The battle between Android heavyweight Samsung and Apple for the number one best-selling smartphone title has become a yearly occurrence. In the past, Apple's latest iPhone has traditionally won the yearly grudge match. However, since the death of iconic Apple founder Steve Jobs, Apple's lead on Samsung has gradually waned with each new top-end Galaxy smartphone boasting increasingly high sales.
For this reason, prior to its unveiling many industry commentators had begun to quietly predict the iPhone 5S may be the first ever Apple smartphone not to beat Samsung's flagship in head-to-head sales. Now with the iPhone 5S and its specs revealed, it's too early to know the final outcome in 2013's Apple vs Samsung battle, but the two smartphones' on-paper specs suggest the fight may be the most heated to date.
Measurements and weight
Apple iPhone 5S: 124x59x7.6mm, 112g
Samsung Galaxy S4: 137x70x7.9mm, 130g
Design-wise the Apple iPhone 5S looks pretty much the same as the iPhone 5, but comes with multiple colour options. This means, as before, the iPhone 5S is significantly lighter and smaller than the S4, so it will likely be a more popular choice for smaller-handed individuals.
Apple iPhone 5S: 4in 1136x640, 326ppi Retina display
Samsung Galaxy S4: 5in full HD super Amoled 1920x1080 display, 441ppi
The Apple iPhone 5S has a 4in Retina display. Back in the day, when the Retina display technology was first rolled out, it was a massive selling point for Apple devices, making the screens the sharpest and most crisp ever seen on smartphones or tablets.
However a few years on, while still great, Apple's Retina displays are no longer the best on the market and a few smartphones have been released boasting better screens.
Running the Galaxy S4 head to head with the 5S' predecessor, the iPhone 5, we found Samsung's flagship was a superior screen, with its 441ppi full HD display being one of the best we've ever used.
Apple iPhone 5S: Apple A7 chipset
Samsung Galaxy S4: Quad-core 1.9GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 processor
Apple made a big deal about its new A7 processor, claiming it is the world's first 64-bit mobile chip and will make the iPhone 5S one of the fastest smartphones in the word, offering 40-times better CPU performance than the iPhone 5. However, as always, Apple declined to disclose the A7's exact speed, making it difficult to know how it will compare to the quad-core 1.9GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 600-powered Galaxy S4 in real-world performance.
Apple iPhone 5S: 10 hours' 3G talk time, unspecified lithium-ion
Samsung Galaxy S4: 17 hours' 3G general use, 2,600 mAh
Battery life is an issue for most smartphones in the current market. This remained true on the Galaxy S4, which, despite being listed as lasting “up to 17 hours” on 3G off one charge, generally needed a top up after a regular day’s use, with an average life of about six hours when battery burned. This means if the unspecified battery used in the 5S lives up to Apple’s 10-hour 3G talk time it should easily outlast the S4. However, we’ll only know this for sure when we’ve had a chance to actually test the battery on the 5S.
Apple iPhone 5S: iOS 7
Samsung Galaxy S4: Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean
Picking which mobile operating system is better is very difficult as the answer is largely determined by what ecosystem the user is already embedded in.
This difficulty is made worse by the fact both companies have loaded a host of business-friendly features onto their respective flagship smartphones, with Samsung loading the S4 with its Knox sandboxing service and Apple its new custom Touch ID fingerprint scanner.
Apple iPhone 5S: 8MP rear, 1.2MP front
Samsung Galaxy S4: 13MP rear, 2MP front
While the iPhone 5S's camera looks lower specced, as any camera expert will tell you, it's not just about the megapixel count. Because of this, while it doesn't capture as many pixels, the Apple iPhone 5S may prove better at taking photos, because it boasts custom tech designed to let it capture bigger pixels, meaning, like the HTC One, it should be better than average at taking photos in low light.
Apple iPhone 5S: 16/32/64GB, no microSD slot 2GB RAM
Samsung Galaxy S4: 16/32/64GB user memory, microSD slot (up to 64GB) 2GB RAM
Both devices are available with multiple storage options, however the S4 comes with the added boon of a MicroSD slot, meaning buyers who can't afford the upfront cost of the more premium 64GB model can update the phone's storage at a later date.
On paper both the iPhone 5S and Samsung Galaxy S4 are good smartphones and both have definite enterprise appeal. Once we've had time to thoroughly put the two head to head in an in-depth, hands-on versus review, we'll make a call on which is the best business smartphone.
The iPhone 5S is set for release on 20 September, check back with V3 then for a full review. Until then make sure to check out V3's conclusive Samsung Galaxy S4 review.
By V3's Alastair Stevenson
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