Since its release in July, the Samsung Galaxy S3 has been a best-seller. Now, however, it’s facing stiff competition from the iPhone 5. So just how do these phones rank against each other?
iPhone 5 vs Samsung Galaxy S3 comparison
Apple is famously reticent about what’s under the hood of their phones, so hardware specs are a bit hard to compare. The iPhone 5 is twice as fast as the 4S due to the new A6 chip, but the iPhone 5 isn’t quad-core.
The iPhone 5 hit the ground running, with 5 million pre-orders in its launch weekend. The Samsung Galaxy S3 is expected to shift 30 million units by the end of the year, and sold 20 million in its first three months.
The Samsung Galaxy S3 weighs 133g and is 136.6×70.6×8.6mm. The iPhone 5 is a mere 112g and 123.8×58.6×7.6mm. It’s the thinness and the lightest that wins out here. Design: iPhone 5
Both phones support Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and LTE. The Samsung Galaxy S3 also has NFC, DNLA and wireless charging. It can also charge by a generic microUSB cable whereas the iPhone 5 has that pesky proprietary connecter that now needs a $30 adapter for older accessories. Because the Samsung Galaxy S3 has a regular charging port and more connectivity options, it wins out here. Connectivity: Samsung Galaxy S3.
Both phones come in 16GB, 32GB and 64GB flavours, with both having 1GB of RAM (the US version of the S3 has 2GB). The fact that the S3 can take an SD card gives it an additional – and winning – 128GB max. Storage: Samsung Galaxy S3
The rear cameras on both phones are 8MP with LED flash, HD video, image stabilisation and autofocus. The Samsung Galaxy S3 has smile detection but is still no match for the iPhone 5’s BSI sensor, which gives great results in low light. Several low light tests have found that the iPhone 5 performs really well, beaten only by the Nokia Lumia 920. Camera: iPhone 5
Now for the screens – the iPhone 5 has a 4” Retina, 1,126x640p display with Gorilla Glass casing. The Samsung Galaxy S3 also has Gorilla Glass, but is 4.8” and has a 1,280x720p resolution. DisplayMate performed a test recently that showed the S3 had the better screen technology and not just size. The S3 screen displayed the full palette of NTSC, whereas the iPhone 5 only showed 72%. Because of the larger screen and better screen tech, the S3 wins here. Display: Samsung Galaxy S3
In terms of operating systems, the iPhone 5 has iOS 6 and the Samsung Galaxy S3 has Android Ice Cream Sandwich (with Jelly Bean on the way). It comes down to choice, really, as the OS’ are so different. If you like flexibility and a customisable phone, you’ll like Android. iOS 6 runs much smoother and is a lot less fiddly though so for something that is streamlined and “just works” it is iPhone 5. It’s a draw. OS: Draw
The iPhone 5 has the Apple A6 chip, which is backed up by two ARMv7 cores and is clocked up to 1.3GHz, alongside a triple-core PowerVR 543MP3. The Samsung Galaxy S3 has the Exynos chip with four Cortex A9 1.4GHz cores and a Mali-400 GPU. For 3D games the S3 has to be the winner due to the extra cores which in theory means better multitasking. The US S3 has a dual-core chip, but also has 2GB of RAM which gets put to good use in media and games. The S3 has it again. Power: Samsung Galaxy S3
The iPhone 5 battery is 1,440mAh which gives around eight hours of talktime. The Samsung Galaxy S3 is 2,100mAh, which should give just under 12 hours of talk on 3G. In real-life tests however, the S3 didn’t perform any better than the iPhone 5, so it’s a draw here. Battery: Draw
The most obvious difference between the two is the look – the iPhone 5 has its futuristic, high-end, industrial feel. The Samsung Galaxy S3 has its….errrrr….plastic feel. The iPhone 5 is light years ahead here. Styling: iPhone 5
Conclusion – the Samsung Galaxy S3 got four points for its chip, connections, memory and display. The iPhone 5 won three points because of its design, dimensions and camera. For OS and battery, the phones drew. The S3 nudges ahead and continues to keep things fresh despite launching back in May. But ultimately the OS will make your final decision.