iPhone 5 vs Galaxy S3: Revenge Tastes Good

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The Samsung Galaxy S3 recently wrestled the title of best selling phone of 2012 from the iPhone 4S. Apple and the iPhone 5 have around seven weeks left in which to beat the 30 million-plus S3 sales and reclaim the crown, otherwise Samsung take it this year. So what do both phones have to say for themselves?

iPhone 5 vs Samsung Galaxy S3

One big advantage the iPhone 5 has is that it’s the thinnest phone in the world – it’s smaller and thinner than the Samsung Galaxy S3. It retains a similar glass and aluminium design like the iPhone 4S in most parts, with newly metallic edges. The iPhone 5 definitely looks more high end than the Samsung Galaxy S3.

The iPhone 5 screen is now 4” with a 16:9 aspect ratio. The phone is longer, but retains the same width. This ratio may well be a problem for unoptimised apps, which will have to display black bars at the top and bottom of the screen for a while. The Samsung Galaxy S3 display is bigger and better for watching films and playing games on though, albeit its size makes one-handed operation a little impossible.

The displays are very different as Apple relies on the Retina IPS display and Samsung have the Super AMOLED screen. The Samsung Galaxy S3 is known for deep blacks and vibrant colours, while the iPhone 5 display takes on a more natural appearance and it has the brighter display of the two, which means it is better outdoors and won’t appear hyper-real.

Both phones have 8MP cameras, so it’s a draw here on a paper but in camera tests the iPhone 5 smokes the Galaxy S3 in low light capture.

The Samsung Galaxy S3 has a quad-core Exynos chip, which on paper should beat the iPhone 5 dual-core A6 chip. Apple gives its chips just enough welly to run iOS without hassle, and the fact that the OS is a big part of a phone’s life means that the iPhone 5 runs as well as the S3. The US version of the Samsung Galaxy S3 has a dual-core chip and 2GB of RAM, and is thought to run better than the international quad-core version. So, it seems the devices may be equal, until Jelly Bean gets in on the act at least. Compared to Samsung Galaxy S3 with ICS on Geekbench, though, the iPhone 5 beats the S3.

The iPhone 5 is slim and comes with that pesky Lightning connector which makes some older Apple accessories obsolete unless you fork out for an adapter. Apple fans would maybe have preferred a bigger phone with the old connector, a larger battery and NFC I believe, but that’s just me. The Samsung Galaxy S3 has NFC, MHL and SD card support. MHL means that people can play HD videos through HDMI; you also can just drag and drop content without syncing via iTunes. Both phones have 4G LTE, but the larger storage, NFC and removable battery in the Samsung Galaxy S3 puts it in the lead.

Another disadvantage for the iPhone 5 is the falling price of the Samsung Galaxy S3 – it’s starting from $99 on contract from Wirefly and Amazon. The iPhone 5 costs twice this, which makes the S3 all the more appealing given that it has aged well.

Of course, iOS 6 is very streamlined and polished – easy to use and way smoother than Android. Android does let you customise, though. Whatever OS you go for the won’t let you down, so that’s reassuring.

Also, sales of the iPhone 5 have been affected by supply problems. If these problems get ironed out, then Apple may catch up with the Samsung Galaxy S3 and take its revenge. Analysts reckon that iPhone 5 sales will reach 26 million by Christmas so let’s hope for Apple’s sake that it was an underestimation.

What Cupertino would love is to overtake the Samsung Galaxy S3 at the death and nab that crown when the Korean giant thinks it’s home and dry. So, we’ll need to see how Apple sorts the supply issues out first if they really want the international markets to help with sales numbers.

Mike is the man who reviews gadgets that aren’t mainstream or products that can’t exactly be classified as consumer electronics e.g. portable talking toilets. It’s always interesting to read about the crazy products we have here in Asia that just don’t get as much publicity as they warrant.