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iPhone 5s vs. Galaxy S4

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September 10, 2013

Gizmag compares the specs and features of the new iPhone 5s and Samsung's Galaxy S4

Gizmag compares the specs and features of the new iPhone 5s and Samsung's Galaxy S4

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Earlier this year, Samsung launched the Galaxy S4, which some considered to be a minor update over the Galaxy S3. But Apple's new iPhone 5s might be an even more iterative update, apart from one or two marquee features. Which comes out on top? It's too early to say for sure, but we can start by comparing the specs and features of the companies' two latest flagships, the iPhone 5s and Galaxy S4.

Size

The GS4 is ten percent taller, and 19 percent wider

The iPhone has fallen way behind Android phones in overall size (and screen size, which we'll get to in a moment). Today's iPhone 5s update didn't do anything to change that, as it's exactly the same size as 2012's iPhone 5.

That has the Galaxy S4 measuring in at ten percent taller, and 19 percent wider. The iPhone 5s is about four percent thinner.

Weight

The iPhone 5 is 14 percent lighter than Samsung's flagship

The iPhone 5s' weight stays the same as its predecessor as well. It's 14 percent lighter than the Galaxy S4, though the GS4's much larger size actually has it winning in terms of relative weight (weight-to-surface-area ratio).

Build

It's aluminum vs. plastic, once again

Apple did announce one plastic phone today, but it wasn't the iPhone 5s. It sticks with the anodized aluminum from the iPhone 5. It is, however, available in some different colors, including gold (pictured above), along with "space gray" and silver.

Display

The GS4 has a much bigger and sharper screen, but that doesn't mean the iPhone's screen ha...

Here's yet another area that stayed exactly the same from last year's iPhone. Just like last year's showdown, the iPhone gives you just 63 percent as much screen area as the GS4 does.

The iPhone only packs in 35 percent as many pixels as the Galaxy S4 does, but it's hard to come down too hard on that 326 pixel per inch Retina Display. When looking at these two phones, we're really comparing "plenty sharp" to "ridiculously sharp."

The iPhone 5s' screen uses IPS technology, while the GS4's is a Super AMOLED.

Processor

We're probably past the point where cores and clock speed are the best determinant of perf...

Apple hasn't told us much about the technical specs of that A7 chip, but it has the same two cores and 1.3 GHz clock speed as its predecessor. It also brings the 64-bit architecture that Apple told us all about. It's the first smartphone to jump into the realm of 64-bit computing, but we don't really know what that means for performance just yet.

RAM

The GS4's 2 GB of RAM doubles the (reported) 1 GB found in the iPhone 5s

The iPhone 5s also retains the same 1 GB of RAM found in the iPhone 5.

Storage

Internal storage options are identical, but the GS4's TouchWiz leaves you with less availa...

Internal storage options are equal, but the GS4 also packs a microSD card slot. The GS4 also likely hogs more of its internal storage with its somewhat bloated TouchWiz UI.

Cameras

The GS4's camera wins on pixel count, but we're much more concerned with image quality ......

Megapixels probably don't mean a lot here. Apple spent a good chunk of today's event talking about the upgrades to the iPhone 5s' camera, but none of them had to do with pixel count. It does have larger pixels (similar to the HTC One), along with a dual LED "True Tone" flash, and a burst mode that automatically picks the sharpest shot.

Battery

We don't know much about the iPhone 5s' battery life yet, apart from Apple's estimates

Here's another confusing category, as Apple hasn't told us the capacity of the iPhone 5s' battery. We're left with an estimate, which probably won't mean much for now. Stay tuned for a more in-depth look at the 5s, to get the full low-down on battery life.

Fingerprint sensor

This time, the checkmark is referring to the iPhone 5s' Touch ID fingerprint sensor

As the killer feature of the iPhone 5s, it's worth shining the spotlight on the phone's Touch ID biometric sensor. Press one of your fingers on the home button, and unlock your phone. The key is that nobody who doesn't have your fingerprints will be able to get in. Payments aren't supported (at least not yet), but you can authorize iTunes purchases with your fingertip. If it works as advertised, this will likely be the best combination we've seen of smartphone security and convenience.

LTE

Both phones have LTE radios, for speedy mobile data

As you'd expect, both phones pack the radios to ride speedy 4G LTE networks, as long as your carrier allows it. There is also a more limited HSPA+ version of the GS4, mostly sold in markets that don't have LTE anyway.

NFC

If you want NFC, the iPhone isn't for you

Near-field communication may not be a must-have feature for most smartphone shoppers, but if you're into things like bumping phones to transfer data, or using one of those rare NFC mobile payment services, then the GS4 has your ticket punched.

Software

It's Android (with a thick smattering of TouchWiz) vs. iOS, all over again

The iPhone 5s ships with the new-look iOS 7, while the GS4 still runs Android 4.2, layered with Samsung's TouchWiz UI. The chasm between the two platforms has never been larger, as Samsung keeps squeezing in as many new features as it can, while Apple continues to focus on simplicity, highlighting a handful of new features every year.

Apart from the UI overhaul, our favorite new feature in iOS 7 just might be Control Center, a pane of quick settings toggles that you activate by swiping up from the bottom of the screen. Of course Android loyalists will be quick to point out that their platform has had various versions of the same idea for years.

