Spec Comparison: Apple’s iPhone 5 vs. Samsung Galaxy S3

| Analysis

Apple announced the iPhone 5 on Wednesday, and that means it's time to compare it against the competition. First up is the Samsung Galaxy S III (S3 hereafter). It's not the newest Android phone on the market, but it's the most popular Android device to date and it's the device that Samsung has positioned most strongly against Apple's iPhone.

Direct and To the Point

Both of these devices are fantastic. Our bias is with Apple's ecosystem and we think the iPhone 5 gets the quality nod, but if you're looking for either of these devices to be declared the winner, go look somewhere else. They're both powerful, have gorgeous displays, have access to lots of apps, and each has some individual advantages over the other...

...but buying either is much more about which ecosystem you prefer—iOS or Android—than it is about the specs. We recommend iOS, but if you prefer Android, you'll most likely enjoy the Galaxy S3.

All that said, you'll find our thoughts on several aspects of these devices below the spec chart.

Note: Images are close to scale as we could get them.

 
Model

iPhone 5

Galaxy S3

OS


iOS 6

Android 4.0 (I.C.S.)

Updatable OS?

User storage (GB)

16/32/64

16/32/64 (Coming)

Subsidized Price (US$)

199/299/399

199/249/?

Carrier(s)

AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, Regionals

AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile, Regionals

Network

GSM, CDMA, 4G LTE

GSM, HSDPA, 4G LTE

CPU type

A6 (most likely dual core or two dual core)

Cortex A9 quad core

CPU speed (GHz)

1.2 GHz (Apple hasn’t specified)

1.4GHz

RAM (MB)

1024

1024 or 2048 (conflicting sources)

Display type

Retina Display - IPS LCD

Super AMOLED

Display res. (pix)

1136 x 640

1280 x 720

Pixel Density

326

306

Display (diag, in)

4

4.8

MircoSD slot

x

√ (up to 64GB External Storage)

Rear camera (MP)

8, 1080p video

8, 1080p video

HDR Mode

Rear Camera Aperture

f/2.4

f/2.63

 

 

 
Video image stab.

 

Front camera (MP)

1.2 720p video

1.9, 720p video
Camera flash

Dual LED

LED
Audio out

3.5mm jack

3.5mm jack
Speakerphone

On-screen video

Supports up to 1080p

Supports up to 1080p
Wireless video

AirPlay (720p or 1080p)

DLNA
Video Out   HDMI via Adapter
USB port

x

microUSB v2.0
Wi-Fi 8.2.11 a/b/g/n 8.2.11 a/b/g/n
Wi-Fi Hotspot Carrier Dependent Carrier Dependent
Bluetooth 4.0 4.0
Compass
Gyroscope 3-axis
Accelerometer
Barometer x
Sensors proximity, ambient light proximity, ambient light
NFC x
Size (in) 4.87 x 2.31 x 0.3 5.26 x 2.78 x 0.34
Weight (oz) 3.95 4.69
Battery (mAh) Unknown 2100
Talk time (min) 480 (3G) 700 (3G)
Standby time (hr) 225 790
Available colors Black & Slate, White & Silver Sapphire Black, Marble White, Amber Brown, Garnet Red, Pebble Blue, Titanium Grey
Announced Sep 12, 2012 May 1, 2012

OS

This is the biggee, so let's start here. iOS 6 versus Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich (I.C.S.). We're pretty meh about I.C.S., especially when compared to iOS 6. With I.C.S., which was released in 2011, Google was very much in catch-up mode. Throw on Samsung's TouchWiz custom interface on top of that, and...well...meh.

TouchWiz is Samsung's proprietary interface that sits on top of the company's Android devices as well as its own Bada OS devices. It includes new functionality like S-Voice (Samsung's voice control technology), S Beam (an NFC-based feature), Smart stay, and other features.

But man, oh man, is it ugly! It looks like what would happen if Android and Windows XP met, fell in love, and had an ugly, ugly baby. If you like TouchWiz, more power to you. This is clearly a subjective thing, but it just looks butt-ugly, hamfisted, cluttered, and busy to us.

