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Under the microscope: Samsung Galaxy S4 vs. iPhone 5

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May 29, 2013

Gizmag goes in-depth to compare the Apple iPhone 5 and Samsung Galaxy S4

Gizmag goes in-depth to compare the Apple iPhone 5 and Samsung Galaxy S4

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It’s a tricky business, comparing iPhone and Galaxy smartphones. Too often the conversation disintegrates into fingerpointing, one-upmanship, and sermons from the Church of the Holy Fanboy. But when it comes down to it, we're talking about two great smartphones. Some people will prefer one, some will prefer the other. Who cares? The only important question is which is better for you? Let’s do our best to help you answer that, with our in-depth comparison of the Samsung Galaxy S4 and Apple iPhone 5.

Big and small

The Galaxy S4's display has more hyper-saturated colors

When we compared the Galaxy S4 to the HTC One, we were looking at a relatively minor difference in size. Not here. The GS4 is over 10 percent taller, and about 19 percent wider than the iPhone 5.

It’s a big difference. Though we can’t definitively tell you which you’ll prefer, I personally think the benefits of the Galaxy S4’s size outweigh its drawbacks. I spent several months using the iPhone 5 as my main phone. But after using the GS4 on-and-off for about a month, the iPhone just feels undersized in comparison.

If you have very small hands, you might lean towards the iPhone’s smaller build. It’s also easier to reach your thumb all the way across its screen. If you really want to nitpick, wearers of skinny jeans will find the iPhone easier to pocket.

Here's an idea of how much bigger the Galaxy S4 is

There’s also something to be said for easily wrapping your fingers around the svelte iPhone. Its size is great for those times when you snap it out of your pocket to take a few pics. The iPhone 5 harkens back to the days when smartphones were PORTABLE computers. Most Android phones today are more like portable COMPUTERS.

But I don’t think the Galaxy S4's size is too big of a concern for most of us. And, as we’ll soon find out, that larger size leads to some big advantages that can make the arguments for the iPhone’s smaller size sound petty.

Light and lighter

The Galaxy S4 is only slightly thicker, at 7.9 mm

The iPhone 5 is about 14 percent lighter than the Galaxy S4. Make no mistake, though: both phones are certified featherweights.

In fact, the GS4 beats the iPhone in relative weight. When you look at each phone’s surface-area-to-weight ratio, the Galaxy S4 is actually 11 percent lighter.

The iPhone 5 is the lightest high-end smartphone you can buy right now. The Galaxy S4 is the lightest big high-end smartphone you can buy right now.

Plastic vs. aluminum

The iPhone 5's anodized aluminum build has more of a 'premium' feel than the Galaxy S4

Of course you can’t mention weight without talking about build materials. The Galaxy S4’s exterior is made of plastic, while the iPhone is made of more expensive anodized aluminum. There’s been a lot of angry internet debate over whether smartphones made of aluminum and glass are inherently “better” than those made of plastic (as usual, a consensus wasn't reached).

In my experience, though, the GS4’s build does feel a bit cheaper in hand. I’d rate the iPhone 5’s aluminum unibody construction as second only to the HTC One in terms of having that “premium” allure. The iPhone 5 only looks slightly different from the previous two iPhones, but it’s still a great example of Apple’s obsessive attention to simple, unified design.

It may be made of plastic, but the Galaxy S4 is still a sharp-looking phone

On the other hand, the Galaxy S4’s plastic chassis opens the door to fun goodies like a removable battery and microSD card slot. It’s nice to be able to swap batteries on the go, or expand your media storage without buying a new phone. The iPhone 5 doesn’t offer either of those perks.

Familiar buttons

Each phone has a physical home button below the screen

The iPhone’s button layout hasn’t changed since the 2007 original. We’re looking at a lone physical home button below the screen. The power/sleep button sits on the top right. Volume buttons and the silence switch sit on the upper left side.

The Galaxy S4’s buttons are also unchanged from its predecessor, the Galaxy S III. It too has a springy home button below the screen. Unlike the iPhone’s circular and depressed home button, the GS4’s is elongated and raised. The GS4 also has a capacitive menu key to the left of home, and a capacitive back key sitting on the right.

