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Samsung Galaxy S4 vs. iPhone 5: 5 Things to Know

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With the arrival of the HTC One and the Samsung Galaxy S4 just a few short weeks ago, there are now more than a few big name smartphone options on the table for consumers. One match up that consumers are likely looking closely is the one between Apple’s iPhone 5 and Samsung’s new Galaxy S4. And while there are certainly quite a few things to compare, there are some things that consumers absolutely need to know about the battle between these two devices.

In September of last year, after months and months of rumor and speculation, Apple finally debuted the iPhone 5, its latest and greatest smartphone that came with a number of upgrades including a new design, larger 4-inch Retina Display, improved 8MP camera and processor and finally, after long last, 4G LTE data speeds.

Read: Samsung Galaxy Note 3 vs. Galaxy S4: 5 Things to Know Pre-Launch.

The device replaced the iPhone 4S as Apple’s flagship smartphone, a device that continues to sell well even though it’s steadily approaching its second birthday. And while the iPhone 5 is one of the better smartphone options out there for consumers, companies like Samsung have put the pressure on with their recent smartphone releases.

Last year, the Samsung Galaxy S3, which launched to compete with the iPhone 4S and iPhone 5, sold millions of devices around the world, putting it on the same pedestal as the iPhone. So it was no surprise that Samsung’s current Galaxy S device arrived under the same type of microscope as Apple’s iconic iPhone.

In March, after months and months of rumor and speculation, Samsung debuted its Samsung Galaxy S4 to compete against not only the iPhone 5, but any other smartphone that Apple may have up its sleeve for 2013. The device, as expected, features some big time features including a massive 5-inch display, quad-core processor, 13MP camera, and a host of Samsung software features over its Android operating system.

With its arrival, the Galaxy S4 is now competing against 2012′s iPhone for the hearts and minds of consumers not only in the United States but around the world. And unsurprisingly, consumers have had quite a few questions about the match up between the two well-known devices.

Here, we take a look at what we think are the five most important things to know about the match up between the Samsung Galaxy S4 and the Apple iPhone 5.

New Versions Are on The Way

The iPhone 5 will be replaced this year. The Galaxy S4 will just expand.

The iPhone 5 will be replaced this year. The Galaxy S4 will just expand.

One of the most important things that consumers should know about the battle between the iPhone 5 and the Samsung Galaxy S4 is that new models are on the way. In the case of the iPhone 5, it’s likely going to be replaced in the coming months by another model. In the case of the Samsung Galaxy S4, it should be receiving two complementary models. Despite the additions, both will remain relevant smartphones.

Starting with the iPhone 5, rumors suggest that it will be replaced by the iPhone 5S at some point this year, a device that is said to have a similar design but improved specs including camera, processor, a quite possibly a fingerprint reader. Apple needs to offer something unique on this phone and we have no doubt that it will do that with either its software, hardware or both.

Rumors suggest it will be out by the end of September, not surprising since the iPhone 5 came out in late September. That means that the iPhone 5, as a flagship, only has a few months left. And that means that those who need the top of the line model will simply need to wait. However, again, this should be n incremental update from Apple. by design, which means consumers should feel comfortable getting the iPhone 5 as it will remain solid and won’t be blown out of the water by the iPhone 5S.

The arrival of the iPhone 5S will also ensure a price drop on the iPhone 5, likely down to $99 on-contract.

As for the Samsung Galaxy S4, it will likely be joined by a Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini and a Samsung Galaxy S4 Activ as soon as June or July. Neither device will outright replace the Galaxy S4 but they will offer some things that consumers cannot currently get out of the Galaxy S4.

The first, the Galaxy S4 Mini, will offer lesser specifications on a smaller device with the Galaxy S4′s design. Those looking for a smaller, cheaper version of the Galaxy S4 will likely be enticed by this device, especially since it’s supposed to have many of the same software features as the larger version. It will however, have lesser specifications so keep that in mind.

AT&T is rumored to be getting a version of the Galaxy S4 Mini which means it should be running on 4G LTE.

