Samsung Galaxy S5 vs Apple iPhone 5s: Which has the edge on specs?

Samsung Galaxy S5 vs Apple iPhone 5s: Which has the edge on specs?

Summary: The similarities – and differences – between the specs of the two smartphone flagships tell us plenty about the battles to come.

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Samsung Galaxy S5 vs Apple iPhone 5s

Galaxy S5, iPhone 5s — now even the names of Apple and Samsung's flagship devices are converging. How can you tell which of the two devices now has the edge?

The most obvious differences are cosmetic: the Samsung S5 is larger, and has a plastic body; the Apple 5s is smaller, and has a metal band around the edge. But the real differences are what's inside — and what's missing.

Before going any further, it's also worth remembering the iPhone 5s was unveiled back in September while the Galaxy S5 won't be out until April. Six months is a long time in the hyper-accelerated world of smartphone engineering, so it's perhaps not surprising that in some areas the S5's specs beat the iPhone's.

Still, take a look at this non-exhaustive feature comparison between the two phones. You can find more detailed iPhone 5s specs here and more details of the Samsung Galaxy S5 here. I've focused on the elements most likely to interest the average business user.

Samsung Galaxy S5 specs

  • Dimensions: 142mm x 72.5 x 8.1mm
  • Weight: 145g
  • Processor: 2.5GHz quad-core application processor
  • Operating system: Android 4.4.2 (KitKat)
  • Display: 5.1-inch FHD Super AMOLED (1920 x 1080)
  • Memory: 16/32GB microSD slot up to 128GB
  • Camera: 16 megapixels (rear), 2 megapixels (front)
  • Battery: Removable 2800mAh
  • Standby time: 390hrs, talk time: 21hrs
  • Wi-fi: 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac HT80, MIMO(2x2)
  • Other features: NFC, IP67, Dust and water Resistant, Bluetooth 4.0
  • Sensors: Accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass, barometer, Hall, RGB ambient light, Gesture(IR), Finger Scanner, Heart-rate sensor

Apple iPhone 5S specs

  • Dimensions: 123.8mm x 58.6 x 7.6mm
  • Weight: 112g
  • Processors: A7 chip with 64-bit architecture, M7 motion coprocessor
  • Operating system: iOS 7
  • Display: 4-inch multitouch display, 1136x640-pixel resolution at 326ppi
  • Memory: 16/32GB/64GB
  • Camera: eight-megapixel (rear), 1.2 megapixel (front)
  • Power: Built-in lithium-ion battery
  • Talk time: up to 10 hours on 3G, standby time: up to 250 hours. Internet use: up to 8 hours on 3G, up to 10 hours on LTE, up to 10 hours on wi-fi. Video playback: up to 10 hours, audio playback: up to 40 hours.
  • Wi-fi: 802.11a/b/g/n wi-Fi (802.11n 2.4GHz and 5GHz)
  • Other features: Siri, Bluetooth 4.0
  • Sensors: Gyro, accelerometer, proximity sensor, ambient light sensor, fingerprint identity sensor built into the Home button

What do the specs tell us — and what do they miss?

As you can see from the specs above, the two flagships are unsurprisingly similar in what they offer.

What's more interesting to me is how S5's new features, and those that distinguish it from the 5s, are the things that point the way towards the smartphone battles of tomorrow — around health, wealth, security, and wearables.

The Galaxy S5's support for NFC means it's geared up for one form of mobile payments, something which it already showed an interest in with the S4 but which didn't lead to widespread adoption at the time. That's partly to do with the consumer apathy and partly down to complex web of deals that need to take place before such projects can hit the mainstream.

The iPhone 5s doesn't have NFC — unsurprising given it's classic Apple strategy to wait for a technology to mature before incorporating it. If and when the iPhone adds NFC then you'll know mobile payments is about to hit the prime time. It's also worth noting another important element for building trust around mobile payments is security and identity, so it's interesting that the S5 now includes a fingerprint sensor like the 5s.

The heart rate monitor on the S5 is another reflection of the nascent healthcare market developing around smartphones. It would be wrong to see this as just of interest to urban 'quantified self' freaks, or a gimmick of some kind: with western Europe's ageing population, health monitoring could easily become a major business.

Beyond this, one major point of differentiation between the two flagships is (arguably) Siri, with Apple pushing its digital assistant as a central part of the iPhone experience more than Samsung is with S Voice.

This of course is where comparing devices by specs alone begins to fall short. The smartphone no longer stands alone — think of it as the bright star at the heart of a solar system of apps and devices. As such, it's not just what's inside the box that matters, but whether and how these devices work with the apps and wider services that we need.

What do you think are the key differences between the two? Which do you think has the edge? Let us know in the comments section below.

Further reading

Topics: Apple, Emerging Tech, Mobility, Samsung

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132 comments
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  • no comparison

    samsung will have an eight core vs iphones 2 core or 4 core so its no comparison really your are comparing a phone to a computer if you really want to compare there really is no comparison. Samsung makes the chip how can you compare.
    ein999999999@...
    • iPhone is hardly in top 70 among all the phones

      and according to pure hardware objective comparison iPhone is hardly in top 70 among all the phones:

      goo (dot) gl/3li0hn

      software comparison not even in top 1000
      Jiří Pavelec
      • Funny

        Please educate yourself on the difference b/w ARMv7 (>20 year old design) vs. ARMv8 architecture. ARMv8 is superior in every way, and of course, 64-bit.

