Android fans are on the warpath.

The reason? Benchmarks are flowing in, and this is what (most) of them say: the iPhone 5 is faster and more powerful than the Samsung S3, the world’s unofficial Android champion. Apple fans are throwing benchmarks around, and Droids are replying in kind. So is the iPhone really better? Let’s have a look – at both sides of the equation.

The CPU

iPhone5 vs Galaxy S3: A comparison 14This is where it starts. The S3’s Exynos 1400 Mhz quad core quad-core processor is a point of pride for Samsung users, so let’s pit it against the iPhone’s chip. What is the iPhone running? Something quite new and uniquely Apple.  While almost every manufacturer uses processor designs licensed from ARM, the processor design company, Apple has gone and made their own custom CPU: the A6, a dual core, 1.02 Ghz processor with 3 GPU cores.

In benchmarks, the iPhone 5’s A6 outperforms every other Apple device to date by a factor of two. It also performs alarmingly close to Samsung’s S3. Benchmarks are basically stress tests covering various fields, so they’re a good indicator of performance. What we see in benchmarks is the dual-core A6 almost catching upto the quad-core Exynos in the Geekbench test , and actually surpassing it in certain benchmarks like Sunspider.  It certainly looks like Apple’s focus on design has paid off.

This is bad news for Samsung. Run, Droids. A dual-core CPU just points behind a quad-core is unheard-of. In terms of computing, the A6 architecture is clearly a great deal more efficient than the Exynos: one point up for the iPhone.

 

The OS

Android vs ios is the raging issue here. In terms of performance, Apple’s offering is expected to be marginally faster, seeing as it’s running on Apple’s own chip design. It certainly boots up faster and (compared to Android) is lag-free. There’s probably less virtualization hogging up the processor – but there aren’t any true benchmarks measuring how good the ios fares against the ice cream sandwich.

There’s volumes that can be spoken on this subject, but let’s disregard the similarities and look at the root. Android is so much more open and more flexible: in terms of sheer customization, Android wins out this time. Visually, the iOS is losing appeal: Android has more to offer in comparison. The age-old argument of “not enough apps” doesn’t apply any more, either, with both app markets touting similar numbers. In a battle of closed software versus open, Android is pulling ahead.

 

Connectivity and storage

The iPhone beats the S3 in storage. 64 GB internal storage vs 32 GB: though you can amend the situation somewhat by plugging in a MicroSD card to the S3, it’s not enough.  Look on the network side and you get 100 Mbp/s download speeds on the iPhone vs 21 Mbp/s on the S3. Of course, that speed counts for nothing: you have to have network support for it to be useful. If you’re on Sri Lankan networks, upload/download speeds are pretty much the same for both devices.  Both have LTE 4G support, WiFi, and Bluetooth 4.0. The S3 also has NFC – near-field communications – that’s almost science-fiction as far as Sri Lanka is concerned.  From a practical user’s viewpoint? They’re almost the same.

 

The screen and the camera

The iPhone 5’s screen is shorter, narrower, and basically smaller than that of the Samsung S3. If screen real estate is your thing, the S3 wins. The iphone claims marginally more pixel density (326 ppi vs 313ppi), but the 4.8 inch AMOLED dishes out than the iPhone can bring to the table. In terms of cameras, however, Apple wins. The Samsung S3’s camera quality is at times barely comparable to that of the iPhone 4s. The iPhone’s bare-bones 8 MP sensor grabs better looking images with 0.11 second less shutter lag. In terms of software features, Samsung’s camera is better equipped. Ultimately it’s still down to snapping good pictures…

 

And everything else . . .

Now that the biggest points are out of the way, we come to the small details that often tip the scales: weight, build quality. Unfortunately for Samsung lovers (and fortunately for Apple fans), the Apple iPhone wins out here. It’s lighter, less of a hassle to hold, and has a higher build quality than the S3. It even survives drop tests better and touts three microphones for better sound quality. It looks fat in photographs, but it’s 1 mm thinner (which isn’t a great deal).

Now the S3’s turn. Does it play Flash? Yes, it does, and the iPhone doesn’t. It has a removable battery, a MicroSD slot, HDMI input – and most of all – it can be charged via the usual micro-usb data cable: Apple’s love of arcane, specialized jacks hasn’t changed, and it’s irritatingly inconvenient.

If you’re into small details, these are crucial. Hardware-wise, the iPhone 5 is indeed superior in many aspects to the Samsung S3 – in fact, we’d be disappointed if Apple made crappy hardware: the iPhone is sleeker, lighter, tougher, and its tech is far more efficient than the S3. Look at it from a software perspective, and a reversal occurs: the Samsung + Android combo has more going for it than it’s i-Cousin, which is less open, less customizable, and more bare-bones in comparison. The Apple App Store isn’t necessarily better than the Google Play: most of those app-numbers are annoying fart simulators – and of course, Ios 6 maps vs the good ol’ Google Maps isn’t even a competition.  

Ultimately, it’s down to you: there’s no clear winner unless you step back from the facts to indulge in fanboyism. Everything boils down to two superbly competent, powerful smartphones, one with comparatively better hardware, the other with better software. Who won? Who lost? Hardware or software?

You decide.  

 

9 COMMENTS

    • Unfortunately, there’s no clear-cut proof of anyone copying anybody. Touchscreens were around long before iPhones, and each successive generation of smartphones inherits the best features of the ones before them. Both smartphones have unique, often pioneering features.

      If you refer to companies, then Samsung was around long before Apple ever looked at a mobile device.

  1. "The iPhone beats the S3 in storage." – Cannot accept this. There was 64GB S3 variants also author says "MicroSD card to the S3, it’s not enough" but micro SD deals a lot here. Imagine S3 with 64GB internal + 64GB microSD = 128GB (Maximum memory capacity). But iPhone only 64GB internal.

  2. Quantity is not a measure of Quality. People measure a good phone in terms of which has the most number of cores, biggest screen, largest app store, most customizable and so on. Neither of these things can gauge a true experience. Anyone can make a big screen in a plastic enclosure. Get your records straight Mr. Author. When apple introduced the iphone in 2007 they really reinvented the phone. I am talking about the concept of putting together (as u say already invented technology) in a usable, functional and most importantly emotional package. They use what we call as designers "emotional design" which is the perfect balance between function and aesthetics. Samsung on the other hand are like the song "Gangnam style" which was popular (quantity) but had no core value. I'm afraid how large the S5 will be! That been said, as for the Android scene HTC seem to be playing well.
    Btw enjoy ur articles- Andy

    • I agree with your view Andy Evan, but the reality is that the world will move where the majority wants it to move. Even though the grandfather clock had historical value, design superiority and emotional attachment, no one was able to stop the invasion of wrist watches because it had ease of access, affordable and sometimes included more features. That doesn't necessarily mean that the previous is inferior, but the latter more popular!

      I wouldn't disagree that Apple reinvented the phone and created a revolution in the past, but I wouldn't deny either that Samsung is taking control of the limelight the "Gangnam Style" way. Whether its great or not boils down to personal preferences 🙂

      • Thanx for your reply. Apple is not my brand to defend. But i say the "majority" is almost always not the right way to go. I agree about personal preference. You can argue about a casio watch that has a million features, but the guy with a Patek Philippe may win the girl 🙂
        You could either choose to look stupid having a 5"+ device on your year or look smart and stop caring about shit that doesn't matter.

  3. In my opinion Galaxy S3 is far better than than the iPhone.

    Android is customisable and most of the cool apps are free!

    Personally I really like the Super AMOLED HD screen, because the colours are really good.

    and the Galaxy S3 is really cost effective.

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