Samsung's 2014 flagship, the Galaxy S5, broke away from its predecessors' heritage with a water-resistance certification, and a new “perforated” rear cover design. That's not all, though, as Samsung also went after the Touch ID fingerprint sensor in the iPhone 5s, providing a scanner of its own in the home key, and added a unique heartrate sensor on the back, to make its flagship stand out.

As usual, we are staging a UFC combat between the “perforated” looks and the new features of the 5.1” Galaxy S5, against the slender steel-and-glass frame of the iPhone 5s, as this has become the heavyweights fight in the Android vs iOS championship. Which one has done the fingerprint sensing right? Whose camera takes better pictures? How are the interfaces different? Which one will leave the fight more bruised and battered ? Let's find out...


Plastic-fantastic S5 feels less premium to hold, but its water-resistant design still lets you swap the battery or add more memory. Its fingerprints sensor is more cumbersome to use than Touch ID, though.

Measuring at just 8.1 mm, the Galaxy S5 is thicker than the 4” iPhone 5s, and much larger, heavier, and cumbersome to use with one hand, as it houses a 5.1" display. Its plastic build introduces a new ”perforated” back refrain, which comes in four colors, including a golden version. Apple's handset also has a gold-colored variant, but the iPhone is crafted in a very different way, with premium metal and glass materials for the chassis. If you don't mind the polycarbonate casing of the S5, however, it will offer you not only a bigger screen, but also an IP67 certification, letting you dunk it in three feet (1 meter) of water for up to half an hour. You can still remove the back cover, in the best of Samsung's traditions, which gives you easy access to swap the battery, or add memory with a microSD card – possibilities that the iPhone 5s doesn't offer.

Apple shook the mobile phone industry with a unique Touch ID sensor embedded in the home key, which is the first fingerprint sensor on a mobile device done right. Samsung was apparently in a jiffy to catch up, and integrated a swipe Finger Scanner in the S5's home key in its turn. Queue the copycat jokes here, but the two sensors work in quite a different manner. Not only do the iPhone's dimensions make Touch ID way easier to use with one hand, but it is also much more sensitive than what Samsung offers. 

Upon initial setup, Apple's creation takes a “snapshot” of your fingerprint in all possible positions, so you can unlock the phone with the slightest touch, no matter how crooked your digit lands. The fingerprint scanner on the S5 stays true to its title, requiring you to swipe directly over the home key for it to work, which means that you usually have to hold the phone with the other hand. Imagine having to put down your bags of groceries each time you need to check something on your phone – you'll quickly prefer to ditch the print sensing altogether. 

If you register your thumb swiping it diagonally over the home key in the first place, however - the way you would use it when holding the phone with one hand - the S5 will record this position, and you will be able to unlock the phone easily by swiping briefly almost in parallel to the home key. It worked most of the time with us, as you can see in the video below.

Another unique new feature of the S5 is the heartrate sensor on the back, next to the LED flash. It is tightly integrated with Samsung's S Health app, and requires you to press your finger against it for a few seconds, before it takes an optical pulse reading. Some might dismiss this as a gimmick for the sake of inserting something new, but for athletes or older users it might present a convenient way to check their pulse without manually calculating beat counts.

Samsung Galaxy S5

Samsung Galaxy S5


5.59 x 2.85 x 0.32 inches

142 x 72.5 x 8.1 mm


5.11 oz (145 g)

Apple iPhone 5s

Apple iPhone 5s


4.87 x 2.31 x 0.3 inches

123.8 x 58.6 x 7.6 mm


3.95 oz (112 g)

Samsung Galaxy S5

Samsung Galaxy S5


5.59 x 2.85 x 0.32 inches

142 x 72.5 x 8.1 mm


5.11 oz (145 g)

Apple iPhone 5s

Apple iPhone 5s


4.87 x 2.31 x 0.3 inches

123.8 x 58.6 x 7.6 mm


3.95 oz (112 g)

To see the phones in real size or compare them with other models, visit our Visual Phone Size Comparison page


The phones sport bright displays, with good viewing angles, and nice outdoor visibility, but the default Standard mode on the S5 display exhibits way too saturated colors, and cold overall appearance.

