Samsung Galaxy S5 vs Apple iPhone 5s: the weigh-in

Have a seat, grab a bag of popcorn and get ready for the smartphone fight of the century

The stage is set for Apple and Samsung to duke it out for smartphone supremacy.

In the red corner, we have the iPhone 5s, Apple’s undisputed poster boy. Taking the fight to the iOS camp is the newly-announced Samsung Galaxy S5.

Let the games begin.

Polycarbonate is still plastic

Call it polycarbonate all you want, Samsung, it’s still plastic. But it has its merits - the phone is light and easy to handle. Plus, the matte surface, unlike the faux-leather back of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, actually makes sense when you get a good, firm grip in your hands.

Samsung Galaxy S5 vs Apple iPhone 5s

But there’s none of that cool, metal touch that gets you all excited when you hold the iPhone 5s for the first time. Samsung did what it could with the premium look, but somewhere along the line, they’ve dropped the ball on the S5's design. Again.

All that jazz about being waterproof? You don’t have to worry about sending the S5 into a watery grave when you’re at the beach. But when you’re about to charge the Android smartphone via its microUSB cable? The darn cover that protects the microUSB port from water will be a real pain to remove. Every. Single. Time.

Don’t forget, the iPhone 5s’ Lightning cable works both ways.

Winner: Apple iPhone 5s

It's all about the pixels

Do we need to say who’s the clear winner here? No really, do we have to say it, if we tell you the S5 has a 5.1in display packed with 1920 x 1080 pixels? Oh, by the way, the iPhone 5s sports a 4in screen with 1136 x 640 pixels. Still not convinced who the winner is? Consider the S5’s pixel density, raking in 432 pixels per inch while the iPhone 5s doesn’t even come close at 326 pixels per inch.

Now if we’re not spelling this out clearly, the S5 uses a Super AMOLED display. You know, the type that treats your eyes to the most fantastic viewing experience even if you hold the S5 at a distance. Try doing that on the iPhone 5s. Chances are, you’ll be squinting and bringing the phone closer to your eyes. Or maybe your eyes need an upgrade.

Purely by numbers, the winner is obvious. But just in case it’s still not clear, read below.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy S5

You can never have enough megapixels

A 16-megapixel camera doesn’t mean it gets the job done better than an 8-megapixel sensor. But it doesn’t hurt to make the camera jam more pixels into an image. The merits of the S5’s camera is not based solely on its 16MP count. Fast autofocus speeds of up to 0.3 seconds, an option to focus your images post-shot and a live HDR mode so you can see how an enhanced image looks in real-time and recording slow-motion video at 120fps like the iPhone 5s. To us, these little features add up to an impressive package.

Samsung Galaxy S5 vs Apple iPhone 5s

On the surface, the iPhone 5s' simple features pale in comparison to Samsung’s offerings. That holds true for those who want more out of their phone’s imaging capabilities. But if you want skin tones to appear natural in your shots, the iPhone 5s’ dual LED flash has that covered.

Us? We like to keep things simple. Everything about the S5’s imaging features screams power user. But it’s the simple things, like a clean user interface, easy access to the photo gallery and a fuss-free sharing experience on Facebook and Twitter that makes the cut.

A good camera is one that lets you take great images, minus the hassle. And we know who has our vote.

Winner: Apple iPhone 5s

Apple-eating Snapdragon

We kind of feel for Samsung Galaxy S4 users. Barely a year after it was launched, the S5 is moving on with Qualcomm’s latest 2.5GHz quad-core krait processor, possibly from the Snapdragon 805 series. Where’s the 64 bit love, you ask? Right now, there’s no word if Samsung will be revealing another S5 variant running on its 64-bit running Exynos 6 processor.

Do you really need a 64-bit processor? In the long run, yes. But right now, the main reason behind Apple’s 64-bit processor is speculated for its fingerprint sensor. Even without a 64-bit processor, having four cores running at 2.5GHz on the S5 is going to make the iPhone 5s’ dual-core A7 look like a chump. Theoretically. We won’t know until we run some benchmarks and see how the devices fare in daily usage.

What piqued our interest, is the S5’s concurrent 4G and Wi-Fi download feature, which supposedly combines both network types to download those large attachments that you keep telling your colleagues not to send via e-mail.

Winner: undeclared for now

More after the break...

Everything but the kitchen sink

Features? The S5 has loads. Wireless charging, checked. Siri, we mean, S-Voice? Still there. How about the new-fangled air gestures that lets you cycle through images without even touching the screen? All included.

That fingerprint scanner? True on all accounts. Like the iPhone 5s, the sensor is located on the home button, allowing you to secure the S5 with a tap of your thumb. It does more - Samsung’s integrating PayPal payment with the scanner. Watch out for chopper-wielding thieves.

That heart rate monitor we spotted beside the camera? No more excuse to be a slob, especially when the S5 keeps reminding you to get off your lazy ass.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy S5

The makings of a Duracell bunny

2800mAh versus 1560mAh. If only it was this simple to determine the winner based on numbers. While the S5’s battery is nearly twice as large as the iPhone 5s, don’t rule out the fact that the Android smartphone is a hungry hippo with its larger screen, more pixels, and all that power-consuming features that run in the background. Any phones that last for more than a day, in our books, is a winner. But until we run the S5 through a proper battery and daily usage test, we’ll have to hold our verdict.

Winner: undeclared

Say no to bloatware

It’s the classic Android versus iOS match-up. The S5 has none of the limitations that the iPhone 5s imposes on its users. You can freely transfer files between the S5 and your desktop or laptop. It has loads of apps on the Google Play Store, and at times, exclusive apps only available on Samsung devices. Everything that’s great about the Android interface, gets bumped up with more customised features to give you easier access.

Except, it gets too overwhelming. Samsung and almost every other Android-maker out there have enjoyed way too much freedom with the OS. This allowed them to add bloatware that complicates the user experience. Its calendar app, for example, is a far cry from the simple UI on the stock Android interface. Samsung's customised apps, meant to integrate the features of the phone, add too much to the table.

On the other hand, for iDevices, even when it comes to wireless file transfers, you’ll need to use AirDrop. Apps are curated before it even makes it into the App Store. Say all you want about the Apple’s restrictive measures on iOS, it works if you’d rather be told what you can or can’t do with iOS.

Bloatware? You’ll get none of that, which heavily swings our decision to Apple.

Winner: Apple iPhone 5s

Verdict

On paper, the Samsung Galaxy S5 delivers much more with its larger and higher resolution display, bigger battery and innovative features (some of which are inspired by its rivals). For now, this could be the next big thing after the S4. Wait, we’re sure Samsung said that last year.

But at the very least, when the S5 is launched and before Apple unleashes the iPhone 6 upon the world, this Android smartphone will take the lead and might appear in our smartphone hall of fame.

But we might be speaking too soon, if HTC decides to throw out a surprise when it announces the HTC One Plus next month.

READ MORE: Top 10 best smartphones in the world

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