Should I buy the iPhone 5 or the Samsung S3?

Should I buy the iPhone 5 or the Samsung S3

If you’re looking for a smartphone, it’s more than likely that you’re looking at the iPhone 5 and the Galaxy SIII (S3), the current market leaders. The Galaxy SIII is Samsung’s Flagship phone, receiving huge praise from reviewers at places like Cnet, while Apple’s iPhone 5 is the latest iteration of the revolutionary product that created this generation of smartphones. Here’s a comparison of the two, and a little guidance on choosing which is right for you.

The Screen

The SIII boasts a 4.8 inch HD Super AMOLED display. What does that mean? You can watch videos in 720p HD, and it’s incredibly bright. Don’t worry too much about dropping it either because the screen is padded with the super-strong Corning Gorilla Glass 2, designed to withstand tremendous stress. The display has a density of 306 pixels per square inch.

The iPhone 5 features a bright and vivid 4 inch display with a pixel density of 326 pixels per square inch, beating out the S3 in that respect, but due to the smaller display size, it is not a “High Definition” display. Like the SIII, it boasts Gorilla Glass 2, providing ultra protection, and it also boasts 44% greater saturation than the previous model, making it great for viewing family photos and the like. Don’t forget to protect your screen and device with a retro iPhone 5 case from Ace Case.

The Hardware

The iPhone 5 features the 1.3 GHz dual core Apple A6 Processor, while the SIII has either a 1.4 GHz Quad Core or 1.5 GHz dual core depending on the model. Interestingly enough, Apple’s chips are manufactured by Samsung while Samsung outsources their chips mostly to chipmaker Qualcomm. Both processors are good options, but the SIII’s processors are statistically superior. In terms of RAM, the SIII has between 1 and 2 GB of RAM based on the model while the iPhone 5 features 1 GB of DRAM. Once again, both devices lead the industry and both are perfectly acceptable. I’ll go into why these stats are so similar later on.

When it comes to wireless capabilities, the S3 gets complicated. Samsung sells 10+ completely different models around the world. The most common model in the US has HSPA+ and 4G LTE. The iPhone offers a much simpler spread, and supports nearly every standard including HSDPA, HSPA+, and 4G LTE.

One notable difference between the two is size. The SIII is two thirds of an inch wider diagonally which offers benefits when browsing the web, gaming, and watching videos, but can be detrimental in mobile use, and make typing more difficult on the go. It also has an impact on your pocket. Both phones fit comfortably in any pocket, but the size difference is noticeable, and some find the SIII uncomfortable.

The hardware is really comparable, which makes decision making more subjective and reliant on personal preference.

The Camera

Another comparable area is the camera area. Both phones offer 8 Megapixel backside cameras that shoot full HD video. The front side camera of the iPhone 5 has a 1.2 Megapixel camera that shoots 720p HD videos, while the S3’s is 1.9 megapixels and also shoots in 720p.

The Software

The SIII runs Google’s Android 4.1 Jellybean operating system, while the iPhone runs Apple’s iOS 6. The topic of which operating system is better is completely subjective, but there are a few differentiators to help you choose.

  • Open vs “Walled Garden”: Android phones can run any android app by any developer, regardless of credibility or relationship with Google. iOS devices like the iPhone are limited to the apps in Apple’s app store. So what’s the difference? For the average user, very little, as even the vast majority of Android users only download straight from the store. iOS has 700,000+ apps, so it’s no tiny collection, and studies have shown developer quality to be higher as iOS pays better. On Android though, you can find some gem applications that Apple would never allow, such as unlicensed emulators of popular old games, and launchers which change the look and feel of the phone completely. There are even emulators available to make your android phone look like the iPhone. Android apps also have greater access to the phone, which on the bright side means that apps such as cloud syncing and security can run in the background, but it also makes Android phones more susceptible to malware than iOS devices.
  • iOS is simpler, and more polished, making it better for newer users, while Android has a lot of advanced functions that require a higher skill level, but add value for power users.
  • Android offers more choice for the future. There are (literally) hundreds of android devices to choose from, while iOS devices are limited to Apple. Where do you want to invest your money in apps?

The Differences

What you’ll notice is that these phones are extremely similar in hardware statistics. Samsung has a minuscule edge on everything from processor, to overall screen resolution, to the front side camera, but it’s very close. Why? Samsung’s theory is that by offering better statistics, they have a better chance of luring someone away from iOS and onto Android. Honestly they’re both fantastic phones, and I happily use both operating systems, but I think that the operating system is actually the largest differentiating factor in these two high-end phones. Each offers its’ own advantages matching its’ features: The SIII is shown to be more durable thanks to its’ plastic construction, while the iPhone receives high praises for its’ incredibly beautiful and precise design, which isn’t so scratch resistant in certain areas (namely the backside).

I’d advise anyone choosing between the two phones to try both operating systems in stores (i.e Best Buy) and see which you prefer, because the software will have the biggest impact on how you like your smartphone, and which phone will suit you best. Good luck, and happy smartphone hunting! What smartphone do you currently use?

Stella Hart
My name is Stella Hart. The explorer, teacher, and writer. I like discovering new mysteries of the world and sharing them with others.

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