Apple has just unveiled its newest flagship smartphone, the iPhone 5S, and already the commentary is flying. Did Cupertino do enough with the new model? How is that fingerprint sensor going to work in real life? And most importantly – how does the iPhone 5S compare to current leading smartphones?
We can help out a bit with the latter question. We've put together a spec comparison that shows the iPhone 5S side by side with what is, in our opinion, the best Android phone on the market – the Samsung Galaxy S4.
The iPhone 5S is due to hit retail stores and online shops on 20 September, with pre-ordering set to go live a week beforehand. If you're already an Android loyalist, the iPhone 5S is going to do absolutely nothing to change your mind. All indications are that it's a refinement of everything the iPhone 5 represents. Oh, and you can get one in gold now.
In fact, at first glance, the iPhone 5S looks almost identical to the iPhone 5 – which means it's much smaller than the Galaxy S4. The iPhone 5S will be much easier to use one-handed, thanks to its slim 58mm width, and it’s lighter – but only by 18 grams which isn’t a huge difference. In fact, the Galaxy S4 is just large enough to technically be called a phablet, since its screen size falls within the 5in to 6.9in range we use to separate phablets from smartphones.
Either way, the display of the iPhone 5S, at 4in and 1,136 x 640 pixels, doesn't hold a candle (lumen?) to the Galaxy S4's 5in, 1,920 x 1,080 screen.
The Galaxy S4's screen also delivers a much denser 441 pixels per inch over the iPhone 5S' 326 pixels per inch. Some people don't like the PenTile pixel arrangement on the Galaxy S4, but it doesn't bother me at all.
The Galaxy S4 has a microSD memory card slot underneath the battery cover that accepts 64GB cards. That means you can expand the S4's internal storage, and it also gives you another option for transferring files back and forth to your desktop computer.
Look underneath the surface, and some telling details appear. The biggest questions surround Apple's new A7 processor, which is the first 64-bit CPU to be found in a phone, and is also the first to have a dedicated motion coprocessor. Right now, there's no way to tell how it will perform compared to the 1.9GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 processor in the Galaxy S4.
There's also the new iPhone’s interesting fingerprint sensor, which, if designed correctly, will make it much easier to unlock your phone and make iTunes purchases than it was before. In addition, the iPhone 5S' camera gets some serious upgrades that look to challenge the 13-megapixel Galaxy S4's camera, particularly in light of all the features Samsung added to that phone's camera and video recording apps. The Galaxy S4 has its own nifty hardware features as well, such as NFC and a removable battery in addition to the aforementioned memory card slot.
Another big piece of this story is iOS 7, which will come preloaded on all iPhone 5S handsets, and adopts some of Android's better features. Any consumer mulling over these two handsets will have to take into account the differences between iOS 7 and Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean, which the Galaxy S4 comes preloaded with. iOS 7 will be available to existing iOS device owners as a free upgrade, starting 18 September.
And of course, one final point to note is that the Galaxy S4 is the cheaper handset, and you can get the 16GB Galaxy S4 for around the £480 mark from online retailers such as Amazon and Ebuyer. That's £70 cheaper than the 5S, and odds are that price will only drop following the release of Apple's new iPhone.
At any rate, the run-up to Christmas is going to be an exciting time for smartphone buyers. It will be interesting to see how these two phones stack up fully once we get our hands on the iPhone 5S for a full review. Stay tuned for that.
Which phone do you prefer: The iPhone 5S or the Samsung Galaxy S4? Let us know in the comments below.
Samsung Galaxy S4 LTE
Apple iPhone 5S
1,920 x 1,080 pixels
1,136 x 640 pixels
Processor and battery
Claimed 3G talk time
Up to 10 hours
Storage and memory
16GB / 32GB / 64GB
16GB / 32GB / 64GB
1080p @ 30fps
1080p @ 30fps
802.11 a / b / g / n / ac
802.11 a / b / g / n
Integrated wireless charging
136.6 x 69.8 x 7.9mm
123.8 x 58.6 x 7.6mm
Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean
Price (SIM-free unless otherwise stated)
£549 (16GB) / £629 (32GB) / £709 (64GB)