iPhone 5 vs Samsung Galaxy S3
The Apple iPhone 5 takes on Samsung's million-selling Galaxy S3
We see how the iPhone 5 stacks up against its bitter rival, the Samsung Galaxy S3.
iPhone 5 - 112g
Samsung Galaxy S3 - 136.6x70.6x8.6 mm, 133g
The Samsung Galaxy S3 is one of those phones where consumers have overlooked its faults in alarming numbers because the overall package is appealing and cohesive.
Our view has remained that it’s in the external build where the Galaxy S3 disappoints, while everything else is gravy.
Not that there’s anything wrong with the aesthetic, of course, as usual Samsung has exhibited a flair for design in the visual sense – gentle curves, chrome accents, neat proportions and a thin, evenly spaced bezel around the touch display – it’s ticking the right boxes.
But it’s when you get the device in your hands that the veneer fades somewhat. While Samsung’s choice of plastic materials has, so far, stood the test of time on the durability front, that doesn’t make the sensation of cheap-feeling plastic any more pleasant even if you’re safe in the knowledge it isn’t going to crack.
We complained about the relatively poor-feeling plastic on the Galaxy S2 and hoped Samsung would up its game with the successor model but, if anything, it’s actually got worse.
Enter the iPhone 5. Apple excels on many fronts and one of these is the build quality. It is reassuringly robust and uses materials with a very premium feel to them.
The handset has a unibody aluminium construction and the usual Gorilla Glass face.
Aesthetically Jonathan Ive’s iconic style is still present and correct, as was expected, but thankfully it has been given a bit of a refresh.
The already mentioned use of an aluminium unibody is just for starters, it’s been stretched and fitted with a new set of vents at the bottom, giving a quasi-industrial look which is quite punchy.
We’ll cover the touchscreen in more detail in the display section but suffice to say its larger 4-inch proportions do change the overall style of the phone, but for the better in our view as it gives the device more presence.
The only other notable external changes are the new charging port at the bottom, which infuriatingly still isn’t Micro USB despite the introduction of an EU requirement, and the fact that the 3.5mm audio jack has been moved from the top panel to sit alongside it.
The question is: is the relatively mild makeover significant enough? Our answer: not really. The change isn’t dramatic enough to cure our iFatigue.
We find the Galaxy S3 more visually appealing but the iPhone 5 has a higher-quality build, meaning we can only call this one a draw.
Winner - Draw
Samsung’s 4.8-inch Super AMOLED is still the larger screen here, it sports Corning Gorilla Glass 2, a 1280x720 pixel resolution and a pixel density of 306 pixels-per-inch (ppi).
Visuals are very crisp with excellent colour, contrast and brightness. There really isn’t anything to complain about.
The iPhone 5’s screen size may have expanded from previous iPhone models but it’s still quite reserved in scale at 4-inches.
Still, this is a nice size in terms of handling and usability and the moderate scale means Apple can squeeze a high 326 ppi pixel density out of its 1136x640 pixel resolution.
As usual, it uses Apple’s IPS LCD Retina technology for some fantastic visual clarity and colour.
Once again, there are no complaints, but in terms of raw pixel count the iPhone 5 has a clear advantage here.
Winner – iPhone 5
Apple has stuck to its habit of offering three flavours of storage capacity: 16GB, 32GB and 64GB, with a price that scales alongside. As with previous iDevices, there’s no sign of Micro SD capability.
Samsung’s Galaxy S3 has the same options for 16GB, 32GB and 64GB, although the 64GB model is yet to surface on the UK market, Samsung itself has confirmed it will arrive at some point this year.
However, the Galaxy S3 has the key advantage of storage expansion via Micro SD and Micro SDHC for cards up to 32GB and 64GB respectively.
Samsung takes the winner’s podium for this round.
Winner – Samsung Galaxy S3