While much of the attention has been focused on the brewing battle between the Apple’s rumored iPhone 5S and the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, the iPhone 5S has another Samsung device that it will be competing against when it arrives this fall. That device of course is Samsung’s current flagship smartphone, the Samsung Galaxy S4.
Last year, Samsung ignited an intense rivalry with Apple as the company announced not one, but two flagship smartphones that were aimed not only at Android competitors but Apple’s iPhone 4S and iPhone 5 as well. Those devices,the Galaxy S3 and the Galaxy Note 2 remain on shelves, but we’ve seen the Galaxy S3 get replaced already with a Galaxy Note 2 on the way.
On September 4th, Samsung will announce the Galaxy Note 3, a phablet that it will use to usher in the holiday shopping season. However, the Galaxy Note 3 won’t be the only big name Samsung smartphone on the market as Samsung’s flagship from earlier this year, the Samsung Galaxy S4, remains a solid option for smartphone shoppers.
The Samsung Galaxy S4 replaced the Samsung Galaxy S3 as Samsung’s go-to smartphone. The device, which arrived back in April on several U.S. carriers, remains one of the best smartphone options on the planet and will remain so even when the Galaxy Note 3 touches down on shelves in just a few weeks time.
And while it had been battling Apple’s iPhone 5 for supremacy for much of 2013, it will soon be challenged by a new iPhone, a device that is rumored to be called the iPhone 5S.
Apple’s iPhone 5S is expected to replace the iPhone 5 as the company’s flagship model which means that it will be taking the company’s flag into battle against the likes of the Galaxy S4.
The device remains unannounced but thanks to rumors, leaks, and Apple’s past, we can piece together much of the iPhone 5S’ story and compare it to the Samsung Galaxy S4’s.
Here is what prospective iPhone 5S and Samsung Galaxy S4 buyers can expect from the upcoming battle between two of 2013’s juggernauts.
The Samsung Galaxy S4 has been out for months now as it first hit the United States back in April. The device is currently available on a host of different carriers and it won’t be going anywhere as we head into the fall. The device’s successor, the Samsung Galaxy S5, has been rumored for arrival next year, but it’s unlikely to arrive before the month of March, same month as the Galaxy S4 launch.
The iPhone 5S on the other hand is still not out and we still don’t have an official release date from Apple. In fact, we still don’t have an official iPhone 5S launch date despite rumors pointing to something being imminent.
iPhone 5S rumors suggest that the device will debut at an iPhone event on September 10th. That date still hasn’t been carved into stone by Apple but the date is extremely credible and is being considered all but confirmed. The release date is a little bit flimsier.
Rumors suggest that the iPhone 5S release date could fall on September 20th in some regions while rumors have also suggested a late October release date and a late November release date in China.
If September 10th is indeed the iPhone 5S launch date, September 20th seems likely given that Apple historically has released its iPhone just a few days after announcing it.
While specific dates could change, the Galaxy S4 and iPhone 5S battle appears to be only a few weeks from kicking off, meaning those looking to buy should expect to be able to make a decision in the near term.
The Samsung Galaxy S4 arrived with a design that was similar, but different from the Samsung Galaxy Note 3.
Instead of metal, Samsung decided to once again go with a plastic polycarbonate material for the Galaxy S4 though the material is much nicer than the plastic that it used on the Galaxy S4’s predecessor. Samsung’s Galaxy S4 might be plastic, but the device doesn’t feel cheap.
Thanks to its plastic design, the Galaxy S4 delivers a removable back wherein users can remove the back plate to install an extended battery or a back plate compatible with wireless charging. There is also a microSD card slot that allows users to expand beyond the 16GB or 32GB with a 64GB microSD card.
As for specific dimensions, the Galaxy S4 is a slim device checking in with a slender 7.9mm frame and a weight of around 130 grams. Both are improvements from the Galaxy S3.
Those who have matched up the Galaxy S4 design with the iPhone 5 design likely were starring into a crystal ball because the iPhone 5S is expected to retain a design similar to the iPhone 5.
The iPhone 5S is expected to be an ‘S’ iPhone model and ‘S’ iPhones typically retain the design of their predecessor. We’ve also seen numerous iPhone 5S leaks, including the video below, which show off just how the iPhone 5S compares to the iPhone 5 and Apple’s rumored iPhone 5C.
What this means is that the device is likely going to come with the same industrial design that emerged with the iPhone 5, one that combines anodized aluminum, glass and metal. The result of Apple’s changes from the iPhone 4S to the iPhone 5 are a phone that not only looks great but feels great in the hand.
Apple’s iPhone 5S is not expected to have a removable back or microSD like the Galaxy S4 which means that users will be stuck with the battery and on board storage space, the latter of which could make users very reliant upon Apple’s cloud storage service, iCloud.
However, it also means that the iPhone 5S should check in with a frame that is both lighter and thinner than the Galaxy S4 as the iPhone 5 design measured in at 7.1mm thin and 112 grams heavy.
Samsung continues to increase the size of its smartphone screens. The Galaxy S4 comes with a 5-inch 1080p display, larger than the displays found on the Galaxy S3, HTC One and many other Android smartphones. Fortunately, the company was able to pack that display in without making the Galaxy S4 a monstrosity.
The spacious 5-inches allows users to easily play games, browse the web, and watch movies. The 1080p resolution, the same that is packed into many TVs, allows users to engulf themselves in high-quality HD content. Images, text and videos look great on the Galaxy S4 display, thanks in part to the 441 pixels-per-inch that come with the device’s display.
In addition, the Galaxy S4 packs a sensor that allows users to use touch less gestures with the display. The Galaxy S4’s Air View feature offers previews of text messages, emails and photos, as well as a way to peak ahead in videos. There are sensors that also make it possible to scroll without touching the screen and answer calls simply by waving over it.