TouchWiz

TouchWiz Example
Credit: Hardware.info

We should also note that TouchWiz was where Samsung added in features like the overscroll bounce the company was recently convicted for copying from Apple. Samsung will very likely have to pull out those infringing features—or design around them—in order to keep Apple from getting an injunction against them in the U.S. If so, the S3 will be just a tiny bit more clumsy to use than an iPhone.

Ah, but this whole thing is not so simple. Sometime Soon™, Samsung will be releasing a Jelly Bean update for the Galaxy S3. That's Google's marketing name for Android 4.1, and we think it looks great. With Jelly Bean, Google has gotten Android to the point where it's shifted from a game of catchup to a game of one-upmanship

One of Google's problems with Android is that most Android devices can't be readily or easily upgraded, but Samsung has committed to releasing Jelly Bean for the Galaxy S3. That's good news for Android fans who own this device, but—and this is important—Jelly Bean is superior to TouchWiz when it comes to user interface, and some users will be faced with a choice when they have the option of upgrading to Jelly Bean.

In the meanwhile, iOS 6 is a strong update for Apple's mobile platform. It builds on the strengths of past versions of iOS, and makes significant improvements to Notifications (not coincidentally, we think notifications are one area where Google's Android has and maintains the lead), Reminders, and other iOS features.

iOS is the bellwether for the rest of the mobile industry, and for good reason. The interface is clean, well-designed, attractive, and it makes sense. While some see Apple's walled garden as a prison, others see it as a system that just works. That's why surveys and other research consistently find that iPhone owners use more data, download more apps, pay for more of the apps they do download, and even do more browsing.

iOS works, it works well, and is our clear choice, even though we absolutely recognize that Android 4.x (which still ships on the Galaxy S3) is a big improvement for Android, and Jelly Bean is better still.

Apps

At this point both Apple's App Store and Google Play have more than 400,000 smartphone apps. That's plenty, and to spare, for the total number to no longer matter. Apple has a few thousand more, and will probably continue to maintain that lead for the foreseeable future even though Android has more market share.

But, really, who cares? Both platforms have a ton of apps—far more than you could download and try in your lifetime.

One factor we think important is the paid versus ad-supported balance of the two platforms. Free and free, ad-supported apps dominate both, but Android owners won't pay for apps, and thus there's far more paid, advertising-free apps available on the App Store.

If you like ad-supported apps, we'll again say more power to you. Clearly that's the case for Android owners as a whole, but it's also true for many iPhone owners. At TMO, we'd rather pay for our apps and not have ads getting in the way. We feel strongly about this, and we think that the proliferation of high-quality apps whose developers are proud enough of their work to charge you for it directly on the App Store offers an overall superior app experience.

Then there's the walled garden approach to Apple's curated App Store compared to Google's come-one, come-all approach for Google Play.

Google's open policy of app development means that you can get just about anything on Google Play. At the same time, this also means there are viruses, trojans, and plain poor quality apps scattered throughout the Android ecosystem. They get removed when caught, but they often don't get caught until after they get downloaded and used.

With Apple's curated approach, you have to put up with apps getting rejected for little or no reason, and no porn—but come on, Safari can get you all the porn you want on your smartphone. If you just have to have porn on your smartphone...

In any event, Apple's curated approach means that the apps you shop for work, are virus free, and are free of malware.

We think that tradeoff is just fine. If you don't, choose the Galaxy S3.

Display

The iPhone 5's new display is gorgeous, or so TMO's Dave Hamilton said after the hands-on session at Apple's iPhone 5 media event. At 1136 x 640 and 326 pixels per inch (PPI), it's a stunning display, probably the best-looking display on the market.

But hey, the 1280 x 720 display on the Galaxy S3 is amazing, too! Its Super AMOLED screen produces blacker blacks, and all that screen real estate is just awesome. At 306 PPI, few people will be able to tell that it has a lower pixel density than Apple's Retina Display.

It's just too darned big, though. Some like the size. Indeed, some think that the Galaxy Note II's even-larger 5.5-inch display (with the same resolution as its "smaller" S3 cousin) is just perfect and obviously superior to Apple's paltry 4-inch iPhone 5.

Really, this is utterly subjective. If you want an enormous screen, you'll love the Galaxy S3. If you want a large screen that fits more comfortably in your hand, pocket, or purse, the iPhone 5 will be the better fit.

With screens this good, you can't make a bad choice no matter which you prefer.

