Apples iPhone 5 was released earlier this year with as usual alot of hype, and alot of people went oh-yeah and ran off shopping one right away.

Then one by one found out not everything with iPhone 5 was as great as Apple wanted it to be, nor worked as flawless as Apple products is ment to be.

Some experienced scratches in the aluminium body which made the original silver look shine through their otherwise black ip5.

Others noticed extreme amounts of purple glare in photos taken near a lightsource, which wasnt a problem with the ip4.

When people found out that Apple removed good old Google maps in favour of their new Apple map service who showed less details, it wasnt a positive “upgrade”. Then when some found out city of Berlin was all the sudden located on the south pole (!!!) the disaster where total.

It was pretty clear that Apple had released a premature unfinished product that wasnt up to the quality expected of an overly expensive Apple product.

At the time many went for the archrival Samsung Galaxy S3 instead. S3 had been arround for a little while and had minimum of problems, and even included fancy features like Radio, NFC, micro SD slot, and working 4G (Norway).

For Apples part it ment alot of returned iPhones and in october Apples Scott Forstall (which was responsible for the map program) had to leave the company.

 

Now as months have passed and I’ve aquired a brand new black iPhone 5 64GB version and given it a full test spin to see how things is now vs at release time.

  • Samsung Galaxy S2 – 116g – 800×480 @ 4.27″
  • Samsung Galaxy S3 – 133g – 1280×720 @ 4.8″
  • Apple iPhone 4 – 137g – 960×480 @ 3.5″
  • Apple iPhone 5 – 112g – 1136×640 @ 4″

IP5 64GB costs roughly 980 euros compared to Galaxy S3 at 600 euros, a 380 euros difference. Comparison might be bit “unfair” but I choose to compare “flagship to flagship” here.

Size wise IP5 is taller than IP4 due to the 0.5″ larger screen. Its 20% less weight, and about 20% thinner which is quite noticable when holding both phones. In weight comparison its pretty equal to Galaxy S2 and noticably less weight than Galaxy S3. The S2/S3 feel bit “plastic” without that being a problem, while the iPhones feel more “solid”.

Apple decided that 4″ where enough as all icons is then within reach of the thumb. I dont have especially big hands and I can manage the same thing with the Galaxy S3 which has a 4.8″ screen.

Having a 4.8″ screen the Galaxy S3 is also physical bigger and that may for some be a reason to keep away from the S3. iPhones is in that sense more “pocket friendly” as was the Galaxy S2.

When I unboxed this brand new IP5 I discovered few white areas near the bottom of the phone which stood out against the black finish, just like the earlier “scratch problem” at launch.

At first I figured this might be dust so I used compressed air to blow over the area with no success. By closer inspection it looks like remains of white tape or glue thats used to hold the glass inplace. Using a toothpicker to test that theory its confirmed its some sticky residue. Its not a problem but its not what one expect from a premium high end gadget in this price class.

 

 

 

 

Which screen is best ?

Showing a high resolution photo on both devices turns out great on both IP5 and S3.

The S3 shows a bit richer, more colorful, deeper contrast than the IP5 at first look.

For pure text its very hard to tell yet it looks like the S3 have a slightly better sharpness that might be due to the richer contrasts.

When watching a normal news webpage with text and photos the IP5 displays bit more true color than the slightly over saturated look on the S3. White still look better on S3.

 

 

 

 

Using Lagom.NL LCD test as a reference the results is like this :

  • Differences in darker colors is for most part easier to see on S3.
  • White is more correct “white” on S3.
  • Tint; S3 have a slight blue tint, while IP5 is more yellow tint.
  • Gray pattern test shows more correct on S3, less sharp on IP5.
  • Gray scale boxes, easier to identify on IP5 than S3. (5 more)
  • White checkerboard, sharper on S3.
  • Color gray scale bars, brighter white and sharper on S3 but able to see few more darker variations on IP5.
  • Inversion; mixed results, mostly in favour of S3 that shows clearer cleaner result except for #5 that displays better on Ip5.
  • Color is oversaturated on S3 so skin tones looks more natural on IP5.

Rolling a dice I’d say IP5 is a strong 5 and S3 is pure 6.

For browsing webpages the larger screen on the S3 (about 12,5-13% more width) gives more content shown so web pages dont feel as squeezed as on the iPhones. How this is utilized and if it is really a bonus depends on the user and how the webpage is zoomed or not.

Surfing over WiFi on rich content webpages neither phones is slow and for most part displays the content correctly.

When quickly scrolling tall webpages from top to bottom the S3 is in its own division and way ahead of IP5, not that IP5 is slow just that S3 is way ahead.

 

Camera

None of these phones comes even close to quality of a good pocket camera and is way from quality of any SLR.

According to Lightroom 4 the Galaxy S3 have 3,7mm lens vs 4,13mm on IP5.

I shot a few samples of X-Rite passport calibration card from exact same distance to compare with, in dark room lighted using two bulbs against a white background.

