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iPhone 5 vs Samsung Galaxy S3: Specs & Design Comparison

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What happens when you put Apple and Samsung’s newest smartphones side-by-side? We will find that out today as I thoroughly compare the specs of each phone.

The Samsung Galaxy S3 hit the Northern-American market on July 11th of 2012. Its predecessor was Samsung’s flagship phone, so the S3 sure had some huge shoes to fill. Thus far, sales have ‘dominated’ under Samsung terms, selling 20 million devices since the middle-eastern release in late May.

The iPhone as you may know was just announced at the Apple event on Wednesday. The official release date is set for September 21st and will sell a projected six-million devices over the first three days of sale. Everything related to the device specs have already hit the public, so let’s begin our comparison.

The Display & Design

The iPhone 5 sports a display size of 4-inches with the S3 being much larger at 4.8-inches. The resolution for both devices stands at 16:9. If you enjoy watching movies, that is great news because a 16:9 resolution is the native resolution for television and movies.

If you’re looking for display quality, Apple’s phone has 326 ppi and the S3 trails slightly below at 308 ppi. But it has been said the human eye cannot depict pixilation past the 300 ppi mark, making both phones nearly equal.

The iPhone 5 utilizes a new in-cell LCD panel that combines the display with the touch sensors allowing for a slimmer device. Currently the S3 uses a Super AMOLED display. I determined that both displays are pretty much equal in technology.

The shape of the iPhone 5 remains the same as the past two iPhones, being rectangular with curved edges. With the Galaxy S3, the phone has a similar shape but the screen is wider and the edges are much more curved.

May we also bring up that the Samsung Galaxy S3 display withstood a drag-race? That is just how strong the glass display on the phone is.

Weight & Size

We mentioned above that the size of the S3 was much larger than the iPhone. We have a few photos of the S3 on this post, but the actual size is hard to determine unless you have the chance to hold it in your hand. Some people find that a 4.8 inch screen is too large; hence the iPhone’s 4-inch screen is perfect. So before you buy a phone, try it out in the store.

As for the thickness, the iPhone 5 happens to be the overall thinnest phone on the market. Standing at 7.6 mm, the S3 is 1 mm thicker at 8.6 mm. Some people actually have said the iPhone 5 is becoming too thin.

The weights of the two phones are closely comparable, as the iPhone 5 holds at 3.95 ounces and the S3 at 4.7 ounces. This wouldn’t be a deciding factor on the purchase, but it’s great to know.

Storage

The iPhone 5 comes with storage options of 16 GB, 32 GB, and 64 GB. It is very convenient for users who want a wide range of storage options, but the S3 has an even better storage concept. With the S3, users can purchase either the 16 GB or 32 GB model. That’s not all; a microSD slot can hold up to 64 GB of external storage.

Processing, Speed & Internet

The iPhone comes packed with an all-new chip called the “A6” processor. Apple has produced their own systems-on-a-chip for the past three years. The latest A6 addition is thought to be a dual-core using two ARM Cortex A15 cores. The amount of RAM on-board is likely 1 GB, an upgrade from the 4S.

Handing the spotlight over to Samsung, the S3 uses a Qualcomm S4 1.5 GHZ dual-core processor. Even more impressive; it packs 2 GB of RAM.

Included on both devices is the capability to run on LTE networks. If you’re in an area without LTE coverage you may instead purchase a 3G package.

Camera

The camera may be the most important feature of the phone to specific buyers. We bring our phones literally everywhere, and they are being used to take pictures more than physical cameras.

The iPhone 5 and S3 have similar camera hardware, both shooting 8 megapixel shots and 1080p video. Furthermore, they both have the ability to enter panorama photo mode. I would say that neither camera is better than the other based off of photos available on the internet.

Battery

With past Apple phones, many users complained about battery life, especially promptly after the iPhone 4S release. With the iPhone 5, it was promised the phone would receive a hefty 8 hour battery life while connected to LTE, or 40 hours of audio. Apple never specifically stated the battery size, however the mainly correct rumours have suggested 1430 mAh.

The Samsung Galaxy S3 battery seems outstanding. According to past reviews, the phone has 22 hours talk time and 800 hours standby. The official size of the battery is 2100 mAh; evidently larger than the suspected iPhone 5 battery

 iOS Or Android

With the iPhone running iOS and the S3 running Android 4.1, we had to bring this topic up. They both have positives and negatives, but the largest difference between Android and iOS is the landing page, also known as the home screen. Android allows users to have widgets, such as the weather and time, while iOS is simply full of small individual icons.