        If you don't know the difference, then you're a fool and ignorant.
        tigermd99
        • You also show your ignorance

          if you think that 64 bit has any substantial benefit until apps are rewritten for it, then you show your ignorance. The key is not how many bits a chip has, it is how fast does it run with the apps that are available now. by the time new apps are written, we will be at the iphone 7. Samsung looked at this and decided it was unnecessary. In my view, it was a wise choice. give us power that we can use now!
          larsonjs
          • And you show your ignorance

            Armv8 is more efficient at 32 bit code than ARMv7... MHz to MHz it's faster at 32bit code than current ARMv7 chips... ARMs numbers, not Apple's. Next year when Samsung and everyone else get on with 64-bit they wiki be touting that line.

            Furthermore All of IOS 7 is written in 64-bit on the 5S and IPad Air... 32-Bit version for older devices on ARMv7

            Finally, running apps in Dalvik is inefficient which is why Google introduced ART with KitKat.... Android is at a larger disadvantage here tans requires 4 cores vs 2 and 2.x ghz CPUs to keep up with native code running at 1.3 ghz...
            You should read google' sown reasoning for ART...
            dragnn
          • Apps

            There are PLENTY of apps taking advantage of ARMv8 and 64-bit on iOS store! Geez, Android fanboys are just so damn ignorant, yet the first to open their mouths!
            tigermd99
          • Found less uneducated comment.

            @tigermd99
            Name a few of the plenty of applications that take advantage of the 64bit architecture?
            Any apps that are built for 64bit architecture won’t run on 32bit architecture, which is why apple allows people to host more than one version of the same app. But that does not mean that plenty of people are making apps for it, much less ones worth having.
            64bit is not better then 32bit in all applications, where it does have major benefits most of them are not being used in phones and much less in apples iPhone. It’s all about what you do with the processor, not what processor it has.
            ajpinton
          • than and then

            please use "than" not "then" please
            humb1962
          • The only one showing ignorance is you

            First, apps do NOT need to be rewritten, they merely need to be recompiled, with a SINGLE check box checked.
            Second, a large number of 64-bit apps are already available, so that totally negates your second criticism.
            Third, Samsung did not "decide it was unnecessary", they decided that it was pointless, since Android is not 64-bout aware, and, because of some shortsighted decisions on the part of Google, will not be any time soon. Despite being based on Linux, it is going to be a royal SNAFU to try to get a 64-bit version of Android working. It just is not going to happen in the near future.
            .DeusExMachina.
          • If a "large numbers"

            can you please name at least 10 apps?

            By the way, the 64-bit its more guided towards getting more than 4 GB RAM, it helps improves the 32-bit apps that already exist but not that much... I still remember the AMD Athlon 64 CPU vs Intel Pentium at that time you didnt see any improvement in 32 bit applications running on Windows 64 bits... the real improvement was when you ran compiled 64-bits apps.

            But the real target was to have more than 4 GB ram available in the OS
            pepe-el-Toro
      • Google is no angel

        Link: http://appleinsider.com/articles/13/02/16/google-asks-journalists-to-tone-down-story-of-massive-google-play-security-flaw

        Asking journalists to hide the flaws....

        Link: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/02/24/us-google-android-security-idUSTRE81N1T120120224

        A flaw that took 14 MONTHS to correct...and is still wide-open in all devices on 4.1 and below...which is 73% of Android users!!!

        I think that you need to re-evaluate your bias and educate yourself. It would make a world of difference if you open your eyes.
        tigermd99
        • More thought

          It’s not googles fault that the phone makers won’t push out the updates to older devices. Google has gone out of their way to make sure the new offerings like 4.4 are light enough to run on older devices. Still does not mean that the phone makers will release the update.

          Apple said as of Dec 1st that 74% of people were on iOS7 22% on iOS 6 and 4% on older versions. So not even Apple is as 100% on the current version, and they don’t offer any kind of security updates for anyone not on the current iOS much like Google not offering updates to those not on 4.1+.
          http://appleinsider.com/articles/13/12/05/apple-pegs-ios-7-distribution-at-74-ios-6-at-22
          I don’t entirely believe these numbers since everything iPhone 3gs and older (including iPad 1 and iPod touch 4 and older) cannot go to iOS7, and heck I still have not updated my 4S and know tons that have not. That and apple is known for not releasing numbers that make them look bad.


          By the lines you have drawn, Apple is just a guilty as Google.
          No company is innocent, not Apple not Google or Samsung or even Microsoft. They will support issues as they deem fit. Maybe everyone needs to open there eyes, and yours to Apple.
          ajpinton
          • But....