The Galaxy S4 has capacitive menu and back buttons for easier navigation

With only the one navigation button (home), the iPhone makes you rely on on-screen cues for finding your way around apps and iOS. The GS4's ever-present back button eliminates any confusion there. Its menu key can also be handy for quickly finding settings screens.

Screen comparison

The GS4's display has a much higher pixel density than the iPhone 5's Retina Display

Like overall size, screen sizes are also radically different. Measured diagonally, the iPhone 5’s display is four inches, while the Galaxy S4’s is five inches. Both have 16:9 aspect ratios.

But diagonal measurements are misleading, and don’t really tell the story. A much more relevant measurement is screen area. So here’s the only screen size metric you need to know: the iPhone 5 gives you 63 percent as much screen real estate as the Galaxy S4.

If you were buying property, it would be obvious which was the better value. Do you buy the lakefront property that sits on one acre, or the one next door that sits on 6/10 of an acre? The realtor selling the smaller property might claim that its size is “just right” (as Apple does with the iPhone 5 ), but you probably wouldn’t take that very seriously.

The Galaxy S4's big and beautiful display is a big advantage

Of course you don't have to hold lakefront property in your hand or put it in your pocket, so the metaphor only goes so far. But the only tradeoff to the GS4’s screen size is the phone’s larger size. As we already mentioned, though, the Galaxy should still be comfortable for all but the tiniest adult hands (and the tightest adult pants). I see screen size as a huge advantage for the Galaxy S4. Your opinion, naturally, may vary.

Screen size, though, is only part of the equation. There’s also screen quality. But here too the scales tip towards Samsung’s side of the fence.

The Galaxy S4 has 1080p (1,920 x 1,080) resolution, at 441 pixels per inch (PPI). The iPhone 5 has 1,136 x 640 resolution, at 326 PPI. Maybe a more telling way of looking at it, though, is that the iPhone 5 has 35 percent as many pixels as the Galaxy S4.

The Galaxy S4's 1080p display is one of the best

The perceived difference, however, might not be quite as big as these numbers would suggest. The iPhone 5’s pixel density is approaching that supposed threshold where your eyes can't differentiate between individual pixels.

... but it isn’t quite there. The Galaxy S4's display most definitely is. When my eyes look at the Galaxy S4, they see a sharper display. To me, it’s just a hair behind the HTC One for the prize of Best Smartphone Screen. The iPhone 5 is probably a couple steps behind both of them.

We’re also looking at different display technologies. This is one area where the iPhone’s IPS screen might have an advantage over the GS4’s Super AMOLED. Expect more realistic colors from the iPhone, and ultra-vibrant (not as realistic) colors from the GS4.

Both screens are excellent. But the Galaxy S4’s is much bigger, much sharper, and leaning a bit towards hyper-saturation. Take that as you will.

Performance comparison

Both phones will easily handle all the latest games

If you look at the numbers, this looks like a blowout for the Galaxy S4. Its processor has more cores (four to the iPhone’s two), and is clocked higher (1.9 GHz to the iPhone’s 1.3 GHz). The GS4 also doubles the iPhone's RAM (2 GB to 1 GB) and scores much higher in benchmarks (3,224 to the iPhone 5’s 1,664 in Geekbench).

When you’re using both phones, though, the performance difference doesn’t feel that big. In fact, I can’t say that anything on the iPhone 5 feels a whole lot slower than it does on the GS4. That isn't a knock on the GS4's performance: it's outstanding. It's more a testament to Apple's hardware and software integration. It makes the iPhone zippier than you'd expect it to be.

The iPhone 5 is still one of the sharpest phones you can buy

But don’t mistake this for the old days, when Android phones looked better on paper, but still lagged behind the buttery-smooth iOS in real world use. Android has caught up in the last year (more on that in a minute), and you’ll see it first-hand when using the Galaxy S4. It’s ridiculously fast and as smooth as you'd want it to be.

Of course there’s also that octa core Exynos version of the GS4 (sold in some parts of the world). I only tested the quad core Qualcomm version sold in the US, but it’s a safe bet that those eight cores won’t give you anything to worry about either.

The bottom line: despite the GS4’s overwhelming technical advantage, the iPhone 5 holds its own in most casual day-to-day use. Though the GS4 still has the edge, you’ll be hard-pressed to find anything to complain about with either phone’s performance.