Buyers should expect the Galaxy S4 display to make the iPhone 5S display look small. Apple is expected to keep the iPhone 5’s 4-inch display on the iPhone 5S with dreams of a larger screen iPhone likely pushed back to the iPhone 6, at least.
There have been rumors that suggest that Apple could improve the pixel-per-inch density on the iPhone 5S display to keep up with the competition but those rumors have fizzled out in recent weeks. Instead, at this point, users should expect the same 1136 x 640 resolution display that offers sharp text, photos and videos but is still below HD. It should also keep the 16 x 9 aspect ratio that cuts the black bars off HD video content.
The Samsung Galaxy S4 arrived with a high-powered camera sensor tucked into its thin design. The 13MP camera is capable of shooting fantastic photos and video, even in low-light environments. By no means is it the best smartphone camera on the market but it’s going to deliver content that users can be proud of and confidently share with family and friends.
It also helps that Samsung has one of the best camera applications available. With the Galaxy S4, the company added even more features to an already loaded smartphone camera app that offers users a variety of different modes to ensure high quality content. Some of the features like Dual Shot Mode are a bit gimmicky but others like Best Photo are irreplaceable.
Buyers can expect the iPhone 5S camera to, at the very least, be on par with the Galaxy S4’s. Rumors suggest that it will be coming with a 12MP to 13MP camera sensor. However, there are also rumors that it could be coming with dual-LED flash which could help the device take fantastic photos in low-light and potentially offer beautiful natural looking color.
In our camera tests, the Galaxy S4 and iPhone 5 cameras sometimes delivered colors that were brighter than they were in their natural state.
There also also rumors that Apple’s new camera app, which now offers in-app filtering for photos, could deliver 120fps for video, something not found on the Galaxy S4 as well as slow-motion video. Rumors suggest that the iPhone 5S could have a motion tracking chip and perhaps it has something to do with these rumored features.
There are two key additional specifications that buyers are likely to focus on when it comes to the iPhone 5S and the Samsung Galaxy S4. The first, battery life.
The Samsung Galaxy S4 comes stock with a large 2,600 mAh battery that we found to be an improvement over the Galaxy S3. We were able to squeeze out all day battery life when connected to Wi-Fi though users will see a drop when using LTE data. Still, the Galaxy S4 is up there with some of the best when it comes to battery life, a list that also includes the iPhone 5.
Apple is known for its high quality iPhone battery life and nothing changed with the iPhone 5 and the addition of LTE. Apple’s smartphone remains amongst the best when it comes to battery life over LTE and buyers should expect the iPhone 5S to be around the same.
The company isn’t likely going to take a step back and given the rumored processor upgrade, and potential room for a larger battery, we should see iPhone 5S battery life on par or close to battery life on the iPhone 5. If true, the Galaxy S4 and the iPhone 5S should be near equals.
The other things that consumers will be looking at are the processors. The Galaxy S4 uses a power Snapdragon 600 quad-core processor in the U.S. that is perfect for things like multitasking and gaming. The iPhone 5S is rumored to have an A7 chip on board which should be faster than the current A6 in the iPhone 5.
What’s more, the chip is expected to be 64-bit which would help with some of the heavy lifting with iOS 7 including graphics and animations.
Translated for the average consumer, this means that both devices will offer powerful processors that can handle important functions like multitasking, gaming and more.
Buyers don’t need the iPhone 5S to be official to know that the Samsung Galaxy S4 will feature vastly different software from Apple’s iPhone 5S.
The iPhone 5S will run iOS 7, Apple’s new operating system that will deliver a new look, new features and changes to many of Apple’s current core applications. Those looking for an extensive tour of iOS 7 can find one in the iOS 7 beta tour below.
Apple’s iOS 7 on the iPhone 5S should also feature some things that other iPhone models don’t get. Rumors insist upon a fingerprint reader, something that could tie into security and thus, iOS 7.
The Samsung Galaxy S4 doesn’t have a fingerprint reader and it won’t have iOS 7 aboard either. Instead, the device runs Google’s Android 4.2 Jelly Bean with Samsung’s TouchWiz on top of it.
Samsung’s Galaxy S4 has some unique features of its own including Smart Scroll, which allows users to scroll through web content with their eyes and Smart Pause which pauses content when a user looks away.
The Samsung Galaxy S4 is available on the LTE networks of AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular and Verizon. It’s also available on several smaller carriers that should appeal to those looking to go the regional or pre-paid route.
The iPhone 5S should arrive on a host of carriers as well as AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon are all but confirmed thanks to their commitment to the iPhone 5. U.S. Cellular should also be in the mix this year as well as the carrier confirmed the iPhone for later this year.
Like the Galaxy S4, the iPhone is typically available on smaller carriers in addition to pre-paid ones so those looking to buy the Galaxy S4 or the iPhone 5S should have no shortage of options come the fall.
The Samsung Galaxy S4 still costs $199.99 on-contract on most carriers. AT&T and Verizon offer the 32GB Galaxy S4 for $250 on-contract. However, that’s not a good representation of the Galaxy S4’s actual cost.
Those looking to buy the Galaxy S4 can find deep discounts through retailers like Amazon which offer the device well below its $199.99 asking price. With the holidays coming up, we expect to see some big sales on the Galaxy S4, much cheaper than anything we’re seeing right now.
The iPhone 5S price isn’t known quite yet but given Apple’s history, buyers can expect it to land for $199.99 on-contract. Whether that’s for a 16GB or 32GB model is unclear as rumors suggest a 128GB iPhone 5S could be in the mix this year.
What this means is that pricing through carriers will be similar but because the iPhone doesn’t see its price discounted regularly, the Galaxy S4 is likely going to be the cheaper option when the iPhone 5S release date arrives.