Later this week, Samsung will be taking the curtain down on its brand new flagship smartphone, the Samsung Galaxy S4. The device, which is set to do battle with other Android phones, like the HTC One, will also face strong opposition from Apple’s iPhone 5 which has been competing with the Samsung Galaxy S3 since September.
In September, Apple unveiled the new iPhone, the iPhone 5, the first iPhone to feature a larger display and 4G LTE data speeds. It also arrived with iOS 6, Apple’s most current operating system and a brand new design. All of these features, and its wide availability on carriers, have made the iPhone 5 one of the premier devices for smartphone shoppers.
However, unlike years of old, when the iPhone was on a pedestal of its own, the iPhone 5 has faced strong opposition from Samsung and its Samsung Galaxy S3. The Galaxy S3 launched several months before the iPhone 5 and went on to become a viable competitor thanks to its features but also thanks to an incredibly thought out marketing campaign that Samsung used to attract average consumers.
The Galaxy S3’s ad campaign targeted the iPhone 5 specifically and it ridiculed those who buy Apple products. Whether or not consumers agreed with the portrayals doesn’t matter. What matters is that the ads helped to solidify the Samsung Galaxy S3 as a viable opponent to the iPhone’s dominance. It likely was also one of the main reasons that Samsung smashed its own sales records, selling over 40 million Galaxy S3’s since the device launched back in 2012.
So, it’s no surprise that in 2013, consumer focus is on the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S4, the successor to the Samsung Galaxy S3. Since the latter part of 2012, the Galaxy S4 has dominated the smartphone rumor mill and the anticipation has reached heights that not even the Samsung Galaxy S3 reached back in 2012.
That said, many consumers are likely comparing the rumored Samsung Galaxy S4 against the iPhone 5 and thinking about how the two big name smartphones are going to match up on the market. We’ve already compared the two several times in the past and now, it’s time to have a final look, a few days before the Galaxy S4’s presumed arrival.
Here is the final round of the rumored Samsung Galaxy S4 versus the iPhone 5 in terms of hardware, software, release date and a whole lot more.
Apple’s iPhone 5 has been out on shelves for quite some time now. Apple, as is its custom, announced the device at the beginning of September and released the device in the same month.
Since September 21st, the iPhone 5 has been one of the dominant smartphones on the market. However, unlike the months prior to December when it was virtually impossible to find with quick shipping, the iPhone 5 is widely available through carriers and retailers alike making it an extremely attractive option for those looking to buy a smartphone this very minute.
And while the iPhone 5 is on shelves, readily available to customers around the world, the Samsung Galaxy S4, despite the avalanche of rumors, remains unreleased and may not appear on shelves for weeks after this week’s launch event.
Samsung has scheduled an Unpacked event for March 14th for the Radio City Music Hall in New York City, a venue that can seat over 6,000 people and features an orchestra pit, perhaps for some musical entertainment.
The size of the venue suggests that Samsung is planning to announce something big at the event and all signs point to it being the unveiling of the Samsung Galaxy S4, a device that has been in the news since 2012.
The launch date might be set but unfortunately, we still have no idea when the Samsung Galaxy S4 will take to the shelves to compete with Apple’s latest iPhone.
Rumors have suggested that the device will arrive in Europe in April, with no specific date mentioned while the device is said to be coming to the U.S. in May or June. Those dates line up with previous Galaxy launches including the Samsung Galaxy S3, which was announced at the beginning of May and arrived at the end of May in the United Kingdom.
The Galaxy S3 did not touch down in the United States until June and July, many weeks after Samsung’s initial announcement.
Despite being a phone from 2012, the iPhone 5 still possesses one of the best overall designs of any smartphone on the market, featuring a combination of metal, glass and anodized aluminum.
Apple’s iPhone 5 is a vast departure from the previous iPhone, iPhone 4S, in terms of design. Instead of a plastic design with glass on the back, Apple redesigned the device with an aluminum back that also utilizes glass and a metal band to complete a remarkable industrial design that truly makes the iPhone 5 feel like its a $200 smartphone.
The company also managed to slim the device down, despite making it taller due to the larger display, and it also kept weight to an extreme minimum as well. The specific measurements of the iPhone 5 are 7.6mm thin and 112 grams in weight, making Apple’s smartphone one of the thinnest and lightest smartphones on the planet.
The latest rumors for the Samsung Galaxy S4 suggest a smartphone that looks vastly different than the iPhone 5. Instead, the device is said to be more Samsung Galaxy S3 than iPhone 5.
