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Standoff - iPhone 5 vs Samsung Galaxy S3

22 Jan 2013
Julian - amaysim blogger

Julian R

amaysim's PR guy

The iPhone 5 vs Samsung Galaxy S3 - let the battle of the mobile handsets begin.

Two folk in our marketing team are lucky enough to each have one of these awesome mobiles – Jen has an iPhone 5, while Ged has a Samsung Galaxy S3. Both have now had their new phones for around two months, so it seems about time they should compare their phones (and stop arguing about them in the office), so the winner can be decided once and for all … and we can stop listening to them try to one-up each other all day.

iPhone 5 vs Samsung Galaxy S3 - Build quality

Jen: I got my iPhone 5 after having an iPhone 3GS for nearly three years. At first I was a bit worried that I’d find the iPhone 5 uncomfortable to hold (with its extra length and all). There was nothing to worry about - the iPhone 5 is a sturdy piece of kit that fits snugly in the palm of your hand.

Ged: Interesting. I'd gone from an iPhone 3GS to a Samsung Galaxy S2 just over a year ago and didn't have any worries. That said, I wondered if the S3 I picked up just before Christmas might be a bit wide to fit into the pocket of my fave skinny black jeans. It turns out I can't even notice the difference - I actually prefer the size of the S3 to the S2. One thing I do find though is that the S3 does feel a little bit fragile (as did my S2) so I made sure I got a protective case for it straight away. I've dropped it a couple of times in the case and it's come away unscathed. I can’t say the same for my poor S2 which had more hits than Elvis and finally bit the dust.

Do you use a case for yours Jen, or are you a crazy rebel living life on the edge?

Jen: You know, I've never been a fan of phone cases. It'll probably come back to bite me later, but I've never had a case for any phone I've had. Believe or not, I've never broken or scratched one either (touch wood). With its aluminium and glass body, the iPhone 5 feels sturdy enough that I'm happy carrying it bareback in my pocket or handbag.

That's a personal choice though. I’ve seen some pretty cool cases out there for the iPhone 5, so I might pick one up one day.

Ged: I'd never had a case either, until my S2 met a grizzly end on my backyard pavers :(

Jen: Ouch. Is that the phone or your clumsy fingers' fault though?

Ged: Ah, that'd be the latter.

iPhone 5 vs Samsung Galaxy S3 - Battery life

Ged: So, how do you find the battery life on the iPhone 5? Everyone knows smartphones suck a lot of juice because they're constantly thinking, but I've noticed a nice improvement in the battery life of my S3 compared to my S2. It also doesn't seem to get as hot. That said, I use my phone a LOT, so I do give it a few top-ups throughout the day.

Jen: The battery life is one of the few features of the iPhone 5 that I'm a little disappointed with. I need to charge my phone every day (sometimes it even needs a lunch time snack), while I used to only charge my iPhone 3GS every second day. On the plus, the new lightning charger is super-fast, with the phone going from 0% to 90% in around two hours.

Ged: That's pretty quick, but a bummer about the battery life. I pretty much live on my Galaxy S3, so will be hard-pressed to find one I'll get a day of battery life from. That said, I'm much happier with the improvement in this one, but if I'm away from anywhere with a charger for a whole day I'll turn off things like Wi Fi and data to give the battery more legs.

Jen: That's a good idea. You're a thinker!

iPhone 5 vs Samsung Galaxy S3 - Camera

Jen: So, the question on everyone's lips - how does it feel using a phone with a second rate camera?

Ged: I scoff at your mockery. I absolutely love the camera on my S3. It takes pics quickly, ithe results are clear and the photos look great on its screen. It's the best mobile camera I've ever used. You're just being critical because you saw a couple of rubbish pics I took (a good camera can't turn a dodgy photographer into an artist!).

Jen: But the iPhone 5’s camera comes with heaps of extra features that turn it from a camera you’d use as a backup to one that’s so good that I haven’t been taking my point and shoot out with me lately. There's the new panorama feature and then there's all of the extra photography apps you can get on iPhones - love it.

Ged: Sounds pretty cool. I do like the camera on iPhones and iPads, but just love the speed of the S3 camera and the intuitive share icons that appear at the top of pics. When you combine that with Instagram, it's a pretty sweet combination. Even my trusty old DSLR gets left on the shelf a fair bit.

iPhone 5 vs Samsung S3 images

iPhone 5 vs Samsung Galaxy S3 - Apps

Jen: Speaking of apps, what's your fave? What's the range of apps on Google Play like?