The S5 has a 5.1" Full HD Super AMOLED screen with 432ppi pixel density, while the 4" 640x1136 pixels IPS-LCD display on the iPhone has 326ppi. You won't be able to notice the individual pixels on both displays from a normal viewing distance, but if you examine the screens closely, the S5 panel would come out sharper.

Apple has proven many times that its phone display panels flaunt almost perfect sRGB gamut color representation, whereas the AMOLED panels exhibit somewhat saturated, even gaudy colors. The same goes here, with the latest S5 and the iPhone 5s. By default, the color temperature of the Galaxy S5 screen is 8000K, resulting in very blueish, cold image. The Professional profile makes things better, with temperature of 7270K, almost on par with iPhone's 7150K. However, the S5 screen still has that cold feel, as its screen emphasizes green and blue. Here we should note that although the AMOLED screens of Samsung flagships are not very color-accurate, most people like them for that “wow” factor of their oversaturated imagery. The Galaxy S5 has deeper black levels, and lower minimum brightness (2 nits), too, which makes it a tad gentler on your eyes in very dark environments.

Samsung says this is the brightest AMOLED screen it has produced to date, capable to reach 500+ nits of peak brightness, in line with what the iPhone 5s is able to churn out, too. Both displays seem on par in both indoor and outdoor visibility, as a simple sunlight test outside confirmed for us, too. The phones' panels sport great viewing angles, both vertically, and horizontally.

Samsung Galaxy S5 360-Degrees View:

Apple iPhone 5s 360-Degrees View:



1. iushnt

Posts: 3160; Member since: Feb 06, 2013

S5 over 5S any day

5. sgodsell

Posts: 7605; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

Who ever wrote this article love iPhone more. The Samsung S5 to date has the most accurate display to date.

13. The-Sailor-Man

Posts: 1095; Member since: Mar 25, 2014

Yup. All the tech sites are found by ifans. No matter what name of the site they use, and what they pretend to be. About the display , should I believe on ifan "review" or this: “[The Galaxy S5] has a long list of new records for best smartphone display performance including: Highest Brightness, Lowest Reflectance, Highest Color Accuracy, Infinite Contrast Ratio, Highest Contrast Rating in Ambient Light, and smallest Brightness Variation with Viewing Angle,” DisplayMate concludes. " It's same thing about the (useless)FingerPrintScanner. Soon we will see that S5's FPS works better than iphones from different angles, simply the iboys didn't make the right set-up. And everything else. S5 beats to the groung iphone5S in everything(even the desugn)

17. sipha

Posts: 440; Member since: May 12, 2012

"the Galaxy S5 is both faster and more accurate than the HTC One and iPhone 5s." ..gsmarena's review of the galaxy s5 camera

18. sipha

Posts: 440; Member since: May 12, 2012

"the Galaxy S5 really makes the "LCD offers more natural colors" argument useless." .....gsmarena's review of the galaxy s5 display (& dislaymate)

24. imran86

Posts: 208; Member since: Sep 14, 2012

PhoneArena on S5 Display the S5 screen still has that cold feel, as its screen emphasizes green and blue. Here we should note that although the AMOLED screens of Samsung flagships are not very color-accurate, most people like them for that “wow” factor of their oversaturated imagery. GSMArena on S5 Display The color rendering has also been tweaked and now the Cinema mode offers as true to life colors as any other smartphone on the market. Not that the Galaxy S4 wasn't close enough for most purposes practical, but the Galaxy S5 really makes the "LCD offers more natural colors" argument useless. And, as usual, Samsung offers more saturated screen modes if you prefer your images punchy rather than accurate.

2. imran86

Posts: 208; Member since: Sep 14, 2012

Give a child both the phones and he can tell you which one is better, why such a BS and biased article for it.

3. wilsong17 unregistered

One app a the time

4. pocketbook

Posts: 21; Member since: Mar 26, 2014

Ah, more click-bait to get the views and arguments a'flowin.

6. Agarwalm214

Posts: 31; Member since: Apr 08, 2014

Someday phonarema will say iphone 5s camera is on par with lumia 1020 :P This site is so much biased towards iphone..

