The battle between Samsung and Apple for control of the top-end smartphone market has become a yearly occurrence in the tech industry. With the release of each new iPhone and top-end Samsung Galaxy handset always leading to heated discussions within the tech community, every business user wants to know which device they should invest their money in.
This year, as always, V3 was on hand to help, offering its opinion about which is better in its definitive Samsung Galaxy S4 vs Apple iPhone 5 head-to-head review. As always, the spec-by-spec battle proved a close one, with each smartphone winning 3.5 of the rounds. But in our mind the S4 won more of the important rounds, with its better camera, slightly faster performance and clearer display than its Apple competitor, so we crowned it as the winner.
Since then our comments section has overflowed with a diverse range of opinions and questions, adding to the ongoing debate about the two top-end smartphones. Interestingly, a common theme within the comments sections was that, even though it won the battle, V3 was too hard on the Galaxy S4's polycarbonate design.
First to comment on the issue was V3 reader Daniel Blackiston, who argued that the backplate's flexibility isn't a problem. "Why is it everyone has to bash the flexibility of the Galaxy phones? Between myself and my girlfriend we have broken eight to nine smartphones and one tablet, all with premium metal casings and after a year nether the S3 or Note 2 have had more than a scratch on the flip book cover," he said.
"Sure the premium casings are solid and rigid but when the casing yields even a small dent can utterly destroy the device, whereas the polycarbonate design of Galaxy devices flexes and bends, and even after a trip down the centre of a stairwell, bouncing all the way down, my ‘cheap-feeling' Note 2 doesn't have a scratch on it but my buddy's iPhone 5 is ruined from a one to two foot fall onto a seat belt buckle."
Blackiston's comments were mirrored by commenter Greg. "I absolutely agree, all this talk of cheap and plastic is nonsense. Plus the fact the majority of iPhone users slap a case on their phone. Love the feel of my S3 and its weight doesn't feel cheap at all. And I will take a polycarbonate backing anyday if it means can swap out battery and SD card," he said.
"Why would you want a heavier phone if you use it constantly? Now I felt the S4 and didn't like how light it was. Felt a little too light to me, but I like how they made a bigger 5in and better 441ppi screen but in the same size as S3. S3 and S4 dimensions are about as big as I want my smartphone to be."
Commentator Opiniondood added that even as an iPhone 5 fan, he didn't notice an S4 build-quality issue."That's what cases are for. I have an iPhone 5 and it doesn't have as many features as the Galaxy S4. The Galaxy S4 is able to be scrolled with the eyes and has many camera options. Even though I have an iPhone 5, I still believe the Galaxy S4 is better."
V3 reader Sean went so far as to claim the ruling was a sign of bias against all Android phones. "Every single time, EVERY SINGLE TIME, they would basically say the Galaxy S3 was better in each area but create some kind of excuse why it's a tie. And now they are doing it with the Galaxy S4? Don't waste your time. iOS dominates the market because iOS users are stubborn and write these reviews," he said.
But Sean was quickly corrected by commentator KaKE, who quite correctly pointed out that "Android has more market share".
Addressing these comments, we have to say we had a different experience with the S4 review unit we used. We found the S4's chassis and metal rimming picked up marks and blemishes easily. The S4 managed to pick up a dent on its back falling off a desk and landing on the corner of a plastic crate.
Other readers were more positive about the ratings, with J Cable agreeing with the verdict and asking for more information on how the two compare. "Great comparo on the two phones – but what about the comparison on the ability to perform as a phone. I had an HTC previously and to make a call from the keypad, I could start to type either a known number or a known contact and several options from my contacts are offered to choose from. I can't do this from an iPhone 5 – can it be done from the S4?" Cable asked.
"Also, when reading text from a website, on the HTC if I was to zoom in on the text to be able to read it without specs, the text would automatically configure to the screen size. The iPhone 5 does not – I have to scroll left and right to be able to read."
To address your concerns, yes it can be done from the keypad and the text depends on the website, though definitely not if you've set it to request the PC version.
Finally ending the debate, as V3 also said, Lyle Gentlemn pointed out that the battle has really only begun, with Apple being on the verge of updating and improving the iPhone 5 to run its latest iO7 operating system. "Has anyone noticed? iOS 7 is coming out, and it would make every iPhone better than Samsung smartphones! Go to Apple's website to check out iOS 7," read the post.
If you want to take part in the ongoing user review, be sure to check out the full Samsung Galaxy S4 vs Apple iPhone 5 review and leave your opinion in the comments section.