Software

The GS4 runs Android, with Samsung's TouchWiz layered on top

You could write a book on the differences (and similarities) between iOS and Android, but we’ll just hit on a few key points here.

Right now, iOS’ identity is as the reliable, you-know-what-to-expect platform. If you’ve ever used any iPhone, everything will be familiar. Just about everything you do is simple and obvious. It “just works” like it always has. The inconsistent Apple Maps is one big exception, but you can easily fix that by downloading Google Maps from the App Store.

That doesn’t mean that Android doesn’t also “just work.” For all of the platform’s improvements over the last few years, I think the most important was “Project Butter.” Introduced last year with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, it got rid of the choppy, laggy UI that old Android phones were known for.

When combined with blazing-fast quad core (or octa core) processors, Android phones are now on the cutting edge of mobile performance: not just on paper, but, finally, also in actual experience.

Keyboards are one area where I think Android has a huge advantage over iOS. It’s a bit baffling that Apple still uses the same tap-only keyboard that shipped with the first iPhone – with no option to change it. Android trace keyboards like Swype and SwiftKey aren’t for everyone, but once you get used to them, they can make hammering out text much faster and easier than on the iPhone’s antiquated keyboard.

Yep, there they are again ...

If we’re breaking down the sheer number of individual software features on each phone, Samsung has gone out of its way to win that battle. The company threw everything under the sun into the new version of TouchWiz, and the result is an insane batch of software features.

We have everything from Air Gesture (control a few select features with a mid-air gesture) to Smart Pause (pause a video when you turn your head away). We have Air View (preview some items by hovering a finger over the screen) and the highly-marketed Bump (share photos or files with another nearby Galaxy via NFC).

The question is how many of these features you’ll actually use for more than a few minutes. For most of us, I’d say very few, if any. There’s a reason the GS4’s software has been repeatedly branded as “gimmicky.” You get the sense that Samsung threw in most of these features just to differentiate the phone’s marketing. An understandable move, but also not something to base your decision on.

The Galaxy S4 has a boatload of crazy software features

Fortunately, you don’t have to mess with any of the gimmicky stuff if you don’t want to. And even more fortunately, what’s left is an attractive and playful UI (TouchWiz) on top of an excellent, up-to-date mobile operating system (Android 4.2 Jelly Bean). All in all, I found very little to complain about in the Galaxy S4’s core software.

iOS’ feature list isn’t as extensive (or gimmicky), but it also isn’t doing much to help sell us on the iPhone. Siri has, in my opinion, been far surpassed by Android’s Google Now. You can also use Now on the iPhone, but it’s confined to the standalone Google Search app, with no system-wide permissions.

Apple Maps, the marquee feature of iOS 6, has been an embarrassment for Apple. Passbook (a one-stop shop for gift cards, boarding passes, and other similar items) hasn’t really caught on. iCloud and Photostream syncing can be handy if you use multiple Apple devices, but they can also be slow and inconsistent. iMessage and FaceTime make it simple to keep in touch with Apple device-owning friends and family, but their functionality can be duplicated by third-party apps on Android.

The iPhone gets apps from the App Store; the GS4 gets them from Google Play

At this point, both iOS’ App Store and Android’s Google Play are chock full of great apps for just about anything you could imagine.

The App Store still has an advantage in terms of gaming, but that’s shrinking. Sometimes hot new apps still pop up in the App Store before moving to Android, but that also happens much less than it used to. For the most part, you have nothing to worry about with either marketplace (just try the Windows Phone Store or BlackBerry World if you want something to worry about).

So when you get to the heart of the software battle, you’re basically left with the old iOS vs. Android dilemma. Because I don’t see either of these phones’ unique software features being obvious, universal must-haves.

If you aren’t already in one of those two ecosystems, try each of them out and find which works best for you ... and try to filter out the feverish fanboy rage you’ll hear from both sides.

Camera comparison

The Galaxy S4 has a 13 MP camera, next to the iPhone 5's 8 MP shooter

On a technical level, the Galaxy S4 sports a 13-megapixel rear camera, while the iPhone 5’s rear shooter has 8 megapixels.