As for the Galaxy S4 Activ, it’s said to be a water and dust resistant Galaxy S4 with similar specs to the larger version. It’s unclear just how Galaxy S4 will tack these additions on but it could be through some type of coating, similar to what Sony did with the Xperia Z. This device will likely appeal to those that take their device into the wild, to the beach, or to the pool with great frequency.

AT&T is also rumored to be taking the Galaxy S4 Activ on board.

Design Trade-Offs

Maybe the first thing that consumers will notice about the Samsung Galaxy S4 and the iPhone 5 is that they feature extremely different designs. While Apple opted for an industrial look, complete with aluminum, glass and metal, Samsung decided to attach one of its plastic designs to the Samsung Galaxy S4. Beyond the build materials, there are some differences to know about when it comes to their design, particularly when it comes to how users can interact with their phone.

The iPhone 5 employs one of the most striking smartphone designs on the market. It’s slim, lightweight, and extremely nice to hold, all of which are big features. However, the trade off is that there isn’t much that users can do with the design. The back plate of the phone is non-removable and there simply isn’t anywhere to expand memory.

The iPhone 5S release is rumored for the summer with a design and shape similar to the iPhone 5.

The iPhone 5 design is both good and bad.

This means that users are stuck with the internal storage that they buy, which is typically around 3GB less than advertised, which means the 16GB is actually a 13GB phone. iPhone buyers that can’t or don’t want to shell out the cash for the larger models will become dependent on iCloud or other cloud storage options.

The Samsung Galaxy S4 on the other hand features a removable back which means that the battery can easily be replaced or extended with an extended battery. That means more battery life is easier to come by. It also means that users will be able to use a back plate in order to charge the Galaxy S4 withoiut wires. Samsung’s wireless charging kit will be out later this year. The iPhone 5 does not have access to this.

The Galaxy S4 and Galaxy S3 are made of plastic. This is both good and bad.

The Galaxy S4 and Galaxy S3 are made of plastic. This is both good and bad.

It also features a microSD card slot which means that owners can expand their storage space beyond the 16GB or 32GB on board storage.

There is a trade-off though. The Samsung Galaxy S4 is made of plastic and quite simply, it’s not as stunning or as nice to hold as the iPhone 5. Samsung improved the design of the Galaxy S4 from the Galaxy S3, but it still doesn’t feel like a $200 device.

One is Cheaper Than the Other

If the iPhone 5S is a minimal upgrade, can it compete with the Samsung Galaxy S4?

The Galaxy S4 is cheaper than the iPhone 5.

Simply put, the Samsung Galaxy S4 is cheaper than Apple’s iPhone. The iPhone 5 arrived with a $199.99 price tag on the 16GB model and while we’ve seen a few deals, the price remains at or near there at every place that the phone is available. We should also point out that the 32GB model is a hefty $299.99.

We don’t expect those prices to fall until we get closer to the release of the iPhone 5S later this year. Through Apple, we don’t expect the iPhone 5 price to fall until after the iPhone 5S goes on sale.

Those looking for something cheaper needn’t look further than the Samsung Galaxy S4 which has already seen its price slashed at a number of places only weeks after its arrival. Across the board, there are discounts on the devices through its various carriers.

The Samsung Galaxy S4 16GB through carriers is $199.99 or $250. At places like Amazon and Walmart, it can be found for much less. Even better, those prices will continue to drop, unlike the iPhone 5′s.

AT&T is currently the only carrier offering a 32GB Galaxy S4 which it does for $250. We expect some discounts on that variant to arrive in the next few weeks.

Longevity

One of the most things, if not the most important thing, for consumers to know about before buying a phone is whether or not the device is going to hold up through the duration of a two year contract. For both of these phones, the answer is a resounding yes, even with the iPhone 5S on the way sometime later this year.

Apple does a fantastic job updating its iPhones with the latest software. For instance, the iPhone 3GS, which is over three years old, is currently sitting on iOS 6.1.3, the most recent iOS update available to phones not called the iPhone. This means that a phone like the iPhone 5 will be supported for years to come, not only with new features, but with bug fix updates as well.

