Samsung Galaxy S3 vs iPhone 5: Can Apple Take Down The Best?

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With the iPhone 5 now just around the corner and the Samsung Galaxy S3 recently beating the iPhone 4S in sales here in the US, we thought of taking one last look at the rumored specs of the iPhone 5 and how it would stand up against the reigning S3 to see which one will likely be the king of 2012.

Samsung Galaxy S3 vs iPhone 5

Release date: It’s nearly time for the great launch, and from then on we shouldn’t have to wait too long to start bagging the iPhone 5, as two weeks is Apple’s normal time frame. The Samsung Galaxy S3 has been out since May and broke through the 10 million sales barrier in July, making it the fastest seller Samsung has had.

Design: Just recently some iPhone 5 casing components have been leaked suggesting that the iPhone 5 body will be 7.6mm thick, which is 1mm thinner than the Samsung Galaxy S3. This is impressive, but also means that the iPhone 5 will have that severe industrial look and feel of the 4S.

The casing leak shows a metal body rather than the two Gorilla Glass panels we’ve got used to. Whatever Apple uses, we’re almost certain it’ll seem more high-end than the Samsung Galaxy S3. The S3 has that all-plastic finish that has drawn a lot of criticism for its cheap look and feel.

The Samsung Galaxy S3 is also much larger than the iPhone 5 due to its 4.8” screen. It’s also 71mm wide compared to 58mm. If you’re after a S3, try holding and pocketing one before, as you may not like the feel.

Screen: Each iPhone since 2007 has had a 3.5” screen, but this is expected to change to a 4” widescreen panel with a 16:9 resolution compared to the current 3:2 ratio. This change will mean that the iPhone 5 has a larger screen without widening the phone, as width is one of the more important factors in how a phone feels, and Apple is all about ergonomics. One issue with changing the dimensions of the screen is that upscaling apps might be a problem. This could be worked around by the phone displaying black bars at the ends of the screen for unoptimised apps. The Samsung Galaxy S3 is wide and doesn’t care. The 4.8” display will make it too big for smaller hands, but the screen’s pixel density is similar to that of the iPhone, with a 1280x720p resolution.

The two phones have different screen tech – the Samsung Galaxy S3 has a Super AMOLED panel, and the iPhone 5 will probably stay with its traditional IPS display. Super AMOLED means deep blacks and vivid colours, but IPS looks more natural. We compared Samsung and the HTC One X recently, and we preferred the HTC’s IPS. Apple will probably make some amazing claims about the iPhone 5 new screen though.

Power: One area where the Samsung Galaxy S3 might beat the iPhone 5 is its processor’s figures. The Samsung Galaxy S3 uses the impressive Exynos 4412 chip, which has four cores and runs at 1.4GHz.
The S3 will hold sway over the iPhone 5 in processor terms, with its 1.4GHz quad-core Exynos 4412 chip.

Connectivity: The biggest change in the iPhone 5 will be the 9-pin connector that will be similar in size to the microUSB standard. The connector will be a bit different to the micro USB, though, as Apple always likes to be a bit individual. This means that the new iPhone won’t be compatible with the older accessories, so there’ll need to be a dock converter. There’ll be no expandable memory, though – it’ll all about the cloud.

The Samsung Galaxy S3 is the polar opposite. There’s a microSD support, and it’s also MHL compliant, so able to output HD video and surround sound via an HDMI cable. The S3 doesn’t rely on syncing software to directly transfer files – you can just drag and drop when plugged in.

Cameras: The iPhone 5 camera has been the subject of much speculation. Apple’s had a lot of patents this last year, and some sound as if the camera on the iPhone 5 will make you coffee in the morning. Top of the list is a 3D camera and a multi-focus sensor. This sensor means you can choose several areas of a photo that you want to be clear and sharp. A 3D camera is a bit less likely, but you never know. The MP count of the new camera isn’t causing much debate – the iPhone 5 will probably stay at 8MP, which lines it up nicely with the S3.

The Samsung Galaxy S3 has an 8MP camera and loads of features like touch focus, image stabilisation, LED flash and 1080p video capture. Image quality, however, is around that of the iPhone 4S, and we reckon that the iPhone 5 will surpass it.

Battery: The iPhone 5 battery was the subject of rumours in 2011, so they’re taken with a pinch of salt. It is likely, however, to be 1430mAh offering, just over two thirds that of the S3. Samsung went to town with the S3 battery, beating rivals by 20% – the HTC One X has an 1800mAh job and the Sony Experia offering a 1750mAh battery.

The iPhone 5 will most likely match or exceed the stamina of the iPhone 4S – making the 1430mAh battery sound implausible.

Verdict: We really don’t know what to say just yet, as there are so many uncertainties. The iPhone 5 will feel heavy, cool and high-end. It will, however, be just that little bit less user friendly, with no memory card and a new socket. Also, the Samsung Galaxy S3 will have become a bit cheaper by October. Deciding which is a better buy will be tougher than you think.

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.