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Samsung Galaxy S5 vs. iPhone 5s

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February 27, 2014

Gizmag compares the features and specs of the Samsung Galaxy S5 and iPhone 5s

Gizmag compares the features and specs of the Samsung Galaxy S5 and iPhone 5s

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Until Apple takes the stage to unveil the iPhone 6, this is probably going to be the biggest rivalry in smartphones: the iPhone 5s vs. the Samsung Galaxy S5. Torn between the two? Join Gizmag, as we compare the features and specs of Apple's and Samsung's latest flagships.

Update: We've published our hands-on look at these two phones.

Size

The GS5 is 15 percent longer and 24 percent wider

These days, the iPhone is by far the smallest high-profile flagship phone around. The Galaxy S5 is 15 percent longer, 24 percent wider, and seven percent thicker than the 5s.

Weight

The GS5 is 29 percent heavier

Smaller phones tend to be lighter, and the iPhone is no exception. It's 23 percent lighter than the GS5.

Build

It's anodized aluminum vs. ... dimpled pleather??

The iPhone 5s is made of aluminum, and not pretending to be anything but. The GS5, meanwhile, has a faux leather finish – complete with dimples. An interesting choice by Samsung, to say the least.

Colors

Four color options for the GS5, three for the iPhone

These are your four color options for the GS5, and three hues for the iPhone. Just know that your carrier might not sell all four versions of the GS5.

Display

The GS5 gives you much more screen real estate — and many more pixels

The Galaxy S5 has a much bigger and sharper screen. It gives you 62 percent more real estate and 185 percent more pixels than the iPhone. We don't want to get too carried away with pixel counts, as the iPhone's Retina Display, while much lower-res, still looks pretty damn sharp. But its 4-in size is another matter: it's looking very small next to just about every other high-end phone out there.

Fingerprint sensor/scanner

Both phones have fingerprint sensors in tow

Samsung is aiming straight at the iPhone 5s' killer feature, the Touch ID fingerprint sensor, with a fingerprint scanner of its own. One big difference is that, on the iPhone, you can unlock your phone by simply resting your finger on the home button for a moment (usually less than a second). On the GS5 you have to swipe your finger from the bottom of the screen down to the home button.

One thing the GS5's scanner has going for it is a Samsung partnership with PayPal. You can use your print to authorize payments associated with the popular service. The iPhone's fingerprint payment options are limited, for the time being, to the iTunes and App Stores.

Heart rate monitor

The GS5 has a heart rate monitor living below its rear camera

Samsung is throwing more chips into its S Health pot this year. Not only is it launching its first dedicated fitness tracker, the Gear Fit, but the GS5 has its own heart rate monitor on board. The sensor lives just below the phone's rear camera.

Processor

Processors for each handset

If you live in a region that has LTE, then you'll likely get a GS5 that has Qualcomm's new Snapdragon 801 inside. Other areas will, as with previous Galaxy flagships, find some Exynos octa-core silicon inside.

RAM

The GS5 doubles the iPhone's 1 GB of RAM

The GS5 doubles the iPhone's 1 GB of RAM.

Storage

Storage options for both phones

The iPhone has an extra storage tier on the high end, but the Galaxy S5 supports microSD cards – including SanDisk's new 128 GB card.

Battery

The GS5's battery holds quite a bit more juice, but we'll have to wait before jumping to c...

Samsung's phone holds quite a bit more juice, but it's also powering a display with many more pixels. Consider this one an incomplete until we put the GS5 through some extended testing.

Ultra Power Saving Mode

Ultra Power Saving Mode is a GS5 feature that turns the screen black & white and kills som...

One of the most eyebrow-raising new features in the GS5 is called Ultra Power Saving Mode. You can set the phone so that, if it reaches a critical level, it shifts to a black & white display and severely limits background processes. Samsung says that UPS mode can squeeze an extra 24 hours of uptime out of a mere 10 percent charge. If that claim is legit, this could be a big-time innovation.

Camera

The GS5's camera wins on pixels, but that's far from a guarantee it will produce better pi...

The GS5's camera easily wins on megapixel count, though its camera-based features might have more of an effect on your shots ...

Post-shot refocusing

One of the GS5's camera features lets you choose the area of focus for a shot — after you'...

