Samsung Galaxy S5 vs. iPhone 4s: What We Know So Far

The iPhone 4s is still on shelves as Apple’s cheapest iPhone option. There are also iPhone 4s owners that are likely thinking about upgrading their device to something new in 2014. With those people in mind, we want to take a look at how the iPhone 4s, at least for the moment, compares to the Samsung Galaxy S5.

Apple’s iPhone 4s was released all the way back in October of 2011. The device replaced the iPhone 4 as the company’s flagship smartphone and brought Siri to iPhone users for the first time. The device also ushered in the iOS 5 era and delivered the usual perks of an iPhone upgrade. The iPhone 4s was the darling of 2011, but times have changed.

It’s now 2014 and the iPhone 4s has been replaced by not one but two brand new iPhones in the iPhone 5s and the iPhone 5. When the iPhone 5s arrived, Apple got rid of the iPhone 4 and the iPhone 5 and its current lineup consists of the iPhone 5s, iPhone 5c and the iPhone 4s. It will likely remain on shelves until the iPhone 6 arrives later this year.

The iPhone 4s doesn’t come with current generation specifications but it does pack an extremely affordable price tag. It should also get at least one more major iOS update in the future thanks to Apple’s three years of software support. These make it a tempting device for those in need.

There are also plenty of people who still have the iPhone 4s. Some of us here at Gotta Be Mobile have friends and family who are still rocking Apple’s aging wonder.

In the next few weeks, we’ll likely see the first big name smartphone of 2014. The Samsung Galaxy S5 launch is rumored for late February and it’s a device that current and prospective iPhone 4s owners will certainly want to have on their radar for comparison purposes.

In an effort to keep those consumers as informed as possible, we want to take a pre-launch look at how the rumored Samsung Galaxy S5 currently stacks up with the iPhone 4s. Armed with this information, those interested in buying or ditching the iPhone 4s should be better prepared once the actual Galaxy S5 does arrive on shelves.

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Release Date

Those thinking about buying the iPhone 4s or ditching it for something new will have another device to look at in just a few short weeks. The Samsung Galaxy S5 launch date isn’t confirmed for February 24th but as we have pointed out, there are a number of reasons why February 24th makes a lot of sense.

Samsung recently sent out invites for an Unpacked 5 Episode 1 launch event that is set to take place on February 24th in Barcelona, Spain at the Mobile World Congress 2014. It did not say what it will be announcing at the event but there is a very good chance that the company will detail the Samsung Galaxy S5. Here’s why:

  • The New York Times claims that the Galaxy S5 will launch alongside the Galaxy Gear 2 on February 24th.
  • Samsung always uses Unpacked Episodes for big name Galaxy devices, not small mid-range devices.
  • The number “5” is everywhere and the reliable @evleaks recently confirmed the Galaxy S5’s name. Samsung used the number “4” just about everywhere it could with its Galaxy S4 launch.
  • Samsung is hosting a media event in New York City that Gotta Be Mobile will be attending and we doubt the company would throw that many resources behind a launch for something other than a flagship.
  • Galaxy S5 rumors pointed to a late February launch.

If for whatever reason the Galaxy S5 doesn’t launch at Mobile World Congress, then it will probably touch down at some point in March. Early Galaxy S5 rumors all pointed to a February or March launch date.

As for when the Galaxy S5 will officially join the iPhone 4s on shelves, well, that’s up for debate. Samsung will likely announce the Galaxy S5 release date during the device’s launch event and the company is known to release its devices about a month after launch. In this case, that points to a March or April launch for the Galaxy S5, assuming its announced later this month.

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Gotta Be Mobile is hearing that late April is a possibility for the Galaxy S5 release date but nothing is set in stone. At the very worst, in our opinion, prospective Galaxy S5 buyers are looking at a late April release.

Design

The iPhone 4s design mimicked the design that originally arrived on the iPhone 4. Its design is a combination of plastic, metal and glass that while premium, is a step below the likes of the HTC One, iPhone 5 and iPhone 5s. One reason is because of its glass back that is susceptible to cracks if dropped. It’s simply not as durable as designs found on newer smartphones.

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Apple’s iPhone 4s is also thicker (9.3mm) and heavier (140 grams) than some of the flagship smartphones that have reached market in the past few years. While there are some drawbacks, the design is still much better than a lot of the devices that share the iPhone 4s’ extremely cheap price tag. Many of the budget Android smartphones on the market continue to use cheap plastic form factors.