Head to head comparison the results is;

  • IP5 FOV looks as its bit closer to the subject than S3, due to lens differences.
  • IP5 shows a warmer color tone than S3 which is more cold.
  • S3 again shows white as white, while IP5 shows white as more yellowish.
  • IP5 is now over saturated compared to S3 being more realistic.
  • S3 sharpness on fine detail is noticable better than IP5.
  • ISO noise is noticable on both, but less on S3 than IP5.
  • S3 keeps finer details in the dark areas while IP5 smudges them out.
  • On high contrast parts (white text on black) S3 has clearer edges than IP5.
  • Both renders light different, when shooting against a bright lamp theres two totally different outcomes. IP5 have still some purple fringe, which is harder to catch with S3.
  • Overal both is quite good for being a mobile camera.
  • If I’d have to choose just one, I’d go for the S3.

 

Ease of use.

This is two completely different worlds where both worlds have whats needed, one is almost bloated and the other is clean and simple.

On the S3 theres an hotmail client, theres an gmail client, theres a chat program, and theres 8 applications from Telenor (Service provider).  Then theres S-Store which is Samsungs store, and the “Play shop” which is the old Android marketplace. Ontop of this theres the S Planner, S Memo, S Suggest, S Voice, all with S for Samsung. Theres still plent more applications.

The different S branding vs “no brands” vs Telenors 8 applications and two different market places makes this a pretty cluttered application space, which looks chaotic and unplanned compared to Apples stylish way of doing it.

One can also wonder why a large company like Telenor provides whole 8 different applications rather than merge them all into one, thats whole 7 icons too much. Even worse when few of them aint working 100%.

Customizing your phone aint so much a issue with iPhones as well their not directly customizable beyond changing wallpaper. With Android phones can change even the launcher program and by that getting new functions.

For the default S3 the various settings is placed in the application “settings”, what a surprise :-)  Here one can configure wifi, setup data usage, configure hotspot function, and everything else one expects. Over time the android system have grown and theres now plenty of things to change, or look at. Wanna know battery status and what application who uses most battery, its buildt in (and its an app for iPhones todo the same).

Per default the S3 comes with whole seven desktops or “pages” which is filled with widgets, which is basicly small programs that do different things like showing the current weather info or time. These widgets, shortcuts or program start icons can be added to any of these seven desktops. Moving between the desktops (or pages) is easily done by sweeping the finger horizontaly across the screen. As default short cuts to Gmail, Hotmail, Camera, Maps is placed on first page. User can from there modify this as needed.

At bottom of the S3 screen is “phone” “contacts” “messages” “internet” “programs” button which is static regardless of which desktop page the phone is showing.

iPhones dont have this type of desktop and isnt directly comparable in that sense. With iPhone one have the four “Phone” “Mail” “Safari” “Music” at bottom, and then rest of the screen is filled with icons. Sweeping finger left-right will move to next desktop/page with more icons etc. No widgets on the desktop here.

To configure the iphone one tap the “settings” icon on the main desktop and rest from there is quite similar to Android.

 

Applications

App store vs Android “play store vs …

Apples regime is strict control of content on the app store and theres very little problem with it, except theres no other choice than accept whats on there or dont. With the Android world theres more choices, but also way more crap software even malware. The tradeof for freedom is risk of malware, its something to think about before choosing system.

Design wise app store looks bit better planned out than what its Android counterparts looks like, and still both platforms offers much of the same software and search / download functions.

Theres one exception worth mentioning. With an Apple product like iPhone the user can set it up to automaticly download the same application to all compatible units in the owners collection of Apple product. So if the son in the family downloads angry birds then it can automaticly be downloaded to his sisters phone, or mom/dads phone or ipad if thats desirable. Also automatic backup and synchronization of the units is possible when their within reach of the home network.

Automatic updates, downloads, synchronization and backup of units within the Apple eco system is for many very appreciated and in itself maybe worth it.

Androids can also be synchronized, contacts can be exported etc but its not all that smooth as with the iPhone. And so far theres afaik no option to auto download the softwar to other phones in the household.

When it comes to useful applications it seem theres plenty for both worlds. I have yet not come across any useful applications that I cant find a version or two of on both systems.

 

Is the iPhone 5 or Galaxy S3 worth it ?

One can do phonecalls with both so as such they work. The rest is a matter of preference and cost imo.

Galaxy S3 have quite a few features the iPhone 5 dont have, and at a noticable less pricetag too.

That does not compute to automaticly being a better phone, but it do adds more features for less money.

 

For those already having the iPhone 4 generation I think the 5th generation doesnt offer anything thats making it way better than the iPhone 4.

Yes it has a bigger screen, less weight, bit faster … and it costs a fortune while still having quite a few issues for now.

Basicly the iPhone 5 feels and behaves just like the iPhone 4 in almost all situations I so far have used it for, the extra speed isnt noticable in normal use.