We know about the iPhone 5S, of course: as is traditional for an 'S' model, the iPhone 5S is a similar size, shape, design and weight as the iPhone 5 – although it's now available in silver, gold and space grey. It is the slim high-end smartphone: the ...|
If you are thinking about upgrading your iPhone, but want to know what the opposition offers, one handset you should certainly consider is the Galaxy S5 from Samsung. This hugely anticipated Android phone is about to announced, and will be Samsung's flagship smartphone for the upcoming year.
Ever since the Galaxy S3 was the first non-iPhone to gain large-scale public interest, Samsung has been the obvious opposition to Apple at the top of the smartphone tree. The Galaxy S5 will likely cause a lot of noise and Samsung makes many of the parts found in other high-end phones including Apple's iPhones, and so it is worthy of your consideration.
We don't yet have the full facts on the Galaxy S5 - we'll update this story as and when we do. In the mean time we've based our comparison on the most reliable rumours and leaks we can find right now. We have of course tested the iPhone 5s over a lengthy period. (For the full low-down on that handset read: iPhone 5s review: The only smartphone worth getting excited about.)
iPhone 5S vs Samsung Galaxy S5: Price and availability
The iPhone 5S is readily available right now. The Galaxy S5 is likely to be launched in just a couple of weeks at the MWC show. And the reason to compare them? They are likely to cost around the same.
We expect Samsung to launch a couple of versions of the Galaxy S5: one plastic and one metal in finish, one with LTE and one without 4G connectivity. And the smart money is on these phones costing broadly the same as the iPhone 5C and the iPhone 5S. The iPhone 5S costs from £549 up to £709, the 5C from £469 to £549. Expect the Galaxy S5 to range from around £550 to £650. (See iPhone 5S vs iPhone 5C comparison review for more on the differences between Apple's two phones.)
iPhone 5S vs Samsung Galaxy S5: Display
Apple hasn't upgraded the screen on the iPhone 5S compared to its predecessor. It has a 4in display, in a (these days) unusually portrait aspect ration. You get a resolution of 640 x 1136 pixels, which makes for a pixel density of 326 ppi. It is a more-than decent screen - one that until 18 months ago would have beaten out all comers. However, compared to the larger, Full HD displays of the iPhone 5S's rivals, the screen is starting to feel cramped.
According to the most credible rumours and leaked information, the Galaxy S5 will sport a 5.25in AMOLED display with a resultion of 2560 × 1440. That's a staggering 559ppi. And typically AMOLED displays on Samsung phones are more rich and colourful than those of any rival.
That's not to say that the Galaxy S5 has a 'better' display than does the iPhone 5S. For one thing, the Galaxy S5 doesn't yet exist! But more seriously, not everyone appreciates the full-blown colour of the Galaxy phones. They can make photos, for instace, look over coloured. And although a bigger display with greater resolution is categorically better than the iPhone 5S, it is unlikely your eyes will tell the difference between 316ppi and 559ppi. And bigger, means a bigger phone to carry and use. On which...
iPhone 5S vs Samsung Galaxy S5: Design and build
Here we will have to talk mainly in generalisations, as the Galaxy S5 is for the next couple of weeks anticipated rather than seen.
We know about the iPhone 5S, of course: as is traditional for an 'S' model, the iPhone 5S is a similar size, shape, design and weight as the iPhone 5 – although it's now available in silver, gold and space grey. It is the slim high-end smartphone: the one you can operate with one hand.
As a consequence the iPhone 5s is likely to be much smaller, thinner and lighter than the Samsung Galaxy S5. The S5 will almost certainly have a larger screen, after all. And Samsung's Galaxy phones tend to be bigger anyway - big slabs that are striking to look at and offer great screen real estate, but can be physically harder to use and store. Which you prefer will be a question of personal taste.
There's a similar point to be made about the build quality and construction of both devices. We prefer the aluminium build quality quality of the iPhone over the Galaxy S5. Out of the box it is much nicer to look at. But don't expect to use your iPhone without a protective case, at least not if you want it to retain that beautiful look and feel. Going on the evidence of the leaked information and all previous Samsung Galaxy phones, the Galaxy S5 will be much more robust than the iPhone 5s. (You may also want to read: iPhone 5 vs iPhone 5S comparison review: What's new in the iPhone 5S.)
iPhone 5S vs Samsung Galaxy S5: Processor and performance
Again, let's talk about facts first, and then compare to the expected spec of the Galaxy S5.
The iPhone 5S has a 64-bit A7 processor running at 1.2- to 1.3GHz. It's a dual-core Cyclone processor paired with 1GB of DDR3 RAM. We've never found the iPhone to have any major performance issues but Apple says it's twice as fast as the previous model in both CPU and graphics performance.
