Samsung Galaxy S5 vs. Apple iPhone 5s

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Apple’s iPhone and Samsung’s Galaxy have long been fighting to be the best premium handset on the market, and Samsung is starting the next round in style with the Galaxy S5. The company’s new flagship has incorporated many features that made the iPhone 5s a hit, including a fingerprint scanner and gold skin, while adding more camera features and an improved fitness app. The S5 is a technical powerhouse that outspecs the iPhone 5s in many categories, but does that mean it’s right for you? Here’s our side-by-side breakdown.

 

galaxy-s5

s5

 

Samsung Galaxy S5

Apple iPhone 5s

Display

5.1 FHD Super AMOLED 1920 x 1080

4-inch 1136 x 640 multi-touch display

Processor

2.5-GHz quad-core Snapdragon 801

64-bit A7 processor

RAM

2GB

1GB

Storage

16GB/32GB (expandable to 64GB)

16GB/32GB/64GB

Video

30 fps 1080p video, real-time HDR

30 fps 1080p video, 120 fps slow-motion video at 720p

Connectivity

802.11 a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0

802.11 a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0

Operating System

Android 4.4.2 KitKat

Apple iOS 7

Camera

16-MP rear, 2.1-MP front

8-MP rear, 1.2-MP front

Size

5.59 x 2.85 x 0.32 inches

4.87 x 2.31 0.3 inches

Weight

5.11 ounces

3.95 ounces

Battery

2800mAh (390 hrs standby, 21hrs talk time)

1560 mAh (250 hrs standby, 10 hours talk time)

Fingerprint scanner

Yes

Yes

 Design

Samsung Galaxy S5 design

If bigger is better to you, you’ll still prefer the latest Galaxy over Apple’s iPhone 5s. The handset measures in at 5.59 x 2.85 x 0.32 inches and 5.11 ounces, making it taller, wider and heavier than the 4.87 x 2.31 x 0.3-inch, 3.95-ounce iPhone 5s.  

The Galaxy S5 has a new soft-touch design, with textured dots strewn across the backside for extra grip. By comparison, the iPhone 5s is made of aluminum and glass. The S5′s entire backside can be removed to switch the battery, something you can’t do with the iPhone 5s.

Samsung may have caught a whiff of Apple’s gold fever, as there will be a gilded version of the Galaxy S5 to go head-to-head against Apple’s gold iPhone 5s. The Samsung phone will also ship in Charcoal Black, Shimmery White and Electric Blue, giving it an extra color over the iPhone 5s’ Space Gray and Silver.

MORE: Samsung Galaxy S5 Hands-On

Display

galaxy s5 3

With a 5.1-inch, 1920 x 1080 super AMOLED display, the Galaxy S5′s screen is bigger and sharper than the 4-inch, 1136 x 640 one found on the iPhone 5s. The S5 packs an ambient light sensor that will automatically adjust your brightness and contrast ratio based on your surroundings. The small screen on the iPhone 5s is starting to show its limitations compared to larger Android competitors, but its 500 lux brightness rating makes it one of the brightest handsets we’ve ever tested.  

Specs

The Galaxy S5 is powered by a 2.5-GHz quad-core Snapdragon 801 CPU with 2GB of RAM. By comparison, the iPhone 5s is backed by Apple’s 64-bit A7 CPU with 1GB of memory. The iPhone 5s ships with either 16GB, 32GB, or 64GB of storage, while the Galaxy S5 will launch in 16GB and 32GB models with the option to expand to 64GB via microSD.

Software

Galaxy s5 4

The Galaxy S5 will ship with Android 4.4.2 KitKat featuring Samsung’s TouchWiz skin. The latest update to Google’s mobile OS adds voice-command Google searches and an immersive mode for viewing full-screen content without any distractions. KitKat automatically sorts your contacts by who you call the most, and the revamped Hangouts app brings all of your online chats and text messages into one place.

Samsung’s S Health fitness app has been refreshed for the S5, which now lets you measure your heart rate by simply placing your finger on a monitor next to the phone’s rear LED flash. The app will use your heart rate to give you workout suggestions mid-routine, and will sync with your Gear 2, Gear Neo or Gear Fit watch.

The iPhone 5s runs iOS 7, which brings a minimalist design and several new apps to Apple’s flagship. The Control Center provides an Android-esque settings menu for adjusting brightness and Wi-Fi with a few quick swipes, while the new Notification Center puts all of your appointments and messages on a single screen. Apple’s virtual assistant Siri now provides a wider range of answers, and the revamped Safari app makes Web browsing on the iPhone an easier, cleaner experience. Unlike Samsung, Apple doesn’t have a proprietary fitness app. 