The Android operating system is run on thousands of different devices. When you download an application from the Google Play store, we can’t guarantee the quality will be top-notch. An application may be optimized for a 1280 x 720 device, but you have a 1024 x 600 device. This will ultimately mean bad quality.

So, What Phone Should I Buy?

Well, without a doubt, these two phones are very popular. The displays are amazing and nearly equal in quality. The iPhone is lighter, although both are very lightweight phones. To those needing more than 64 GB of storage, the S3 is perfect. The processing and cameras are near equal.

If you’re looking for a lightweight phone with a huge screen and expandable storage option, the Samsung Galaxy S3 may be the perfect fit. While on the other hand, the iPhone would be perfect for consumers looking for a lightweight phone with a smaller screen.

Also whether you want an iOS or Android phone will be a huge decision factor. I would suggest you play around with Android 4.1 on the Galaxy S3 at a local carrier’s store.

[photo via CNET]

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  • A very good, non-biased review. I think you hit it on the head – it all comes down to personal preference, since the phones are so similar. Personally I still think iOS provides the best overall user experience, and thus I’ll be sticking with my iPhone!

  • aRhyno

    i have to agree, iv been using an android for a week now and i tend to like ios a little better, but the sd card and bigger screen are starting to attract me to a S3

  • I think the large screen is a plus on the S3, but when you hold it in you hands it feels bulky and not so easy to use with one hand. On the other hand, having the option to upgrade your storage capacity with an SD Card it’s a good deal. Specially when apps are becoming bigger every day. A 32GB SD Card doesn’t cost you $100 dollar more than a 16GB.

    IMO the iPhone 5 screen approach is the right one, you can get a taller screen without having to sacrifice the use of one hand.

  • pegger1

    For me I don’t like the bigger screen of the S3 but would like the SD card slot.

  • kyuusei

    I don’t like holding the S3 🙁 It feels like a small tablet, but then again I have pretty small hands. I can’t comment on the Android OS, but I’m so used to/okay with iOS that switching would be too weird and a huge adjustment. The S3 is a bit cheaper though, and there’s the SD card option.

    ….but I want an iPhone. Haha.

  • RyanStOnge

    When trying it out in stores it sure does feel different than the iPhone 4S. It just really depends on what screen size you prefer.

  • RyanStOnge

    I agree, thanks for the input. I personally could use either the iPhone 5 or S3, it all comes own to personal preference.

  • RyanStOnge

    Thanks! I personally love iOS, everything about it has always attracted me. The main interface on many Android devices just looks plain boring, but the features available sometimes top the iPhone, such as expandable storage.

  • iPhone5preferred

    I agree. As well, I’ve paid for a lot of Apps (most are free) and don’t really want to have to re-buy the same ones.

  • djepsilon

    Samsung has been making great phones lately, can’t deny that. But for a heavy Mac user like me, it’s not even an option. I plugged a friends SII into my Mac the other day… Wanna know what happened? Nothing. Computer wouldn’t even recognize the phone. I know there are a whole lot of plug-ins for Macs that you can get to make Android phones play nice, but I want my stuff do be streamlined out of the box. iCloud is actually the really the big seller for me. Keeps my work and home life organized and fluid!

  • paul

    “The Android operating system is run on thousands of different devices. When you download an application from the Google Play store, we can’t guarantee the quality will be top-notch. An application may be optimized for a 1280 x 720 device, but you have a 1024 x 600 device. This will ultimately mean bad quality.”

    its hard to blame a platform for developers not using the proper API. Now that iPhones come in multiple resolutions why doesn’t this also apply to iOS?

  • Morridin19

    Having just switched from an iPhone 3gs to the Samsung galaxy s3. In my opinion android has way more features for getting information quickly and easily and automating functions, while ios is more user friendly, but very plain and boring.

    When the iPhone has expandable memory, the ability to send personalized automatic text message replies dependant on my location and calendar appointments, and widgets so I don’t have to waste time opening an app to get the info I want quickly I am going to stick with android or try windows phone.

  • Steve Jobs

    So many people with apples for brains…
    Androids widgets, Flash video support, huge selection of devices for everyone, mass amounts of free apps are some of many things Apple users don’t even realise their neutered brick like devices are missing. Better voice input, better sync and slicker interface are a few indisputable facts if you take the apples out of your eys and ears.

    There is good reason why Android has 70% of the market and growing fast….

  • aRhyno

    I just tried a S3, and i wasnt even able to drag the notifications bar down with one hand, it turned me away from it fast. i had to hold it like a tablet in order to use it properly and thats not a phone, . i have tried the S2, and feel thats actually a really good screen size. i think 4.2 – 4.4 would be just about right. i will probably go to a iphone 5. had the 4 for 2 years and i liked the os.