The A7 definitely makes iOS 7 buttery smooth. There's nary a judder or stutter when swiping between home screens, or exiting an app and watching your icons fly into place. Apps launch and web pages load faster than ever: the iPhone 5S is simply a joy to use.
The A7 also has a motion co-processor – the M7 – which will come into its own when the developers of activity tracking apps update their software to use the new chip. It should mean the 5S can replace the likes of a Fitbit Flex or Withings Pulse.
Our benchmarks show just how much quicker the new A7 chip makes the 5S. In SunSpider 1.0, the 5S completed the test in just 417ms. The iPhone 5 (running iOS 7), meanwhile, took 721ms, and the Samsung Galaxy S4 922ms.
Similar gains were found in Geekbench 3, with the iPhone 5 scoring 721 points, and the 5S managing 1,076. Running GLBenchmark 2.7 (Egypt HD), the iPhone 5S managed 53fps, compared to the iPhone 5's 41fps. However, a bigger difference can be seen using the T-Rex HD test, where the 5S scored 37fps versus the 5's 14fps. That's more than twice the performance.
What then can we expect from the Galaxy S5? Expect either an Exynos 6 or Snapdragon 805 processor, depending on territory and whether your Galaxy S5 is an LTE handset. Expect a whopping 3GB RAM. In shot, the Galaxy S5 will be a superfast smartphone.
But here's the important point: the iPhone is just as quick as it needs to be. So has been every high-end Samsung since the Galaxy S2. There is no value in fighting it out over synthetic benchmarks, not least because some handset manufacturers are believed to write software that games benchmarks. The critical point is that the Galaxy S5 and the iPhone 5S will both be stable, and plenty fast enough to handle multiple processes at the same time, without feeling laggy.
iPhone 5S vs Samsung Galaxy S5: Storage
The iPhone 5S is available in 16GB, 32GB and 64GB capacities but doesn't have a microSD card slot for expansion.
We expect the Galaxy S5 to offers 32GB and 64GB models, with an SD Card slot capable of offering a further 64GB of storage. What we don't know yet is how much storage is available to users on a new Galaxy S5.
iPhone 5S vs Samsung Galaxy S5: Cameras
The iPhone 5S has two cameras, a front-facing FaceTime camera and a rear-facing camera known as an iSight camera. The specifications work out as follows.
The iPhone 5S iSight camera has what Apple describes as a 'better 8Mp sensor', than either the iPhone 5 or the iPhone 5C. It lists the sensor as 8 megapixels with 1.5µ pixels. It has ƒ/2.2 aperture and a True Tone flash which has two LEDs, one of which is amber. The FaceTime Camera takes 1.2Mp photos at a resolution of 1280x960, and offers 720p HD video recording.
Importantly, the 5S no longer uses an upscaled 4Mp mode in very low light as the iPhone 5 does, and photos taken in dark conditions have much less noise. In good light, you won't see a huge difference between images from the two iPhones, but at night, the 5S does a better job.
We obviously haven't yet tested the Galaxy S5's camera, but expect a primary camera with a 16Mp sensor, autofocus and LED flash. Up front there is likely to be a 3.2Mp camera. You'll be able to capture video at 1080p and 60 frames per second. Suggested camera features include simultaneous HD video and image recording, geo-tagging, touch focus, face and smile detection, image-stabilization, and HDR.
iPhone 5S vs Samsung Galaxy S5: Software
Software is an area where there a huge difference. Android vs iOS is a big debate and with iOS 7 comes a major overaul of Apple's mobile operating system.
On the plus side, iOS 7 now comes with a much needed quick settings feature called Control Center. There are also other tweaks and improvements such as better multi-tasking and lock screen access to the notification centre.
Apple has the strong App Store store on its side but iOS has a distinct lack of customisability which is Android's major strong point.
The Galaxy S5 will come with Samsung's take on Android 4.4 KitKat. This is Google's most mature and easy-to-use mobile OS, albeit overlaid with Samsung's TouchWiz interface. If you've used a Samsung phone before you'll know what to expect. The bottom line is a good and intuitive experience that may just lack Apple's ultimate polish, but offers you the option to purchase music and other media from multiple sources. Android may be less secure than iOS, too. (You can find more on this in my companion piece: iPhone 5s vs Nexus 5 smartphone comparison review.)
If you are an iPhone user who is happy with iOS7 it is unlikely much about the Galaxy S5 will persuade you to make the jump to Android - pending something amazing at the Unpacked announcement at MWC. The Galaxy S5 will be fast, well built, full featured. It will have a big bright and bold screen, and good cameras, and it will offer good storage and connectivity options. But all of the above is true of the iPhone 5S. The days are over when Apple was far ahead of other smartphone makers, but it remains at the top of the tree when it comes to making high-class phones.
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