When iOS 7 comes out later this year, the iPhone 5 will definitely be on board. Same goes for iOS 8. Buyers do not need to worry about getting left behind with the iPhone.

Android is a little more tricky but Samsung has emerged with some Apple-like qualities when it comes to software updates. What we mean is that the company has realized that the way to keep customers happy and on board with Galaxy device is by keeping older phones fresh.

For instance, the company swiftly updated its aging Samsung Galaxy S2 with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. That update arrived only a little bit after the AT&T HTC One X, a flagship from 2012, got updated to Android 4.1.

Samsung also updates its older phones with software of its own, meaning software from newer devices comes to older devices. In the case of the Galaxy S4, it will likely get many of the features of the upcoming Samsung Galaxy Note 2.

Carrier Options Are Equal

iPhone-5S-vs-Galaxy-S4

The Galaxy S4 and iPhone 5 both have plentiful carrier options.

Those looking for a plethora of carrier options should know that the Samsung Galaxy S4 and the iPhone 5 are the best when it comes to the amount of carrier options on the table.

While many devices are limited to a few carriers – the HTC One is a prime example – the Samsung Galaxy S4 and the iPhone 5 are available on a massive amount of carriers, both big and small.

In the case of the iPhone 5, it’s available on the largest four carriers in the U.S. including AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon but it also is around on smaller carriers which means that users have quite a few options. Some of those smaller options are regional and not talked about, but they are certainly there.

The Samsung Galaxy S4 is available on those four as well as U.S. Cellular. U.S. Cellular says that it will get the iPhone this year though it hasn’t said if it will offer the iPhone 5 or the iPhone 5S. The Galaxy S4 will also become available on smaller carriers like Cricket and C Spire which both also host the iPhone 5.

45 Comments

  1. Ryan (@scarfacex510)

    05/13/2013 at 3:42 pm

    iphone 5 is old tech… Apples always been a generation behind… GS4 wipes the floor with the iphone 5

    • Quinn

      05/13/2013 at 6:44 pm

      Incorrect. Apple is in a different market. Apple waits to see which technologies survive before implementing it into their products. In effect, the design phones that work. Sure, they produce phones that lack the flair and bells and whistles that other companies bring to the table, but with that, they eliminate the element of gimmicks.

      Let’s see how long your photo sharing back-to-back phone thing lasts before they come out with something they think is cooler.

      • Austin

        05/14/2013 at 7:08 am

        Haha apple is in denial. They met there maker.. 13 mega pixels, eye control. Seriously the 1st smart phone that you talk to…. apple came out with work before samsung came out with “galaxy” and siri sucks compared. Trust me had both periodicaly from iPhone 4s to the GS2 to the GS I’ll never go back. Oh year our ram and processors step all over the 1.3 dual core processor. Dual core that’s so 2006. 1.9 Octacore processor with almost 3 gigs of ram……. you be ignorant and turn the other shoulder from the truth for all I care. Oh yeah. My phone has not glittched like my iPhone did, and its bc of the processors.

        • nathan

          05/14/2013 at 8:02 pm

          It is definitely NOT eye control. Its head orientation. Sit there without moving your head and just move your eyes? Let me know how that works out. S voice wipes Siri’s ass compared. Its faster to come up when the buttons are held and it answers questions faster. Look it up, it’s all over youtube. Apple did not meet *their maker with this phone. Maybe for a few months, until Apple can level the playing field by releasing a new phone. Its about the timing jackass. Its obvious that the Galaxy and iPhone are contenders that will stay at the top of the charts for a while. No one is denying that. Plus the iPhone looks better. And iMessage rules!

        • Robert

          05/15/2013 at 12:00 am

          Yeah octa core is nice but overheats like crazy trust me I know have a gt i9500. Btw this is my second replacement and still no answer as to why the international version is overheating.

