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LisaGModerator
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iPhone 5 vs. Samsung Galaxy S III Comparison Smackdown
      09/25/12 09:52 AM

Here's a topic that can start wars: the iPhone 5 vs. the Samsung Galaxy S III. We've seen a heck of a lot of verbal violence on YouTube and forums, with insults hurtled between folks from both camps. Those of you who know me are aware that I don't start flame wars. I really have no use for them. I'm much more interested in which product can do a better job at the things that are important to me. Personally? I'm mostly an Android user and the Galaxy S III in this video is my own personal device. I also own an HTC One X and have used several Windows Phones. I used an iPhone 4S for 6 months, but the small screen got me down. With the iPhone 5's larger screen and LTE 4G, I'll be carrying both my Android and iPhone 5.




Display

It's a battle between size and quality. Clearly, the 4.8" Samsung Galaxy S III display is significantly larger than the iPhone 5's 4" display. I find the Samsung much more immersive when gaming and watching videos. For me, 4" is the absolute minimum for playing games and watching flicks, so the iPhone 5 is OK, but 4.8" is just awesome. The price you pay? The Galaxy S III is a much larger phone.




The iPhone 5 has Apple's Retina display. Now that's just a marketing name, but it does mean you get 326ppi pixel density (vs. the also impressive 306ppi on the Galaxy S III). More important for this comparison is that the iPhone 5 has an IPS display that's superior to Super AMOLED for white whites, color accuracy, text rendering, brightness and outdoor viewability. I honestly prefer the HTC One X display to the Samsung's, but those of you who were weaned on Samsung's Super AMOLED smartphones might prefer it. Apple's panel simply looks more vibrant, natural and sharp.


Build Quality and Ergonomics

This one doesn't come close. We've given the Galaxy S III a hard time for its materials and slippery design. Samsung is a company that embraces plastics wholeheartedly, and you don't get the quality look of the iPhone 5 (glass and metal) or higher end HTC and Nokia smartphones.




SquareTrade, a company that offers phone warranties, did a drop and household abuse test on the two phones (dropping from waist high onto concrete, dropping in a pool and dropping household objects on the display) and the iPhone 5 won all tests.

Size; you know the deal here: the iPhone 5 is a lot smaller. Both phones are in reality very compact given their respective display sizes. I have big hands and a purse, so I don't mind a big phone. Some of you like to carry your phone in your pocket or have small hands that won't reach across the Galaxy S III's screen. It's a matter of personal preference. Clearly, phablets have taught us that size is personal.


OS, Flexibility and App Selection

There are two camps here: those who want a simple, extremely fast and stable UI and those who want a customizable UI with widgets, various third party launchers and even custom ROMs. Apple's iOS user interface has changed little since 2007. To some, it's become boring as a result (I became bored with it long ago). To others the lack of change and the organic way that Apple bolts on new features is perfect: who has time to learn a new UI and why would I want to mess with what works? Which kind of person are you? Let that guide your smartphone selection.

Yes, the iTunes app store still has more titles than Android, but honestly both have more apps than you'll ever have time to peruse. The staples of modern mobile life are available on both: MS Office compatible suites, Twitter, Facebook, IMDB, Fandango, Nook, Kindle... Games are where iOS pulls wildly ahead, especially games by big name shops. If you're a gamer it's a conundrum: get the iPhone 5 for its much wider game selection but give up the huge screen that can make gaming even more fun. Or... get an iPad!

Battery Life and Camera

Battery life has so far been nearly identical with these two smartphones. The iPhone 5 lasted us about 15 minutes longer on a charge (AT&T and on LTE for both). That's pretty much a dead heat. Of course, Samsung gets serious extra points for the removable battery, which means you can swap in a spare on the road. With the iPhone, you'll need to carry external charging packs, or simply find an outlet or USB port to charge.

Camera? Another tie. Both have excellent rear 8MP cameras with BSI sensors and fast lenses that do well with low light photography. Both can shoot 1080p video. Both can simultaneously record video and shoot photos. Video and photos from both phones are top notch. Both have above average front cameras, though we give the iPhone 5's front camera an edge for very bright video.

Here's our iPhone 5 vs. Samsung Galaxy S III Comparison Smackdown video:








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Lisa Gade
Editor in Chief, MobileTechReview

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