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iPhone 5S vs Samsung Galaxy S4 specs comparison

We pit the two rival smartphones head to head
Mon Sep 16 2013, 13:42

APPLE AND SAMSUNG have been fighting for the number one best-selling smartphone title for years. In the past, Apple's latest iPhone has traditionally won the yearly grudge match. However, since the death of iconic Apple founder Steve Jobs, Apple's lead on Samsung has gradually waned, with each new top-end Galaxy smartphone boasting increasingly higher sales.

For this reason, prior to its unveiling many industry commentators had begun to quietly predict that the iPhone 5S might become the first ever Apple smartphone not to beat Samsung's flagship handset in head to head sales.

Now with the iPhone 5S and its specifications revealed, it's too still early to know the final outcome in 2013's Apple vs Samsung battle, but the two smartphones' specifications suggest that the fight might be the most heated to date.

Measurements and weight
iPhone 5S: 124x59x7.6mm, 112g
Samsung Galaxy S4: 137x70x7.9mm, 130g

The Apple iPhone 5S design looks pretty much the same as that of the iPhone 5, but it comes with multiple colour options. This means, as before, that the iPhone 5S is significantly lighter and smaller than the Samsung Galaxy S4, so it will likely be a more popular choice for smaller-handed people.

Apple iPhone 5S front

iPhone 5S: 4in 1136x640, 326ppi Retina display
Samsung Galaxy S4: 5in full HD super Amoled 1920x1080 display, 441ppi

The Apple iPhone 5S has a 4in Retina display. Back in the day, when Apple first rolled out the Retina display technology, it was a big selling point for Apple devices, making the screens the sharpest and crispest ever seen on smartphones or tablets.

However a few years on, while still great, Apple's Retina displays are no longer the best on the market and a few smartphones have been released boasting better screens.

Running the Galaxy S4 head to head with the iPhone 5S' predecessor, the iPhone 5, we found Samsung's flagship had a superior screen, with its 441ppi full HD display being one of the best we've ever used.

iPhone 5S: Apple A7 processor
Samsung Galaxy S4: Quad-core 1.9GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 processor

Apple made a big deal about its new A7 processor, claiming that it is the world's first 64-bit mobile chip and will make the iPhone 5S one of the fastest smartphones in the word, offering 40-times better CPU performance than the iPhone 5. However, as always, Apple declined to disclose the speed of its A7 processor, making it difficult to know how it will compare to the quad-core 1.9GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 powered Galaxy S4 in real-world performance.

iPhone 5S: 10 hours' 3G talk time, unspecified lithium-ion battery
Samsung Galaxy S4: 17 hours' 3G general use, 2,600mAh lithium-ion battery

Battery life is an issue for most smartphones in the present market. This remained true on the Galaxy S4, which, despite being listed as lasting “up to 17 hours” on 3G on one charge, generally needed a top-up after a regular day’s use, with an average life of about six hours when battery was in use. This means that if the unspecified battery used in the iPhone 5S lives up to Apple’s claim of 10-hour 3G talk time it should easily outlast the Galaxy S4. However, we’ll only know this for sure when we’ve had a chance to actually test the battery on the iPhone 5S.

Samsung Galaxy S4 comes in White and Black

iPhone 5S: iOS 7 mobile operating system
Samsung Galaxy S4: Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean mobile operating system
Picking which mobile operating system is better is very difficult, as the answer is largely determined by what ecosystem the user is already embedded in.

This difficulty is made worse by the fact that both companies have loaded a host of business friendly features onto their respective flagship smartphones, with Samsung having loaded the Galaxy S4 with its Knox sandboxing service and Apple its new custom Touch ID fingerprint scanner.

iPhone 5S: 8MP rear, 1.2MP front
Samsung Galaxy S4: 13MP rear, 2MP front

While the iPhone 5S camera looks lower specified, as any camera expert will tell you, it's not just about the megapixel count. Because of this, while it doesn't capture as many pixels, the Apple iPhone 5S might prove better at taking photos, because it boasts custom technology designed to capture bigger pixels, meaning that, like the HTC One, it should be better than average at taking photos in low light.

iPhone 5S: 16/32/64GB storage, no microSD card slot, 2GB of RAM
Samsung Galaxy S4: 16/32/64GB storage, microSD card slot up to 64GB, 2GB of RAM

Both devices are available with multiple storage options, however the Galaxy S4 comes with a microSD card slot, meaning that buyers who can't afford the upfront cost of the 64GB model can add to the phone's storage at a later date.

On paper both the iPhone 5S and Samsung Galaxy S4 are good smartphones and both have definite enterprise appeal. Once we've had time to thoroughly put the two head to head in an in-depth, hands-on comparison review, we'll make a call on which is the best business smartphone.

The iPhone 5S is set for release on 20 September. Check back with The INQUIRER then for a full review. µ


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