Previous Galaxy S smartphones have been made of plastic and it appears that Samsung will once again be going the plastic route with the design of the Galaxy S4. Rumors suggest it will look similar to either the Galaxy S3 and the Galaxy Note 8.0, in terms of overall looks, and it will keep the polycarbonate material that Samsung uses with its high-end smartphones.
In recent days, Samsung has defended its use of plastic saying that it’s durable, allows for users to install their own extended battery, and allows the company to pump out phones fast enough to keep them in supply for the millions that want to buy them.
Case leaks have pointed to a boxier design while purported images show a device with a large display, textured back, and a large camera sensor in the rear of the device. It’s also made of plastic and sports a home button, as rumors have suggested.
The leak falls in line with our Samsung Galaxy S4 concept which was based off of rumored specs and could give consumers a glimpse at what the real Galaxy S4 might look like.
Rumored specifications suggest that the phone could measure in at 7.9mm, putting it in reach of the iPhone 5, and thus far, we haven’t heard about how much it might weigh.
With the iPhone 5, Apple finally caved to consumer pressure and outfitted the latest iPhone with a larger display. While previous iPhones all touted 3.5-inch displays, the iPhone 5 comes with a larger 4-inch display which makes it nicer for video and web browsing while keeping it small enough to easily use with one hand.
What Apple didn’t do was change up the Retina Display. The iPhone 5 features 1136 x 640 resolution, which is not HD, and also delivers 326 pixels-per-inch which makes text crisp, photos detailed and videos sharp and vibrant. It also features a 16:9 aspect ratio which allows iPhone 5 owners to enjoy content in widescreen without pesky black bars.
Samsung is rumored to be delivering a high-end display with the Galaxy S4 that is both larger and more powerful than the iPhone 5’s.
The most recent Galaxy S4 rumors suggest that it will employ either a 4.99-inch or 5-inch full HD 1080p display with a high pixel-per-inch count, likely in the mid to high 400 range. This means that content could look better than it does on the iPhone 5’s display. However, Samsung apparently isn’t content with just stopping there.
Current rumors suggest that the Samsung Galaxy S4 will be outfitted with touch free gesture support which would allow users to simply use their fingers to interact with the display without actually having to touch it. The technology has been seen in lesser phones like the Pantech Vega 4G LTE and the Sony Xperia Sola, but never in a device as big as the Galaxy S4.
Further, the company is said to have used a new green PHOLED material with the display which could help to mitigate the display’s efficiency by as much as 25% and thus, increasing overall battery life on the phone.
In 2012, the iPhone 5 possessed one of the better rear cameras on the market. Its 8MP iSight camera remains one of the best rear cameras on the market but rumors suggest that the Galaxy S4 camera could potentially outdo it.
Apple’s iPhone 5 sports an 8MP camera with image stabilization and an f/2.4 aperture. This means that it performs well in most situations, though other cameras perform better in low light environments. The iPhone 5 camera improves photo capture speed, 40% faster than the iPhone 4S, and iOS’ Panorama mode allows for owners to take panoramic photos of their surroundings.
Samsung’s Galaxy S3 featured a good, but not great camera, and it appears that Samsung might be offering a huge upgrade over the Galaxy S3 with the camera on the Galaxy S4.
The latest suggests that a 13MP camera sensor will be on board and whispering points to Sony’s 13MP sensor as possibly being on board. If that’s true, it would likely mean that the Galaxy S4 will support HDR video recording – currently available on the Xperia Z only, 10 frame-per-second burst photo taking speed, and high quality low-light photos, which would pose trouble for the iPhone 5 camera.
Both phones are obviously going to be made up of numerous other specifications. And while the Galaxy S4’s remain rumored, the iPhone 5’s are very official. That said, here is how they line up at this point.
Here are the iPhone 5’s specifications.
- 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
These are the rumored Samsung Galaxy S4 specifications.
- 4.99-inch Full-HD 1080p SoLux Display
- 1.9GHz Snapdragon 600 Quad-Core Processor/Exynos 5 Octa Processor
- 16/32/64GB of Storage
- 13MP Camera
- 2,600 mAh (Removable)
- 2 GB RAM
The first thing to note is that the Samsung Galaxy S4 will likely feature a quad-core processor. Apple’s A6 chip is said to be dual-core, and that could mean that the Samsung Galaxy S4 offers better performance for things like multitasking and gaming. It also should mean that it will provide better battery life than previous Galaxy S smartphones.
