The iPhone 5 is out, and it’s got the Samsung Galaxy S3 throne in its sights. It’s a bit early to tell if it’ll knock the S3 off its perch, as people are only just starting to use it, but at least we have official specs and figures with which to compare the two giants.
Samsung Galaxy S3 vs iPhone 5: can iPhone 5 regain 4S’ throne lost to S3?
Design: The iPhone 5 is supposedly the world’s thinnest smartphone. It’s smaller and sleeker than the Samsung Galaxy S3, but has retained the angular utilitarian look of the 4 and the 4S.
It’s made of glass and aluminum, but the trim is tinted at the edges to make it look niftier. The iPhone 5 feels much more high end than the Galaxy S3 and its shiny plastics. A flagship device from a tech leader shouldn’t look like it came from Toys R Us. Winner: iPhone 5
Screen: The iPhone 5 has finally got a bigger screen – 4” up from 3.5” – so we now have a 16:9 widescreen display rather than 3:2. It’s bigger but not wider, proving that Apple is still mad about ergonomics. Upscaling apps to work on this new screen may be a slight hassle, but any apps that aren’t optimised may have to make do with displaying black bars at the screen ends. The Samsung Galaxy S3 screen is big and brash; at 4.8” this may be too big for some, but watching films is other-worldly.
The screen tech of both phones is different, with the iPhone 5 retaining its IPS Retina display and the Galaxy S3 its Super AMOLED. Super AMOLED gives deep blacks and vivid colors, but many people prefer the naturalistic look of IPS with its slightly blue tinge. A recent review of ours pitted the HTC One X against the S3 and found the One X’s IPS screen to be easier on the eye. Apple bigged up the new screen, but really, it’s not much better than the 4S. Winner: Draw
Camera: OK, we’ll forget about the silly promise of making your kids look happier; the 5’s camera is a perfectly respectable 8MP snapper that’s every bit as good as the Samsung Galaxy S3. Winner: Draw
Power: The Samsung Galaxy S3 quad-core Exynos 1.4GHz 4412 chip beats the iPhone 5’s dual-core A6 offering on paper. Apple has traditionally gone easy on its processors, as they typically have just enough welly to run iOS without hitches. However, the operating system plays a huge part in the running of any phone, so the iPhone 5 might run just as well as the S3 despite being only dual core. Now it is important to note that the US Samsung Galaxy S3 with its dual-core processor and 2GB RAM was found to be more powerful than the quad-core international version. So comparing it to the iPhone 5, we may see that both coming in almost as powerful. In recent Geekbench tests, the Samsung Galaxy S3 with Jelly Bean received a higher score than the iPhone 5 with iOS 6. However it is very close and in fact it was below the iPhone 5 when it was tested with Ice Cream Sandwich. Winner: Draw
Connectivity: That infamous new dock connector is going to cost you $29 if you want to use your older Apple accessories. However, it’s what’s made a slimmer iPhone possible. Would you have preferred to keep the same thickness and got apple to stuff in some more extras such as NFC though?
The Samsung Galaxy S3, as we all know, has microSD support and is MHL compliant, so users can output surround sound and HD video via HDMI. Users can just drag and drop content rather than muck about with syncing software. Both phones have 4G LTE but the S3 includes NFC and a removable battery. The S3 also happens to have a bigger battery to start with. Winner: Samsung Galaxy S3
Final Verdict: The iPhone 5 feels more premium than the Samsung Galaxy S3 but buyers will miss out on the expandable storage, longer battery life and bigger display. The Samsung Galaxy S3 is also cheaper and getting cheaper still – starting at $99 on contract compared to $199 for an iPhone 5. Specs wise the Samsung Galaxy S3 has more features on board, though, many people will make their choice based on OS. The good thing is, though, that whichever you choose you won’t go wrong.
Revenge of the fallen
With the iPhone 5 now readily available on the market and showing record number of pre-orders, it will likely take back the throne of “best selling smartphone of 2012” from Samsung Galaxy S3, who took it from the iPhone 4S just months ago. It’s a vicious cycle no doubt.