On March 14th, Samsung will more than likely unveil its next Samsung Galaxy S smartphone, the Galaxy S4, a phone that will replace the Samsung Galaxy S3 from last year. And while the Galaxy S4 will be taking on other Android smartphones like the HTC One and Nexus 4, it will also be aimed squarely at Apple and its current smartphone, the iPhone 5.
Last year, Samsung launched the Samsung Galaxy S3 to quite a bit of attention. The launch event took place in May after the company pushed it back in order to make it closer to the release in the U.S.. In May, June and July, the Galaxy S3 touched down in regions all over the world to take on the iPhone 4S from 2011 and to replace the Galaxy S2 which had previously set sales records.
The Samsung Galaxy S3, backed by good hardware, some unique and attractive software features and a bold ad campaign that took on Apple and the iPhone directly, the Galaxy S3 has gone on to be a worldwide success with Samsung reporting over 40 million units sold around the world. That success has placed the company and its Galaxy series in the same echelon as Apple and the iPhone and put the spotlight on it like never before.
Samsung’s Galaxy S4, which originally cropped up in rumors at the end of last year, has been in the news ever since with rumors popping up on almost a daily basis. From hardware to software, we’ve heard about features that the Galaxy S4 could have on board when it arrives in the middle of next month. While nothing is confirmed yet, we do know that this will be a phone that is on par with Apple’s current smartphone, the iPhone 5, which is was launched in September of last year.
With the iPhone 5, Apple attempted to close the gap by offering 4G LTE data speeds for the first time to go along with a larger 4-inch display, .5 inches larger than previous iPhone displays. But will that be enough to handle the Galaxy S4? Perhaps and perhaps not.
Here, we explore ten ways that the Samsung Galaxy S4 could beat the iPhone 5.
10 Ways the Samsung Galaxy S4 Could Beat the iPhone 5
With the iPhone 5, Apple upped the ante with the size of the display, taking it to 4-inches whereas previous iPhones had used a 3.5-inch display. It also added 16:9 aspect ratio for widescreen content. Due to the aspect ration, the iPhone 5 can display videos without those pesky black bars. However, the company didn’t change much else and that could set the iPhone 5 back in 2013.
While the trend last year for Android smartphones were 720p displays, in 2013, we are seeing manufacturers raise the bar even further as they look to add stellar display technology to their smartphones.
The Samsung Galaxy S4, for instance, is rumored to have a 4.99 to 5-inch display with full HD 1080p resolution and a pixel-per-inch count that should be 400+. The iPhone 5 display, while featuring a respectable 326 PPI, isn’t HD quality which means that content is very likely going to look superior on the Galaxy S4’s display.
In addition, Samsung is rumored to be including some magic with its display, namely, touch less gestures that could allow users to do things like change the home screen without physically touching the display.
Removable Battery/Expandable Storage
A staple of Samsung smartphones of the past have been their removable backs and their microSD card slots. The removable back allows owners to easily replace their battery if it malfunctions and also install an extended battery if they need more power than the stock battery.
The microSD card slot has allowed them to expand their storage beyond the internal space without needing to depend on cloud storage. While both might seem like small features, they are extremely important to many people.
The Galaxy S4 is rumored to look like both the Galaxy S3 and the recently announced Galaxy Note 8.0 which both contain a microSD card slot. The Galaxy S3 has a removable back and given that we’ve heard that Samsung will be supplying a wireless charging kit for the Galaxy S4, we expect it to have one as well.
The iPhone 5 on the other hand features a design that doesn’t allow for owners to extend their battery life. Instead, users are forced to buy bulky cases like the Mophie Juice Back to add extra battery life. The iPhone 5 also doesn’t come with expandable storage space which means that owners are forced to deal with 16GB, 32GB or 64GB.
Samsung’s Galaxy S4 is rumored to be coming in 16GB, 32GB and 64GB which means that owners might be able to expand their storage space up to 96GB simply by buying a cheap 32GB microSD card.
As it stands, the iPhone 5 possesses one of the better rear cameras on the market. However in the near future, it’s going to start looking a bit outdated thanks to the new camera technology that is emerging on this year’s crop of Android smartphones.
Already, we’ve seen the Xperia Z launch with a 13MP Sony sensor, and more recently, the HTC One arrived with an Ultrapixel camera that HTC is touting as the next step in camera technology.
Here is a comparison between the Xperia Z camera and the iPhone 5’s.
And here is one between the HTC One and the iPhone 5.
The Samsung Galaxy S3 camera was good but not the best-in-class and we aren’t sure if the Galaxy S4 camera will be either. However, rumors suggest that Samsung will be adding a 13MP sensor to the Galaxy S4, quite possibly the 13MP sensor from Sony, which is the same camera rumored for the iPhone 5S, the iPhone 5’s successor.
Given the competition that the Galaxy S4 is facing in the camera department, Samsung’s penchant for delivering fantastic camera software – its app is better than the stock Android camera app and the fact that it’s rumored to have a 13MP sensor, the Galaxy S4 camera has the potential to beat the iPhone 5’s rear camera.
Easy Software Customization
Since the release of iOS 6.1, iPhone 5 owners hoping to customize their iPhone have been spoiled. That’s because the Evasi0n jailbreak tool has been available for iOS 6.1, iOS 6.1.1 and iOS 6.1.2, a streak that is rare in the world of iPhone jailbreaking.
For years now, the iPhone jailbreak has been a game of cat and mouse between hackers and Apple, leaving consumers with extended waits and periods of disappointment. Often, the jailbreak will work with a certain version of iOS, that is, until Apple patches up the exploit meaning users have to stay on a specific version until hackers can achieve success.