NFC

Near-field communications is a newer technology just beginning to make its way onto smartphones. Samsung supports it in the Galaxy S3, whereas Apple does not in the iPhone 5.

With NFC, devices can interact with other nearby devices. NFC-equipped smartphones can also be used for mobile payments where you can pay for stuff by waving your phone at a receiving device by the cash register.

Samsung, for instance, has introduced S Beam. Put your Galaxy S3 back to back with another Galaxy S3 and you can transfer files. Sounds awesome, but we can only imagine how seldom it ever gets used.

For one thing, until Samsung releases more S Beam-equipped devices, you can only do this with another Galaxy S3 device. For another, how often do you really need to share files between smartphones?

To play devil's advocate, maybe the ability to easily do so is all that's been holding us back, and now that Samsung has shown us the way, we'll all eventually be smartphone file sharing sons of guns.

Mobile payments, on the other hand, will be awesome when the world settles on a platform. The world hasn't yet, however, and that makes the NFC feature in the S3 something that's likely to see little use for most users.

The irony is that one reason the world hasn't settled on an NFC mobile payment solution is likely because Apple hasn't implemented it yet.

Still, if NFC matters to you, the Samsung Galaxy S3 is the only winner.

Voice

S Voice is Samsung's attempt to match Apple's Siri. It fails to do so—we couldn't find a single review that give S Voice high marks, let alone higher marks than Siri—but it does offer more voice controls for the phone than it would otherwise have.

Siri is the hands-down winner, and we expect the gap to widen over time, not shrink.

Horsepower

We don't know a lot about the A6 processor in the iPhone 5, but Apple claims it's twice as fast as the still-speedy A5. The Cortex A9 processor in the Galaxy S3 also gets great marks. We don't think the processor is a differentiator at this point in the smartphone race.

Some will differ with that opinion. They will be wrong.

Size Matters

Size matters. Seriously. The problem is that it matters differently for different people. As we noted above, some people love the massive 4.8-inch display of the Galaxy S3, while others don't want to carry around a phone that big.

We like the way the iPhone 5 fits in our hands. Apple pays a lot of attention—more so than any other tech company on the planet—to these things, and in our opinion the iPhone 5 hits the sweet spot. It's thin, it's light, it's wide enough to use while still fitting comfortable in our hands, and the added screen real estate will be noticeable to iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S users.

This is one of those completely subjective things, and you'll just have to decide which you prefer.

Quality

We will own up to being biased. We believe Apple makes a higher quality product than the rest of the computing, smartphone, and tablet market. We found complaints about the S3 "feeling cheap" in your hand on Google, but try and find someone who says the same thing about an iPhone.

Part of it is the lack of plastic on the iPhone. It's all metal and glass. Part of it is the lack of a removable battery on the iPhone (a deal-killer for some folks). The iPhone feels solid because it is solid.

Still, the Galaxy S3 isn't a piece of junk. Hardly. Samsung has a very good device with the S3, but we give the nod to Apple.

Conclusion

As we noted at the top of this comparison, we prefer the iPhone 5. Both devices have great specs, both have some advantages over the other, and both have different approaches that will appeal to different people differently.

Most people reading this will likely already have their own minds made up before ever clicking through to our comparison. They're here not to make up their minds, but rather to see if our opinions match theirs so that they can then judge us as either idiots or fair minded reviewers with great insight (even though this isn't a review, but a spec comparison).

If, however, you are one of the few who is really looking for buying advice based on specs, we encourage you to think differently. Pick between Apple's iPhone 5 or Samsung's Galaxy S3 based not on specs, but rather on ecosystem and approach.

The Android ecosystem is more open, not centrally organized or controlled, and it doesn't try to lock you into a system owned and controlled by one company.

Apple's iOS ecosystem is much more integrated, curated, and refined. The company's products work well in a way that no other company can boast because Apple controls the hardware, the software, and the ecosystem itself. That combines to offer what we think is the best experience.

Note: Please let us know if you find a mistake in the specs. We work very hard on these things, but we aren't infallible and want to get it right.

