Samsung Galaxy S5 vs Apple iPhone 5S
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.
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.