The Samsung Galaxy S5 won’t be one of those cheap Android smartphones. Rather, it’s going to be a flagship that needs to take on the likes of the iPhone 5s and eventually, the iPhone 6. That means that Samsung is likely going to outfit it with a design fit for a flagship. Problem is, for the moment, we’re not quite sure what changes it will be making.

In early January, a Samsung executive told Bloomberg that the company focused on the cover of the Galaxy S5, alluding to differences between it and the Galaxy S4’s plastic design. The company did not go into detail but rumors have been persistent.

The Galaxy S5 design is up in the air, but expect a lot of attention on the back cover.

The Galaxy S5 design is up in the air, but expect a lot of attention on the back cover.

Galaxy S5 rumors suggest that Samsung will be releasing two Galaxy S5 models, something that was backed up by a recent benchmark leak. Speculation rests on Samsung using an iPhone 5s, iPhone 5c style approach and offering two new models at two different price points. Problem is, we still don’t have a clear cut picture.

SamMobile believes that the premium model will come in metal while the budget model will come in plastic. South Korean brokerage firm KDB Daewoo Securities also thinks that the Galaxy S5 will come in metal. Respected KGI Securities Ming-Chi Kuo thinks that while there will be two models, they will both come in plastic. This was recently echoed by a report from Android Geeks. The site claims that at least one Galaxy S5 variant will be made of plastic. Their source claims that the material will be reminiscent of the “rubberized back lid BlackBerry used for the Z10 last year.”

In addition, a report from The Korea Herald suggests that the device will not come with a physical home button and will instead rely on on-screen buttons and sensors embedded beneath the display. This is in contrast to a supposed Galaxy S5 3D schematic that leaked out earlier this week. Credible rumors also point to a fingerprint reader residing underneath the display. The iPhone 4s design does not include a fingerprint sensor and it does include the iconic home button. It also doesn’t come with two design options.

Display

One thing that we know for certain is that the overall size of the Galaxy S5’s design will be larger than iPhone 4s’. While the aging iPhone uses a 3.5-inch Retina display, the Samsung Galaxy S5 will more than likely sport a much larger display, rumored to be in the vicinity of 5.2-inches.

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Samsung’s flagship smartphones all use large screens. The same Korea Herald report claims that the device will come with a bezel-free display, something that would allow Samsung to increase the size of the display without having to increase the overall footprint much from the Galaxy S4, but it would still mean a much larger smartphone overall.

Galaxy S5 rumors also point to a display with more horsepower than the Retina display on board the iPhone 4s. At the very least, the Galaxy S5 will have a full HD 1080p capable display. The Galaxy S4 features a 1080p display and Samsung will not backtrack with its 2014 flagship. In fact rumors suggest that at least one variant will have a full HD display.

A high-resolution 2560 x 1440 resolution display could be a flagship feature.

A high-resolution 2560 x 1440 resolution display could be a flagship feature.

SamMobile and Kuo believe Samsung will put a 5.2-inch QHD (2560 x 1440 resolution) display on board the premium version of the Galaxy S5. This would be a step up from the Galaxy S4 display in terms of clarity.

However, Kuo believes that the non-premium Galaxy S5 will use a 1080p display. This is echoed by the Android Geeks report and by recent Galaxy S5 leaks.

The New York Times on the other hand believes that QHD will skip the Galaxy S5 altogether. If that’s the case, we would expect a 1080p display on all versions of the device. Either way, the Galaxy S5 display should be larger than the iPhone 4s’ and just as good, if not better.

Battery, Camera, Processor

Apple’s iPhone 4s uses a 1432 mAh battery. While it’s smaller than some of the batteries found in smartphones these days, optimizations and the lack of LTE drain allow for all day usage, even on iOS 7, Apple’s latest version of iOS.

Look for a larger Galaxy S5 battery according to leaks.

Look for a larger Galaxy S5 battery according to leaks.

By comparison, Kuo believes the Galaxy S5 will have an 2,850 mAh battery, PhoneArena believes the device will have a fast-charging 2,900 lithium ion battery that is capable of holding 20% more charge than other batteries its size and KDB’s research note points to a much larger 3,200 mAh battery. Size isn’t everything when it comes to battery life but given how far technology has come, it’s safe to assume that the battery life on the Galaxy S5 will be comparable to the iPhone 4s.

The iPhone 4s’ 8MP camera was solid when it first came out though it’s certainly starting to show its age as companies put newer, better camera technology into their flagships.