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40 Comments Leave Your Own

Robbo

The way it looks to me is that Samsung had a list of ‘must have’ features and designed the phone around that, the sheer size of the phone indicates that to me.
Whereas, Apple decided on the phones ‘must have features’ in sync with it’s handling and usability. This may have left out some features that other phones have, but everything is a trade-off here. I think I know which I’d prefer, ignoring brands etc.
It’s interesting that Apple’s designers paid a lot of attention to one-handed operation, since that is the almost universal way to use a smartphone. It’s kinda difficult to have your coffee and do all those things on the smartphone with two hands.

Bob

I own a Sumsung Skyrocket (predecessor to S3) and appreciate the large display which is more “useable” than the iPhone 3gs I owned prior to the Skyrocket (I’m 6’-2” man and thus have fairly large hands).  There are numerous issues with the Android/Samsung update ecosystem (i.e. completely sophomoric compared to iOS) as well as with the Android software in general (i.e. no multiple selection for “mark as read” & just poor email interface).  Also, while not a relevant comparison; it was super easy to “jailbreak” the iPhone and customize from there – While “rooting” the Android device requires a minor in computer programming.  All said, the complete system that Apple has engineered is stunning, bar none.  Comparatively, the Android laissez faire is a joke – Carriers should be required to differentiate the differences and alert the consumers with “buyer beware” awareness of the Android devices.  For instance: the “Ice Cream Sandwich” update was riddled with quality issues; at least 5 major issues (GPS failure, email options missing…).  While these have been addressed, the availability and “fragmentation” of the Android system is a failure for the unsuspecting consumer.  Bottom line, the devices are not really comparable.

Sagar

Apple iphone 5 and Samsung galaxy S3 both of them are very good . I support both of them. But I love apple more because I heard that Samsung has been caught by cheating from apple. And near about 8 Samsung mobiles has been ban for cheating of apple. Samsung has also paid 1.05 billion $ to apple for the damages of apple. So I prefer apple more.

anovelli

Nice objective comparison Bryan. It’s hard to be so, especially in the whole Mac/Win - iOS/Android dichotomy. Android at least appears to care about user experiences, unlike wintel on computers. I can’t wait to get my hands on the iPhone 5. There is arguably no more finely produced consumer electronic device in history.

daemon

“no multiple selection for “mark as read” “

Bob, the email app on Android allows you to select multple emails and “mark as read”, the email app has had this functionality since Android 1.0…..

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

GS3 has DLNA support built-in, so you can play wireless on a range of TVs and boxes, such as PS3.

NFC payments with Google Wallet are the bomb. In fact, the rat bastards at Verizon blocked Google Wallet on Galaxy Nexus yesterday, and all hell broke loose online. Fortunately, Google (strangely) doesn’t use one of its most basic anti-piracy tools in Wallet that requires users to download from Google Play, so a side-loading solution was found within an hour, and lots of people sharing the download on DropBox.

Not blocked by Verizon on GS3 yet. It really appears that they want to be paid to sign off on Google’s security, since Google figured out a way to keep financial data off the secure element, and in the cloud instead.

Bob: Get K-9 Mail (free). Spend 10 minutes reading the directions. It’s the best phone email client you’ll ever use. Samsung and HTC both ship their own email apps which blend with the skins but basically suck.

moomin

Just thought I’d throw in an S3 user’s perspective here! First, the S3 camera does have an HDR mode, and can wirelessly stream video through DLNA (AKA “AllShare”).

Also, a benefit of the Android app system not mentioned is the ability to replace any system apps. Want a different keyboard, or email app? Just download a new one, no rooting or jailbreak required. This also solves your problem with TouchWiz - just download a new launcher, of which there are plenty to choose from, including iPhone launcher clones.

Though while we’re on that, if you think the TouchWiz launcher is too cluttered, it’s only as cluttered as you make it. You could have literally nothing but the app drawer button, if that’s what you wanted.

I agree about S-Voice… it’s all right to quickly program an alarm, but can’t really match up. Google Now, on the other hand, which will arrive with 4.1, seems like it will at the very least match Siri, if not better it, based on comparisons I’ve seen so far. The only question is when that update will arrive!

ViewRoyal

There seem to be two schools of thought around smartphones:

Apple’s goal with the iPhone is to make it the most usable, most compact, and lightest smartphone.

Android phone manufacturers seem to be going in the opposite direction. they want to make the device that you carry around with you all day, as large and as heavy as they possibly can.

Screen sizes have grown to 5.5”, and so have the dimensions and weight of those phones. Where will the growth stop? At 6”, 7”, 8”???

