Apple iPhone 5 vs Samsung Galaxy S3 head-to-head review

Reviews 3 Oct, 2012

We put the flagship Android and iOS devices head-to-head to see which offers the best mobile experience.

Verdict: 
The Samsung Galaxy S3 emerges as the clear winner in our head-to-head. The Android device triumphed in key areas of storage/connectivity, battery life and pricing. Although open to debate, we awarded the design category to the S3 too as it is likely to have longevity and better withstand drops. The iPhone 5 does have the better display, and the iOS ecosystem is more secure than Android. But all this comes at a price. Not every business will be able to dish out the iPhone 5 to all employees, and if users are given a bit of education about device security, the S3 can be a valuable companion.

The iPhone 5 has finally landed to challenge the best of the Google Android devices we've tested to date - the Samsung Galaxy S3.

Both smartphones impressed when tested individually and have proved to be commercial hits. Apple shifted 5 million units in the opening weekend and Samsung revealed it sold 20 million S3 devices during its first 100 days on sale.

We take put the devices head-to-head, looking at the design, display, storage/connectivity, battery life, camera, and pricing.

Design

Beauty is subjective so not everyone will agree on which is the better looking device. Whichever you prefer, it’s hard to argue against the fact that both devices have been beautifully crafted and look great in white.

In the IT Pro office, opinion was split 50/50. Three staff members preferred the Galaxy S3 due to the curved design and three preferred the iPhone 5 because of its smaller size and straight lines.

So down to the details – What are the devices like to handle? The S3 has the larger 4.8in screen compared to iPhone 5's 4ins. Although the curved back makes the device easy to hold, the sheer size may be too big for some users.

The iPhone 5 may be smaller and thinner, but it can be uncomfortable to hold

Apple has struck a good balance between screen size and usability. The 4in size is about optimum for a phone. Although the iPhone 5 is 21g lighter than the S3, it's not always more comfortable to hold. The razor sharp edges on the Apple device can dig into your hand, particularly when you hold the device to your ear during a phone call.

The iPhone is a shade thinner with a thickness of 7.6mm to 8.6mm on the S3. Practically, we found this made no difference to usability.

The difference in thickness is not noticeable

Despite having an Aluminium back, the iPhone 5 feels just as fragile as previous iPhones. If you don’t invest in a cover, you're going to have to treat the device like a baby, as one drop could result in a smashed screen. The S3 feels like it is able to handle rough usage, and although we wouldn’t advise throwing it around, it does feel more durable.

Winner - Samsung Galaxy S3

In terms of looks it’s hard to decide - personally I found it comfortable to hold and am confident that it is more durable of the two.

Apple iPhone 5 vs Samsung Galaxy S3 full specifications

Pages