... but why blabber on about specs when we can look at some sample shots?

Here is each camera in direct sunlight:

Outdoor (direct sunlight) shot taken with the GS4
Direct sunlight outdoor shot taken with the iPhone 5

It might be hard to tell when viewing on the web, but in the originals, the GS4’s shot looks a little bit sharper.

Let’s crop those same shots a little closer, to see how they hold up:

Crop of outdoor shot taken with the GS4
Crop of direct sunlight outdoor shot taken with the iPhone 5

Here you can see more clearly the finer detail from the Galaxy S4 shot.

Now let’s look at an outdoor scene taken in the shade:

Outdoor (shaded) shot taken with the Galaxy S4
Shaded outdoor shot taken with the iPhone 5

As you can see, the Galaxy S4 handles the lighting a little better.

Now let’s crop those to get a closer look:

Crop of a shaded outdoor shot taken with the Galaxy S4
Crop of shaded outdoor shot taken with the iPhone 5

The GS4’s shot still looks brighter, though the iPhone’s still has plenty of detail.

Now let’s move into some moderate indoor lighting:

Indoor shot taken with the Galaxy S4
Indoor shot taken with the iPhone 5

Interesting. I might give the very slight edge here to the iPhone. It’s a hair brighter, and I’d say the contrast looks a bit better too.

... and let’s crop those shots:

Crop of an indoor shot taken with the Galaxy S4
Crop of indoor shot taken with the iPhone 5

The iPhone’s shot still has slightly better contrast. But it also has a bit more noise under the lower lighting.

Now let’s move into an extremely poorly-lit scene:

Poorly-lit shot taken with the Galaxy S4
Poorly lit shot taken with the iPhone 5

Neither handled that very well. Both are unusable. Of the two, though, the iPhone’s at least gives us a hint of what we’re looking at.

By the way, the HTC One handled this same setting much better (see the camera section of its comparison for samples). The One’s handling of extremely low lighting easily beats both of these phones.

And finally, let’s turn on the flash in that same low-lit setting:

The same shot (GS4), only with the flash on
The same shot (iPhone 5) with the flash on

Pretty close. Both scream “flash photography!” Otherwise the GS4’s shot has a bit sharper detail and slightly deeper colors.

So which camera is better? I’d say the Galaxy S4 has the edge, but not by much. It gives you more detail under the best of conditions, which isn't surprising considering its higher pixel count. The GS4's camera also holds up well under moderate lighting. The iPhone is slightly better under terrible lighting, but you’re still much better off with a flash under those conditions.

The Galaxy S4 also has a ridiculous amount of software-based photography features. Like other TouchWiz features, some can be handy, but more often they're marketing-friendly gimmicks. For a detailed breakdown of the GS4’s photography goodies, skip to the “Camera software” section in our comparison of the Galaxy S4 and HTC One.

Battery life

The Galaxy S4 has a removable battery; no such luck for the iPhone

Here’s another area where, on paper, the Galaxy S4 looks like it would have a huge advantage. It packs a 2,600 mAh battery, while the iPhone 5’s battery holds a mere 1,440 mAh.

But my tests found the discrepancy in actual battery life to be much smaller than you'd expect. I looped a Netflix movie on each device, with the battery starting at 100 percent. Brightness was turned all the way up. Mobile data was turned off.

In this extreme conditions test, the Galaxy S4 completely drained in almost exactly five hours. The iPhone 5 lasted four hours and forty-six minutes.

How does Apple squeeze nearly as much uptime out of a battery with much smaller capacity? It's likely the display. Remember when we said that the iPhone 5’s display had only 35 percent as many pixels as the Galaxy S4? Well, each of those pixels needs some power to do its thing.

Under regular, day-to-day use, I found both phones to easily last a full day. The Galaxy S4 probably held up a bit longer there too, but I don’t think you’ll have much to worry about with either phone’s battery.

... and don’t forget that you can always buy a spare battery and swap it out in the GS4. You can’t do that with the iPhone.

Storage

The GS4's wacky software features leave you with around 9 GB of available storage (on the ...

If you listened only to marketing, you’d think storage options were identical. Both phones are sold in 16 GB, 32 GB, and 64 GB models.

