstalling apps will restore their settings automatically. Note that this only works if you back up to an HTC account rather than Google.
HTC traditionally has an option to copy contacts and messages from your old phone, which facilitates the switch to your new One mini 2. If you're upgrading from an Android phone, Google will take care of that by syncing seamlessly, but in case you're trading in an iPhone this app can save you some hassle. That's only if you haven't synced your iPhone with Google's services though.
Winner: Tie. The Samsung Galaxy Alpha has a more capable music player and the comprehensive S Health app, subtitle support in videos was nice to see as well.
On the other hand, the HTC One mini 2 gallery and Zoe are well ahead of Samsung's alternatives and the Guide app is a nice idea. Still, you might need third-party apps to plug the gaps in functionality of some Sense apps.
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