iPhone 5 vs. Samsung Galaxy S4: Round Two
Apple’s iPhone 5, released back in September, heads into 2013 as a phone that is still extremely relevant as it remains one of the best smartphone options on the table for shoppers. Though it faces challengers like the Galaxy S3 and Sony Xperia Z, there are also some big names on the horizon that will be looking to cut deeply into Apple’s iPhone 5 sales. One of those devices, is the heavily rumored Samsung Galaxy S4.
Back in September, Apple released the iPhone 5 to much fanfare. The latest iPhone was the first to offer a larger display and it was the first iPhone to take advantage of 4G LTE data speeds which can be up to 10 times faster than typical 3G data speeds. It also featured a brand new design from its compatriot, the iPhone 4S.
The device was nearly impossible to find for several months after it launched and it was only just before the holiday shopping season that Apple was able to get a handle on its supply and offer the device without any sort of substantial waiting period. Needless to say, the device sold well with AT&T reporting that it sold 84% iPhones last quarter.
However, that doesn’t mean that the device has been without serious competition. The Samsung Galaxy S3, a device that Samsung released back in May of 2012, has propelled Samsung to new heights. The device, which shattered Samsung’s previous sales records for a smartphone, has sold over 40 million units worldwide, putting it on the same pedestal as the iPhone.
So, it’s no surprise that lots of attention has been given to its rumored successor, the Galaxy S4, a device that emerged from hiding in December and has seemingly not stopped leaking since.
Over the past few weeks though, despite not showing its face, we have gotten what we think is a pretty clear picture of the Galaxy S4. From its features, to its launch and release date, there has been no shortage of Galaxy S4 rumors.
And while there are already rumors of the next iPhone, either called iPhone 5S or iPhone 6, the iPhone 5 will likely be the first iPhone that the Galaxy S4 takes on in 2013.
We already took one initial look at the Galaxy S4 compared to the iPhone 5, but given all of the new Galaxy S4 rumors, it’s time to head back into the ring for round two.
Here now is how the iPhone 5 stacks up versus the rumored Galaxy S4.
The iPhone 5, as we mentioned, has been out since September of last year. And while it may not have been easy to find in the beginning, the device is extremely to easy to find right now, not only through Apple, but through AT&T, Sprint and Verizon as well.
Apple may promote the iPhone for the big three carriers but it’s also available, right now, on a number of other carriers as well, something that isn’t necessarily true for many Android and Windows Phone 8 devices. There are likely more iPhone 5 release dates on the way as well.
We’ve heard that Virgin Mobile will at some point be getting the iPhone 5 and T-Mobile could carry it for its 4G LTE network as well. Neither has set a release date as of yet and T-Mobile still hasn’t said what generation iPhone it will be carrying. It could be that it waits for the iPhone 6 but given the timing, T-Mobile has said four months is a possibility, the iPhone 5 remains an option.
By the time the Samsung Galaxy S4 is announced, the iPhone 5 will be many months old. Just how old though remains a mystery as Samsung has yet to announce anything specific as far as its launch date or release date are concerned. That said, several rumors have sprouted up over the past few weeks that spell out some possibilities.
Until last week, the Galaxy S4 was rumored for Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain at the end of February. And while it remains a possibility, after all Samsung’s Vice President said that it would be arriving “soon”, it’s looking unlikely.
That’s because a report from Korean publication Asiae now suggests a launch date taking place at an Samsung Unpacked event on March 22nd. If true, it would mean the launch would be coming about two months before the Galaxy S3′s one year anniversary but would follow in the footsteps of the Galaxy S3′s launch away from a traditional trade show launch.
It appears that Samsung may release the device, not in March, but in April, at least according to a recent report. We’ve heard April rumored as a release month in the past, and so it’s looking like as good of a month as any for a Galaxy S4 release date.
