If there’s one company which can stand up to the might of the iPhone it’s Samsung, and the new Galaxy S5 should be enough to strike fear into Apple’s core.
The iPhone 5S sits at the very top of the market and it’s tremendously popular. However, it’s a 2013 phone and Samsung’s come into 2014 all-guns blazing by both improving on what it achieved with its Galaxy S4 flagship and even taking some features from the 5S itself.
Both phones will exist at the top of the market as direct competitors, at least until the iPhone 6 arrives. The biggest differentiating feature is the operating system that each uses, but the Galaxy S5 is newer and that can count for a lot.
The iPhone 5S has a 4-inch 1136 x 640 IPS LCD display with a pixel density of 326 pixels per inch. It’s a great screen, but we’ve seen better and the Galaxy S5’s 5.1-inch Full HD Super AMOLED 415 ppi display certainly falls into the better camp.
If there’s one thing Apple knows, it’s design. The iPhone 5S’s two-tone aluminium and glass back looks great. Our only real complaint is that it’s much the same design as we saw on the iPhone 5.
Unfortunately the Samsung Galaxy S5 just can’t compete here, as it’s still rocking a plastic back like its predecessor. That said it has an attractive perforated design and feels fairly solid.
This is probably the biggest difference between the two phones. The iPhone 5S runs iOS 7, which is slick, intuitive and takes some of the best ideas from Android to create its Control Centre while remaining just as easy to use as iOS of old.
The Samsung Galaxy S5 runs Android 4.4 KitKat overlaid with the company’s TouchWiz interface. It’s arguably not as intuitive or good looking as iOS 7 but as its Android it’s a lot more customisable and open.
While the iPhone 5S doesn’t have bad battery life its 1560 mAh juice pack isn’t great either. It can potentially last for weeks on standby but actually using the thing sees it drop far faster than the likes of the HTC One or LG G2.
The Samsung Galaxy S5 is likely to fare better, as it has a far bigger 2800 mAh battery and also includes a powerful battery saver mode, which can bring the power usage down to the absolute minimum when activated.
The iPhone 5S uses Apple’s dual-core 1.3GHz 64-bit A7 processor and 1GB of RAM. That 64-bit chip ensures that it’s far faster than previous iDevices and stands up well to high-end Android phones too.
On paper the Samsung Galaxy S5 should be quite a bit better as it has a 2.5GHz quad-core Krait chip and 2GB of RAM, but until we’ve put it through its paces we won’t be able to say for sure.
Aside from the 64-bit processor, the biggest selling point of the iPhone 5S is probably its Touch ID fingerprint scanner. Just rest your finger on the home button and it will unlock the phone and it can also be used to replace your iTunes password, so tedious password typing is a thing of the past. The M7 motion co-processor is pretty cool too as it allows the phone to double as a fitness tracker, registering all your movements without draining the battery.
The Galaxy S5 takes a leaf out of Apple’s book by including a fingerprint scanner of its own. It also has a heart rate monitor and an improved S Health app, making it similarly useful for fitness fanatics, a download booster which combines 4G and Wi-Fi for extra speed and it’s IP67 certified dust and water resistant.
The iPhone 5S is one of the best camera phones around, thanks to an 8-megapixel snapper which comes close to the sharpness of the Galaxy S4 and the low-light performance of the HTC One, along with a ‘True Tone’ flash, which does a great job of reproducing colours accurately. The iPhone 5S can also shoot video in 1080p and has a 1.2-megapixel front-facing camera.
The Samsung Galaxy S5 has far more megapixels – 16 to be precise. It’s also very fast, as it can take pictures in just 0.3 seconds, allows you to alter the focus of a shot after taking it and it has a real-time HDR mode, which shows you how HDR will affect a picture before you take it. It can shoot videos at up to 4K and it has a 2.1-megapixel front-facing camera, so on paper at least it should out-snap the iPhone 5S.
The biggest security feature of the iPhone 5S is the aforementioned Touch ID scanner. It works really well, though it’s not actually any more secure than a pin or password as there’s no way to disable them as an alternate option.
The Samsung Galaxy S5 has the standard Android security features, such as a pin, pattern or password but like the iPhone 5S it also has a fingerprint scanner. Both phones embed them into the home button, but while with the iPhone 5S you just rest your finger on the button, on the Galaxy S5 you have to swipe it down. It works well enough but seems less accurate than Apple’s one and still requires you to press the home button first to wake the screen up.
The iPhone 5S is still a fantastic phone. We’re hoping for and expecting a redesign on the iPhone 6, but in the meantime it’s a handset for Apple fans to be proud of.
However, its competition just got a lot tougher thanks to the Samsung Galaxy S5. Both are top-end handsets, aimed at users who want the best phone around or just have money to burn, but, on paper at any rate, the Galaxy S5 sounds a little bit more impressive and is likely to be a tempting prospect for all but the biggest Apple fans.
Other than the operating system the only real reason to plump for the iPhone 5S instead is the screen size. The Galaxy S5 is ideal for video and web browsing, but the smaller screen on the iPhone 5S makes it more pocket friendly and easier to use one-handed.
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