If you're tired of carrying around the same old "dumb" phone that has a tiny little screen and doesn't run any of the thousands of cool apps and games available these days, it's time to upgrade to a powerful modern smartphone. The problem is knowing which one to get, a problem made especially difficult if you're not already committed to either Apple's iOS or Android.
Brighthand is here to help with a comparison of the Apple iPhone 4S and the Samsung Galaxy S III, the two flagship devices for thes rival operating systems. While they run very different OSs, they also share many similarities and can be judged accordingly.
This article is based on the AT&T versions of both the iPhone 4S and the Galaxy S III. Versions offered by Sprint, Verizon, and T-Mobile may differ slightly, but not enough to cause a major change in the "winner" for each category of the comparison.
Build and Design
I may be biased here, but I have to give the Design category to the Apple iPhone 4S. While the Galaxy S III is available in a variety of colors, unlike the iPhone, it doesn't have the same "look at me" sensibility that oozes cool either. When you pull an iPhone out of your pocket, everyone around you knows exactly what it is. When you pull an Android smartphone out of your pocket, anyone interested in what you have would have to ask, because most Android smartphones look so much alike.
Aside from the overall form factor, both of our competitors today are quite similar in that the large display is the most obvious feature of the phone. The back of the iPhone is glass, while the back of the Galaxy S III is plastic. The buttons on both phones are quite minimal, but the Galaxy S III has curved edges and much smaller buttons than the iPhone. They're also much more difficult to find with a wandering finger, and more difficult to operate without looking at the device.
Display and Keyboard
The iPhone 4S is equipped with a 3.5-inch Retina display that has a resolution of 960 x 640 at 326 ppi. The Galaxy S III has a 4.8-inch HD Super AMOLED display that has a resolution of 1280 x 720 at 306 ppi, which is much larger than the current iPhone but isn't quite as sharp.
The much larger, higher-resolution display on the Samsung device is one of its greatest strengths over its rival. It offers a better experience doing many tasks, especially when watching video. Apple has apparently taken notice, and the rumor has it the next iPhone will have a bigger screen.
If you use your phone outside in bright sunlight a great deal of the time, you'll likely prefer the Galaxy S III over the iPhone, because the Samsung display is slightly more vibrant overall and is capable of eye-blinding brightness.
Both devices are rather even when it comes to text entry; the Galaxy S III has a larger display and therefore a larger keyboard so it's easy to use. I personally prefer the iPhone 4S because it has a more intuitive layout of the onscreen keyboard, but that's purely personal preference.
Both of these devices are highly portable, but the iPhone 4S gets a slight edge in this category. They are somewhat similar in size with the Galaxy S III being the larger of the two, and the iPhone 4S being the slightly thicker phone. (Note: the comparison image above is to scale.)
The iPhone 4S measures 4.5-inches tall, 2.31-inches wide, and 0.37-inches thick, but it is slightly heavier than the Galaxy S III since it weighs in at 4.9 ounces. The Galaxy S III is 5.39-inches tall, 2.78-inches wide, and 0.34 inches thick, and weighs 4.73 ounces.
The device you choose when it comes to portability will be based on whether or not you're more concerned about an overall smaller package (the iPhone 4S) or if you don't mind a larger phone as long as it's thin and has a bigger screen (the Galaxy S III).
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