Here’s is a usability clue for Android phone makers: Holding a 4” display a couple of inches closer to you gives the same virtual size as a 5” display. It’s true, you can magically make your display bigger by holding it closer, and still keep the size, weight, and battery usage down. wink

Chris G

Thanks Bryan! I found your review fair and balanced, and gives the best advice of all I’ve read out there. All the fans of either camp can yammer all they want, but a smartphone choice is a personal one, based on individual wants, needs and desires. We live with (subjective) shortcomings in our smartphones because overall we are happier with our choice than another’s. For existing owners looking to upgrade, you’ve already bought into the ecosystem and way of using it, so switching is a tough sell. For buyers new to smartphones, Bryan is right-skip the specs. If you want to do more than take someone else’s advice, pick your short-list, and go give an hour or so of tryout in the store to each one of them (ignore the salesperson, just play with it).

One other thing, while you’re in the stores looking at all the new technology, see how much shelf or wall-space they devote to both your device, and older iterations. Same with online outlets (for screen-space). New models come out so fast and furious, that months from now you may be hard-pressed to find a replacement or new accessory for your choice.

Bryan Chaffin

Thanks for the notes, folks. I corrected the chart to show that the GS3 has HDR. I added T-Mobile as a GS3 carrier, and I removed a row dealing with 1st-shot information, a row I had meant to take out before publishing as it was incomplete. I also corrected the Wireless Video entry to show DLNA support on the GS3.

Thanks again for the notes!

Ed Imbier

Both are great products.  Screen size alone is reason enough to go with the Samsung.  Reading and typing is much easier on a larger screen, and it still fits in a pocket

A biggy is no MiniSD port for external memory on the iPhone.  With external memory chips, you can carry different video media, podcasts and ebooks and can get by with less internal memory, which Apple overcharges for.

Finally, Apple is protecting its market positon and large markup with its “look and feel” patents to hold back innovation in the marketplace by bullying competitors and threatening litigation.  Apple has lost its viginity and is no longer the underdog of 1984.

Bryan Chaffin

Ed, I’m always fascinated by the mindset of those who think that copying Apple is innovating. I just can’t wrap my head around that line of thought.

I personally agree with you, though, that Apple is no longer the underdog of 1984. I don’t think that underdog status is a factor for most people in choosing their smartphone, but the reality is that in Android (Google) v. iOS (Apple) or Apple v. Samsung, there are no underdogs. These are giant, successful corporations.

mrmwebmax

+

Bryan, as others have said, this is an excellent and extremely well-balanced article coming from what is obviously a pro-Apple website.

I just want to share my thoughts on the screen sizes of these two devices, and how Apple obviously thinks things through a gazillion times more than anyone else:

The absolute last thing I thought Apple would ever do with the iPhone 5 is change the screen aspect ratio. Look it up on TMO, in forum postings or comments, and you’ll see me saying that more than once. I argued that it would fragment iOS development like Android in fragmented, but I was wrong.

Apple pulled an absolute genius move by taking the existing Retina display and keeping the same width, while adding more height. This means that all previous apps work the same, albeit it letter-boxed, while new apps can simply switch from one screen height to another based on what device is being used.

My favorite iOS app isn’t Angry Birds, but rather Amazing Breaker, like a thinking person’s Angry Birds. Some levels scroll vertically on my 4S, while they wouldn’t on a 5. From developer comments I’ve read, this is a simple software fix. It would seam that Apple found—and continues to find—ways of changing screen resolutions (and now aspect rations) without fragmenting the iOS platform. Is it any wonder that for-profit app makers keep preferring iOS??

Finally, kudos for Apple for improving on the 4/4S design.

eimbier

Bryan, Samsung has been found guilty of copying in a US court, but not in a British, Japanese or Korean courts. 

I have this mindset (see my post above) from articles such as the Economist of Sept 1, and a Wall St. Journal story discussing the great Apple innovative patents in contention:  “black iPhone rounded edges, white iPhone rounded edges, icon styles and layouts, iPad smooth, rectangular form, tap to zoom, touch gestures.”  Why were these issued by the patent office in the first place?  I’m glad Apple hasn’t patented “On” is up and “Off” is down for a light switch.  They could be litigating the GE light switch division.  I had believed that patent law was to give short-term protection to companies with real innovations.

