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Samsung Galaxy S3 vs Apple iPhone 5 Specs: Which should I buy?

When Apple launched the iPhone 5, it was compared with the other hot mobile of 2012, the Samsung Galaxy S3 But which handset came out on top? See for yourself below.

Click here to but the iPhone 5

Click here to buy the Samsung Galaxy S3

Size and weight

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.


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.


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


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.


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


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.


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.


Apple's iPhone 5 price hasn't depreciated too much in the last couple of years, and is still a fairly hefty £349 for a simfree 16GB device, but it still offers serious value for money as it still compatible with the latest iOS 8.3 and hasn't been slowed down by running it. However, the Galaxy S3 has rapidly depreciated and now can be picked up for a very reasonable £163.

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

iPhone 5 Galaxy S3
Screen size 4in 4.8in
Resolution 1136 x 640 pixels 1280 x 720 pixels
Pixel density 326 PPI 306 PPI
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)
Megapixels 8MP 8MP
Video 1080p 1080p
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 £349 (16GB) £163 (16GB)
UK Availability Available now Available now