Second, Apple’s iPhone 5 provides great 4G LTE battery life, but doesn’t feature a removable back which means that the battery can’t be replaced with an extended battery nor can it easily be replaced. The Samsung Galaxy S4 will more than likely feature a removable back which will allow for owners to install their own extended battery for more juice. It will also make it easier to replace the battery.
Third, like the iPhone 5, the Galaxy S4 is said to be coming in three storage options including 16GB, 32GB and 64GB models. The Galaxy S3 was announced in the same way though the 64GB model never made it to the U.S. Furthermore, the Galaxy S4 should feature a microSD card slot which would allow owners to expand beyond those storage options. The iPhone 5 does not feature expandable storage.
And finally, fourth, the Samsung Galaxy S4 is rumored to be coming with a wireless charger kit that will allow owners to take off the back plate and install one that allows for wireless charging. This type of accessory is not available to iPhone 5 owners due to the non-removable back. It also doesn’t feature built-in wireless charging which means that owners will have to charge using wires.
The iPhone 5 arrived with iOS 6 on board, a piece of software that was and is a vast upgrade over iOS 5 due to the 200 new features on board. Currently, the iPhone 5 runs Apple’s iOS 6.1 software which is its latest and which brought a couple of new features to the table including new functionality for its personal assistant, Siri.
Apple tends to keep its smartphones updated with software for several years which means that the iPhone 5 is in line to receive an update to iOS 7 which is presumably going to arrive at WWDC 2013.
iOS head, Scott Forstall, who was behind many of the design qualities of iOS, has been replaced which could mean that iOS 7 will not only bring about new features but some design enhancements as well.
Samsung’s Galaxy S4 will be running Android, most likely Android 4.2 Jelly Bean as recent rumors suggest, and it looks like Samsung will be loading it up with its own software enhancements to separate it from the HTC One and the rest of the Android pack.
The most recent Galaxy S4 rumors point to Samsung including a number of new features that should make up a new version of the company’s TouchWiz Nature UX skin.
Purported screenshots have revealed a number of smart features including two called Smart Scroll and Smart Pause which were once thought to be called Eye Scroll and Eye Pause. Smart Scroll looks like it will users to scroll pages on screen simply by using their eyes while Smart Pause will pause content on screen when the users looks away.
In addition, Samsung is said to be including a feature called Samsung Orb which will likely be its version of Photo Sphere, a Google-made feature found in Android 4.2.
Those will likely only be the tip of the iceberg as Samsung will likely have a number of new features on hand for the Samsung Galaxy S4.
The iPhone 5 is currently found on a number of carriers around the world. In the United States, the phone is officially supported by the three biggest service providers, AT&T, Sprint and Verizon and it can be found on a number of pre-paid and regional carriers as well including Cricket Wireless.
T-Mobile supports the iPhone 5, though it does so unofficially meaning users will need an unlocked iPhone 5 and a proper SIM card to get it up and running on the Magenta carrier’s network.
The device is 4G LTE enabled which means that unlike iPhone’s of the past, it can pull down data speeds that can top out at 10 times faster than 3G and often feel like having Wi-Fi on-the-go.
The Samsung Galaxy S3 will also likely emerge on a number of 4G LTE networks and it could be that it follows in the footsteps of the Galaxy S3 and emerges on the five largest which include AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon and U.S. Cellular.
Current rumors point to AT&T and Verizon at the very least, though interested consumers can likely expect several more carriers to arrive both at launch and further down the road.
The iPhone 5 remains steadfast in its pricing as the device has rarely wavered beyond its $199.99 starting price point for the 16GB model. Even with the arrival of the Galaxy S4, the iPhone 5 will likely not budge.
The other iPhone 5 models are more expensive as a 32GB model commands a $299.99 price while the 64GB model costs a hefty $399.99 on-contract.
Those looking to buy the iPhone 5 off-contract, whether for T-Mobile or otherwise, will find it through Apple for pricing starting at $649.99 for the 16GB variant of the iPhone 5.
No pricing has leaked out yet regarding the Galaxy S4 though we expect Samsung to fall in line with the iPhone 5’s pricing, with a 16GB Galaxy S4 costing $199.99 on-contract. Galaxy S4 variants with more storage space should face increasing costs on-contract.
T-Mobile is shifting to off-contract pricing in the near future and it could be that the Galaxy S4, should it become available there, will feature different pricing than the other versions of the device.