Samsung Galaxy S4 full review
After months of hype the Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone has arrived, but can it best Apple's iPhone 5? Find out in our Samsung Galaxy S4 vs iPhone 5 comparison review.
With the Galaxy S3 selling millions of units last year, the Galaxy S4 has a lot to live up to. One of the key battles it has in the smartphone market is with its fruit-flavoured rival, the iPhone 5. Hence this comparison review. See also: Samsung Galaxy S4 review.
We've had the Galaxy S4 in for review now so here are our thoughts after having used both smartphones properly.
We're fully aware that Apple will likely release a new version of the iPhone this year which will take on the Galaxy S4, but until that happens, which could be any time, this is the Samsung vs Apple battle.
Take a look at the following two articles for more details on each smartphone.
Samsung Galaxy S4 vs Apple iPhone 5: Design and build
We now know the Galaxy S4 looks quite similar to the Galaxy S3 in design so therefore can't really be mistaken for the iPhone 5. We'll let you decide which you think is more attractive since it's down to personal taste.
What is worth pointing out is that the Galaxy S4 uses a largely plastic build with a removable cover while the iPhone 5 is made from glass and aluminium. This is the key difference for us and where the iPhone 5 comes out distinctly on top.
See also: Group test: What's the best smartphone?
With a screen andentire inch larger, it's no surprise that the Galaxy S4 is the bigger handset. Samsung's smartphone is 69.8 x 136.6mm compared to 59 x 124mm. Despite its large size, Galaxy S4 almost matches the iPhone 5's slender 7.6mm profile at 7.9mm.
The size of the iPhone 5 means it is lighter at kust 112g against the Galaxy S4's still light 130g.
Samsung Galaxy S4 vs Apple iPhone 5: Screen
As we just mentioned, the Galaxy S4 has a screen a whole inch larger than the iPhone 5's – a big different in the smartphone world. It's number opposites compared to the model names at 5in and 4in respectively.
The Galaxy S4 also has a higher resolution at a Full HD 1080 x 1920 creating a pixel density of 441ppi. Meanwhile the iPhone 5 has a Retina quality of 640 x 1136, a pixel density of 326ppi.
Samsung wins here with its stunning screen with more real estate and a higher resolution.
Samsung Galaxy S4 vs Apple iPhone 5: Processor and memory
While some models of the Galaxy S4 will be equipped with an octa-core processor, the UK bound device will come with a less impressive 1.9GHz quad-core processor. The iPhone 5 on the other hand has a 1.3GHz dual-core processor. Samsung has fitted twice the amount of RAM at 2GB.
The Galaxy S4 beat the iPhone 5 in a couple of benchmarks scoring 3227 and 41fps in Geekbench 2 and GLBenchmark compared to the iPhone 5's 1650 and 38fps. However, the iPhone 5 got a better time in SunSpider - 903ms against 1092ms.
Overall the Galaxy S4 comes out better based on these figures. However, in actual use we found the device to be laggy when opening certain apps and when we didn't expect it. This is really what counts and means the iPhone 5 is actually better here.
Samsung Galaxy S4 vs Apple iPhone 5: Storage
Once again, Samsung and Apple are matched on internal storage with the Galaxy S4 confirmed to come in 16GB, 32GB and 64GB models just like the iPhone 5.
Some scandal has emerged around the Galaxy S4's limited storage. Our review model had just over 8GB of free storage which is an extreme amount to be gone. Its microSD card slot, despite not being able to install apps here, means that it's better in this area.
Samsung Galaxy S4 vs Apple iPhone 5: Cameras
The iPhone 5 has a decent 8Mp camera but the Galaxy S4 has a higher resolution 13Mp camera at the rear. Both phones take great photos and video so we're splitting hairs but the additional shooting modes which the Galaxy S4 offers gives it a slight edge.
The Galaxy S4 does have some interesting features to consider which the iPhone 5 doesn't have like Dual Camera, Eraser Shot and HDR video.
Round the front the Galaxy S4 offers a higher resolution front facing camera at 2Mp compared to 1.2Mp. It can record video in Full HD 1080p while the iPhone 5 is limited to 720p. A small win for Samsung here.
Samsung Galaxy S4 vs Apple iPhone 5: Software
Software is a huge difference between these two smartphones. Apple's uses its own iOS 6 software for the iPhone 5 while Samsung runs Google's Android 4.2 Jelly Bean operating system for the Galaxy S4. We could write an entire article comparing the two operating systems so check out our reviews via the links below if you're trying to decide between them.
While the iPhone 5 relies on its quality app store, Samsung has packed the Galaxy S4 with exclusive apps and software features. Air View and Air Gesture do come in handy sometimes and we like the functionality of Multi-Window. However, far too many of the others are buggy and simply gimmicky. Furthermore, there's no option to uninstall the ones you don't like.
Samsung Galaxy S4 vs Apple iPhone 5: Battery life
The iPhone 5 has a 1440mAh (5.45Wh) battery which is non-removable while the Galaxy S4 has a larger, and removable, 2600mAh (9.6Wh) battery. This doesn't instantly mean that the Samsung offers better battery life since it has a higher resolution screen and a more powerful processor to run.
However, when the iPhone 5 typically lasts a day before needing to be charged (occasionally two days), the Galaxy S4 consistently lasted two days unless we used it heavily.
Samsung Galaxy S4: Specs
- Display: 5 inch Full HD Super AMOLED (1920 x 1080) display, 441 ppi
- Processor: 1.9GHz quad-core
- OS: Android 4.2.2 (Jelly Bean)
- Camera: Main(Rear): 13 Mega pixel Auto Focus camera with Flash & Zero Shutter Lag, BIS
- Sub (Front): 2 Mega pixel camera, Full HD recording @30fps with Zero Shutter Lag, BIS
- Video: Codec: MPEG4, H.264, H.263, DivX, DivX3.11, VC-1, VP8, WMV7/8, Sorenson Spark, HEVC
- Recording & Playback: Full HD (1080p)
- Audio: Codec: MP3, AMR-NB/WB, AAC/AAC?/eAAC?, WMA, OGG, FLAC, AC-3, apt-X
- Connectivity: WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (HT80), GPS / GLONASS, NFC, Bluetooth® 4.0 (LE), IR LED (Remote Control), MHL 2.0
- Sensor: Accelerometer, RGB light, Geomagnetic, Proximity, Gyro, Barometer Temperature & Humidity, Gesture
- Memory: 16/ 32/ 64 GB User memory ? microSD slot (up to 64GB), 2GB RAM
- Dimension: 136.6 x 69.8 x 7.9 mm, 130g
- Battery: 2,600 mAh
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