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Samsung Galaxy S5 vs. iPhone 5: What We Know So Far

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Apple no longer sells the iPhone 5 but that doesn’t mean that the device is irrelevant. On the contrary, places still sell it and more importantly, it’s still in the hands of millions of consumers around the world. In the coming year, those in the hunt for a new device and many of those who own the iPhone 5 will be looking for a new device and one device that will likely be on the radar is the Samsung Galaxy S5.

In 2012, Apple delivered a brand new iPhone dubbed iPhone 5. The iPhone 5 replaced the iPhone 4s and it did so with a brand new 4-inch display, 4G LTE data speeds and a the new Lightning dock standard that now appears on all of Apple’s mobile devices. It was a big time release and naturally, many consumers bought into Apple’s new product.

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During the buildup to last year’s iPhone 5s launch, there was speculation that the iPhone 5 would either drop in price or get eliminated altogether in favor of the iPhone 5c. Turns out, Apple decided to kill off the onetime flagship, banishing it from the Apple Store. The device is no longer available through the Apple Store but it remains available through third-party avenues and refurbished through carriers.

Point is, the iPhone 5 is still an option and it’s still in the hands of a lot of people, a lot of people who will be coming off contract later this year. This likely means that there are quite a few people, current iPhone 5 owners or not, taking a look at the current smartphone landscape and the big releases to come.

One of those big releases will be the Samsung Galaxy S5, a more than rumored smartphone that should be taking over for the Galaxy S4 in the near future. Samsung’s Galaxy S is usually one of the biggest rivals to the iPhone and thus, it’s worthy of a comparison.

We’ve seen enough credible Samsung Galaxy S5 information emerge in recent weeks, enough to compare it to the bigger smartphones on the market. Today, we want to take a look at how the rumored Galaxy S5 currently stacks up with the iPhone 5, Apple’s aging former flagship.

Release Date

Those with the iPhone 5 and Samsung Galaxy S5 on the mind and iPhone 5 owners awaiting a brand new option will likely have that option sometime in the next few weeks. The Samsung Galaxy S5 launch date is currently rumored for either late February or March, with March currently the front-runner.

Right now, Samsung Galaxy S5 are hovering around two launch windows. The first, Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, set to kick off in late February. The other, March, the same month that the company launched the Samsung Galaxy S4. Neither window has been confirmed though there is reason to believe that the Galaxy S5 will arrive in March rather than February.

A few weeks ago, Russian blogger Eldar Murtazin claimed that the Galaxy S5 would launch on February 23rd, or, a day ahead of Mobile World Congress. A short time after that, he took back those comments, saying that Samsung hadn’t decided on a date or venue but that it is focusing in on London.

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Earlier this week, a report from Rappler claimed that the company would indeed be launching the Galaxy S5 at Mobile World Congress and that the launch would take place on February 24th, the first day of MWC. As we pointed out, given the source and given the sources that are claiming March, this is probably off base. When Samsung does announce flagship devices at trade shows, it typically does so before they start, not the day that they begin.

Earlier this month, Flavio, a man who leaked last year’s HTC One announcement date, said that the Samsung Galaxy S5 launch would take place in London in mid-March. This mirrored a report from SamMobile which also placed the Galaxy S5 launch date inside of March.

Samsung Galaxy S5 release date rumors point to April, perhaps late April. Even Murtazin claims that the Galaxy S5 release will be arriving in April. Gotta Be Mobile has heard something similar though we have been unable to lock down a specific release date for Samsung’s brand new Galaxy S.

So at this point, it’s looking like iPhone 5 owners who are looking for their next smartphone and those who simply are trying to decide between the two should have some questions answered fairly soon.

Design

When the iPhone 5 arrived back in 2012, it brought a new design to the table. Instead of plastic and glass, the device ushered in a new era of metal and glass, punctuated by the device’s anodized aluminum back that the company has since brought to the iPhone 5s.

Apple also managed to trim the weight of the iPhone and slim it down. The iPhone 5 remains one of the thinnest, and lightest smartphones available, even as it approaches its second birthday.

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For years, Samsung enthusiasts and casual smartphone fans have been calling for Samsung to deliver a premium build for its Galaxy S line. Those pleas picked up last year in particular thanks to HTC, one of Samsung’s rivals, and a company that delivered a beautiful HTC One with an aluminum design.

