Samsung Galaxy S5 vs. iPhone 5: 5 Key Differences

This year, many current iPhone 5 owners are going to be in the hunt for a brand new smartphone. Once that hunt begins, one of the devices that will likely appear on the radar is the Samsung Galaxy S5, the new Galaxy S that will arrive in April to tempt both prospective and current owners of the iPhone 5.

In September of 2012, Apple took the stage and announced the brand new iPhone 5, its first iPhone with a larger 4-inch display, an aluminum design, and 4G LTE data speeds. The device flew off shelves in the weeks after its launch as many consumers signed new two year contracts in an effort to take advantage of the subsidized price.

The iPhone 5 is no longer available on the Apple Store but it’s still very much available. Consumers can buy it through third-party avenues, many of which don’t require a contract. All of this makes the iPhone 5 relevant and what makes this comparison necessary.

There are those who might be thinking about ditching the iPhone 5 later on this year. There are also those who might be thinking about buying the device given how far its price has fallen since launch. And it’s these people that likely have their eyes on Samsung’s brand new Galaxy S smartphone, the Samsung Galaxy S5.

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Earlier this week, Samsung took the curtain down from around its Galaxy S successor, showcasing its hardware and software for the first time. Like all smartphones, the Galaxy S5 is made up of many parts, parts that prospective buyers will have to weigh against their current or future smartphone.

With that in mind, we want to take a look at how the Galaxy S5 stacks up with the iPhone 5. We don’t feel comfortable offering up a full-on versus just yet, we need to spend some more time with the Galaxy S5, but we do want to detail what we consider the main differences between the two devices.

Form Factor

The first big difference between the iPhone 5 and Samsung Galaxy S5 has to be their overall designs. Simply put, they are radically different from one another.

Apple’s iPhone 5 ushered in a new era with its industrial design comprised of aluminum and glass. The form factor looks elegant, feels like a $199, and does not require a case though we do recommend one for those who take their smartphone into rugged environments. The aluminum is susceptible to scratches.

The iPhone 5 does not feature a microSD card slot or a removable back but it does offer an extremely portable frame that is just 7.6mm thin and weighs just 112 grams. That’s thinner and lighter than most smartphones, including the Samsung Galaxy S5.

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The Galaxy S5 features a Micro SD card slot.

The Galaxy S5 features a Micro SD card slot.

The Samsung Galaxy S5’s design is not made out of metal. Instead, it’s made out of plastic just like all previous versions of the Galaxy S. However this isn’t your typical plastic design. The Galaxy S5 design uses a unique perforated pattern on the back cover that Samsung says gives it a modern ‘glam’ look. It’s stylish and feels more premium than the Galaxy S4’s design but again, it’s not metal.

Samsung’s plastic designs do afford users some useful features. The Galaxy S5 comes with a removable back which means that users can install an extended battery for more juice. It also comes with a microSD card slot that allows users to expand their storage space.

The Galaxy S5 is thicker (8.1mm) and heavier (145 grams) than the iPhone 5 but there is a good reason why. The Galaxy S5’s design is both water and dust resistant, something that it borrows from the design found on the Galaxy S4 Active on AT&T. This is simply something that the iPhone 5 does not have and it makes the Galaxy S5 appealing to those that do like to bring their smartphone into rugged environments.

Display

The iPhone 5 display might be larger than the iPhone displays that came before it but its Retina Display is still only 4-inches in size. That’s a lot smaller than the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S5.

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Samsung’s Galaxy S5 sports a screen that measures 5.1-inches diagonally. That’s a lot more real estate and it’s going to make watching content, playing games and browsing the web more comfortable for a lot of people. Of course, it also means that the overall size of the phone is a lot larger than the iPhone 5 but that’s going to be a manageable trade off for most.

Samsung Galaxy S5

The Galaxy S5 display also offers 1080 x 1920 pixel resolution at 432 pixels-per-inch. The iPhone 5 does not offer full HD resolution to its users which is also a bit of a drawback.

Camera

We found the iPhone 5 8MP camera to be one of the best on the market. In 2012 and for some of 2013. Camera technology though is moving at an extremely fast pace and manufacturers are doing their best to keep up with the times.

The Samsung Galaxy S5 camera features three new enhancements and a bigger sensor that should deliver better looking photos.

The Samsung Galaxy S5 camera features three new enhancements and a bigger sensor that should deliver better looking photos.

Samsung’s Galaxy S5 camera is a 16MP camera sensor that offers high-resolution photos but also offers some other perks that the iPhone 5 camera simply does not have.

The camera comes with an extremely fast autofocus that allows users to focus in just 0.3 seconds, something that isn’t found on Apple’s iPhone from 2012. It also comes with advanced HDR which allows users to actually see the final image on screen before the shutter is hit. Again, something that the iPhone 5 doesn’t have.

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We should also point out that the Galaxy S5 is coming with some additions to Samsung’s camera application, an app that we consider to be one of the best around. The camera app inside iOS 7 is a big improvement but it still isn’t as feature-rich as Samsung’s.

Home Button

It was the iPhone 5s, not the iPhone 5, that introduced Touch ID inside the home button. For those that aren’t familiar, Touch ID is the fingerprint sensor that is embedded on the iPhone 5s’ home button. The iPhone 5 does not have this extra layer of security and convenience and instead relies on a normal home button.

Use a fingerprint to unlock the Galaxy S5.

Use a fingerprint to unlock the Galaxy S5.

Samsung took a page out of Apple’s book with its Galaxy S5. The device features a fingerprint reader embedded inside of its own home button which also provides easier access to the home screen and more protection for the phone.

Software

The last key difference pertains to the software found on board these two devices. We’ve already mentioned the difference between the two camera applications but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

iOS 7 and Samsung’s version of Android 4.4.2 KitKat, which features its TouchWiz UI over the top, not only look nothing alike but they offer different functionality as well. Those who aren’t familiar with iOS 7 can take a look at it in the video below.

There are simply too many differences to count so we’ll focus on a few of the features that the Galaxy S5 is bringing along with it, features that the iPhone 5 simply does not have on board.

One of the key features that the Galaxy S5 will have on board is something called “Ultra Power Saving Mode” which will turn the display to black and white and will also turn off all unnecessary features in an effort to conserve battery life. It’s a feature that Samsung claims will save users a ton of battery life in the long run.

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It also comes with something called Kids Mode that allows parents to hand over their smartphone to their young ones without anything catastrophic happening to their data. These features and more can be seen in the video below.