That includes Samsung's Selective Focus feature, which lets you choose what part of a shot to focus after you've already snapped the shutter.

4K video recording

The Galaxy S5 can record 4K video, at 30 fps

Samsung also gave the GS5 4K video recording capabilities. That might not be a huge selling point right now, considering how few of us own any screens capable of displaying 4K content. But at least you'll know that your phone is future-proofed, in case you do eventually throw down for an Ultra HD TV.

Slow-motion video

Both handsets let you capture slow-motion video at 120 fps

Like the iPhone 5s, the Galaxy S5 also has the ability to record video in slow motion, at 120 frames per second.

Infrared

The GS5, like its predecessor, the Galaxy S4, has an infrared blaster inside

If you fancy turning your phone into a TV remote control, then the GS5 delivers.

Water resistance

The Galaxy S5 has a dust and water resistance rating of IP67

Like last year's Galaxy S4 Active (as well as most recent Sony Xperia flagships) the Galaxy S5 is water and dust resistant, with a rating of IP67.

Software

Samsung's TouchWiz didn't add quite as many wacky new features this time around

The GS5 launches with Android 4.4 KitKat, and a thick layer of TouchWiz smeared on top. This time around, though, the company appears to have resisted the urge to add a bajillion new features to the custom skin.

Release cycle

Release dates for both phones

The GS5 drops on April 11, though some regions and carriers are sure to see the flagship rolling out a little later. The iPhone 5s has been around since September, meaning we're probably about halfway towards its sequel ... that is, if Apple sticks with the same release slot this year.

Starting price (off-contract)

We don't yet know what the GS5's pricing will look like

No word yet on pricing for the GS5, though the same launch prices as the Galaxy S4 are probably a pretty safe bet.

For more on these two phones, you can check out our review from back in September and our Galaxy S5 review.

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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
16 Comments

Clearly S5 is better on hardware. And has the better OS too.

DaveBG
27th February, 2014 @ 09:31 pm PST

This phone is a beast. I would love to own the S5, I currently own the S4.

It's been a great phone, but I have to wait a while before I can upgrade.

The only feature that I think is dumb on the S5, is the heart rate monitor. I think its smart on the new fitness wrist thing they are launching...but on a phone...no thanks.

Apple is going to have to dig deep for their iphone 6, otherwise the S5 is going to dominate the market.

Derek Howe
27th February, 2014 @ 10:43 pm PST

This is just an useless and severely biased article which I don't understand why will appear on Gizmag.

It only selectively list some basic facts, which most ordinary readers can easily find in any major technology websites, and the facts are clearly biased towards S5:

Post-shot focusing? What about Pano-shooting that S5 doesn't have.

Heart-rate monitor? What about M7 process that S5 doesn't have.

Clearly S5 wins on mere specs, but does S5 give you better picture with double pixel counts as Apple? Although having larger battery, does S5 actually have longer talking time/stand-by time, etc? With quad-core processor, is user experience smoother? Or apps launch faster?

I am just so disappointed that such an article appears on Gizmag. Why not just give the links of Apple/Samsung websites. They actually contain more useful information

jumphk
28th February, 2014 @ 12:55 am PST

Bigger is not better. First and foremost we must remember it is a portable communication device that must fit in pockets or belt holders, not get in the way of seat belts or be uncomfortable while sitting at a table or desk.

Richard Widman
28th February, 2014 @ 03:31 am PST

All Apple will have to do is release the iPhone 6x in 5.5" and bump it to 2048 x whatever. Increase camera capability to 0 Lux with IR assist, and the masses will flock.

They may even throw in inductive charging and IP67 to really corner the outdoor market.

That package in itself would totally wipe out its competition, even at $1000 retail

Nairda
28th February, 2014 @ 04:29 am PST

@ Richard Widman

Bigger IS better.

I have used an iphone for over 2 years, and hated every moment of it. It was a company issue phone, and they wouldn't hear that there were any problems with the phone.

My problem with the phone is primarily with my eyes. I've been legally blind since I was 5 years old (I'm now 56) and couldn't make out the info on the small screen. There were other problems as well, like the tiny keyboard while typing.