Camera

The Galaxy S5′s 16-MP rear camera has double the megapixels of the iPhone 5s’ 8-MP lens, making it the clear winner in terms of sheer detail. The S5′s 2.1-MP front-facing camera slightly trumps the 5s’ 1.2-MP FaceTime lens.

Samsung claims that the S5′s camera has an autofocus speed of 0.3 seconds, with real-time HDR for capturing natural light and color. The S5 touts a Selective Focus feature, which allows users to highlight a specific object or person in a photo while blurring out the background. The Shot and More function allows you to add filters and effects to a photo after you’ve taken it, and you’ll be able to download extra filters to augment your photo options.

Despite a weaker lens, the iPhone 5s is still no slouch when it comes to photos. The handset’s dual LED True Tone flash allows you to better capture natural skin color, and the added burst mode will automatically take a series of images back-to-back and find the best one for you. The phone sports auto image stabilization for shaky one-handed shots, and can shoot panorama images at 30 frames per second.

The iPhone 5s and Galaxy S5 both shoot standard video at 1080p, though only the iPhone 5s has the option to shoot slow motion video at 120 frames per second at 720p.

Fingerprint Reader

Taking a nod from Apple’s Touch ID, Samsung has added a fingerprint scanner of its own to the Galaxy S5. Much like the iPhone 5s, the S5′s finger reader is built right into the home button. In addition to unlocking the phone, you can use the S5′s fingerprint scanner to access secure documents that are stored into the phone’s Private Mode. You can also use your finger to instantly authorize mobile payments via PayPal.

As of this writing, Touch ID allows you to unlock your iPhone 5s and authorize purchases from iTunes, iBooks and the App Store.

Bottom Line

If you’re an Apple devotee that swears by the iPhone 5s’ design and feature set, the Galaxy S5 isn’t likely to sway you. However, with a sharper screen, better camera and more dynamic fingerprint reader, the Galaxy S5 trumps Apple’s flagship in several technical categories. While Samsung has yet to announce pricing for the S5, the new handset has plenty to offer for those who are willing to make the jump from their trusty iPhone.

AUTHOR BIO
Michael Andronico
Michael Andronico
A devout gamer and tech enthusiast, Mike Andronico joined the Laptop team in July 2013. With a B.A. in Journalism from Purchase College and experience at GameNGuide, Examiner and 2D-X, Mike tackles everything from iPhone rumors to in-depth hardware reviews.
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  1. danny565 Says:

    what would tempt someone to not go with the s5 on this side by side.

  2. Tony Says:

    “…More dynamic fingerprint reader..”

    Are you trying to be a comedian? Cuz it sure doesn’t seem like you are a serious tech writer. You need to learn how to control your bias. NO ONE in their right mind would call the fingerprint reader on the S5 ‘more dynamic’. Is Samsung paying you as they do so many others? You should be ashamed.

  3. James P. Hawke Says:

    Samsung has really let me down! My phone went into”Emergency Mode”. Samsung said mail it to us. Two months later they have still not been able to fix it and return it. Sadly, I will never trust them again.

  4. Martin Henderson Says:

    After reading your editor-in-chief’s article about how superior the 5s is to the s5 I don’t really think I will be paying much attention to laptop mag. I can make my own choices in computers as well as phones. The s5 is a letdown. I’ll admit it. The Note 4 will be an ass kicking to Apple. I’ve owned iphones. They are junk. I may not be Samsung forever but I’ll never own anything apple produces again. Moto Droid, HTC Thunderbolt, Samsung S3 (personal), iphone 4 (work made me), Samsung S3 after work wised up, Note 2 and now Note 3. No problems with anything except iphone. Period. Android forever.

  5. pjsercel_boston Says:

    The author is blinded by specs.

    Yes, the Galaxy S5 does have a bigger display and I have read that the S5′s display does finally have decent color accuracy. However, the higher pixel density is unimportant to anyone with less than 20:10 vision.

    The S5 camera does have more megapixels, but again, who cares? This is only something that can be seen if one blows up photos to the size of a billboard. More megapixels use more storage, something in short supply on Galaxy phones due to the bloat of the OS. The iPhone has bigger pixels and better optics which yield better photos. This is not conveyed by simple megapixel specs.

    Lastly, while both phones have a fingerprint reader, the reader on the iPhone uses vastly superior technology for great ease of use and higher accuracy. Plus, Apple uses an encrypted, secure enclave to store fingerprints, thus insuring privacy. Can Samsung be trusted to take such care on a copycat feature?

    And what about design? The iPhone has the best industrial design, best material, and best build quality of any manufacturer. Personally, I want a device I use everyday to be something I like to look at and hold.

  6. charles robinson Says:

    does the galaxy s5 has facetime

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