Keep in mind, just because April is rumored as a release date doesn’t mean it will touch down in the U.S. come April. U.S. carriers are often last in line when it comes to releases so it wouldn’t be surprising to see a Galaxy S4 release in the U.S. come later.
With the iPhone 5, Apple completely redesigned the iPhone. Instead of glass, plastic and metal, the iPhone 5 features an industrial design comprised of metal, glass and an anodized aluminum back. It’s extremely sleek and one of the nicer looking smartphones on the market.
Due to the larger 4-inch display, the iPhone is now taller than its predecessors, but also cuts down the weight and thickness. The iPhone 5 is extremely thin, measuring in at 7.6mm in thickness. That’s slimmer than most smartphones on the market right now including the Galaxy S3.
The iPhone 5 is also lightweight with a weight of only 112 grams. That’s much lighter than the iPhone 4S and lighter than just about every high-end smartphone on the market, again, including the Galaxy S3, Nexus 4 and others.
Those looking for a smaller phone will not likely find one in the Galaxy S4. Its display is supposed to be huge so it should mean that it comes with a large footprint.
No specific details are known but we imagine that Samsung will aim to keep it thin and light to compete with the iPhone 5. No credible images of the Galaxy S4 have leaked thus far, but a mockup from a Samsung fan, seen below, shows what could be.
This render is likely not the Galaxy S4, but it shows a device that is a bit taller than the Galaxy S3 and certainly more rectangular in shape. Both are certainly possible for the Galaxy S4 in terms of design.
We imagine Samsung will not stray too far from its polycarbonate plastic that it uses with its high-end devices, but given the quality of the iPhone 5′s design, we could see the company shift to something new with the Galaxy S4.
Before the arrival of the iPhone 5, Apple’s iPhone always came with a 3.5-inch display standard. Finally though, with the latest generation, Apple caved and decide to up the iPhone’s display with the new 4-inch Retina Display that is found on the iPhone 5.
The iPhone 5′s display uses 1136 x 640 resolution, which isn’t HD, but boasts a high 326 pixels-per-inch which make for crisp images, video and text.
Another, more subtle feature of the display is its 16:9 aspect ratio which offers widescreen resolution for content like television shows and movies. It also helps for those that might consume a lot of YouTube content on their phone.
While the Retina Display is still fantastic, there is no denying that the display technology that is on the way in 2013 isn’t impressive. And current rumors suggest that the Galaxy S4 will likely play a big role in this shift to high-resolution displays with high pixels-per-inch counts.
Android manufacturers are looking to offer high resolution displays to go along with the size and it looks like the Galaxy S4 will take both into account.
At CES 2013, Anandtech unearthed a release pipe line for Samsung’s displays for 2013. One display that stood out from the rest was a 4.99-inch FHD display with 1080p resolution slated for arrival in the first half of 2013. The reason it stood out is because all of that information lines up with what previous rumors have suggested about the Galaxy S4 display.
So, it appears that the display of the Galaxy S4 will be 4.99-inches to 5-inches and feature 1080p resolution.
Furthermore, it appears that Samsung may looking to introduce not just a 1080p display, but one that should trump many of the displays we see in 2012. According to a Digitimes report, Samsung may be working on new pixel layouts for its smartphones, specifically, hexagon and diamond-shaped pixel layouts that could bump the Galaxy S4′s pixels-per-inch beyond the 440 mark.
If true, we should see some of the best video, images, and text ever seen on a smartphone, including the iPhone 5.
The iPhone 5 possesses one of the best rear cameras in the business with its 8MP iSight camera. It handles itself well in most environments and can call up some amazing video quality as well.
The iPhone 5 also features an HD front-facing camera that produces high-quality video chats for those that need to take advantage of them for school or work.
For those that wish to go more in-depth, have a look at our hands-on with the iPhone 5 camera.
One of the features that lacked quality in the Galaxy S3 was its rear camera which while good, wasn’t necessarily great. With the rear camera of the Galaxy S4, customers are hoping for a big improvement. And from the rumors, that could wind up being the case.
