(Reviewed by Phonearena)
It’s the battle between the flagships! Two handsets enter, only one can leave claiming supremacy in the smartphone landscape. For a good while now, Samsung’s pride and joy in the Galaxy S III has been tearing up the scene, and when the Apple iPhone 5finally became a reality, Samsung made sure to let everyone know that “the next big thing is already here.” Talking the talk, we’re taking these two hotshot smartphones and pitting them against one another, to unequivocally proclaim which device reigns supreme amongst the two.
Visibly seeing a huge size disparity between the two, the iPhone 5 is undoubtedly easier to grasp in the hand, seeing that it’s lighter in weight, skinnier in frame, and not as cumbersome to hold in the hand as the Galaxy S III. In addition, it’s quite evident that the iPhone 5 is the more premium looking device between the two, as it sports a brushed aluminum rear casing and a sturdier construction. However, there’s no doubt in our mind that the Samsung Galaxy S III would probably handle a fall a lot better than its rival – mainly because its plastic body wouldn’t be as badly beaten up.
Below their displays, there are physical buttons that get us back to their respective homescreens – though, one is raised while the other is recessed. Nevertheless, there’s not one that’s more advantageous since the necessary tactile responses are there.
Looking around the sides of both handsets, they share many common elements – like their 3.5mm headset jacks, microphones, power buttons, and volume controls. However, the Samsung Galaxy S III employs a more universally favored microUSB port, which offers video-out with the aid of an MHL adapter, while the iPhone 5 sticks to Apple’s newer proprietary Lightning docking port.
Sizing up evenly to one another, these flagships bear the same count 8-megapixel auto-focus cameraswith LED flash, both of which can shoot 1080p videos of course. Meanwhile, Apple’s beauty sports a front-facing 1.3-megapixel snapper, while there’s a 1.9-megapixel one on the Galaxy S III. So far, it looks like an even match, but we’ll compare the qualities of the two a bit later on.
After spending some time meticulously detailing their intricacies, it’s still a difficult call on which device has the better display. With the Samsung Galaxy S III’s 4.7-inch HD 720 x 1280 Super AMOLED display, we love it for its larger size and saturated colors, while the iPhone 5’s 4-inch 640 x 1136 Retina Display wins for its better visibility outdoors and exceptionally accurate colors. Sure, the Retina Display of the iPhone 5 coughs up the higher pixel density of 326 ppi, versus the 306 ppi figure with the SGSIII, but in all honesty, it’s negligible since they’re both soundly detailed. Since they both flaunt great viewing angles, it ultimately comes down to colors for this one. Being an AMOLED panel, the SGSIII exhibits cooler tones that tend to cast a bluish hue to the color white, while the iPhone 5 produces colors that are very natural in tone – so it’s simply a matter of preference.
Interface and Functionality:
Android versus iOS, what else more can we say about that? Here’s the thing, if simplicity and ease of use is more important to you, there’s no question that the iPhone 5 delivers the goods with that. Otherwise, if you care more about personalization and better sharing functions, the Samsung Galaxy S III will win you over. As much as we appreciate the intuitiveness attached with the iOS 6 experience on the iPhone 5, it lacks the completeness and comprehensive features found with the TouchWiz Nature UX experience with the Galaxy S III. Sure, they both have their own voice assistant service, but the Galaxy S III benefits more with tertiary features like S-Beam, SmartStay, Pop Up Play, and not to mention the various gestures in play with the platform. All in all, there’s a lot more found with the SGSIII experience.
At their core, the various organizer apps on both handset function in pretty much the same manner – albeit, we prefer the more stylized look of the apps on the SGSIII. Regardless, when it comes to email functionality, the SGSIII is undoubtedly the preferred handset, as the Gmail app provides for one very close desktop-like experience. Even more, there are other small features with the SGSIII that make it more scrumptious – like its “select all” feature with emails.
When it comes to typing us lengthy messages with their respective keyboards, we find them more than point for the job. Of course, the SGSIII keyboard layout is more spacious than its rival, but the fantastic auto-correct feature of the iPhone 5 enables us to type faster with its keyboard. Then again, there are always the swiping gestures in play with the SGSIII keyboard that some people will appreciate. Either way, both are more than equipped in this area.
Processor and Memory:
On paper, the Samsung Galaxy S III will get more nods with its 1.5GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor with 1GB of RAM whereas, the iPhone 5 seems ill-equipped with its 1GHz dual-core Apple A6 processor with 1GB of RAM (Dual core with 2 GB Ram also available). However, when it comes to real world performance, the iPhone 5 exhibits the cleaner and more fluid performance with various operations. Well, the Galaxy S III still displays one responsive performance as well, but it doesn’t match the iPhone 5’s level of finesse. Then again, there’s not much of a challenge with the static homescreen look of the iPhone 5, where in contrast, there are numerous graphical elements in play with the SGSIII homescreen.
