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Samsung Galaxy S5 vs iPhone 5s: first look

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Samsung Galaxy S5, together with the Sony Xperia Z2, will be the Android flagships to beat in the not-so-distant future, but there is another warrior lurking in the shadows - the iPhone 5s. Apple's finest is always a popular choice with users, that's why we staged a fight between the iPhone 5s, and the newly-announced Galaxy S5.

Design


Measuring at just 8.1 mm, the Galaxy S5 is only a tad thicker than the iPhone 5s, but much larger and heavier, thanks to the larger, 5.1" 1080p display. It's plastic build introduces a new perforated back refrain, which come in several flashy colors. Apple's iPhone features premium metal and glass materials for the chassis, while the handset is, naturally, much more compact, and way easier to use with one hand. Both handsets have some unique design features to flaunt - Apple has the Touch ID fingerprint sensor embedded in the home key, while the S5 has a swipe Finger Scanner there. Samsung's phone is also waterproof, and sports a heart rate monitor on the back.

Display


The S5 has a 5.1" 1080p Super AMOLED screen, that Samsung says is capable of 500 nits of peak brightness, almost what the 4" 640x1136 pixels display on the iPhone is able to churn out, too. Both panels sport great viewing angles, but the S5 has higher pixel density than what the 5s offers. Apple has proven many times that its phone display panels flaunt almost perfect color representation, whereas the AMOLED panels exhibit somewhat cold and saturated colors, which seems to be the case with the S5 display, too.

Interface


The S5 carries Samsung's own interface overlay, coated over Android 4.4 KitKat. There are numerous functionality improvements, like Private Mode an Kid Corner, aimed to make your life with the handset easier. The iPhone runs the simpler iOS 7, with its command and notification centers, which doesn't, however, support the widget functionality.

Processor and memory


Samsung Galaxy S5 comes with a 2.5 GHz quad-core Snapdragon 801 chipset with LTE support, paired with 2 GB of RAM. This processor is just a step below Qualcomm's fastest Snapdragon 805, and offers much improved image processing. Apple offers a no-less fast, 64-bit A7 processing chip in its handset, and 1 GB of RAM. The 5s has 16 GB of internal memory from the box, just as the S5, which, however, carries a microSD slot for more.
 

Camera


A brand new, 16 MP camera sensor, is what Samsung used for the Galaxy S5, and a 2.1 MP frontal shooter. It claims that the camera unit now provides the fastest 0.3 seconds autofocus times of all handsets - a feat made possible by the dedicated image signal processors in the Snapdragon 801 chipset. There's also a new Selective Focus camera option, that will capture at different focus settings, leading to a blurred out background, for more artsy photos - a feature we found to be a bit finicky on our demo unit. Apple's iPhone 5s' 8 MP camera has consistently delivered great results in our camera comparisons, and it flaunts a very simple, easy to use camera app.


Expectations


Galaxy S5 and the iPhone 5s might not seem in the same category, when it comes to one-handed usage, but the traditional Apple-Samsung rivalry has always set the duo apart, and this year is unlikely to be an exception. They will also be priced quite similar, if history is any indication. Both phones have very good displays, fast processors, and offer lag-free interface and app experience. Samsung one-ups the iPhone in the camera department, offering 4K video, Selective focus, and real-time HDR mode. Apple's iPhone 5s sports the Touch ID fingerprint sensor, whereas Samsung counters with the Finger Scanner, again in the home key, a heart rate sensor, and a waterproof chassis. If Samsung's extra features are important for you, the Galaxy S5 will be the obvious choice, unless your preferences include a much more compact and leaner chassis, like the one on the iPhone 5s.

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