The Samsung Galaxy S5 will bring a 16MP camera to the party according to multiple sources.

The Samsung Galaxy S5 will bring a 16MP camera to the party according to multiple sources.

Galaxy S5 rumors have almost unanimously pointed to 16MP camera sensors inside the Galaxy S5 though recent leaks pointed to a possible 13MP sensor inside the Sprint Galaxy S5. Samsung knows how important the camera is to consumers so we expect tweaks and additions that put it on par with the iPhone 5s’ camera, a camera that is vastly superior to the iPhone 4s’.

Apple’s iPhone 4s uses the company’s dual-core A5 processor, a chip that has been replaced several times over. For instance, the iPhone 5s now uses a 64-bit A7 processor. The Galaxy S5 will almost certainly come with a current or next-gen CPU on board with either 2GB or 3GB of RAM. Rumors are still undecided on the exact processor or processors inside the Galaxy S5 though they suggest two of four possible chips. A Exynos 5 Octa processor, a Snapdragon 800 or a new Exynos 6 or a Snapdragon 805 from Qualcomm.

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If true, we should see some significant differences in performance. The A5 chip was solid in its day but the processors that are out on the market now deliver superior performance in areas like multitasking gaming.

Software

The iPhone 4s uses Apple’s most recent iOS update, iOS 7, seen in the video below.

The device has received two major iOS updates since launch including iOS 6 and iOS 7. It should be in line for one more major iOS update in iOS 8 later on this year. Apple historically has given users three years of software support before kicking a device to the curb.

Samsung’s Galaxy S5 will run software that is completely different than the software round on the iPhone 4s. Instead of Apple’s iOS, it will use Google’s open-source Android software and specifically, Android 4.4.2 KitKat.

More specifically, it will run Samsung’s own user interface over the top of Android, a UI that offers unique features that aren’t found on non-Samsung smartphones.

In the case of the Galaxy S5, it could bring a new look to the table. Leaks show a flatter overall design that could borrow from the card layout popularized in Google Now. The image below shows a possible Galaxy S5 Touchwiz screen shared by @evleaks.

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In addition to a new look across the phone, it appears that Samsung will update at least some of its core apps to deliver a flatter, modern look. SamMobile shared several screenshots that show a new version of S Voice and other apps that could debut on the Galaxy S5. S Voice is Samsung’s Siri competitor.

There should also be a focus on the eye-tracking and gesture controls that debuted in the Galaxy Note and recently shifted to the Galaxy S series with the Galaxy S4. Rumors specifically point to Samsung improving Air Gesture and Air View functionality. These features, which are demoed in the video above, are not found on the iPhone 4s because it doesn’t feature the required sensors.

Carriers

The iPhone 4s debuted on the likes of AT&T, Sprint and Verizon and it’s now available on T-Mobile’s network. It’s also found on several regional and pre-paid carriers in the United States as a budget option.

While it does have solid carrier support, it does not come equipped with high-speed 4G LTE data. Instead, the iPhone 4s utilizes HSPA data speeds, also known as “4G” on AT&T.

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The Samsung Galaxy S5 will be a 4G LTE capable smartphone and it should arrive on a number of carriers.

Rumors and leaks point to the Samsung Galaxy S5 matching the Moto X’s carrier coverage with launches on AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular, and Verizon at the very least. The device will also likely head to a number of regional and pre-paid carriers in the United States, mirroring the iPhone 5s and Galaxy S4.

Price

Apple is currently giving away the iPhone 4s. Those signing a contract won’t have to pay anything up front for the cost of the phone while those who are looking at T-Mobile or off-contract pricing will need to shell out $450.

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The Samsung Galaxy S5 will almost certainly be more expensive across the board. At the very best, we see it costing $100 more on-contract. At the very worst, $200 more on-contract. That is just speculation at this point because credible Galaxy S5 pricing has yet to see the light of day.

Comments

  1. Darios says

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  2. Larry says

    Adam your such a douche, compare to iPhone 6 not a device 3 years ago?? Your a wast of time

    • Shawn says

      There is no iphone 6 please think before you speak. And if you acually read the article you would know that this is for users who go the iphone years ago and are planning on upgrading or those thinking of getting one now to wait and checkout the samsung galaxy s5.

  3. tball78 says

    Thanks. Very well done. I appreciated the author’s comparison as I consider upgrading my trusty, “ancient” iPhone 4s. The author understands that some of us do not subscribe to the “gotta have the latest and greatest” everytime a new device is released.

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