          • Brett

            05/23/2013 at 7:22 pm

            Oh please the G4 is PATHETIC. Some cheap android made of plastic? Sure, they slapped on a bigger camera and an impossible to hold on to screen, and maybe some stupid hardly working software gimmicks, but al least apple has tast and style. I mean, look at how light the iPhone is. And it’s made of aluminum, metal, glass, and even sapphire!! The iPhone totally crushes the G4. Not to mention all the software things apple does, that the g4 doesn’t

      • Drake

        05/14/2013 at 2:43 pm

        Next get some logic not bullshit

      • nathan

        05/14/2013 at 8:03 pm

        This guy knows his stuff. I completely agree with QUINN!

      • jerk

        05/16/2013 at 12:20 pm

        lmao,NFC, 4G LTE and Super AMOLED arent going to survive….. Oh wait, the iphone FINALLY decided 4G is good enough. lmao, apple is going down the shitter

      • Arjun Singh

        05/26/2013 at 3:19 am

        No comparison is complete without seeing what people have to say about either sides. Take a look at this impressive face-off between the fans of both of these products http://www.brandcollage.com/faceoff/apple-iphone5-vs-samsung-galaxy-s4/

      • 24bjc

        06/19/2013 at 2:15 am

        So you’re going to keep a straight face and tell us that Apple doesn’t use Gimmicks to entice consumers?

    • nathan

      05/14/2013 at 7:51 pm

      not true. In anyway shape or form.

    • viu

      05/31/2013 at 3:50 pm

      restore.kiev.ua -ремонт iphone 5

  2. Dennis Chan

    05/13/2013 at 6:12 pm

    The problems of Iphone is smaller screen, non replacement battery, and no extended memory. Apple used to think people will buy Apple base on the brand, but it no longer works anymore.

    • Quinn

      05/13/2013 at 6:45 pm

      Also incorrect. I like iPhone’s smaller screen because it is a MOBILE phone. That’s the whole point. Cell phone designs were meant to be small. To carry around for communication. Nobody needs a mini-tv sitting next to their groin all day.

      • koolkat2

        05/14/2013 at 12:18 am

        although opinions vary, a bigger screen is useful in many ways. im having a hard time adjusting to my i5 after having a nexus 4 and note 2 for a while. its especially hard to watch starcraft videos on youtube on the i5.

        • roadking2003

          05/25/2013 at 4:36 am

          The bigger screen also allows you to see the complete email without having to scroll from side to side reading and resizing (for some of us over 40) to actually see the words without guessing as to what is there.

          After having both type phones I will never have another IPhone. Always having problems and you have to make an appointment at an Apple Store (which in my case is 90 miles away) to get your problems taken care of.

          NO problems from my S3 so have no idea as to what I will have to do if I ever have a problem.

  3. mex

    05/13/2013 at 7:12 pm

    Also incorrect. You can not say ; “I like iPhone’s smaller screen because it is a MOBILE phone” , because not the screen size maters, for to be MOBILE, but the size of the phone. iPhone has a huge bezels . Old-fart phone.

    • youkiddingright

      05/13/2013 at 7:44 pm

      What he meant is Iphone size is small enough to be mobile, which makes it a mobile phone. Samsung isn’t \o/.

  4. albertyouwrong

    05/13/2013 at 7:49 pm

    I smell a troll

  5. Joe

    05/13/2013 at 7:58 pm

    The best aspect of iPhone is it’s App Store, which has the most robust selection of apps. App quality is excellent. Android marketplace is highly fragmented and Android phone users often must wait for their make and model to get the latest OS updates. UI might be more flexible than iOS, but Apple still has to more stable software both in OS and apps.

    • Drake

      05/14/2013 at 2:45 pm

      Dude that was the android market from 2-3 years ago… the new google play is 100 times better then the appstore lololol

      • nathan

        05/14/2013 at 8:04 pm

        HOW LONG DID IT TAKE YOU TO GET TEMPLE RUN OR TEMPLE RUN 2 AFTER WE GOT TIRED OF IT? SHUT YOUR MOUTH. OR ANGRY BIRDS OR TINY WINGS OR ANYTHING ELSE?! AGAIN, SHUT YOUR MOUTH.