Finally, it was reported that Apple met with Samsung more than a year ago and asked for $20/30 per phone for licensing.  (This is similar to what Adobe once did to Apple, getting about $50 per Laserwriter for Postscript.)

António

I Prefer Galaxy S3, because bigger display and Quad core

spiky

i have been lucky to have tried almost all types of OS from the famed xda 1 which i believe have started the smartphone revolution. i agree with sir bryan saying that in choosing your smartphone will definitely be based on what ecosysytem suits you more. both phones are great in specs and evenly matched but for me the android system is more tweakable (if there is such a word) like what sir moomin said, if you think the stock touchwiz interface does not suit your taste, there are countless options to change it and even have it look like the iphone interface with no jailbreaking. i personally use my phone more of a palmtop computer and the android system suits me more especially when managing numerous files. i can’t help but wonder what will happen if windows 8 for mobile hits mainstream.

lee

I can’t get this to go through, the Samsung Galaxy 3 is DUAL core not quad in the USA

leeb

This is a very good article! Thank You for that. It’s nice to hear user experiences and opinions without just having hate posts which offer no information. We have 7 in our home which equals a fleet of phones. One of the kids wants an Android phone.  I do the ordering and we share a data plan which works out well for us.  The one that wants an Android is one of our sons who is 6’4” and has huge hands!  I like the iPhone for myself, I couldn’t handle a phone that big.  The best deal is for the youngest of our children ( constantly on the phone or texting)  who uses the iPhone 3GS, off contract, unlimited voice/texting for $25 a month.

Curtis

Bryan, this is the best article on the topic of feature comparison of between iPhone 5 and Samsung Galaxy s3. Coming from an obvious pro-Apple site, you gave both excellent devices a very fair assessment of their strengths and weaknesses. And the best thing is, you are very open and upfront about your bias, but at the same time remain objective, which I rarely see in other tech articles on the same topic.

wab95

Excellent review, Bryan.

Even-handed treatment and impartial tone. The conclusion on ecosystem is spot on, certainly for the educated consumer. that so many comment on this being the best review they’ve seen speaks to your integrity.

Well done, sir.

iphonedeoc

Bryan,

Great and balanced.  I think that the major differences between iOS and Android followers boils down to preference.  All of the stats in the world, in my opinion, will never take the place of human experience.  For me, holding an iPhone in my hand and texting and browsing with one hand comfortably takes the place of GB’s, MB’s and Quad/Dual core arguments.  Additionally, the one thing missing from Android, which both Google and Amazon are finally realizing, is the Ecosystem.  Although Android lovers yell and scream about choice and openness of their OS (“The ability to do what I want, when I want) and complain about Apple’s WALLED GARDEN, these companies are realizing that the Ecosystem is the phone.  If the phone cannot fit into the Ecosystem then it doesn’t work.  And from what I am seeing, Android is becoming more locked down.

My phone talks to my AppleTV, my computer, my car, my printer and all other iOS devices at my home and at work.  It’s like a hand in glove.  And because it’s a relatively nice and secure walled garden, I am not as worried about viruses and intruders.  It’s a nice feeling.  Preference is everything.  I just wished that Engadget (the loudest Android voice) and other sites would just calm down.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

Bryan,

An update on DLNA. In the Android marketplace are several third party DLNA server apps, including at least one that has official DLNA certification. The (free) certified one will work with Gingerbread phones and tablets. When active, it registers itself as a DLNA server on your network, and the UI lets you pick a media source and choose a destination device, neither of which needs to be the phone/tablet you’re using. You can browse media on the source and start it playing on the destination. Super easy. And lots of devices and software from lots of different vendors support DLNA. It might already be ubiquitous enough in your own living room.