But all of those wacky software goodies that Samsung threw in take up space. A lot of space. When all is said and done, the 16 GB Galaxy S4 only gives you around 9 GB of usable storage. The 16 GB iPhone 5 gives you about 13 GB of usable storage.

You can cancel out some of that with the Galaxy S4’s microSD card slot. You can easily move photos, videos, and similar media to an external memory card (sold separately). Unfortunately, though, Android no longer lets you move apps to SD storage. So after downloading a few big console-like games, you could see that 9 GB of usable storage filling up awfully quickly.

So the clear advantage here goes to the iPhone. You could always just buy the 32 GB or 64 GB Galaxy S4 to solve the problem, but at that point, you’re also paying a lot more upfront for your phone. We prefer solutions that don’t nearly double your upfront cost.

Wrap-up

We reviewed the black/slate iPhone 5 and the white Galaxy S4

So which phone is better? Well, we're going to leave that up to you. But, if nothing else, this should give you an idea of what each phone’s strengths and weaknesses are.

The Galaxy S4 has a big and beautiful screen, blazing-fast performance, and a slightly better camera. It isn’t as light as the smaller iPhone, but when you take its size into account, it’s as light as you'd ever need it to be.

On the other hand, the GS4 has lots of gimmicky software features that you probably won’t use. You can ignore them, but that might be hard when you see your available storage quickly dwindling away.

The iPhone 5, meanwhile, delivers Apple’s trademark simplicity and slick design. It fits easily into any hand, and its aluminum and glass build trumps the GS4’s plastic in the “premium” department. If you’re already familiar with the iPhone, there’s no learning curve for using the latest model.

But on the flip side, the iPhone’s screen is extremely small compared to the GS4. And though it’s hard to complain about its Retina Display, it isn’t nearly as sharp as the GS4’s 1080p screen.

The Galaxy S4 is much bigger than the iPhone 5

Of course we can’t touch on every aspect of these two phones. And the iOS vs. Android debate only opens up a whole new can of worms. But this should at least nudge you in the right direction. That is, the right direction for you.

If you're leaning towards the GS4 but want to throw a newer Android phone into the mix, check out our latest Under the Microscope comparison, pitting the Galaxy S4 vs. the Moto X.

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About the Author
Will Shanklin Will Shanklin covers consumer technology for Gizmag. He's previously written for Android Central, Geek, GottaBeMobile, Android Police, and The Huffington Post.
He lives in New Mexico, U.S., with his lovely wife, Jessica.
  All articles by Will Shanklin
23 Comments

A very thorough and fair comparison. Great job. Although since you showed by example why the Galaxy S4 was better in several categories I am sure iSheep will be saying you and/or Gizmag is a paid Samsung site or some nonsense.

Greg T
30th May, 2013 @ 03:04 am PDT

Samsung is looking into doing an update to reduce the amount of bloatware so that you will have more than 9 GB of storage.

Greg T
30th May, 2013 @ 03:17 am PDT

I recently purchased an iPhone 5 this past year, I traded my andriod HTC Evo in for it. My thoughts were "what the heck, everyone else has them, its probably a good phone" after saying that, the iPhone, may be a good phone but after having an Android, the difference is night and day. There are so many things as far as ergonomics, button locations and the general user friendliness of an Android phone that make it far superior to the iPhone. One example, is the simple act of calling someone, in an android you can type a persons name out on your keypad and it pulls up a list of names. In the iPhone, the quickest way to call someone is to save them to your favorites, otherwise you have to go into your phone/address book/search/open contact/press call button. It defies all convenience and is so intuitively wrong that I cannot understand why it is programmed this way unless there is a patent on the android method.

Kolton Wilson
30th May, 2013 @ 05:03 am PDT

Kolton, I've moved to Android, but I distinctly remember using the built-in search for *everything* on iOS, including contacts...and I found the ergonomics better, too. Double-click the home button in iOS to bring up search, type the beginning of the name and the contact comes up. That's actually something that I really miss. I don't have a hardware home button on my version of the Galaxy Note, and I hate the capacitive buttons that both light-up way too bright and are difficult for me to accurately locate without looking at the phone. I also wish I could make my display dimmer, and the "screen filter" apps on Android are only a partial fix as they by necessity totally wash-out all the color. Additionally, some headphone hardware buttons and mics work with Android, some of them don't. Since I highly value both voice search and headphone quality, this is a big deal for me. I never had that problem on iOS, since single/double/triple click of the home button (or mic button) and single/double/triple/quadruple tap of the screen are all highly integrated into the iOS system.