        • Lucas

          05/20/2013 at 6:08 am

          Lmao nathan

        • roadking2003

          05/25/2013 at 4:39 am

          DUDE STOP YELLING. If you own a phone just to play games then stay at home and use your game console.

          • Nathan Thornton

            05/25/2013 at 7:44 am

            He’s the one bringing up the pathetic play store and trying to compare to apple. That’s a no no. We win. We have literally like 5 million apps.

        • SirCue

          06/03/2013 at 11:34 am

          LMAO, oh that one made me really laugh lol. “How long did it take you to get this game after we got tired of it” Lmao.

  6. Jorge Vargas

    05/14/2013 at 8:42 am

    I have a Galaxy S4, as as cool as the software is, the phone is too laggy. I am shipping it back to T-Mobile.com today. I cannot see myself speding 680 dollars on a laggy phone. I might wait for the Nexus 5 or I-Phone 5s to be released.

  7. Mitch S

    05/14/2013 at 10:02 pm

    First off, I’m not a tech guy and have almost zero brand loyalty to electronics. Just a 38 y/o professional that wants a cool smartphone that helps at work and in everyday life. I upgraded to the S4 from an Evo. Really liked the big display and have liked the Android phones I’ve had. I the real world the S4′s size was very awkward for me (pretty much takes two hands). The side pullout menu annoyed the )$&@ out of me and many small features that were just too bothersome. I probably could have taken some more time to learn the phone and adapt to it but just didn’t like it nearly as much as I had hoped. Exchanged it for the i5 and after three days with the i5 I WANT THE S4 BACK. There are some things I really like about the i5 but overall it underwhelms. Terrible battery life if I’m in the sticks, fast on 4G, slower than my Evo on 3G. Going back to the store in the AM and workout a reexchange. Seems very outdated compared to the S4. Lots of things I hate about both and some things I really like but I might as well have a big screen on a phone I don’t like as opposed to an expensive iPod that I don’t like. Wish I could go into more detail but I’m tiring of my rant and don’t want people to think I’m just bashing Apple. Honestly I’m really disappointed in both phones.

    • Al

      05/18/2013 at 2:25 pm

      Good information — thanks

    • Roger J

      05/20/2013 at 3:25 am

      Get a Note 2, or wait for the Note 3. I have small hands/fingers, am in my mid 60s, I have no problem holding using the Note 2.

  8. Jack

    05/14/2013 at 10:33 pm

    Here’s the deal, Apple was the best smart phone a few years ago. Not anymore, last year the competition caught up and this year the competition decisively pulled ahead. Samsung delivered a huge blow to the iphone with the S3 and the knock out punch with the S4. Apple users have to except that the Iphone is not the number one phone anymore. It’s now lucky to make the top 5.
    Unfortunately there are many users locked into Apple’s technology as Apple is setup to do this. Genius on there part. The thing that sent me over the edge was when Apple took the approach to sue the competition away.. It’s like Ford suing Chevy for having a square tail light. Apple must have seen this coming. It’s obvious the Apple share holders did as Apple stock dropped almost 50% in recent months.
    Apple still makes a good product, Just not the best as it once was.

  9. lgodfrey

    05/15/2013 at 4:45 pm

    Im a blackberry user but if I had to pick out of the S4 or they Ip5 based on the infomation above i would go with the iphone because it looks better but saying that the iphone 4s has all the feature’s I need its just gimmicks I dont spend hours editing pictures or spend half my time on facebook maybe im just getting old.

  10. Roger J

    05/20/2013 at 3:23 am

    It is reviews like this from this person that made me leave GBM, except to check one or twice a month about new devices, apps and add-ons.

