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iPhone 5S vs Galaxy S4 head-to-head review

Apple iPhone 5S vs Samsung galaxy S4 front

The battle for control of the top-end smartphone market between Korean contender Samsung and ruling US heavyweight Apple has become a yearly feature within the technology industry. The latest competition is between the new Apple iPhone 5S and Samsung's flagship Galaxy S4. We've put these two flagship handsets head to head to see if the older S4 can still hold its ground against the latest premium iPhone.

Design and build
Neither Samsung nor Apple chose to radically redesign their latest flagship smartphones. Outside of its extended Champagne and Space Grey colour options the iPhone 5S is visually identical to the iPhone 5 and features the exact same 124x59x7.6mm dimensions and 112g weight.

The Galaxy S4 is also close to identical to the Galaxy S3, featuring the same ergonomic, pebble-like design and measuring in at 137x70x7.9mm. Apple iPhone 5S vs Samsung galaxy S4 back

Despite being heavier and larger than the 112g iPhone 5S, the 130g S4 is more comfortable to hold. This is because the S4's slightly round edges make it sit more neatly in hand than the hard-edged 5S.

However, when it comes to build quality we have to give it to the iPhone 5S. The build of Samsung handsets has been an ongoing concern, with the firm's use of polycarbonate making even its most expensive devices feel fairly cheap. This has remained true with the S4, which has the same polycarbonate backplate and metal sides as the S3, and feels significantly less solid than the iPhone 5S.

Testing the two more thoroughly, our in-hand impressions rang true, with the S4 picking up marks and scratches when met with even the slightest force. That said, it's important to note the iPhone 5S is also fairly prone to picking up marks and scratches and is nowhere near as well built as a number of other top-end Android and Windows Phone handsets, such as the Sony Xperia Z1 and Nokia Lumia 1020.

Winner: The Apple iPhone 5S

Next: Display and performance

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Alastair Stevenson

Alastair has worked as a reporter covering security and mobile issues at V3 since March 2012. Before entering the field of journalism Alastair had worked in numerous industries as both a freelance copy writer and artist.

View Alastair's Google+ profile

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