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Samsung Galaxy S3 vs Apple iPhone 5: Spec comparison

Apple
, 12 Sep 2012
Samsung Galaxy S3 vs Apple iPhone 5: Spec comparison

In case you hadn't heard, Apple launched the iPhone 5 today, so how does the new smartphone stack up to the competition? As a largely academic exercise, we've already compared it to its predecessor, the iPhone 4S. Now, we're pitting it against 2012's hottest mobile prior to 12 September, the Samsung Galaxy S3. Which handset comes out on top? See for yourself, though bear in mind that not all details have been revealed at this stage.

Size and weight

It looks like the iPhone 5 is actually following the lead of the Galaxy S3 in some respects, with Apple's new smartphone confirmed as being the US company's most slender handset to date: it's 20g lighter and a full 1mm more slender than Samsung's flagship device, making it one of the most svelte mobiles on the market. That said, it's not quite "the world's thinnest smartphone" as Apple claimed tonight - unless the American firm has now patented the 'S' section of the dictionary.

Display

Apple has sought to up the ante to compete with Samsung in terms of screen size and the improved multimedia performance that typically corresponds with a larger display. The iPhone 5 measures 4in diagonally, though the Galaxy S3 is known for being one of the tallest non-hybrid handsets, sporting a 4.8in display. The attractiveness of the respective devices all depends on how big a piece you're happy to slot into your pocket, but for us, the iPhone 5's new 4in display looks plenty big for quality video playback and gaming needs, without being a burden.

iPhone 5 vs Galaxy S3

As far as image quality is concerned, it's a straight up IPS LCD vs Super AMOLED fight - take your pick. Some people prefer the bright and vibrant AMOLED while others bemoan "fly-screen door" grid visible due to the Pentile sub-matrix pixel arrangement. For our eye, Apple still has the edge.

Storage and memory

Both handsets feature 1GB of main RAM in the UK, though the US version has 2GB, as does the Galaxy Note 2 worthy of 2GB but Apple may argue it is unnecessary to run its iOS 6 operating system. Both devices are going to be available with a variety of internal storage options, with 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB versions on offer. The Galaxy S3 also sports a microSD slot, allowing further expansion currently of up to 64GB. Quite why anyone would need 128GB in their phone is beyond us, but with no iPhone 5 128GB currently, the choice is yours.

Processor

Apple's new-gen A6 chip is dual-core, and though the clock speed wasn't announced, it should see a modest bump above the 1GHz of the iPhone 4S. We reckon around 1.2GHz. Apple claims it is up to twice as fast as the A5 chip in the iPhone 4S though that remains to be tested. This still risks lagging behind the Samsung Galaxy S3 which sports a quad-core Exynos 4 processor at 1.4GHz in the UK, though our American cousins have to make do with 1.5GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon, itself no slouch.

The A6 has an as-yet-unconfirmed GPU "up to twice as fast" as the PowerVR SGX543MP2 in the iPhone 4S; a tasty prospect indeed as phones rapidly chase down console-quality gaming graphics. We look forward to pitting it against the Mali-400MP in the UK-spec Galaxy S3.

iPhone 5 vs Galaxy S3 side thin

Software

The Android-running Galaxy S3 might ship with Ice Cream Sandwich, but it's getting Android 4.1 Jelly Bean in the immediate future, making for a fascinating showdown with Apple's latest mobile operating system, iOS 6. It's hard to say which device's interface functions more seamlessly or features the best apps  - for the time being, it's a matter of personal preference, though anyone with significant investment in paid-for apps might be better sticking with their existing platform.

Camera

On paper, the two devices are exactly the same, offering an 8-megapixel primary camera and HD video at 1080p. Whether or not all of the features Apple bragged about earlier today - the dynamic low light mode, and the optimised five-element, sapphire lens, for example - make a real difference to the handset's imaging capabilities remains to be seen. Again, we'll have to wait to get hands-on with the iPhone 5 before we can pronounce more assertively.

iPhone 5 camera

Battery

Apple again looks like it has let its user base down with regards to battery life, with the iPhone 5 offering the same claimed eight hour 3G talk time as its predecessor, the 4S. The Galaxy S3, on the other hand, boasts a 2100 mAh with almost 12 hours of purported talk time on the current-gen network. It's a hands down win for Samsung with regards to longevity based on the information presently available.

Connectivity

Apple confirmed tonight that the iPhone 5 will support 4G, while yesterday, EE announced that the Galaxy S3 was among the first generation of handsets to join its new high-speed spectrum. It's a case of wait and see how the devices respond to the new-gen network, as on paper, they should perform similarly. Want to get the low-down on the new-gen network set to take the UK by storm? Look no further than Will Dalton's comprehensive guide to EE's new 4G spectrum.

Price

Apple primarily showed off the iPhone 5's contract pricing this evening, but has since confirmed via its official website that a SIM-free version of the new handset will run consumers £529. It's good that Apple isn't going too far over the £500 watershed, generally an accept norm for high-end devices - the Galaxy S3 currently retails at £499.99 for a 16GB model. A few extra bob won't deter most buyers, provided that they want the iPhone 5 to begin with. Do you?

For a more in-depth look, check out our review of the Apple iPhone 5.

 

iPhone 5

Galaxy S3

Display

   

Screen size

4in

4.8in

Resolution

1136 x 640 pixels

1280 x 720 pixels

Pixel density

326 PPI

306 PPI

Type

IPS LCD

Super AMOLED

Processor and battery

   

Family

Apple A6

UK: Exynos 4 / US: Snapdragon

Cores

Dual-core

UK:Quad-core / US: Dual-core

Clock speed

1.2GHz (speculative)

UK: 1.4GHz / US: 1.5GHz

Battery

8 hours (claimed 3G talk time)

2100 mAh (12 hours claimed 3G talk time)

Storage and memory

   

Internal memory

16 / 32 / 64GB

16 / 32 / 64GB

Card slot

None

microSD

RAM

1GB

1GB (2GB US version)

Camera

   

Megapixels

8MP

8MP

Video

1080p

1080p

Dimensions

   

Size

 123.8 x 58.5 x 7.6mm

136.6 x 70.6 x 8.6mm

Weight

112g

133g

Operating System

iOS 6

Android 4.0 ICS

Price

£529 (16GB)

£499.99 (16GB)

UK Availability

14 September (pre-order), 21 September (UK release)

Available now

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