Ged: The range of apps is getting better every day. Aside from the bog standard apps likeFacebook and Twitter, my faves are Spotify, TuneInRadio, Ultimate Guitar and TripAdvisor, as well as Facebook of course. The Spotify app is great, and the sound quality I get through it and TuneInRadio through the S3 is more than acceptable, although I do use a pair of in-ear Beats instead of the earbuds that came with the phone.

The only app missing from GooglePlay that I love is the Hurley Surf app, but I just borrow my wife's iPhone for that. I've recently downloaded Google Play Books as well (a reader app) and it's much more pleasant than I expected although I’m one of the rare breed that still likes the feel of paper on the odd occasions I do find to chill and read for leisure.

They all work well on the phone, with no major glitches, and the screen size really makes the more visual apps enjoyable to use.

Jen: Nice. I've actually been using Pandora to stream music with lately. It serves up some great tunes and doesn't drop out, even when moving quickly (on the train etc, I'm not that fast a runner). Gotta admit, I'm a bit of nerd sometimes - love the Sudoku app. A few other awesome apps include:

  • Catwang - dress people in your photos up with cat faces
  • Bump - pass files to other iPhones by bumping them together
  • Emoji - words can only convey so much
Ged's been catwanged

Ged: Catwang sounds ... um ... interesting Jen.

Jen: It's awesome. Once you start catwanging you won't go back.

Ged: I'm more a dog-lover so I'll take your word for it.

iPhone vs Samsung Galaxy S3 - Screen quality and typing

Jen: What's the screen like on the S3? Is it responsive?

Ged: The screen on the S2 was great and the S3 screen is as well. It's really clear, images look awesome (especially when viewing video in landscape mode) and the touch is amazingly responsive. I've had smartphones from about five different companies and this is the best touch-screen I've had so far. Especially when combined with swype (which lets me drag my fingers across the keyboard to type words), it's pretty awesome.

The one downside is that it really struggles in strong sunlight. I was trying to take a few pics at the beach on my recent holiday and it was just a guess as to whether I was going to take a good shot or not, especially on a glary day.

Jen: The screen on the iPhone 5 is awesome too. The glass feels thick enough that I don't worry about breaking it when I touch it. My only issue with it also relates to sunlight - when I'm wearing my polarised sunnies I can barely see the screen on either my iPhone or iPad. It's a bit of a pain, especially when I'm trying to send a text when walking down the street etc.

Ged: You shouldn’t be texting and walking anyway! You're the enemy of peak-hour city pedestrians and we can't be friends.

Other than that, what's typing like? Do you have something like swype?

Jen: You know, there’s a Swype app for iPhone, but I’ve never used it.

Ged: Ah well, you miss out. Other than that, do you find it easy to type? Some smartphones I've found don't allow much margin for error or you almost need to punch the letter to get it to work, but the S3 typing experience is as smooth as silk.

Jen: The iPhone 5's is great to type on. It's pretty much the same as my old iPhone actually.

iPhone 5 vs Samsung Galaxy S3 - Fave feature

Jen: As you know, I'm very happy with my iPhone 5 - what one feature does the S3 have that's worth jumping ship for?

Ged: Google Maps comes with the Android operating system. How's your map app? :)

Jen: I've found Apple Maps to be ok. I haven't had any problems with it yet. (I've heard some horror stories from others though!) That said, I've got the best of both worlds really, now that Google Maps is now available as an app for iPhone.

Ged: Cool. Other than that, I'd say it's pretty much the screen size, the price and the awesome video quality that sell me on the S3, along with the increase in battery life I'm getting.

What about you? Any final say on why the iPhone is a winner?

Jen: For me, the iPhone is all about its solid build and simple design. The range of apps on the iPhone also makes it a winner in my eyes.

The iPhone is expensive, but for something that has the features of an iPod, camera, DS and book reader all rolled into one, I think it's worth every cent.

Ged: I suppose it's like our diets - you're a vegetarian and I love a steak - so we'll have to agree to disagree on this one.

And we'll leave it there..

So as you can see, both Jen and Ged are pretty passionate about their mobiles (they probably each just need to get a life).

Over to you – what’s your dream mobile? The iPhone 5, the Samsung Galaxy S3, or maybe a different phone entirely? Let us know your fave and why in the comments below.

Need more information before making your call on what handset to get next? You can see the specs of the iPhone 5 and the Samsung Galaxy S3 side by side on T3.

Check out more amaysim mobile phone reviews.