Build & Design
The iPhone 5's build quality is not too different from that of its predecessor, the iPhone 4S, aside from being thinner, lighter and longer. it still sports a beautiful design solid design, as it is made of aluminum with a gorgeous glass screen.
Quite a handful of people might not like the "cheap, plastic feel" of the Galaxy S III but it is actually made of premium materials -- a very thin but sturdy polycarbonate. As a result, the body is much more flexible than the iPhone 5. Also, the S III uses very solid Gorilla Glass 2 for its screen.
An important thing to have to keep in mind is that the Galaxy S III has a much larger 4.8-inch screen than the iPhone 5's a 4-inch one. As a result, the S III is a much larger device overall, although the weight between these two phones is not too far off from each other.
Thinner, lighter and with a solid feel to the body, the iPhone 5 one-ups the Samsung Galaxy S III by a slight margin, but you can't really go wrong with the looks and feel of either phone.
After 4 years of sticking to a 3.5-inch screen, Apple has finally moved onto a 4-inch Retina Display (1136 x 640, 326 ppi) to add some more on screen real estate. So what does Apple do with that extra half-inch? It adds an extra row of icons to the home screen. Seriously, that's just about it. The fonts don't look any bigger, and the screen quality isn't any better from the iPhone 4/4S. Critics will even point out that the 1136 x 640 isn't even a true HD display. Also you have to keep in mind that there are still apps that don't even support this new resolution so you will get black bars to fill the space.
The Samsung Galaxy S III, on the other hand, sports a 4.8-inch HD Super AMOLED display that has a resolution of 1280 x 720 at 306 ppi. The pixel density is slightly less than the iPhone 5, and the difference is noticeable, but the screen but makes up for it with a bigger, higher resolution display. Fonts, images, apps, etc all appear larger, and take advantage of the large screen, which the Galaxy utilizes very well. Viewing videos is a much better experience on the Galaxy S III than on the iPhone 5.
The iPhone 5 retains the same layout as the original iPhone of 2007. If you loved the keyboard since then, you will still love it now. The keyboard is accurate and auto-correct is usually right, plus the solid build of the iPhone 5 makes it easier to type on. Now if you've disliked previous iPhone's keyboards, then you should avoid this phone as there is no way to customize it.
The Samsung Galaxy S III keyboard is very impressive. Out of the box, you have the choice of using Swype or Samsung's own keyboard layout, and both options are great depending on how you type. And even if you don't like either of them, you can download a third-party keyboard of your choice. I personally love Swiftkey, and for people who sometimes write lengthy emails on their smartphone and require accuracy and a reliable autocorrect, it is a godsend. With a much larger and wider body than the iPhone 5, the Galaxy S III is great for people who have larger hands.
If we were to compare keyboards out of the box, I'd say the iPhone is the winner (based on my preference). However, if you had Swiftkey to the mix, and consider the fact that you can install whatever keyboard you want on the Galaxy S III, then it's a no-brainer that it takes the prize.
Features and Capabilities
Powered by Apple's new A6 processor, the iPhone 5 loads apps quicker, and the iOS experience is smoother than ever. The phone is snappy and responsive, which is great for the user experience. Now with LTE, I managed to get 16MB down and 3.5MB up on AT&T. With Verizon, I can get up to 30MB down and 18MB up. Airplay is also a useful feature, allowing you to stream your videos and music onto an Apple TV or Airplay-capable device. Air Print is another feature exclusive to the iPhone, where you can print to any Air Play capable printer. Unfortunately, with the new Lightning connector, a lot of the accessories that use the 30 pin adaptor are on the edge of being obsolete. There is a Lightning-to-30-pin adapter, but it does not support video and Apple has not announced an HDMI adaptor for the iPhone 5.
The Samsung Galaxy S III, on the other hand, is a feature-rich monster. With a dual-core 1.5Ghz processor, the smartphone is very fast and responsive. Any myth of Android lag has been squashed with the fast processor and 2GB of system RAM. The Galaxy S III is available with 16GB or 32GB internal storage, PLUS you can add a microSD card of up to 64GB. Running Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) is very snappy, and apps load quickly. If you are able to get your hands on Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean), the experience is incredible.
There are some gimmicky feature from Samsung such as S-voice that is a Siri knock off, and it's just that. It's slow and inaccurate and even though Siri is in beta, it still works a lot better than S-voice. There are also gestures and movements you can make with the Galaxy to zoom in and out with the camera, which is cool, but not really that useful to me. The Galaxy S III also has NFC capabilities making electronic payments with your phone possible, along with some neat tricks you can do with NFC tags such as checking in or activating features just by putting the phone on top of the tag.
With the Galaxy S III, you can also attach an adaptor that goes on to the micro-USB port and get full functionality on USB devices such as a thumb drive, memory card reader, game pad, hard drive, etc. On top of that, you can also attach an HDMI adaptor. On the weekends when I am not using my phone, I have the Galaxy S III hooked up to my plasma TV while paired to a PS III controller to play classic arcade games such as Metal Slug!
I could go on and on with features, but it's clear that that the Galaxy S III can do a lot more than the iPhone 5. However, some may find these gimmicky and not really that useful. But for technology geeks, the possibilities are endless with the Galaxy. Those that don't need all the bells and whistles as described above, the iPhone 5 fares just fine because some of the things you can do on the Galaxy need a little hacking or rooting.
Page 2 of this comparison looks at the software, battery life, and cameras of these two smartphones, and also draws some conclusions.
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