These are totally hardware issues, especially since the Android system is so easily customizable. I definitely prefer the Android operating system these days, and Google Now makes Android a better 'screenless' operating system than it used to be, but I'm going to be a lot more careful about both the eye-free usability and the eye-friendliness of my next device.

Thaumato
30th May, 2013 @ 07:06 am PDT

Will,

As always I enjoy your reviews as I believe that you not brand centric. Neither the iPhone 5 nor the S4 is really of any relevance and they both represent stopgap measures as Samsung stated they are upping it game and changing after the S4 and Apple is now (foolishly) trying again to heavily connect success with Jony Ives (a.k.a Steve Jobs branding). Apple's next release—of anything—will have to be significant on every level (minus the typical Apple hype) to make further inroads.

I see Apple becoming more like Bang & Olufsen through providing style and higher-end goods, but others taking the lead in technology. The issue is that there are brilliant designers throughout the world who are every bit as good or better than Ives. The one good aspect is that now Apple will allow more customization in its next iOS. (Talk about being late to the party!)

An even more prevalent aspect is that customers are simply expecting more from their products and that all the major players in tech are running along a similar path. In some ways, tech has become a bit boring. Even worse, the "recurring fee" is more the goal of tech companies now more than ever. So, when Steve Jobs said that the future of the computer was the computer becoming as common as appliances he really meant utilities and hence, recurring fees. The end game for tech has always been, "Show me the money."

Fahrenheit 451
30th May, 2013 @ 08:40 am PDT

Thaumato, Look in settings. There should be a way to dim the screen brightness. Unless I completely misunderstood what you want.

KRC1023
30th May, 2013 @ 02:04 pm PDT

My biggest issue with all reviews around the world, not one reviewer talks about the screen visibility in direct sunlight. I had an SIII and it sucked in direct sunlight and I believe the iPhone is just as bad. For the $600 for these devices it goes to show the lack of decent review against products that are better than these two brands. Hype shouldn't sell, a product that deserves attention does.

NickHeidl
30th May, 2013 @ 07:28 pm PDT

great review except you forgot to review the phone part of the phone !!!

Away from urban areas the S4 is not getting any reception where iphones can easily make calls. A big fail from me for the S4. There are much cheaper phones that are more effective. So a phone that you cannot use to phone and everything else goes by the wayside imho. :-(

hothotyogi
31st May, 2013 @ 05:18 am PDT

Just out of curiosity, how do people carry monster phones like the S4? Women can always use a purse, but what do men do? That's one of the reasons I still use a dirt cheap flip phone. It's not smart but it excels at being a phone.

Blazemonger
31st May, 2013 @ 11:37 am PDT

you can move apps to your microSD card using your PC connected via USB.

Colin Ordaniel Foss
1st June, 2013 @ 10:13 am PDT

Have you ever tried to put such a phone in your pocket? Even with the Galaxy Note I have no trouble...

Sander van Luit
1st June, 2013 @ 10:40 am PDT

With ios7 released, i think i'm gonna just go for iPhone. But I admit, it's a little too small and I am extremely worried about it's battery life. Samsung S4 or iPhone5? Can anyone give me some advice? I'm currently using a Lumia 920, it's just nice but it's too heavy to carry around. Any advice?

Adrian Soon
12th June, 2013 @ 11:51 am PDT

I would say this review is biased based on the premise that the author failed to acknowledge the fact that due to android fragmentation, apps on the iPhone run a lot smoother than their android counterpart. Also that the plastic used to make the GS4 makes the phone extremely slippery. I went from my iPhone 5 to the GS4 and i plan on going back to my iPhone for those 2 reasons.

