iPhone 5 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 2

Vs Paul Briden 13:45, 13 Sep 2012

The iPhone 5 squares up to Samsung's Galaxy Note 2 'phablet'

We take a look at the forthcoming Galaxy Note 2 ‘phablet’ to see how it compares with Apple’s iPhone 5.

Form

iPhone 5 - 123.8x58.6x7.6mm, 112g

Samsung Galaxy Note 2 - 151.1x80.5x9.4mm, 180g

The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 follows the company’s Galaxy S3 flagship and the larger Note 10.1 tablet with Samsung’s carefully tailored new style.

The aesthetic includes a metallic surround on the outer edge, a smooth back panel and neatly contoured corners.

Overall however, it is very similar to its predecessor, the original Galaxy Note, though it is a bit bigger and slightly curvier. The bezel around the screen is thinner than before and the solid home button is more rounded. Despite the use of Android 4.1 Jelly Bean the handset still sports capacitive controls on either side of the home button.

The Note 2 is pleasing to the eye, but less so to the hand as, like Samsung’s other recent devices the plastic used has a tacky feeling to it.

Being bigger than the original Galaxy Note, the Note 2 is also going to be more difficult to handle, especially for users with smaller hands. There is also the issue of holding such a large phone to your ear and whether or not this makes you feel daft. If not, more power to you, but otherwise there’s always hands-free kits.

The iPhone 5 is similarly not that much of a re-invention from Apple’s existing catalogue. It’s a bit bigger lengthways to make room for the enlarged 4-inch display and instead of a glass back panel with an aluminium surround you’ve got a complete aluminium unibody.

The charging port is now smaller to work with Apple’s newly designed ‘Lightning’ charging and data cable and the 3.5mm audio jack has been moved from the top panel to the bottom.

It’s worth pointing out that Apple is releasing an adaptor for the Lightning cable which will convert it to Micro USB, although according to reports it will only work as a charger in this mode rather than for transferring data.

In terms of build quality Apple has delivered its usual high standard. The Galaxy Note 2 is not a flimsy device at all but it doesn’t have the same reassuring feel, although it is more visually interesting.

This one’s a draw.

Winner - Draw

Storage

Both handsets have a full set of three options for internal storage: 16GB, 32GB and 64GB. While the iPhone 5 sticks to Apple’s habit of not including Micro SD card support, the Galaxy Note 2 does have a card slot and supports both Micro SD and Micro SDHC, up to 32GB and 64GB respectively.

The Galaxy Note 2 takes the win here easily.

Winner – Samsung Galaxy Note 2

Display

Samsung’s Galaxy Note 2 is larger than its predecessor with a 5.55-inch Super AMOLED display at 1280x720 pixels, which gives a pixel density of 267 pixels-per-inch (ppi).

While it’s not quite up there with Apple’s Retina display in terms of pixel density it’s still extremely high for a touchscreen of this size and delivers fantastic visual quality. The picture is sharp and colours are vivid. It’s also reinforced with Gorilla Glass 2.

Apple has expanded the iPhone’s display from 3.5-inches to an even 4-inches. The scale is certainly nicer to look at for things like web browsing and films, though not as satisfyingly vast as the Note 2’s swathe of glass.

But, on the plus side it hasn’t lost any of its ease-of-use and thumbing your way round the screen with one hand is still a breeze.

In terms of picture quality, Apple has avoided rocking the boat by delivering a similarly high pixel density to the previous, smaller-screened iPhone models.

It’s still an IPS LCD Retina display and has a higher resolution than its predecessors at 1136x640 pixels, giving a pixel density of 326ppi (slightly lower than the previous 330ppi).

Both displays have 16:9 widescreen aspect ratios in landscape orientation.

The question here is whether you want to trade-off some visual clarity for a larger screen and that’s a very personal choice. Both are delivering premium-level display quality so we’re calling it a draw.

Winner – Draw

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