  • jay17

    I think this is the first time I’ve seen people comment on the whole Android vs iPhone topic with non-biased opinions and it’s refreshing. I don’t really have anything to add, just that I’m really sick of the debate! Personally I am an iOS user, but definitely see the pro’s and con’s to both droid and iOS. If I had the money I would definitely rock an SIII and an iphone 5!

  • ANDY

    I am just waiting for Galaxy Note 2… I have iphone 4 but like When i saw iphone 5 i got disappointed….

  • Paul 2

    Because iOS automatically Letter Boxes apps not optimized for the new resolution.. Android Doesn’t.

  • Paul 2

    Flash is no longer support on Android by Adobe BTW. So your statement about flash on android is false. When Google releases the latest Jelly Bean iOS is your phone automatically able to be upgraded with ease? or are you at the mercy of your manufacturer ie LG, Samsung, etc those that make so many models of phone that it takes them forever or fornever to create an update.

  • Guest

    I’m curious if the author recently bought an S3? seems like you were quick to hype up the samsung but left you some important info about the iPhone.
    First, samsung’s displays are notoriously over saturated. Not a terrible thing, but its likely that the iphone will have better color accuracy.
    Second, I feel you really should emphasize that IF the iphone5 is based on A15 architecture that is a SIGNIFICANT improvement over all the other dual cores, including the snapdragon. Since there is more and more evidence pointing at a cortex-A15 architecture its not unreasonable to assume the the iphone will easily beat the dual core S3 in processing power.
    Third, while the S3 does have expandable storage you should point out that this requires it to run two different file system. Making it slower and less secure. This is a big part of why Google dropped the SD slot on the Nexus.

  • xxxJDxxx

    I’m curious if the author recently bought an S3? seems like you were quick to hype up the samsung but left out some important info about the iPhone.

    First, samsung’s displays are notoriously over saturated. Not a terrible thing, but its likely that the iphone will have better color accuracy.
    Second, I feel you really should emphasize that IF the iphone5 is based on A15 architecture that is a SIGNIFICANT improvement over all the other dual cores, including the snapdragon. Since there is more and more evidence pointing at a cortex-A15 architecture its not unreasonable to assume the the iphone will easily beat the dual core S3 in processing power.
    Third, while the S3 does have expandable storage you should point out that this requires it to run two different file system. Making it slower and less secure. This is a big part of why Google dropped the SD slot on the Nexus.

  • kev

    I was expecting a very biased review that slammed the S3 and praised all things Apple, but that was clearly not the case. I’m quite impressed with how well this was written up. You’ve done a great job of actually comparing the major aspects of each phone without sounding biased one way or the other. Excellent work.

  • josh

    Uh? Easy to sync? Your joking right? I had a s3 for 2 days and it took me those full 2 days to try and sync it with my Mac plus numerous “itunes” equivalent programs which all crashed or wouldn’t even see the phone connected. Only to read on Samsungs site official words that the s3 has an issue connecting with Mac computers. No thanks! Took it back, can’t wait for the ip5.

  • Martel Lango

    Haven’t you heard that android 4.1 jelly bean is compatible with Flash. The S3 did Not lose flash.

  • bradg17

    amen!

  • Unbiased_is_nice_to_see

    It is refreshing to see a non-biased review between Samsung and Apple. The typical Apple Fan Boy Delusion is getting old and pathetic, particularly after Apples’s petty joke patent suits.
    Good job on a great review. I have been an iPhone user for a few generations, but given the time I have spent with a few friends Samsung Androids I will definitely be going with an Android when my current contract is up.

  • BigEars

    You did not mentioned IPhone will always drop calls. And also S3’s batteries are replaceable.

  • RyanStOnge

    I know, I could’ve went on forever on the features but I decided to go with a basic overview. I left some discussion for the comments too 🙂

  • streetlogic

    Your an idiot got both phones and the s3 is smoother and faster then the iPhone 5 plus you can do way more with Android and expandable sd card is awesome feature iPhone sucks ass

  • streetlogic

    Your an idiot I got the s3 and have flash support moron

  • streetlogic

    Cuz iTunes and macs suck

  • xxxJDxxx

    According to benchmarks you are wrong. I’ve also used the s3 and found it noticeably laggier. Try opening Facebook and see how quickly and smoothly you can scroll through your newsfeed. Also saying the iPhone “sucks ass” is pretty good evidence of your intelligence and maturity level.

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