            Apple doesn't have nearly 100% because they gave up on their users of their gadgets because they don't want to develop iOS7 on old hardware [they want you to upgrade at most every 2 years like clockwork].
            Gisabun
          • ajpinton -a symptom of Android user’s lack of understanding & self-delusion

            [i]It’s not googles fault that the phone makers won’t push out the updates to older devices.[/i]

            It doesn’t matter whose fault it is. The fact remains that many Android users cannot get updates for their devices in a timely way, and this leaves them exposed.

            [i]Apple said as of Dec 1st that 74% of people were on iOS7 22% on iOS 6 and 4% on older versions. So not even Apple is as 100% on the current version, and they don’t offer any kind of security updates for anyone not on the current iOS[/i]

            So 96% of iOS users can upgrade to the latest iOS 7.0.6 and 6.1.6 security updates. That sounds like a good result.

            [i](Apple) don’t offer any kind of security updates for anyone not on the current iOS[/i]

            What are you talking about? In the last few weeks, Apple released iOS 7.0.6 for the “current iOS” and iOS 6.1.6 for people running the older iOS v6.

            That means Apple has released updates for 96% of their phones (going on your statistics), that go right back to the almost FIVE YEAR OLD iPhone 3GS !

            (The iPhone 3GS was released in June 2009 when the ‘latest’ version of Android was Android 1.5 “Cupcake.” I’d be interested to hear how well that is being supported by vendors. Oh, it’s not: [url]http://bit.ly/1eO2Kod[/url] - at least by Samsung.)

            [i] I don’t entirely believe these numbers since everything iPhone 3GS and older (including iPad 1 and iPod touch 4 and older) cannot go to iOS7[/i]

            You don’t need to upgrade to iOS 7. There’s an upgrade for iOS 6: see [url]http://bit.ly/1eEgxSK[/url].


            [i]I still have not updated my 4S and know tons that have not.[/i]

            According to you, "It’s not googles fault” that consumer’s cannot get updates, because the phone companies are letting them down.

            Yet Apple are offering you an update for your iPhone 4S, at the touch of a button (or automatically if you have it set up properly), and somehow Apple is at fault for not providing updates for you and “tons” of people you know!

            You do recognise how stupid this sounds, don’t you?

            Given the level of bias and distortion in your post, you’ll forgive me for not taking your skepticism about Apple’s statistics seriously.

            As for your final paragraph, I think it’s you who should be looking at the world through less skewed eyes.
            Slurry
          • Slurry "Yet Apple are offering you an update for your iPhone 4S..."

            Apple's update for iOS7 for thousands of users of any version of iPhone (3g thru 5s) has turned out to be a joke at best.

            It turned my iPhone 4s into a virtual brick because the update won't install and the phone will not restore the previous back-up of the iOS6 without first updating to iOS7! I have tried even wiping my iPhone completely and restoring an older iOS6 backup... but that has been not completely successful either.

            Apple has still not resolved these problems.
            sjohnson@...
        • Ya but....

          Look at the attention of the recent flaws Apple's iOS gets [including the SSL one]. Most Android flaws are considered minor compared to the doozies that iOS has.
          Your link from Reuters is over 2 years old. You can't compare development then and now. Now the majority of Android users are using 4.2 or later. As well, if the flaw isn't dangerous they are in no rush to fix it. Sure a vulnerability isn't good to have but if to attack a vulnerability requires that certain features must be modified it affects fewer.
          Gisabun
    • Not *true* 8 core

      Lets not get sidelined - i don't care about apple performance, just correcting the 8 core thing.

      Its a big-little design encompasing two standard, off the shelf arm v7 designs - they A15 and A7 chips. They are 28 nm like last year, but it is worth noting that it is two different 32bit cpu's. The low perfomance A7 takes the basic low demand stuff, where the high power consumption, high perfomance A15 takes the workload.

      It is a reaction to the A15 design, the latest from ARM. It is primarily for server use and although more powerful, it's efficiency isn't optimum for phone use - cruddy battery life.

      That said this year's exynos 5 will bump the A15 from 1.8 to 2.1 ghz.
      MarknWill
      • Actually

        A15 is no longer the "latest" from ARM. In fact, A15 has proven to be a horrible design in mobile application, very bad on battery. And this is why BOTH Qualcomm and Apple went custom route because A15 cortex sucks battery to no end. A15 was never meant to be in mobile application.

        Samsung was just desperate and decided to do big.little design, which has repeatedly failed miserably when compared with Qualcomm and Apple chips. They (Exynos 5 Octa) are power hungry, overheating, and underperforming chips. How many versions have we seen of Octa?? Samsung keeps refining a failed design over and over again.

        And this is clearly seen in what Samsung does with the chip. EXYNOS Octa is mainly now for small tier markets that Samsung just want to have a phone in. In every market that is competitive, Samsung uses Qualcomm chips.
        tigermd99
        • Wow! do you drink the koolaid or what?

          Whatever Samsung did, they have increased battery life dramatically in this new phone. Let's see a side by side battery comparison. I think Apple will be on the short end of the comparison.
          larsonjs
          • Battery life?

            Sure, but at what cost? Look at the size of S5!!! Screen size only increased a bit AND the edges actually decreased...yet S5 is significantly BIGGER than S4! It is almost Note 3 size! Battery size continues to grow bigger and bigger!
            tigermd99