The Galaxy S4 is rumored to have a 13MP camera in the rear which should translate into an upgrade over the Galaxy S3′s camera. Mega-pixels aren’t everything but Samsung has shown that it has the software power to back up its camera.
Look for a better camera than the Galaxy S3′s, at the very least, and maybe one that bests the iPhone 5′s as well.
Beyond the design, display and camera are some other features that will be powering both the iPhone 5 and the Galaxy S4. Here, we want to take a look at the smaller features of the iPhone 5 and the rumored Galaxy S4 in an attempt to compare and contrast.
First, the iPhone 5 specs which are obviously confirmed.
- 4-inch Retina Display with 1136 x 640 Resolution
- Apple A6 Processor
- 16GB/32GB/64GB models (No microSD Card Slot)
- 8MP rear camera/HD Front-Facing Camera
- 1440mAh Battery (Non-Removable)
- 1GB of RAM
Second, the Galaxy S4′s rumored specs.
- 4.99-inch/5-inch FHD Display with 1080p Resolution
- Quad-Core Processor
- 13MP Rear Camera
- Wireless Charging
- 2600 mAh Battery
The Galaxy S4 is rumored to feature a quad-core Exynos 5 Octa processor from Samsung, a processor that it announced at CES earlier this month. If true, we could see the best battery life that Samsung has ever delivered on a smartphone.
The Exynos 5 Octa, which has appeared in alleged Galaxy S4 benchmarks, should deliver not only higher performance, but better battery life as well. The processor which has eight cores but only uses four at any given time will use 70-percent less power than a typical quad-core Cortex A15 processor including Samsung’s own Exynos 5 processor found in the Nexus 10.
If true, the Galaxy S4 should have battery life that rivals the iPhone 5 which Apple says can get up to eight hours of web browsing on 4G LTE, something that is up there with the best smartphones on the market.
One thing to keep in mind though is that the iPhone 5 doesn’t have a removable battery. Samsung devices typically do and that means that users can easily buy an extended battery pack if the amount of juice isn’t up to snuff.
The iPhone 5 comes in three different storage space variants. The Galaxy S4 will likely not though no rumors have surfaced. The Galaxy S3 came in 16GB and 32GB in the U.S. with a microSD card slot and it would be weird to see Samsung stray from that with the Galaxy S4.
The Galaxy S4 is rumored to have wireless charging capabilities, though it’s unclear if the technology will be built into the device or if users will have to buy a separate back. We’ve seen built-in charging with devices like the Droid DNA and Nexus 4 so it would be odd to see Samsung not include it in their flagship.
The iPhone 5 does not have built-in wireless charging.
The iPhone 5 currently runs Apple’s iOS 6 operating system which arrived alongside the smartphone back in September. iOS 6 features 200 new features over iOS 5, many of which can been seen in the video below.
Included in the iOS 6 update were the new Apple Maps, Passbook which allows users to store gift cards, airline tickets, sports tickets, Do Not Disturb, Facebook integration, and of course, new features for the iPhone’s virtual personal assistant, Siri.
Today, it was updated with the first big update to iOS 6 since launch in the form of iOS 6.1 which brings the ability to purchase movie tickets through Siri, new lockscreen music controls and more. The new feature in Siri can be seen in action below.
Read: iOS 6.1 Review.
The iPhone also benefits from the fact that Apple tends to update its mobile devices long into the future. While Android devices often are left behind when it comes to major updates, the iPhone tends to get upgraded with major software updates for many users. Case in point, iOS 6.1 just arrived for the iPhone 3GS, a phone that is more than three years old.
While that kind of longevity doesn’t exist for many Android smartphones, Samsung’s Galaxy S series has it better than most. The company was one of the first to update its Galaxy S3 to Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and it also now has updated the Galaxy S2 to Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, a device from 2011.
