As the iPhone 5 has been out for a few weeks now, we can actually do some decent comparisons with the Samsung Galaxy S3. So let’s take the gloves off and get testing!
Samsung Galaxy S3 vs iPhone 5
Screen: The iPhone 5 has a 4” widescreen with a 16:9 ratio (previously it was 3:2). So it’s a taller screen rather than a wider phone. The only real problem with this is upscaling apps, with unoptimised apps having to show two black bars at the ends of the screen. The Samsung Galaxy S3 has a huge screen and nearly the same ppi as the iPhone 5, which makes games and films amazing. It’s a win for the Samsung Galaxy S3. The phones have different screen tech – the iPhone 5 has an IPS Retina display and the S3 has a Super AMOLED screen, which gives deep blacks and vibrant colours. The IPS screen is more realistic, though. These are two great screens, but they’ll have to both bow down to the might of the Nokia Lumia 920 when it gets here – so it’s a draw.
Camera: The iPhone 5 camera won’t, as Tim Cook claimed, make your children look happier, but it IS a mighty fine camera. At 8MP it’s the same as the Samsung Galaxy S3, and tests have shown that it performs better in low light than the S3. iPhone 5 wins because of its prowess in low-light conditions.
Design: The iPhone 5 is the thinnest smartphone in the world, and is much smaller, thinner and lighter than the Samsung Galaxy S3. It still has the glass and aluminium combo, and the newly-tinted trim is an extra-classy touch. The S3 just can’t compete, because it looks like it came out of a cracker with all the plastic that’s on it. The iPhone 5 carries it away here.
Processor: On paper the Samsung Galaxy S3 1.4GHz Exynos chip should walk all over the iPhone’s A6, but recent benchmark tests have shown that the A6 is faster than the S3 on ICS. Jelly Bean nudges the S3 in front slightly, though. A few more tests should give a more robust idea, but both phones are Pretty. Darn. Fast. So it’s another draw.
Flexibility: That pesky new dock on the iPhone 5 means you’ll need to buy a $30 adapter in order to use your older Apple accessories. Still, at least the iPhone 5 is slim – but means a non-removable battery and no NFC.
The Samsung Galaxy S3 has HML compliance and microSD support, which enables users to play surround sound and HD videos through an HDMI cable. Files can also be dragged and dropped instead of fiddling with syncing software. The Samsung Galaxy S3 also has wireless charging, Wi-Fi Direct and NFC, although both phones have 4G LTE. The S3 extra connectivity wins out.
While the iPhone 5 looks more premium than the Samsung Galaxy S3, the new dock, the lack of external memory and the still somewhat small screen are disappointments. The S3 is getting cheaper, too, starting at just $99 on contract from a lot of providers. The iPhone 5 starts at $199, and if you look at unlocked prices, the gulf is even bigger. Realistically, the phones are level-pegging, so for many it’ll be a case of OS preference.