iPhone 5 vs Samsung Galaxy S3: The Incomparables

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The Samsung Galaxy S3 and the iPhone 5 are locked in an enthralling battle that’s leaving consumers wondering which one to go for.

iPhone 5 vs Samsung Galaxy S3: too close to call

The iPhone 5 has had some mixed reviews, with many saying that Apple is no longer the innovation leader it was. The Samsung Galaxy S3 came out to a fanfare in May and has only been criticised for its cheapo plastic looks. So which phone is the best, then?

Design: The Samsung Galaxy S3 has six colour variants, but it’s bigger and fatter than the iPhone 5 – 133g to 112g – so the iPhone wins here, because slight is right in the tech world.

Display: Apple has increased the size of the iPhone’s screen, from 3.5” to 4”, and it has a 1,136x640p resolution. This is still smaller than the Samsung Galaxy S3 4.8” Super AMOLED screen, but both screens are HD and 16:9 in aspect. The S3 still wins, though, due to its size advantage.

Battery life: The iPhone 5 promises eight hours of talk time (10 on Wi-Fi), and the Samsung Galaxy S3 promises twice that, although in reality it gives about the same – a looped video test we performed recently backs this up nicely. Both phones junked out at around 7.5 hours and the iPhone 5 gave 17 more minutes of web browsing. So it’s a draw here.

Camera: The iPhone 5 has a better camera than the 4S but you would be hardpressed to tell the difference. The front camera can take 720p films. On the Samsung Galaxy S3, the rear camera has blink and smile detection, a burst mode and contrast/blurring options. These features don’t come close to the iPhone 5 and its BSI sensor though, so Apple takes this award.

OS: On to operating systems now – the iPhone 5 has iOS 6 with a better App Store and iCloud support. Siri is also revamped. The Samsung Galaxy S3 is on ICS but is getting Jelly Bean in some parts. OS is a tough choice – if you want an OS that leaps out of the box and gets cracking, choose iOS 6. If you like to tinker with your OS to personalise your phone to the max, opt for Android. It’s a draw.

Power: The iPhone 5 A6 chip is a big step up from the A5 in the 4S, and the Samsung Galaxy S3 has a 1.4GHz Exynos quad-core with 1GB of RAM. According to Geekbench scores, these phones are on a par despite the difference in RAM, clockspeeds and cores, so it’s another draw. The iPhone 5 wins some other benchmarks while the S3 wins its own fair batch of them. So we’re going to leave it at that for now.

Storage & connectivity: Both phones come in 16, 32 and 64GB versions, but you can boost the Samsung Galaxy S3 up by another 64GB if you use an SD card – big win here. The S3 is also fortunate in being able to use any old microUSB cable to charge, whereas the iPhone 5 can only use its new Lightning connector. This does charge it very speedily indeed, but the iPhone 5 hasn’t got MHL or NFC, so the S3 wins 2 points for both storage and connectivity.

Style: Looks-wise, the iPhone 5 just wins. It’s sleek, glass and aluminium, with the industrial ergonomics we’ve come to expect from Cupertino. The Samsung Galaxy S3 with is plastic-fantastic rear can’t match it.

Bottom line: The phones draw in four categories, so it’s obvious that we’re talking about two top notch devices here. They also won three rounds each, so there’s not much to differentiate them here too. These are one of the few times when we find two smartphones that are world’s apart yet are incomparable. So you’ll have to look to the OS to make your decision, really.

Always looking for something new to learn, Mario looks at the internet as one big startup. With him at the helm, continues to head in the right direction of providing high quality and unbiased information on the latest new car models and electronics.