Brandon Early
27th June, 2013 @ 08:39 pm PDT

I have the opportunity of using both phones (one work phone, one personal phone) I find both have + and - , I like the auto dimming / brightness function in iphone,it turns brighter out in the sun and dimmed indoor or at darker setting, you'll know it when you have to open your phone in a dark room, iphone auto dimmed makes it more discreet while S4 will lit your face for the room to notice

size, for me i like iphone better because i find it S4 is a tad too big for my jeans pocket, iphone is easier to drop and pull from the pocket

built quality, i like iphone anodized aluminium and i like iphone's 'heavier' feel than S4.

S4's plasticky material seems 'cheap' er than iphone and fragile which worries me sometimes when I incidentally need to be more active, like running or squatting

S4 do feels gimmicky, i almost never use the air gesture thing, its just a memory hog software

processor speed S4 tops Iphone5 even tho not by much in practice

Iphone is more on 'simplicity works', while S4 is more on 'customization to the max' I have to admit Im not too savvy on customization, i find iphone 'ready to use' approach suits me better

in the app department I feel app for iphone is better in term of quality, i rarely experience crashes vs S4 open source app, i feel android app market have too many chaff

another thing that i like about iphone at least at this point is 3rd party integration. i.e i can connect iphone to my tread mill, S4 cant and too bulky to be carried while exercising, my car audio connect with iphone cable and can act as iphone controller but doesnt support S4

its apple vs orange :)

Tatiana Casta
28th June, 2013 @ 02:56 am PDT

I have had iPhone ever since 2007 and recently switched to Samsung S4.

The main improvement in my opinion is the customizability. On Android:

- I can have an always on pedometer logger

- I could set up Text to Speech (TTS) in such a way that I could put it read web articles and books aloud

- the dock and screen are more flexible and I have a few cool widgets

- I can change icons and app names, have animated backgrounds (I set up Parallax in iOS 7 style, for example)

- I can open a file or link in any app I want

Visarga
1st July, 2013 @ 12:18 am PDT

Like most reviews on the internet you went on specs without actually understanding the technology..

Samsung claims a screen resolution of 441 ppi, and Apple gives the iPhone 5 a spec of 326 ppi.. This would be a clear cut thing - IF - pixels were the smallest dots on a screen - and - if Samsung used the same definition for a pixel as Apple - but they don't. The smallest dot on a screen is a sub pixel - a combination of sub-pixels make up a pixel. The more sub-pixels you have the more pixels.

How about counting the sub-pixels? Counting on the Galaxy S4 will get you 882 dots per inch.. Counting the same small pixels on the iPhone 5 will give you 978 sub-pixels.. By this count the iPhone 5 has 9% more sub-pixels per inch !

So how come Samsung claims 441 ppi ? And Apple 326??

Samsung counts 2 sub-pixels as one pixel. Apple counts 3 sub-pixels as one pixel. Blue OLED's are the hardest to produce on screens.. Samsung - while very close on red and blues - has less then the iPhone. Samsung instead has even smaller green sub-pixels to help blend color. Basically Samsung has sacrificed some color-correctness- but IN REALITY no one will be able to tell.

And even if Samsung has a TRUE 441 PPI the sad thing is for ANY COMPANY - and this includes future Apple products like the iPhone 6 ( which promises a bigger screen and more ppi ) that ANY PPi over 262 SIMPLY DOESNT MATTER..

It's called visual acuity. At 12 inches away - a person with 20/20 vision CAN'T see better then 262 pixels per inch. In fact 99% of 1080P High Definition Wide Screen Tv's only have mid-200 ppi....( much less then what most get on about any modern smartphone screen )... If Apple or any company puts out a screen with 500 ppi next year it won't appear any sharper then 300 ppi.. because your eyes simply don't have the ability to clarify things that small..

More or less ppi has become another marketing tool and although the technology gets better - ppi ( in itself ) beyond 300ppi ( on any size screen ) its useless unless you can install a bionic eye that make a person see better..

Of topic on this slightly - but I sorta feel marketing is another reason Megapixels on phone camera's keep increasing. For most people its just a waste of memory. A 5 Megapixel camera can produce a photo lab quality 8x10... but on the computer ( where most people post and view pics ) its much too big. I have to downsize the quality of my 10 Mp pics for the web because they are huge..

The main reason they keep making these increases is because they gotta convince you there's a reason to buy a phone every year.

Nokia has the right idea with trying to increase camera sensor quality without just raising Megapixels. I feel Apple did this somewhat with the iPhone 5..

