iPhone 5s vs. Galaxy S4: Apple's Best Bet vs. Samsung's Superstar

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Just when you thought the smartphone wars have subsided a bit, a fresh contender comes up creating new waves in the market. The same thing happened when Apple launched the iPhone 5s. From the looks of it, it seems like any other iPhone with a new OS and a fresh coat of paint. However, the sales and the heavy feature set managed to push this heavyweight into the league of the top smartphones out there. Whom else could it compete with other than the stellar Galaxy S4 from Samsung?

It's been only a few months since Galaxy S4’s release and everyone expected Apple to come up with a strong reply. And boy it did. The iPhone 5s not only looks spectacular, but also brings along features that might be a hardcore smartphone lover's dream. But does it stand against the mighty S4? Let's find out.

Aesthetics and Design

The iPhone 5s, especially the gold version, is a treat to look at. The design, in every single way, speaks elegance. Made of aluminum and glass, the shiny device looks like a premium product from every angle. The Galaxy S4, on the other hand, disappoints with its plasticky feel. If only Samsung put as much effort in building a solid design as it puts in making gimmicky features very few people use. Hands down, this department is Apple's and Apple's only.

Winner: Apple iPhone 5s


Galaxy S4 comes with a huge 5-inch screen that is backed by AMOLED technology. This means that the device can give you a 1920 x 1080p resolution, something that you'd still find on many desktop monitors. Compare this to the iPhone 5S, which has a 4-inch screen, the S4 looks like a giant. The iPhone can display resolutions up to 1136 x 640, which is not bad. But when you compare that to the S4, it is not up to the mark.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy S4

User Interface

This is a tough call, but if you see Samsung's TouchWiz interface, it has none of the elegance of the iOS7 interface, or even vanilla Android interface for that matter. When you compare modern interfaces, the standard set by Android (with HOLO) and Apple (with its iOS7 release), are way too high for Samsung to sport a plasticky and bloated interface on a high-end device. Again, there are some people who swear by TouchWiz, but in this department, I'd have to hand it to Apple again.

Winner: Apple iPhone 5s


Though many tech fanboys were whining about the lack of any new advancement in iPhone 5s, very few managed to notice the power of the A7 processor. One of the biggest reasons for this was that during the release, the smartphone wasn't benchmarked. But when it was, it has completely overtaken Galaxy S4 in most of the departments. What makes the iPhone really special is that the A7 chip is made for the future, but sadly, there aren't any good apps that make full use of it.

Winner: Apple iPhone 5s

Battery Life

The iPhone 5s comes loaded with a 1,560 mAh battery while the Galaxy S4 on the other hand has a 2,600 mAh battery. Now, remember that battery life is not just about the capacity. It's also about the optimizations in the software. Several reviews across the Internet have revealed that the battery life on both phones is almost the same, despite the heavy-duty nature of the S4. In other words, both can last a full day. That's why we'll have to hand this one to both of them. GSMArena has a good comparison of the battery life of both phones.

Verdict: Tie


The Galaxy S4 comes with a lot of gimmicky features: Smart Stay, Air View, and much more. However, how often do you find someone using his or her palms to skip through content? Secondly, the smartphone comes with applications like S-voice, S-translate, and S-health. Though we appreciate Samsung's decent efforts to separate itself from the crowd, they're just not good enough to compete with what iOS7 or vanilla Android offers. A full-blown, well-integrated set of applications along with an eye-catching feature like TouchID makes the iPhone 5s a winner in this department.

Winner: iPhone 5s


Though despite being a die-hard Android fan myself, I'd have to hand this one to Apple for the first time. They've managed to craft a solid, future-proof device that will only step up the competition and push Google to come out with a mind-blowing Nexus device. Despite its high pricing, the golden colored iPhone shines in every single way. That's not to say, however, that Samsung did a bad job. One of the main reasons Apple wins this one is that the device was released months after the release of Galaxy S4. Keep your fingers crossed for another battle soon to take place between the Nexus 5 and the iPhone 5s. Now, that would be a good fight to watch!

Written by: Abhishek, a regular TechSource contributor and a long-time FOSS advocate