Itís that time of year again. Apple just introduced their new 5s (and 5c), which is supposed to be twice as fast as last yearís 5. Theyíve upgraded the camera and added a new fingerprint reader. Oh, and now you can get it in gold. How good is the new 5s? Why should you buy that instead of an Android phone? Read on!
Comparing Android and iPhone is always really difficult because theyíre so different. If they were restaurants, Android would be an all you can eat buffet (a really good one) while iOS is more of a fancy restaurant with small portions. Both appeal to two different sets of people. Heck, many iOS users will view the fancy restaurant comment as a compliment while Android would view that comment as an insult if it were said about Android and vice-versa.
Iím generalizing here but iPhoneís strength is how well everything is integrated into one package. Thereís no custom launchers or anything, you do things Appleís way or else youíll have to wait forever for a new jailbreak. You get Appleís core apps and then you go download more at the App Store.
Generally speaking, I think the good apps on iOS are higher quality than the good apps on Android. I could write a whole article about this but Iíll just leave it at that
With Android, itís more about choice. Since thereís so much choice, things arenít quite as polished as they are on iOS (generally speaking). However, since thereís so much choice, there are many more types of apps - this will appeal to who like to tweak and mod their phone.
Now letís talk hardware:
vs Galaxy S4:
Without a doubt the GS4 is Androidís poster child. When it comes to smartphone, theyíre like yin and yang, 2 sides of a coin.
The Galaxy S4ís strength is that itís a Samsung Galaxy S phone. Before you call me a Samsung fan-boy, let me explain. The fact that itís a Samsung Galaxy S means that it will have the most accessories available for it out of any Android phone. It also means that should you sell it later it will probably retain more of itís value than if you bought a non Samsung Galaxy S phone.
Other android phones can have high specifications with bigger screens, batteries, more megapixels or megahertz but they wonít be a Galaxy S.
Of course, these 2 strengths are applicable to the 5s. The 5s will probably have even more third party accessories for it plus it will also do a better job of holding itís value.
The GS4 has a bigger screen with nearly 3x the resolution. You get 2 to 4 times as many processor cores which double the RAM, the camera has 50% more megapixels, the battery is about 50% bigger, you get a memory card slot so you donít have to pay Apple if you need more storage.
Indeed, if you look at it from that point of view the GS4 does give you more stuff.
The problem with the GS4 is that it has some usability issues. Itís the whole 2 hands vs 1 hand usage. If that doesnít apply to you, you may like the GS4ís extra screen space.
Comparing the screens is difficult. The GS4 with itís 400PPI+ screen is sharper. It has has very deep blacks so its colours really pop. While the GS4 has relatively accurate colour at maximum brightness, the display changes completely when itís not at max brightness. The GS4 has good viewing angles but itís colours shift a lot more off-angle. Itís also a step behind outdoors in bright sunlight.
The 5sí colours are even better (more accurate) and they donít change much when you lower the brightness. Itís also outstanding outdoors. Personally, I think the GS4 screen looks outstanding but the fact that it doesnít like to dim along with its outdoor performance makeís the 5s a better all-around display.
Performance is hard to compare. I benchmarked both phones but Iím a firm believer in real-world performance over benchmarks. I thought about it and did this. I was going to take a video of each phone launching programs side-by-side to see which is faster but to be honest, there are differences between each platform which prevented me from doing this.
When I launch Angry Birds on iOS, thereís a game center login thatís not present on Android. When I launch Plants vs Zombies on Android, there appears to be some sort of check to see if its legit or not, that slows things down.
Next I tried comparing how quickly browsers on each device launched but to be honest it happens so fast thereís no point comparing.
The only thing I could think of that worked is how quickly each device can launch the camera app from their lock screen. In this case, the iPhone 5s is actually quite a bit faster.
I guess my point is that for both devices, performance really isnít an issue.
While weíre talking about cameras, the GS4 has a 13 megapixel unit while the 5s has 8 megapixels. However, the 5sí is a much more versatile camera. It does better in low light, focuses a little faster and has cleaner pictures. I guess when youíre outdoors and the weatherís nice and bright, the GS4 may hold a resolution advantage but thatís about itís only advantage.
I will say that battery life on the GS4 is quite a bit better than the 5s. The GS4 has enough battery life to make it through most peopleís day - barely. The 5s on the other hand needs a bit of help.
The GS4 comes with a bunch of extra features - some useful and many of them not. To me, the best features on the GS4 are pop-up video (letís float videos stored on the GS4 above your other apps - doesnít work with YouTube or other video apps), multi-window (use 2 multi-window compatible programs side-side). Android in general also has a big advantage when it comes with sharing content with other programs.
The 5s has its fingerprint reader. Itís a simple feature, but it does make using the phone a lot easier since you donít have to mess around with a passcode.
I hate to say it, but judging by all the groans I heard when the Apple store informed us that the gold iPhone was all sold, the available of a gold model is another differentiator. I guess you could say I pity the foo - I mean competition for not having a gold model available.
I hate to play it safe but both are great phones and you canít go wrong either way.
vs LG G2:
The problem is that if you do want to consider the GS4 you should take a long hard look at the LG G2. As of right now, the real choice is whether you want the G2 or the 5s.
The G2ís screen lacks the deep blacks of the GS4ís but it has better outdoor performance. The G2 is also easier to use.. Other than that, most of the GS4ís strengths apply to the G2. That means itís still a matter of personal preference, both are excellent choices.
vs Apple iPhone 5/5c:
Arguably, the 5sí real competition are the iPhone 5 and the 5c. The 16GB 5s costs $229. The 5c and 5 are both $179 plus Iíve seen the 5 as low as $129. They all run iOS so the software experience is the same on all 3 devices. The 5sí big advantage is that it has Appleís new A7 processor which is supposed to be twice as fast, a new camera sensor with improved low light performance, new camera features like 120fps video recording, a new flash and the new fingerprint reader.
As for right now, the extra processor performance isnít going to make a big difference. I do expect it to make more of a difference as time passes. If you donít take a ton of pictures then the 5s still has a pretty good camera. As for the fingerprint sensor itís a great feature but not a must have.
What really makes things difficult, is that for $229 you can get a 32GB iPhone 5/5c or even $50 bucks more you can get a 64GB iPhone 5 (5c doesnít come in 64GB).
Apple has a lot of apps which take up a ton of space plus the camera on the 5/5c is already pretty good so the pictures can really fill up your phone. If youíre a heavy user and plan on downloading a lot of apps (specifically games) Iíd strongly advise you to steer clear of the 16GB model. Thereís no MicroSD card so once youíre full youíll have to make a lot of hard decisions to clear space. Iím sure a lot of people had the same dilemma with the 4s when the 5 came out.