Apple iPhone 5S vs Samsung Galaxy S4

Camera

The iPhone 5S' camera has had a slight spec boost over that of its predecessor. Like the iPhone 5, the 5S features an 8MP snapper – but it features 1.5µ pixels instead of the 1.4µ pixels found on the iPhone 5. The aperture has been boosted from f2.4 to f2.2, as well. In theory, that should make for better low-light images, with reduced noise. The iSight camera will also shoot 1080p video at 30fps and 720p video at 120fps. 

Apple iPhone 5S

Apple's kitted out the iPhone 5S camera with what it's calling a "true tone" flash – it reads whether you're taking a photo under tungsten (yellow) lighting or daylight (blue) lighting conditions. When you take a snap, it'll then flash its twin amber and white LED flashes in varying intensities, effectively colour balancing the scene. Apple claims the iPhone 5S can create up to 1000 different colour temperatures with its flash – we'll be checking this feature in detail in our full review.

Software-wise, you get a new burst shooting feature that'll snap up to 10fps, picking out and suggesting the best images from the sequence for you. Round the front, you get a 1.2MP Facetime camera that'll shoot 720p video.

The Samsung Galaxy S4, meanwhile, packs a 13MP, f2.2 main camera. That means you'll get higher-resolution images than the iPhone, but with its 1.12μ pixels, its low light performance will likely struggle against the iPhone 5S camera. It'll also shoot 1080p video at 30fps – as will its 2MP front snapper.

The S4's camera features include Eraser, which lets you paint out moving objects from the frame, Drama Shot, which captures 100 frames at 25fps and creates a composite image, Animated Photo, which lets you create eight-second GIF clips – and animate specific areas of a picture, and Best Photo and Best Face modes that pick out the best image from a burst shot for you.

A conclusive verdict will have to wait on our full review of the iPhone 5S; the S4's camera wins out on a raw megapixel count and its array of (somewhat gimmicky) features, while Apple appears to have focused on real-world applications for its camera. Most smartphone images are shot in low-light environments, and its larger camera pixels and True Tone flash will likely give the iPhone 5S the edge in these situations.

iOS 7 vs Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean

The iPhone hardware isn't the only thing that Apple's overhauled – its iOS software has been given a ground-up redesign for iOS 7, with bright, blocky colours replacing skeuomorphic icons and interfaces, and a pull-down settings menu that finally brings it up to speed with Android's multitasking. Airdrop file sharing and an overhauled Siri round out the major upgrades – check out our 7 things you need to know about iOS 7 for full details.

Apple iPhone 5S

Samsung's stuck with its tried and tested TouchWiz interface over Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean for the Galaxy S4. Android provides obvious advantages over iOS in terms of customisation – as Android fans will rush to remind us in the comments – while TouchWiz is, as ever, a little overstuffed. The touchless Air Gestures and Air View features are the sort of things you'll show off down the pub once and never use again, but some features are genuinely useful. S Health, a suite of health widgets that let you input exercise and calorie intake, is "neat and addictive," while the WatchOn EPG makes good use of the phone's IR blaster.

More after the break...

Price – gold will cost you

Apple iPhone 5S vs Samsung Galaxy S4 - Price – gold will cost you 2Apple iPhone 5S vs Samsung Galaxy S4 - Price – gold will cost you 3Apple iPhone 5S vs Samsung Galaxy S4 - Price – gold will cost you 4

A SIM-free Samsung Galaxy S4 will set you back £420 on Amazon for a 16GB version; a 16GB iPhone 5S will cost a more substantial £550 – going up to £630 for the 32GB version and a whopping £710 for the 64GB option.

Verdict

The iPhone 5S may well be a more exciting phone than the Galaxy S4, but as ever, Apple's made some curious decisions – it's the only flagship smartphone without a 1080p display or NFC tech, and its 8MP snapper looks somewhat feeble on paper next to the S4's 13MP camera. But Apple has packed some genuinely exciting – if as yet untested – technology into the iPhone 5S, in the form of its 64-bit processor and Touch ID sensor. 

If you're prepared to gamble on whether those features are actually useful, the iPhone is undoubtedly the more exciting option – plus it looks a hell of a lot better than the S4.

The Galaxy S4, though, has the virtue of tried and tested technology – plus its removable battery and expandable storage make it by far the better option for day-to-day use. We'll be updating this feature once we've reviewed the iPhone 5S in full – so stay tuned for our thoughts, and in the meantime check out our iPhone 5S hands-on review.

Comments

iphon's are for bumpkins

the same old, the same old. Oh, well! At least there is a finger-off reader (or what it was called?)Even Nokia brings in Full HD screen in a Maxi-Phone. When Jobs passed away so did the innovation in Apple ;-/Sad...

There are certainly many exciting phones on the market - both Samsung and Apple have excellent phones that can offer a lot to consumers. 

A point was made about NFC and that apple lacked the ability to do this. NFC may take off in a big way, but I honestly don't know who will adopt it other than high street shops. Apple on the other hand will probably never adopt it because they have been developing BLE devices, which cover a wider distance and will also offer the ability to make contactless payment. 

It's quite likely that in time BLE will over take NFC due to it being more flexible and is in built to any device using Bluetooth 4 and above, meaning no other hardware needs to be added.

I think the S4 is a wonderful device, but it's not for me partly because of the size of it. I don't need to extra weight nor a larger screen (that's what a nexus or iPad is for)

I am curious to how 64-bit will enhance the iPhone though, I don't really game on the iPhone due to the device not offering any tactile control. So I can only imagine there will be more powerful media applications.

I'd love to see people utilise AirPlay more. Imagine Photoshop on the iPhone, using your big screen tv to give you a preview and your device giving you your editing tools!

@sellerington - I use NFC (in my two year old phone) every single day for purchases now. Pretty much every store, including a tiny shop in my tiny village in the middle of Dartmoor, now has NFC enabled card readers. Makes life much easier

It's laughable that their arrogance makes them think that every store is going to pay through the nose for their hardware just to process payments from skinny jeaned, floppy haired piss flaps with their goooooold phone!

"its 8MP snapper looks somewhat feeble on paper next to the S4's 13MP camera" You must realise that megapixels are not the whole story in relation to image quality and you have already mentioned the iPhone 5s features larger pixels at 1.5µ pixels versus the Galaxy S4 1.12μ pixels. The 13MP v 8MP comparison is the mistake that you should be pointing out as a technology writer and not propagating the misconception that greater megapixels equates to a better camera. 

You lament the lack of NFC technology in the iPhone 5s, but what is the real world significance of this?

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