Finally, after refusing to use this phone (with a letter to management), I was given a Samsung Galaxy Note II. WHAT A DIFFERENCE! I can actually use vnc on this device when needed! I can now be anywhere and get some work done (which isn't always ideal :-> ), but I can now use my phone and actually enjoy the experience!

Interesting to note is that within my company, which was at one time 100% iphone, we are now currently 40% Android, because of screen size!

Roger

snrRog
28th February, 2014 @ 07:11 am PST

@ Nairda- Apple fanboy much?

You basically said is Apple made the S5 everyone would flock to it any pay a ridiculous premium just because it's apple. Those days are dwindling.

As for the inductive charging...I don't know why more phones don't have that built in. My S4 didn't have it either, but I bought a thing of ebay that changed that for about 30 bucks, well worth it, I love just setting it down instead of plugging it in.

Derek Howe
28th February, 2014 @ 08:28 am PST

Can't wait to purchase the S5! (currently have the S3) Who would ever want to view the infinitesimal text, images, pics on the iPhone? It's so nice to be able to see the Galaxy screens w/o having to wear glasses or have lasik surgery. I like the Note 3 but it's too wide for my hand, causing cramping.

mvp
28th February, 2014 @ 11:15 am PST

Would go with a Nexus 5 for about half the price of either of these.

Rann Xeroxx
28th February, 2014 @ 11:35 am PST

These are not the droids you're looking for. Move on.

Cam Macduff
1st March, 2014 @ 12:10 am PST

@snrRog: did you try switching on the accessibility features on the iPhone? I've a near sighted friend who is also legally blind and has no issues with using her iPhone with those features enabled.

@Will Shanklin. How much memory does the each OS take up of the base memory on each phone?

Cam Macduff
1st March, 2014 @ 01:00 am PST

Re: Derek Howe

"Apple fanboy"

Somewhat

"You basically said if Apple made the S5 everyone would flock to it any pay a ridiculous premium"

That is exactly what I'm saying. Though the S5 does not have 2048 x and a 0 Lux camera, so not quite perfect either.

Sales may be dwindling, but not shown the front door. I see lots of people with the 5s, and still others holding on to their 5 now that the IOS is showing a bit more maturity.

If I'm honest, the biggest worry Samsung fans have to worry about is that Sam is trying to be an Apple. The S5 is just a more polished animal over the S4. Their other products show this trend also. Focus on appearance over improved specs.

Since HTC is almost on its ass, that only leaves LG (Android phone) to keep the others honest.

Windows phones don't count. :b

Nairda
1st March, 2014 @ 01:56 am PST

No one seems to mention people who use phones in hazardous environments such as building sites. The iphone's square edges enable the use of a Lifeproof case. I bought a Z1 and smashed it within 2 months. I loved Android but, alas none of the top end models including this one can be protected.

I buy an Iphone, put it straight into the case, then get top dollar for it when the new model comes out.

Miles Marriott
2nd March, 2014 @ 10:21 pm PST

I have at least 30 family/friends/coworkers who have switched from one of the also-rans to an iPhone and have not looked back... plus one buddy who went the other way.

Poor guy was swayed by the ads and armies of fandroids that infest every corner of the web.

When he showed me his new plastic slab I asked him how he liked it, you know, bigger screen and 'better' specs and all.

His words; "It's garbage."

Specs are NOT the whole story, but it's easier to trot out numbers than take time to explain why the knockoffs still can't touch the iPhone.

Apple has never ever played the numbers game. If 1Gb RAM will suffice why put in 2??

Some advice: Wait until the 6 hits in September.

I have a feeling the game is about to change.

Neil
5th May, 2014 @ 11:19 am PDT

Loving my new S5! Great battery life, crisp pics and I can watch movies while traveling in a handy mode. Yeah baby!

How to Root Galaxy S5 All Models On Android 4.4.2 KitKat

Annabel Anwen
5th July, 2014 @ 10:04 pm PDT

I never liked apple products before. It's quite complicated especially when copying mp3 or movie files from your computer to ipod or iphone. Just a few months ago, I tried the iphone 5s - since my LG mini is already 3 years old. I was so impressed by the iphone that I bought one for my wife too. Reason is that the simple iphone user interface is much easier to manage than the more configurable and flexible user interface of any android phone. I like iOS much better.

Renjul Lusica
3rd September, 2014 @ 01:53 pm PDT
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