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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

iPhone 5s vs. Galaxy S5

There's no single way to make a great smartphone, and these two phones are a great example of that. One is small (at least by today's standards), with an equally small screen, a premium build, and hardware and software both made by the same company. The other is much bigger, with a spacious screen, plastic finish, and a boatload of eye-catching features.

So which do you go with? Well, I don't believe that there's going to be one universal answer for everyone, so let's take a closer look at what each phone brings to the table, and try to help you to find the phone that works better for you.

Pick each phone up, and you'll immediately see a difference. The Galaxy S5 is 15 percent longer, 24 percent wider, and 7 percent thicker than the iPhone 5s. What that translates to, at least in my hands, is a phone that slides right into the meat of the palm (iPhone) vs. one that I have to stretch my fingers a little to get a good grip around (Galaxy).


Apple is a design-driven company, and I think it shows in the iPhone 5s. Its appearance is starting to look pretty familiar these days (externally, it's almost identical to its predecessor, the iPhone 5). But I think it feels like a higher-end phone than the GS5. You can chalk a lot of that up to the Galaxy S5's faux leather (plastic) finish – with dimples. And the edge of the GS5, which has a metallic look? Well, it's actually made of plastic too.

There's nothing wrong with smartphone-makers slapping plastic chassis onto their devices. But if you're looking for the more premium feel, the iPhone wins this showdown hands-down. The iPhone looks like it was chiseled and crafted from a piece of aluminum, with chamfered edges and a jeweler's attention to detail. And, go figure, it was. The Galaxy S5, from a distance, looks like it might have been made of leather and stainless steel. But when you look closer, you realize that it's all just plastic.

If you can get past the whole looks like one thing, is actually another aspect to the Galaxy S5, then I think its pleather finish is actually pretty comfortable in hand. The slightly soft-touch finish helps to lessen the blow of having to hold such a huge device.

Big phones like the GS5 are now the de facto industry standard, but there's a place for smaller, more compact devices like the iPhone. For starters, it's extremely light (at 112 g, it's 23 percent lighter than the Galaxy). It's also a cinch to use with one hand, and you barely notice it when it's in your pocket.

f Apple's next flagship iPhone has a 4.7-in screen, as Apple's leaky supply chain is suggesting, then I hope the company also keeps a 4-in iPhone around. If Apple does go all-in on big iPhones, then the 5s might be the last terrific smartphone with a 4-in or smaller screen. It's no secret that the tech industry often leans towards "me-too" sameness, but why can't we have great smartphones in all sizes? I see the positives in 4-in phones, 5-in phones, and even larger phablets.
The iPhone's screen is 62 percent as big as the Galaxy S5's
The biggest plus that large phones give you is, of course, plenty of screen real estate. The Galaxy S5's display is big and beautiful. Diagonally, it measures 5.1 inches, with 1,920 x 1,080 resolution. The iPhone's screen is 4 inches, with 1,136 x 640 resolution. To put that in perspective, the iPhone only gives you 62 percent as much screen as the GS5. It also only gives you 35 percent as many pixels (though I don't think that sharpness difference is nearly as noticeable as the size difference). If you're on a mission for maximum screen and maximum crispness, then your choice is clear.
Both phones have great cameras. The GS5 takes shots in a higher resolution (16 MP to the iPhone's 8 MP), which can help if you're blowing up shots to enormous proportions. But it also has one big Achilles' heel. When you fire up the Galaxy S5's camera from the lock screen, it takes a good five or six seconds before it's ready to snap a shot. On the iPhone, I can jump from lock screen to taking a picture in about 2.5 seconds. If you have to wait over twice as long as competing phones to use the Galaxy S5's camera, well, that's a big strike against it.
The Galaxy S5's camera takes five to six seconds to load from the lock screen
The iPhone's camera has a dual-LED flash. What this means is that your flash photography shots are going to look more colorful and balanced (less washed out). The Galaxy S5's camera doesn't have that feature, but I suspect that it's using some software-based processing to try to give its flash shots a similar result (though I still think the iPhone's flash photography looks superior).
The iPhone's 8 MP camera takes great pictures, and launches much quicker than the GS5's
You might have seen some Samsung commercials that advertise a blurred-background photography feature, where you can change your point of focus, on the Galaxy S5. The big drawback to the feature, though, is that your subject has to be very close to the camera. If you want a portrait of someone with a blurred background, then you'll have to hold your Galaxy S5 within 1.5 feet (0.46 m) of your subject's face – with the background at least 3x as far away. It's still a nice feature to have (and the iPhone doesn't have an equivalent shooting mode), but that distance requirement is the kind of detail that Samsung is going to gloss over in its ads.
The Galaxy S5 is water resistant, rated IP67
If you asked me what the Galaxy S5's killer feature is, I'd go with its water resistance. In the last couple of years, several OEMs have made water-resistant phones (most notably, Sony), but we've never seen a phone as high-profile as the Galaxy S5 having the feature onboard. And it's a terrific feature to have.
The GS5 is rated IP67, which means it passed a test where it soaked in 1 meter (3.3 ft) of water for 30 minutes. So you can drop your phone in the sink or toilet, rinse it off when it's dirty, or even tweet from the bathtub. Just make sure its battery and charging covers are sealed shut, and you won't have anything to worry about. The iPhone 5s can't do that.
The most obvious physical difference between the iPhone 5s and the iPhone 5 is the new hom...
The iPhone 5s' killer feature is its Touch ID fingerprint sensor. Biometric sensors are all the rage these days, and I'd say Apple's Touch ID is the best you'll find in a smartphone. The GS5 actually has a fingerprint sensor in its home button as well, but it's a swipe-based scanner. On the iPhone, you merely rest your finger on the home button for a very brief moment.
Both sensors are good, but I find the iPhone's to be quicker and easier to use. You can also scan your print from any angle on the iPhone, while you'll need to swipe your finger from the same general direction every time you use it on the GS5.
Both phones have fingerprint sensors in their home buttons – though we think the iPhone's ...
So what do you do with a fingerprint sensor? Well, the biggest thing right now is using it as a passcode. Set up fingerprint security, choose a secure passcode, and you'll be able to skip the code and unlock the phone with your finger. Anyone else will be shut out.
The iPhone's Touch ID also lets you use your print to authorize iTunes and App Store purchases. Samsung's has a few extra tricks up its sleeve: you can swipe your print to login to PayPal, and it's also integrated with a few third-party apps


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