By Alexandra Burlacu | Aug 11, 2012 01:35 PM EDT
The smartphone market has definitely picked up the pace in 2012, with exciting handsets already on the market and several highly-anticipated handsets on their way and due to arrive by the end of the year. In today's highly competitive smartphone market, the battle for supremacy is between two powerful tech giants: Samsung and Apple. Android devices have become immensely popular, but Apple holds firm in its position.
Samsung's new Galaxy S3 flagship smartphone is one of the hottest devices currently on the market, with 10 million pre-orders for its May 29 debut. New Sprint customers can now get the Galaxy S3 for $99.99. AmazonWireless offers the 16GB Pebble Blue version of the Samsung Galaxy S3 with a $99.99 price tag for new Sprint customers, with free two-day shipping and a 2-year contract. Upgrading customers or those looking to add a new line to their existing accounts can get the device for $149.99. Buying the handset directly from Sprint will cost $200, and without a contract, the price tag goes up to $589.99.
Meanwhile, Apple's next-generation iPhone, expected to debut on Sept. 12, is already seen as the strongest competitor for the Samsung Galaxy S3. Sprint decided to cut $50 off the price of the current iPhone 4S ahead of the big iPhone 5 launch. The 16GB iPhone 4S is now available for $149.99, the 32GB version for $249.99, and the 64GB one for $349.99, with the traditional two-year contract. Sprint will also $36 fee and offer free activation for online iPhone orders. Apple recently insituted a price-matching policy to offer the same discount on request in its Apple Stores.
For consumers struggling to choose, Mobilenapps.com compares specs and features and see which handset scores better.
While the next-generation iPhone is expected to sport a bigger display than its predecessors, the current iPhone 4S has the same 3.5-inch screen, with a resolution of 960 x 640 pixels. At 4.8 inches, the Galaxy S3's 1280 x 720 HD Super AMOLED display is much larger than the iPhone's 3.5-inch Retina display. According to various reviewers, 4.8 inches is just the right size, and the Galaxy S3's resolution is comparable to the iPhone's Retina display. For watching movies and videos or browsing non-mobile Web pages, a bigger screen is likely the better option.
Build and Design
Apple's iPhone feels more solid and professional, and it is also easier to carry thanks to its smaller size. On the other hand, Samsung gets points for packing a big 4.8-inch display on a phone that still feels light as a feather. The iPhone 4S sports a square body, while the Samsung Galaxy S3 comes with a smooth, somewhat curved design. Both phones look and feel great, but the Galaxy S3 just feels smoother.
The Samsung Galaxy S3 currently runs on Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, and is expected to get an upgrade to the latest Android 4.1 Jelly Bean soon. Meanwhile, the iPhone 4S runs Apple's iOS 5 and will receive the upgrade to iOS 6 when Apple releases it in the fall. Both operating systems are smooth and powerful, and ultimately it comes down to personal preference.
The Samsung Galaxy S3 packs a 2100 mAh battery that can stretch up to 8 hours normally, while the iPhone 4S comes with a 1420 mAh battery that lasts about 6 hours. With a better battery powering a bigger screen, Samsung is clearly the winner in this round.
The Samsung Galaxy S3 packs an updated 1.5GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 processor with 2GB of RAM, which makes it quite the speed machine. Meanwhile, the iPhone 4S features a 1GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 processor with 512MB of RAM. Apple's handset is noticeably slower than Samsung's flagship smartphone, and lags when users open several programs simultaneously. If users have multiple programs running on the iPhone 4S, more often than not the screen will not switch to landscape or portrait mode because the RAM goes almost full. The iPhone 4S was the best performing smartphone on the market - until the Galaxy S3 came along.
The Samsung Galaxy S3 provides the best Internet browsing experience of all Android devices to date. When it comes to smooth browsing, however, it does face some issues accessing certain Web pages. The iPhone 4S, meanwhile, provides a flawless Web browsing experience, but it does not support Adobe Flash. Both smartphones choke and reset to the homepage when a Web site takes up too much memory.
The iPhone 4S is definitely better for playing music, as it offers perfect volume levels and easy music integration with iTunes. The Galaxy S3 offers programs to sync with iTunes as well, but they are slow and not always reliable. Meanwhile, the maximum volume levels in the default music player are rather low.
When it comes to video player, however, the Galaxy S3 easily beats the iPhone 4S. The Super AMOLED screen makes even dull videos more vivid due to its great color saturation, and users even have a screen with all the thumbnails of their videos play simultaneously. The iPhone 4S has a great video player as well, but watching videos on a 4.8-inch screen beats watching them on a 3.5-inch screen.
Both handsets offer an 8MP rear-facing camera that takes 1080p videos. Despite having the same camera resolution, however, the iPhone 4S takes better videos in terms of sound and quality. The videos taken with the Galaxy S3 are not bad, but the iPhone 4S wins in this department.
While most consumers now look at smartphones as mini PCs and are less interested in call quality, buyers should not forget about basic phone features. Testing out both phones on Sprint, both delivered great call quality for the caller and the person at the other end of the line. In terms of speakerphone, however, the iPhone scores better than the Galaxy S3. Callers can hear people very clearly through the iPhone 4S' loudspeaker, but they may have some trouble hearing people clearly on the quieter Galaxy S3. Also, some users reported problems with the Galaxy S3 when trying to enter digits, such as credit card numbers, after making an initial call, as the dial pad may disappear after touching the screen. This problem does not always occur and may be soon fixed with a software update, but the iPhone 4S never raised such issues.
Both smartphones are powerful, high-end devices, but Apple has good reason to feel so threatened by Samsung. Both phones are top-of-the-line and comprise excellent features, but the Samsung Galaxy S3 scores better in most categories with a better price, better software, and better hardware. On the other hand, this comparison may be unfair considering that the iPhone 4S made its debut roughly 7 months before Samsung unleashed its latest flagship smartphone. A comparison between the Samsung Galaxy S3 and the highly-anticipated iPhone 5 may be more appropriate.
Meanwhile, which will it be? The $99.99 16GB Samsung Galaxy S3, or the $149.99 16GB iPhone 4S? Leave your comments below.
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