29. The-Sailor-Man

Posts: 1095; Member since: Mar 25, 2014

Here is one-hand FPS unlock on S5

7. wando77

Posts: 1168; Member since: Aug 23, 2012

Screen and camera of iPhone on par with s5?......... Of course they are bwahahahaha

8. StraightEdgeNexus

Posts: 3689; Member since: Feb 14, 2014

Man this bias of phonearena is world famous. I've seen many people commenting on other sites about phonearena bias. PA dont become like BGR. See what gsmarena(the most reliable review site) said about iphone's screen and camera. Lol.

9. Dude2014

Posts: 448; Member since: Feb 12, 2014

Better Display Better processor Better camera Better OS Better features better battery Better storage Except design Now you tell me which phone is better?

10. tiara6918

Posts: 2263; Member since: Apr 26, 2012

s5 is obviously the winner. Seriously, I've never heard from pa claiming that an opponent smartphone has won against an iPhone

11. strikercho

Posts: 156; Member since: Mar 20, 2012

I am not surprised. 5S is still the king. What I do wonder, is why there are still people who buy Samsung. Even Chinese brands offer more premium looks and better displays.

21. darkkjedii

Posts: 31658; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

You've got the Sammites crying with that one lol.

23. Taters

Posts: 6474; Member since: Jan 28, 2013

Lol If they are cranking out premium handsets in the sweat shops EASILY, and it takes the best Korean manufacturer in the world to do the GS5, then you might want to rethink if the sweat shop process is truly the premium one here. It obviously doesn't cost a lot or the china brands wouldn't use those materials.

12. greatoneiw

Posts: 41; Member since: Apr 08, 2014

lol , this is just hilarious all new android phones are keep losing to iphone :)))) i'm just waiting for lg g3 , and PA be like : LG G3 2K 550 ppi screen is equal to iphone 5s and we liked i phone's more... you guys are awesome...keep it up for steve jobs ;)

20. darkkjedii

Posts: 31658; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Why don't you stop coming to this site, go buy all these phones, and do your own reviews.

14. teknoboy

Posts: 1; Member since: Feb 23, 2014

İphone 5S is better than galaxy S5 ;)

15. taz89

Posts: 2014; Member since: May 03, 2011

Lol did you see during the finger print sensor comparison when he was saying the s5 sensor was more finicky then he purposely tried to make it fail by swiping bent and swiping fast, only the 3rd time when he tried to make it fail it failed because he barely touched the sensor. No doubt the 5s implementation is better just saying the s5 wasn't bad itself even when he tried to make it look bad.. Display Yh pa I'll take display mate more seriously, people who are qualified to test display, I have no idea what method you use. 1 handed use yes 5s is better obviously but the s5 does have a 1 handed mode where the whole screen shrinks to the size of a 4" or any size you want making it easy to reach all areas with 1 hand.

16. kopkiwi

Posts: 102; Member since: May 31, 2013

You guys are fast becoming a fkcing joke. Your bias is crystal bloody clear.

19. darkkjedii

Posts: 31658; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Very good article, unbiased, and accurate. +1 PA.

22. edelxander

Posts: 58; Member since: Oct 01, 2013

yeah.. the iboys & ifans just be like: " i can fap to this"

25. Agarwalm214

Posts: 31; Member since: Apr 08, 2014

Lets see what happens when PA compares iphone with xperia z2 :P

26. alfipratama

Posts: 1; Member since: Nov 26, 2013

vote it here polarb[dot]com/polls/161442


Posts: 109; Member since: Mar 18, 2012

UFC is a promotion company. What you mean to say is "we are staging an MMA combat".

28. registrar

Posts: 1; Member since: Apr 10, 2014

It's quite obvious that PhoneArena doesn't know what it's doing. 1. The photo comparisons were taken at different orientations (portrait vs landscape), changing the color balance. 2. Photo comparisons in low light were not exposed to the same amount of light. 3. Photos were taken at different angles and were laughably amateur. It's sad because I am choosing between these two phones soon, but after seeing all the bias in favor of the iPhone, I don't know if I can trust the word of any non-technical person anymore regarding this topic. Also, I don't know who Daniel P. is, but he sure seems like an idiot. I'm going back to GSM Arena for more trustworthy reviews. At least they are objective over there.

30. vishalaestro

Posts: 81; Member since: Dec 08, 2013

Go to anandtech. Com and read the review for s5 I would recommend for anybody if they need toread review for any tech products.

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