Samsung changes its flagship designs every single year but we have seen Galaxy S5 rumors get pretty specific ahead of launch. The report from SamMobile mirrored earlier rumors when it asserted that the Galaxy S5 would come in metal and plastic. This is a belief that the site still holds. The metal version supposedly has a metal back, though nothing else was revealed.

The rumor is, and was, believable though a wrench was thrown into the spokes of the rumor thanks to respected KGI Securities analyst, Ming-Cho Kuo.

Galaxy S5 concept.

Galaxy S5 concept.

Last weekend Kuo released his own Samsung Galaxy S5 predictions which draw from information he has secured from the supply chain in Asia. Kuo is the same analyst that accurately predicted many of the iPhone 5s’ features last year so his predictions should be viewed as credible.

Kuo believes that Samsung will indeed launch two versions of the Galaxy S5, one premium and one budget, but he thinks that both of these models will be made out of plastic.

Samsung almost always keeps its designs under wraps until just before the launch event or, in the case of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, at the launch event itself. This means that as of right now, exactly how the iPhone 5 design will compare to the Galaxy S5′s is unclear. There does, however, appear to be a chance that we’ll see a Galaxy S5 with a metal design, possibly on par with the iPhone 5′s.

Display

Apple’s iPhone 5 arrived with a Retina Display but a larger Retina Display than the ones found on the iPhone 4s and iPhone 4. Instead of 3.5-inches, the iPhone 5 boasts a 4-inch display with 640 x 1136 resolution, 326 pixels-per-inch and widescreen 16:9 aspect ratio. It’s a solid display though the Retina Display is starting to show its age.

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Companies like Samsung are making big strides when it comes to mobile display technology. Last year, the company put a beautiful 1080p display on the Galaxy S4. This year, it looks like Samsung will up the ante with the Galaxy S5 and include a display that has the potential to not only best the Galaxy S4′s but the iPhone 5′s as well.

SamMobile claims that the Galaxy S5 will feature a 5.2-inch display, something that has been rumored several times over. Fortunately, Kuo agrees with this assessment. This doesn’t make a 5.2-inch display a definitive Galaxy S5 feature but the odds are extremely good. Here’s where it gets interesting though.

The Galaxy Note 3 design could feature thinner bezels like the Galaxy S4 to stay with a similar size.

Rumors suggest that it will use a QHD display. This would mean 2560 x 1440 resolution and a 500+ pixel-per-inch count. If true, it would likely mean sharper looking content, something that is ideal for content consumers and gamers. Kuo also predicts that the budget Galaxy S5 will come with a 1080p display, something that benchmarks seem to back up.

If all of this is true, it could mean that both Galaxy S5 models, premium and budget, offer displays that are larger, and perhaps better than the display found on the iPhone 5.

Camera, Processor, Battery

Apple’s iPhones always come with incremental hardware changes that improve the experience from the year before. In the case of the iPhone 5, that meant a new 8MP iSight camera, an Apple A6 processor, and a 1440 mAh battery. Those might not seem like much but they help to deliver superb performance even now, a year and a half after launch.

The Samsung Galaxy S5 is also shaping up to be a powerful smartphone. Rumors suggest that it will have a 16MP camera sensor, which, should be an improvement over the 13MP camera inside the Galaxy S4. The Galaxy S4 camera is solid and it was, in some cases, on par with the iPhone 5′s. The Galaxy S5 will have to touch down before we can make a serious comparison.

As for the rest of the Galaxy S5, it’s expected to come with a powerful processor, of some kind. SamMobile believes it will include a Exynos 6 or a Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 but Kuo believes that Samsung will use 32-bit chips in the Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 and Exynos 5, CPUs from last year.

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Processor rumors are in flux though it’s clear that the Galaxy S5 will come with a high-end processor, something that will translate into fantastic performance in the multitasking and gaming departments in particular. Exactly how it will match up with the iPhone 5 is unclear though we expect the Galaxy S5 to be on par if not better.

Galaxy S5 battery rumors center around a 2,900 mAh battery. PhoneArena believes it will feature a fast-charging 2,900 lithium ion battery that is capable of holding 20% more charge than other batteries in its class. Kuo thinks the battery will be 2,850 mAh though he does not suggest anything special.

While the iPhone 5′s battery is small, Apple’s optimizations have ensured that it delivers some of the best battery life on the market. Whether Samsung’s new device can hang remains to be seen.

Software

Apple’s iPhone 5 currently runs iOS 7, the operating system that arrived with the iPhone 5s back in September, and the operating system that can be seen running in the video below.