Wrap-up

If this comparison seems incomplete, you aren't crazy. We've spent months with the Galaxy S4, but we'll have to wait to put the hot-off-the-press iPhone 5s through the paces.

From where we stand now, though, we see some pretty stark contrast between the two phones. The GS4 has a bigger and sharper screen, but the iPhone might be a more comfortable size for smaller hands. The GS4 has an exhausting laundry list of features, but the iPhone 5s has one, that fingerprint sensor, that might trump them all.

But where we stand now is still only close enough to rap off some basic specs and features. It's a good start, but this story is just beginning. Stay tuned to Gizmag for much more on this front.

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About the Author
Will Shanklin Will Shanklin is Gizmag's Mobile Tech Editor, and has been part of the team since 2012. Will has a Master's degree from U.C. Irvine and a Bachelor's from West Virginia University. He currently lives in New Mexico with his wife, Jessica.
  All articles by Will Shanklin
12 Comments

The Galaxy S4 also has an IR transmitter allowing it to act as a remote control.

BenC
11th September, 2013 @ 06:48 am PDT

So other than some minor tweaks, it's the same as the older 5. A slightly different chipset, slight camera tweaks, and a couple colors? I get it that Apple like to be evolutionary in contrast to revolutionary. They seem to be falling behind.

At the place I work, we call it the Care Bear phone. What it does, it does well, but I'll keep my Android. It does more and I don't have to live with Apple heavy handedness when it comes to controlling the phone I purchased, My biggest gripe right behind the lack of a microSD card slot.

VoiceofReason
11th September, 2013 @ 08:54 am PDT

I use my s4 as a remote quite often. Partially because I can't find my regular remote.

Nicholas Jesse Mathews Hoover
11th September, 2013 @ 10:48 am PDT

Aren't batteries the most important thing right now? The iPhone is fast enough (as is the s4), the camera is already very good , the security is good. What we all really need now is the best battery in the world.

Jiber Magdiell
11th September, 2013 @ 07:57 pm PDT

interesting how apple comes up with all this fancy language for things that everyone else has surpassed them in, read - retina display. They are also king at telling a story as to how much better their stuff is whilst not actually releasing specs at all, read - battery, chip specs, ram blah blah.. Still no External storage, because it would mean that people don't have to use iTunes to put data on or off the device.

Fingerprint reader, pha, hardly an innovation , I have a pocket PC that still works that has one on it that I let the kids use. So let me think that was over 6 years ago now so hardly an innovation. But you can be that they have a patent on it, essentially (copied technology) so that no one else can have one. Apple why pay less for more when you can buy from us.

dmanvan
12th September, 2013 @ 02:18 am PDT

Fingerprint sensor tramps all features?....Seriously?....

Facebook User
13th September, 2013 @ 06:09 am PDT

keep squabbling about all the minot and insignificant differences... It's silly, really...

I fully agree with Jiber Magdiell and GIVE US A PROPER BATTERY LIFE (AND a micro SD Card slot of couse! AND a big screen)

willemco
21st September, 2013 @ 03:59 am PDT

Apple sells what people want now.

Samsung sells what people are going to want.

Melvin Low
21st September, 2013 @ 05:46 pm PDT

Seriously, Gizmag is full of apple fanboys. I don't care what your preference is, but at least try to be fair. Samsung has more features, apple has loyal close-minded customers. Besides anyone who doesn't know squat about phones probably thinks Apple is the most innovative brand which it is far from. You can't really blame apple though. Anybody will take advantage of gullible customers. Apple just changes the name of a product and keeps insisting on how much better this shit is than their last shit. While that is true it is also true iPhone customers are some of the most gullible people out there(as a majority).They want to believe that retina display is the sharpest display in the world. They want to believe NFC doesn't have the potential it does because Apple hasn't cared to put it in their devices. They want to believe that the lack of new features is really to "keep it simple". All because they want to believe that their NEW iPhone is every bit as revolutionary as the original was. I thank Steve Jobs for bringing the smartphone market out of the dark because they've been around for a while. No, Apple didn't invent those either, sorry fanboys. So congratulations Apple, on having the close-minded customers everyone wished they had.

iLetAppleThinkForMe
22nd September, 2013 @ 08:31 am PDT

I couldn't agree more with iLetAppleThinkForMe's comment!

Good job!

Aditya Sinha
23rd September, 2013 @ 12:36 pm PDT

I understand there are two port inside the Samsung, one for techs and the other possibly for a external antenna. Why can't we get more info on the possible links on all phones for external antenna links so that mobiles can be used in remote areas and not just what one carriers chooses to supply us with? It's like pulling teeth trying to get the good info on what is possible with handsets as anyone in regional areas or traveling OZ. I use phones for testing and aligning antennas and comms and without the help from mobile techs life would be hell. So do we have to go over-seas for other handset of quality to get a good signal away from the cities?

deaddingosdonger
28th September, 2013 @ 07:00 pm PDT

Ya a finger print scanner on the 5s is a really good way to get everyone's fingerprints for the government that's always good....

Keegan Abel
30th October, 2013 @ 05:14 pm PDT
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