Sumeet

Thanks Bryan for this review. But let me admit it, while reading anyone can say you are a big Apple fan. Many a times your words for describing android clearly says it!
Yes of course Apple is better than anyone else, but you just can not ignore the hype that S3 has created in the market.
I was hoping that i will not need any comparisons to be made when iPhone 5 will come in market. That will be the best ever in the market. But thing that I am reading your article (and the thing that you are writing it) clearly says S3 is a stronger contestant!

gnasher729

Samsung forgets to mention that they are using a pentile display. That means pixels are not made up of a red, green and blue component as on any LCD screen that you buy, including the iPhone or iPad display, but alternating pixels consist of either a big red and a small green pixel, or a big blue and a small green pixel. There are only two subpixels per pixel instead of three. As a result, it is impossible to display a single black pixels on its own on a pentile display. A single pixel is always either reddish or blueish. Only two pixels together can show as black. And Cleartype font display technology doesn’t work properly either.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

Actually gnasher, the pentile display on the S3 has more small green pixels, with fewer larger red and blue. The reason Samsung gives is that green subpixels burn out more frequently on all display technologies. This arrangement makes the display more robust. You still get three adjacent subpixels per pixel. Subpixel rendering of text needs a tweak for the configuration, but will still work just as well from your eye’s point of view.

Generally, gnasher is right about fuzziness of PenTile displays at lower resolutions, like the 320x480 (3.6”) of the Nexus One. The fuzziness is made up for by the sheer brightness of the AMOLED display. At higher pixel densities, with the phone in a natural use position, you’re eyes aren’t good enough the see the difference.

GaNavy

An interesting article that seems to have a teensy bias built in - which might be expected on a Web site with this name.  I have often thought that Apple doesn’t so much have customers as it has disciples.

But….so I’ve read all abou the “smart” but where’s the “phone”?

I’ll grant that you can’t walk down the street without seeing someone checking Facebook - and have you noticed how much narrower subway station platforms are, now that riders are all using up about a foot of space by carrying their devices in front of them? - but the fact that folks are abandoning their landlines in droves says that many (I’m betting most) of us still think of this device as, first, a phone. 

I own an Android device but am not opposed to switching, and I’m ecumenical in my curiosity about and admiration for Apple products.  For me, though, the threshold issue of the quality of the device as a phone is a deal-maker or -killer.  Both of these devices - indeed, every device from every manufacturer at the price midpoint and above - will do every non-telephonic thing I want my device to do, so the phone quality issue is both a deal-maker and a tie-breaker.  And yes, that question can be answered without regard to who one’s carrier is.

In short, the review, though interesting, does not help me at all with a purchasing decision.

tester

First off I own both apple and PC products…

Love or hate Samsung, this phone is superior over the Iphone 5.  I know Apple consumers have a hard time with this, but the data speaks for itself.  Apple is no longer the king of phones, the droids are producing better phones for a much better value.  If you are purchasing the Iphone 5 you are settling on a product with less features than the S3.  The S3 is a fantastic phone, amazing to say the least…. do yourself a favor and check it out before you have any regrets.

The Apple “followers” will still buy the Iphone 5, but if apple put there logo on a brick they would also buy it and keep it in there house.  They are the peoplpe who camp out to get a new product, seriously!?!?!?! get a life!!!!!  Brilliant marketing on Apple, thats why people are getting rich that work for Apple.  Its time for a change, and change is a good thing.

graxspoo

Hi Bryan, One thing I’m curious about that your article didn’t cover is battery life. I’ve recently switched to an Android phone from an old iPhone, and I’ve found that I need to be a lot more involved in battery management in Android if I want to get decent life out of a full charge. In my experience, battery life on Android depends on what features I have turned on to a greater degree than was the case on the iPhone. Samsung is claiming in an upcoming print ad is claiming 790 hours standby for the Galaxy III, while Apple claims 225 hours for the iPhone 5. Both of these numbers seem wildly optimistic to me, though Apple tends to be fairly honest when reporting numbers like this. Have you run any real-world battery tests on the GIII?

mike

Which phone and OS are less abusive of your privacy? Do Apple/Google track my movements with location services? If I send an email, pay a bill, refill an prescription, send photos and texts to friends, does Apple/Google see it? How long do they keep it? Who do they share it with? How do they protect it from rogue apps? How do they protect it if my phone is stolen?

Annu

Samsung Galaxy S3 is a Good Option..But beware Samsung Galaxy S3 users,As there can be major attack by Hackers.
Check out Major Vulnerably on Samsung Galaxy S3-A line of Code may Wipe out all of Your Data
Malicious code can remotely wipe out data in Samsung Galaxy S III (Major Security Vulnerability resolved by Samsung)

Nick Gruber

The International s3 has quad core (because it doesn’t support 4g lte) and has 1gb ram. The north America version has 2 gb ram and a dual core as well as 4g lte

jasonmovieguy

@tester: We “apple followers” buy Apple products because they are of high quality and we enjoy them. Don’t hate because you don’t understand that people are allowed to have choice.