Samsung’s Galaxy S5 will be running a much different piece of software. Rumors, and logic, point to Android 4.4 KitKat, the most current version of Google’s Android software. That alone will deliver a different look, feel and experience than Apple’s iOS. However, Samsung takes the software a bit further.

The company, like many other Android manufacturers, puts a home grown user interface on board its devices. In Samsung’s case, it’s TouchWiz. The TouchWiz that Samsung is thought to be putting on the Samsung Galaxy S5 is likely going to be different than the TouchWiz that appears on the Galaxy S4 right now. Samsung almost always offers new features and UI tweaks with the software that comes on its newest devices.

Rumors have pointed to Samsung adopting a new look for its UI. The changed appearance could be based on the Magazine UI that debuted on Samsung’s new tablet line at CES 2014 earlier this month. It can be seen running on the Samsung Galaxy NotePRO 12.2 in the video below.

Leaks also point to improvements to the device’s touch less gestures and a new interface with touchpoints in the corners that would allow users to activate shortcuts to apps and settings.

These rumors are still current though it appears that we could see Samsung make some changes before it releases the Galaxy S5 to the public. Recode claims that Google has pressured Samsung into slimming down future UIs. Whether this applies to the Galaxy S5, a device that is already in development, is unclear.

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There is also talk of a fingerprint reader on board the Galaxy S5. Kuo claims that it will be on board and leakster @evleaks posted evidence that points to its inclusion on board the Galaxy S5. The iPhone 5 does not have Apple’s Touch ID embedded inside its home button like the iPhone 5s does which means that the Galaxy S5 would hold a security advantage here.

Carriers

Like the iPhone 5s, the iPhone 5 arrived for a large swath of carriers in the United States including AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon. It did not, however, emerge for U.S. Cellular. It also is available on a large number of pre-paid and regional carriers in the United States, something that gives consumers a ton of options.

The Galaxy S4 wireless charger slips inside the back, so cases still work.

Galaxy S and iPhone carriers mirror one another at the moment so it’s not surprising that Galaxy S5 rumors suggest a widespread launch on AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular, and Verizon. At least. Samsung devices almost always land for smaller pre-paid and regional carriers and that’s what consumers should expect.

Price

The iPhone 5 used to start at $199.99 on-contract. That price has dipped since dropped, dramatically, at least on the refurbished end. AT&T currently sells the 16GB iPhone 5, refurbished, for 99 cents. Prices through remaining retailers and third-party outlets like eBay and Craigslist will vary though they are much cheaper than the iPhone 5′s former price tags.

The only Galaxy S5 pricing rumor that we’ve seen comes from SamMobile. It suggests that the Galaxy S5 will come in at two different price points, mirroring Apple’s iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c.

The publication says that a premium Galaxy S5 will cost about 800 Euros while the budget model will cost around 650 Euros. When converted to U.S. dollars, the premium model would be over $1000. More likely, the Galaxy S5 will land in the vicinity of the iPhone 5s’ starting price of $199.99 though that remains unconfirmed.

3 Comments

  1. Andrew

    02/01/2014 at 11:31 am

    OK someone please clarify to me, (yes i read above) why this guy is writing about Galaxy s5 compared against the iphone 5, instead of comparing against the 5S? I mean your already comparing a device made of speculation and rumors, against a device that is a generation behind…. im confused. Evenso at that point why not compare rumor for rumor and compare against iphone 6? Seriously iPhone 5 (generation old) against Galaxy S5 (rumors of future product) just lost you every ounce of credibility.

  2. Bob

    02/01/2014 at 5:29 pm

    Yeah, do tell. Who cares about the iPhone 5..It’s odd and obsolete.. You should know better than comparing future tech with Gen-old tech..

    Laughable too was how he says fingerprint scanner means a “big security advantage”. Unless the person previously only had the slide to unlock crap, it’s less secure. Pin unlocking is more secure than fingerprint.

    Fingerprints just are convenience.. Easily defeatable unless you have top of the line military hardware.

    Everyone who has a small brain knows Fingerprint systems aren’t secure..

    Look at the fingerprint sensor in the iPhone.. It’s broken by the most brain dead mechanisms, from thermal tampering to simple “fingerprint on tape”.

    Way easier to crack than a 4 digit pin. And then again I don’t think iPhone even had encryption (but I could be wrong on that).. But either way finger or not, without encryption there’s only an illusion of security, something that can confuse only the most childish of thieves.

  3. Andrew

    02/02/2014 at 6:52 pm

    would love to see some response from the author or his editor

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