In many cases, that has meant waiting on aging versions of iOS.
With Android, which is an open operating system, users don’t have to worry about this game. In fact, while iPhone 5 owners had to wait for months for a jailbreak, owners of the Galaxy S3 were able to easily personalize their device with ROMs, skins and more.
We expect the same from the Samsung Galaxy S4. The only drawback might be the Verizon Galaxy S4 model which will more than likely feature an encrypted bootloader preventing custom ROM installation, at least right off the bat.
As we’ve seen though, developers have become more adept at cracking the chains and Samsung itself has even moved to offer Developer Edition models for easy access to an unlocked bootloader on Verizon.
So, when it comes to customizing and personalizing a device or even getting features from major update early, the Galaxy S4 will likely be the smartphone to look at.
Official Wireless Charging
Last year, Samsung promised wireless charging for the Galaxy S3 and failed to deliver. This time around, we expect the company to introduce wireless charging with the Galaxy S4 whether it’s through a wireless charging kit or with built-in capabilities.
Signs are pointing to an official wireless charging kit from Samsung which would mean users could buy an official kit and perhaps a dock if it’s not included and charge the device without any wires.
The iPhone 5 currently doesn’t feature any official wireless charging options from Apple and likely never will. Instead, users will have to deal with third-party offerings that are evidently set to start arriving in March of this year, the same month of the Galaxy S4 launch.
T-Mobile at Launch
No carriers have been confirmed quite yet for the Samsung Galaxy S4, but we imagine that we will get our fill come March 14th. And if the last two big name Galaxy smartphone launches are any indication, we should see the device show up on a number of carriers at launch, including T-Mobile.
Both the Galaxy S3 and Galaxy Note 2 have been wildly successful and a likely big part of that has been their launches on all five of the major carriers in the United States. AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular and Verizon all launched the Galaxy S3 and Galaxy Note 2 and we expect that the Galaxy S4 will arrive on those carriers as well.
This would give the Galaxy S4 an advantage over the iPhone 5 as it would more than likely arrive for T-Mobile’s 4G LTE network at launch, much like the HTC One.
T-Mobile has confirmed the iPhone for sale later this year but as of yet, it has not given an official date nor has it confirmed which iPhone it will offer: the iPhone 5 or the iPhone 5S.
Quick Price Drops
Besides the hardware, there is another iPhone 5 feature that stays consistent over time and that is its price tag. While there are offers from time to time, the iPhone typically stays priced at $199.99-$399.99 with the $199.99 price for the 16GB model.
While this has been a standard price for big name smartphones, and we expect the Galaxy S4 to launch for this price at all carriers but T-Mobile (which will likely offer it with its pre-paid plans), the Galaxy S4 should see quick discounts arrive through third party outlets like Amazon.
As we’ve seen with just about every Android launch, Amazon typically introduces Galaxy smartphones through its website and often, the devices are available with a discount. The Galaxy S3 on Amazon saw a price drop just a few days after it launched, as did the Galaxy Note 2.
We expect the same from the Galaxy S4 which means that those who are able to buy it through a place like Amazon will likely be able to get the device for cheaper than the iPhone 5.
Apple has yet to include Near-Field Communication (NFC) with its iPhone and while we don’t know if the Galaxy S4 will have the technology just yet, we imagine that it will probably will.
Just about every Android smartphone that has launched in recent months includes NFC support, which allows it to be used as a mobile wallet with services like Google Wallet as well as ISIS.
The Galaxy S4 is said to include support for VISA’s payWave which would, like the other services, allow owners to easily make mobile payments simply by using their smartphone. For some, this has replaced the need for carrying tons of mobile payment cards everywhere they go.
Google Maps/Google Now
One of the nice things about having an Android phone is that Google supplies owners with robust versions of their applications. For example, the Samsung Galaxy S4, because it is an Android phone, will have access to the Android version of the Google Maps application that is arguably superior to the Google Maps on iOS.
The Android version has Wikipedia integration. It has turn-by-turn navigation for walking. And maybe best of all, it offers Offline Maps. The app in iOS 6 is good, but it definitely has some features missing.
Google Now is also a key part of Android’s makeup. While iOS and the iPhone 5 use Siri, Android and the Galaxy S4 will use something called Google Now which is predictive technology which is arguably far more useful than anything Siri can do. Google Now’s cards depict extremely useful bits of information without owners even having to pull them up.
For instance, Google Now will show owners alternate routes to work before leaving home or display popular photo spots nearby a user’s location.
Last year, Samsung introduced a hefty dose of features with its TouchWiz Nature UX, a skin that is not available outside of Samsung-made devices. And as Galaxy S3 and Galaxy Note 2 owners learned, Samsung truly added some remarkable features, including smart features that are aimed at making the life of a smartphone owner much simpler.
The Galaxy S4 will likely arrive with many of the features that the Galaxy S3 and the Galaxy Note 2 have. For example, Multi-Window View, a feature that allows owners to split the massive displays into two parts to run two apps at the same time.
Other smart features include the ability to call a contact simply by lifting the phone to the ear while writing a text message or flipping the phone over to silence a call that one can’t take.
With the Galaxy S4, there are rumors that Samsung might be making the Galaxy smartphone even smarter. Trademarks suggest features that could revolve around the eye with one apparently shutting down content when a user looks away, simply by using the front-facing camera. Or a feature called “Eye Scroll” which seems like it would allow owners to scroll content with their eyes.
None of this is confirmed but Samsung has been delivering some fantastic additions to its software, some of which we expect to best iOS 6, the software on the iPhone 5.