That bodes well for the future of the Galaxy S4 which is rumored to be arriving with Android 4.2 Jelly Bean on board. There had been rumors of Android 5.0 Key Lime Pie but with Google I/O set for May, and the Galaxy S4 rumored for March, we could see it come with Android 4.2 Jelly Bean instead.
Android 4.2, seen below, is the latest from Google in terms of mobile software. It brings a new 360 photography feature called Photo Sphere to the table in addition to a new native gesture keyboard and new functionality for Google Now, Google’s predictive software.
Samsung likes to lay its own user interface over Android in the form of TouchWiz. With the Galaxy S3, we saw the emergence of Nature UX, maybe Samsung’s best version of TouchWiz, which introduced some powerful features that came in addition to Android itself.
With the Galaxy S4, we could see Nature UX 2.0 emerge though as of yet, details are scarce. Two potential features popped up in trademark filings the other day including Eye Scroll which could use the front-facing camera to track eye movement and automatically scroll content and a feature called Eye Pause which could pause movies when the eyes look away.
Both could end up coming in a later version of Nature UX or not coming at all but they remain possible nonetheless.
One of the most convenient things about the iPhone 5 is that it is available on an assortment of carriers. In addition to the big three which are AT&T, Sprint and Verizon Wireless, the device is available on a number of smaller operators including Cricket Wireless and several regional carriers as well.
As we noted, we should see Virgin Mobile pick up the iPhone 5 at some point in the future and T-Mobile will be carrying some form of the iPhone on its 4G LTE network though its unclear if it will be the iPhone 5. That’s not to say the iPhone 5 isn’t available on T-Mobile already though.
Those looking to run an iPhone 5 on T-Mobile’s network can do so with an unlocked iPhone 5 though it won’t run on the carrier’s 4G LTE network. Instead, users in some areas will pull down HSPA+ speeds which while good, don’t add up to the speed of LTE.
The Galaxy S3 launched on the five largest carriers in the United States including AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular and Verizon. And with T-Mobile set to release a 4G LTE enabled version of the Galaxy S3, it could be that we see the device launch on 4G LTE across the board this time around.
Given the Galaxy S3′s success with this type of carrier approach, it would be strange to see the company shift gears and use less carriers for the Galaxy S4 launch.
Today, we saw our first possible carrier emerge in the form of a user agent, found by Blog of Mobile, that may point to an AT&T Galaxy S4. The evidence is flimsy, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see Ma Bell get the Galaxy S4.
Apple sticks to a very familiar price point with each iPhone release and the release of the iPhone 5 was no different. The iPhone 5 starts at $199.99 on-contract across the board, whether it’s through Apple, AT&T, Sprint or Verizon. That price of course nets buyers a 16GB model, the smallest storage option for the iPhone 5.
Here is how Apple’s on-contract price for the iPhone 5 breaks down:
- iPhone 16GB – $199.99 on-contract
- iPhone 32GB – $299.99 on-contract
- iPhone 64GB – $399.99 on-contract
Those prices likely won’t apply to T-Mobile, should it decide to offer the iPhone 5 this year. Instead, the carrier is moving to offer devices off-contract instead of with a subsidy which means that the price should resemble the price of the unlocked iPhone 5 which is significantly higher up front.
Here is how the off-contract pricing of the iPhone 5 looks:
- iPhone 16GB – $649.99 off-contract
- iPhone 32GB – $749.99 off-contract
- iPhone 64GB – $849.99 off-contract
Pricing for the Galaxy S4 still hasn’t leaked but we imagine that it will likely land for a price similar to the Galaxy S3′s. That of course means $199.99 on-contract for a 16GB model. Indeed, Samsung has used Apple’s price point to put its flagship model in direct competition, and so far, the strategy has worked fairly well.
If that is true, we should also see the Galaxy S4 price show up for much lower at places like Amazon and Wirefly. The Galaxy S3 prices dipped right after launch and the Galaxy S4, like other Android phones, should see a slight discount as well.