With the various models out there, both smartphones are available in 16GB and 32GB capacities, but the iPhone 5 has a 64GB version as well – while the Galaxy S III can supplement its storage thanks to its microSD card slot.
Internet and Connectivity:
Packing 4G LTE connectivity for the ride, the playing field is now even with these two beauties, as complex web sites are able to load in no time at all. Moving onto the performance of their respective web browsers, again it’s the iPhone 5 that exhibits the more fluid navigational controls, but it’s not by much, as the SGSIII is still smooth with its executions. However, if you’re able to download the Adobe Flash Player for the SGSIII, you’ll be treated to a close desktop-like experience.
Considering there are many different versions of the two handsets to support various carriers around the world, you won’t have much of an issue finding one that’ll work abroad – in addition to working domestically. Meanwhile, the two also share 4G LTE connectivity, but as usual, there are numerous versions to cater to each network carrier. Being high-end devices and all, it doesn’t surprise us to find them sharing many similar connectivity features – such as aGPS, Bluetooth 4.0, 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, and mobile hotspot. However, the Galaxy S III comes equipped with NFC, making it more ready for mobile payments – plus, quick and easy sharing thanks to its S-Bean function.
After carefully combing over the shots we captured with both handsets, there’s not one clear winner when it comes to the quality of their outdoor shots – simply because they’re frankly acceptable in many ways. Especially worth noting, the SGSIII tears apart the competition with its useful set of camera modes, features, and manual settings – like Burst Mode, Share Shot, and Buddy Photo Share. Specifically, the two exhibit plenty of detail and a fair amount of exposure to make them likable, but there’s a slight hint of over-saturation with the SGSIII shots. However, the iPhone 5 is able to show its superior control with shots taken in low lighting, as it maintains a good level of detail, more natural colors, and better adjustment with exposure – whereas the SGSIII shots appear darker in tone and with softer details. Therefore, in terms of their all-around performance, the iPhone 5 has the advantage.
At the same time, it’s also a difficult decision for us to adamantly specify which of the two coughs up the better 1080p video recording quality. To tell you the truth, their recordings are absolutely dreamy in so many ways. From their superb details to their smooth capture rates, there’s no question that these two handsets are more than ideal to capture the moment. However, after taking a closer look at the two videos, the only blemish that stands out to us, is the miniscule amount of artifacting going on with the Galaxy S III, as it quickly pans. Still, it’s hardly evident and doesn’t prove distracting in any way.
Apple iPhone 5 Sample Video:
Samsung Galaxy S III Sample Video:
No arguing about it, the music players on both devices are appreciable for their spiffy presentations – so yeah, we’re attracted to both the iPhone 5’s cover flow mode and the Google Play Music’s cool 3D carousel. Speaker-wise, the two perform admirably with their quality, as they exhibit pleasant tones with no evidence of crackling or distortion at the loudest setting.
In particular, television sets with bright and large displays tend to capture more attention – and that’s the case here with this comparison. Even though the two are able to play high-definition videos with no problems at all, it’s simply the huge display of the Samsung Galaxy S III that captivates us. Furthermore, we truly appreciate the SGSIII’s “Pop Up Play” feature, which overlays the video we’re watching on top of anything.
Aside from the fantastic noise-cancelling performance of the iPhone 5, these two lovely devices perform on the same level with call quality. In general, conversations are easily handled on both ends of the line, resulting in one acceptable performance.
Running off Sprint’s 3G EV-DO network, we’re able to handily get through a solid one day with our normal usage – mostly comprised of web surfing, emailing, texting, and a few phone calls. Unfortunately, Sprint’s LTE network isn’t up and running around our parts, however, it’s almost certain that it’ll no doubt drain the batteries of these two very quickly. When it comes down to it, they parallel each other in this department.
As history tells us, Apple’s flagship will no doubt sell very healthily during its reign, even despite the horde of competition that’s always on the prowl. However, it’s coming after Samsung’s very own flagship in the Galaxy S III, which as we’ve witnessed, has proven itself to be a viable competitor in the landscape.
From head to toe, there are plenty of remarkable elements that make us love both phones wholeheartedly. But when we combine all of the necessary aspects to make a device appealing to a geek's heart, like their specs, performance, wow factor, and software experience, it seems as though the Samsung Galaxy S III has the goods to stand out just a tad bit more.
Even though its looks might pale in comparison to the chic styling of the iPhone 5, the Samsung Galaxy S III is able to closely match Apple’s pride and joy in many categories. Ultimately, it’s the TouchWiz Nature UX experience and its extensive set of functionality that makes the SGSIII the more productive and complete handset between the two.
Meanwhile, though, the iPhone 5 remains the best device for users who just want a good-looking handset with great performance and a very easy-to-use mobile operating system.