  11. sam

    05/20/2013 at 11:02 am

    Dudes if u dont know wat ur saying better jst keep it quet coz i gues.we can.all.agree.that.the the.apple software is the best judging to wat people prefer yes samsung without doubt.created a challenge for the applecompany bt tge thing thing ur miising is that the apple products r more stabled and classy with greater applictions as for the iphone five its definetly the best phone alive due to its features and applictions yes its true that the samsungs 4s.can do things.which the i5 cnt bt that doesnt mean its a better phone.aswel said that nobody.needs.a mini tv sitting with them all day if u.wanted.something big then y not jst buy the ipad its clled aphone not a mini tv mates the apple is way out of the league.its the.best of the best im sure.it can do things.that the samsung products will never be able to the i5 wil.develop bt again its the best phone on the market even more expensive than the samsung s4 over n out

    • Jon

      07/02/2013 at 8:26 am

      … what?

  12. Drew

    05/20/2013 at 8:36 pm

    why do people get so mad?

    • Yodude

      05/27/2013 at 1:42 pm

      If a dude owns a G4 or an i5 and someone talks shit about it, they get pissed off..

  13. Nels

    05/21/2013 at 12:34 am

    Is it true that you cannot uninstall apps on s4 after you decide you don’t or do not like the app.?

  14. Todd

    05/21/2013 at 10:10 pm

    S4 wins in every spec look it up. The only people saying iphone are better are the one’s who’ve never used a galaxy. IVE OWNED BOTH and there is no comparison!

  15. Vipul

    05/21/2013 at 11:16 pm

    without any doubt s4 wins

  16. Rakh2000

    05/23/2013 at 11:04 am

    I have always had apple iPhones since my first Motorola phone was returned for poor controls, before android. I was happier with the stability and intuitive control functions on my first iPhone. My Son is an android fan. I am not an iPhone pusher because I don’t like certain features like no expandable memory, battery replaceability, and slow to adopt 4g. Glue let go and it popped off two buttons that control ringer to vibrate and power on/off. It mystifies me how my son and others like to compare their phones with mine so passionately. I am ready to switch but the first HTC my son owned with what he claimed was a much better camera took noticeably less atractive pictures and horribly jerky movies. I am still waiting to jump ship to a better phone that doesn’t break when I drop it on the tile (that keeps happening about once a month for me) so ruggedness is a requirement too. Each time my two year contract has expired, the latest iPhone seemed just as good as any other phone I saw available at the time. I still want memory expandability, good battery life, good pics and movies. When my contract expires next time, if the features I deem most important are available elsewhere, I may switch, but the few apps I have purchased are sure nice to have. That software cost for replacement keeps adding into the equation at contract renewal. Still waiting to get a really compelling replacement!

  17. ike

    05/25/2013 at 4:44 pm

    A lot of good input. I don’t know which one to get, I am still using Blackberry. I was in the store today trying to pick between the G4 and I5. I would hate to get the iphone and have the new one come out months later. I think it is a fact that the galaxy 4 is a better phone as far as procesor, camera and other area you can’t debate. You can’t debate someone beating you in a race. You lose you lose. I phone is good and I am leaning that way even though galaxy is better lol. Iphone has a trendy appeal! My girl has one and we can facetime so that the only thing. Its fragle and breaks easy you need the juice pack so it doesn’t die if you use it for work like I do. Its ok more trendy then anything. The galaxy is good too with more app options and open source software so you can have more without limitations like apple. I would like to have both and realy do a proper review. I am not sure I wish the new iphone was out so I could get that one! Still not sure which I will buy.

  18. martin

    06/02/2013 at 9:53 am

    I real feel to buy, either iPhone 5, HTC One or Samsung s4, which one do you advise me to have? am currently using blackberry. any advise pls?

  19. Ash

    06/10/2013 at 1:35 pm

    Hi im swopping my ipod/fone5 4 a GS4………… Reason……. Doesnt pair via bluetooth to my car radio or ipod 4th gen….. Disappointed! Heres another reason, android is free applications whilst s4 has over 90k free app appool makes us pay (credit card blahhhhh blahhhh blahhhh) how fliping anoying, apple needs to pucker up, 1st iphone ……… And i’ll need a bloody good reason to get myself a 2nd 1

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