And you’re dead wrong about the Samsung being the superior phone. Maybe you and all the Droidheads believe that, but this article and COUNTLESS others have all attested that the iPhone is indeed the best in show. And this isn’t because they’re fanboys- it’s been accredited from media outlets and magazines all across the board. In fact, send me a link of an article that says the Samsung wins over iPhone- and a LEGIT article too. I thought so. All you sound like when you say the iPhone isn’t a great phone is a whiny child, upset because their favorite (broken) toy wasn’t picked as the best in the sandbox. People shadow their jealousy with snide and conniving comments like yours. And you just look foolish.

gqninja

@Jasonmovieguy

You’re an idiot and denying obvious facts.

“So when it comes to hardware, the story is pretty much what it always is with Apple and Samsung: Apple wins on design, manufacturing, and elegance, and Samsung wins on size, power, and quantity of specs.”

http://www.imore.com/iphone-5-vs-samsung-galaxy-s3

http://www.t3.com/features/iphone-5-vs-samsung-galaxy-s3/Apple-iPhone-5-vs-Samsung-Galaxy-S3-Part-3

http://www.phonearena.com/reviews/Apple-iPhone-5-vs-Samsung-Galaxy-S-III_id3142

3 Credible reviews telling the facts as they are. Iphone = Pretty/shiny Samsung Galaxy S3 = Performance/ functionality

If you compare the hardware specs side by side it’s undeniable that the Galaxy S3 is the better phone.

GaNavy

@jasonmovieguy -
I don’t think a mere phone is the solution for you….

Didn’t I see you waiting on line in that Samsung commercial?

YIKES!!

dave

• Samsung caught stealing (Patent infringement) they were exploited for cheating and using the engineering of the iPhone. Samsung was found guilty of patent infringement on Apple’s products and have been sued and will have to pay over 1 billion dollars to Apple
• Galaxy s3 is made of cheap plastics, iPhone 5 is made completely of metals and a glass screen
• The Android ecosystem is not centrally organized, or user friendly, it is very open and not as organized
• Apple’s iOS ecosystem is much more integrated, curated, and refined
• S3 has a poor e-mail interface and does not have a multiple selection aspect

Samsung was not creative enough or skilled enough to create a superior product on their own, and without theivery wouldnt even be major a competitor. (2 words: Patent infringement) enough said.

GaNavy

@dave - see my reply to @jasonmovieguy.

Samsung hasn’t yet paid a cent, and I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for them to do so.  Other courts have ruled that Samsung did not infringe Apple’s patents.  As I’ve said before, Apple doesn’t have customers, it has disciples.

Hope you enjoy the headphone jack’s new location.

Me, I just bought an HTC One-X because I’m an Android customer.  But I think my brother’s iPhone is just swell.

One more thing:  it’s a PHONE, folks!  The way the Apple disciples squeal, you’d think someone was insulting their mothers.

john

disciples hahaha, get a life..(Since i cant afford an iphone or the plan, I will use some glorified lingo and all 13 geeks that stumble onto this site will read this and think Im witty, says the pot-belly fat american white-male gaining his only glory from behind his computer screen)

Sincerly,
American non-geek or fat computer douche and Non-Iphone or android user

unbiased

This article is in no way objective or fair. The writer seems to be totally biased towards iphone and anything iXXX.

PS: I own a number of Apple devices. However, I would prefer an unbiased perspective, not this BS story.

Erzhan Utehov

Hello GUYS! Can you give me advice. I don’t know which telephone has more functions and which is more comfortable and which one of is the best - Samsung Galaxy S iii and Iphone 5? I want to buy one of them.

Adith Patria

Well, GS3 with its android is one of the revolutionary mobile OS. It has many features that ios doesn’t have. But Apple’s ios is easy and user friendly, it’s simple and it will always keep it that way while many customization in android. But with the added like micro sd card in GS3, it is one that I can’t live with. So it depends on what purpose on you having your smartphone. Iphone havesolid hardware, you can have it for a long period. I have both devices so I like ‘em both.

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