The reviewer showed a picture of the S4 with a low light picture that was dark compared to the iP5... Does anyone know why ?

It's because in the industry its pretty well known the more you raise Megapixels in cameras its harder to get faster ISO ( hard to get good pics on low light )... this is because sensor technology is there yet.

If Samsung, Apple, whoever want to ACTUALLY REALLY make better camera's how about holding off on Megapixels and improving the sensor so picture have better light levels, better color..

This is all about marketing.. most people read a number and believe higher is always better...

rf40928
8th July, 2013 @ 05:53 pm PDT

As far as I am concerned, the most important aspects of any mobile phone are battery life and reception. Battery Life is well covered in this review, but reception is not.

In the Steve Jobs biography, they conceded the aluminium surround on the Iphone, while stylish, impacted reception - and the reception of previous Iphones was poor. I had a Blackberry 9780 and Iphone 4 in rural NSW, both with Telstra. The blackberry was perfectly useable with 2 bars, and the Iphone had no reception......

I am trying to work out if the newer Iphone 5 has any better reception, but the few comments I have found so far suggest that it is even worse!

Carsten
10th July, 2013 @ 06:28 pm PDT

Coming to the party a little late here but, my wife has an S4 and I have IPhone 5. Both are great. Does my wife use the gimmicky features, not so much. I find that apps I need are more readily available for iPhone with more choices available. I am a musician and I run set lists and everything else on my phone. Many of the apps I use have no equivalent in the google play store. And lastly, we bought our phones on the same day, my wife has had 3 moments of failure while using her S4. 1 in app with a groupon, one GPS failure, and the OS freezing up requiring battery removal. Iphone issues during the same period for me? A big goose egg. Still my wife loves her android and I would find it hard to get along without the apps and simple functionality of my iPhone. Bottom line, buy what you like and what fits your needs!

Kurt Brossman
4th August, 2013 @ 12:14 pm PDT

I agree that this article overlooks a critical comparison. How do they compare as phones? I have a GSIII & my wife has an I-phone 4 with the same carrier. I get terrible reception at home, including regularly dropped calls, and my wife gets great reception. One previous comment gave the edge to the Galaxy and the other one to the I-phone. What are other's experiences? Is the I-phone better or do I just have a dud? I am eligible for an upgrade early next year and and am uncertain which way to go. I love the Android but I want a phone that works well as a phone.

62TR4
9th August, 2013 @ 08:23 pm PDT

I would also like to know how the GS4 and the IPhone5 compare for reception. I live out of the city and use my phone as my home phone. Verizon is my current carrier.

This will be my first smart phone.

MGilles
14th August, 2013 @ 07:57 pm PDT

Will an Otter box from a gs3 fit a gs4?

62TR4
17th August, 2013 @ 09:11 am PDT

For the record, you can definitely replace the iPhone's battery. Buy a pentalobe screwdriver for $1.89 with free shipping on eBay, go to iFixit.com, and away you go! Good writeup. I always thought the iPhone had the better camera but this comparison changed my mind..

Glitches
22nd September, 2013 @ 12:21 am PDT

I am no techie, just a mom. Well, for Mother's Day I went off the reservation and went with Samsung. Mind you, it was hard ...me and Apple go back to the Apple Plus 2, which some of you were probably only a twinkle in your daddy's eye.

So what did I find out...all this technobabble talk aside. Samsung's customer service is abysmal. My teenager dropped my laptop (something at least most of my Apple's survived) and with expedited shipping it took 4 weeks to return. My Samsung Galaxy S4, which was kept in pristine condition...not a nick on it...stopped charging. I am now paying $70 to replace a port that I only did normal wear and tear on. Sure, hubby could have fixed it but who wants to risk voiding a useless warranty. I never once had this sort of problem with my Apple IPhones. And our family has had every model since 2007, all still working. In fact, my card is now happily in an Iphone 4. I will probably switch it to an IPhone 4S this week when someone upgrades to the 5S. I betcha it will show up her before the Samsung does. It took a guy with the same problem I had a month to get his.

I am back to being an Isheeple.

Susan Nehama
6th October, 2013 @ 07:31 am PDT
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