Feeds

Samsung's new Galaxy S 4: iPhone assassin or Android also-ran?

Software distinguishes 'a life companion for richer, simpler life'

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

One size emphatically does not fit all

The Galaxy S 4's Exynos 5 Octa processor will likely outperform the iPhone 5's dual-core Apple A6 chip – we'd be gobsmacked if it doesn't – but to many users, pure processor power is not a game-changer since they use their smartphones mostly for email, simple browsing, casual games and ... oh, yeah ... phone calls. In that usage model, the Octa's Cortex-A7s are likely to perform as credibly as the iPhone's A6.

Then there's the Galaxy S 4's 5-inch, 1920-by-1080 pixel, 441ppi Super AMOLED display versus the iPhone 5's 4-inch, 1136-by-640 pixel, 326ppi "retina" display. We'll have to see the AMOLED's brightness, contrast, and viewing angles before we're able to adequately compare the two, but it's obvious that Samsung offers more display acreage than does Apple.

But is more always better? For many, yes, but for others a smaller, more-compact display is more easily navigable in one hand, more pocketable, and thus preferable. Many users have no need for a video screen nor a game machine.

Which leads us to overall size and weight. The Galaxy S 4 is marginally thinner and lighter than the S III, but still a bit heftier than the iPhone 5. There's really no big difference either way, to be frank, so we'll call that a draw. The iPhone 5 is lighter by about an ounce, but you'd have to be quite the delicate flower to really care.

Camera? The Galaxy S 4's main camera pumps out 13 megapixels, while the iPhone 5 is limited to eight. Here again, though, numbers can be deceiving. As any shooter will tell you, more megapixels are all well and good, but it's the lens assembly, image sensor, and image-processing firmware that make all the difference.

Until we see side-by-side, controlled comparisons of Samsung and Apple's image quality in a wide variety of lighting conditions, and in shooting scenarios that stress such geometry challenges as pincushioning, it's simply inappropriate to say that one camera is better than the other.

Tap dancing brat at Samsung's Galaxy S 4 rollout

When planning a technology event, would you include a tap-dancing eight-year-old? Thought not.

Then there's software – both operating system and apps. Truth be told, we're of the firm opinion that as much as any fanboi or fandroid loves to flash their new shiny-shiny hardware to impress their friends, it's the software that makes a smartphone relationship last – that, and the amount of apps in which you have already have invested for your platform of choice.

After what we saw on Thursday, in terms of features and – to coin a term, "shareability" – the Galaxy 4 S makes the iPhone 5 look like yesterday's news. It used to be that we could confidently predict that the next version of iOS – that would be iOS 7, likely to be revealed mid-year – would be a solid step forward, but after recent relatively tepid releases, not to mention the oft-mentioned crap Maps app flap, we're not so sure.

But when all is said and done, software and "gotta have'em" features are simply matters of taste and preference. Sure, one can wave useability studies about, trumpet number-of-clicks-to-task statistics, or prattle on about nifty new features – even, in Apple's case, crappy ones such as Siri – but those who champion iOS over Android (and vice versa) are really championing their own personal taste over another's.

Your Reg reporter, for one, couldn't care less about the camera tricks that the Galaxy S 4 can perform. But you, dear Reg reader, might find the idea of a time-lapse Drama Shot the proverbial cat's meow. And we'd both be right.

So here's a radical thought, and one that's likely to generate a bit of heat in Comments: if you happen to prefer Samsung's offerings to Apple's – or vice versa – more power to ya. For chrissake, iOS and Android fanatics, it's just a frickin' phone.

As the late, great, megalomaniacal visionary Steve Jobs – on one of his better days – once said when Mac addicts fumed at Bill Gates, the Great Satan, "We have to let go of a few things here. We have to let go of this notion that for Apple to win, Microsoft has to lose." So it is with Android and iOS, Samsung and Apple, the Galaxy S 4 and iPhone 5.

Now if only that type of thinking would take hold in the executive suites of Cupertino, California, and Suwon, South Korea. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
So, Apple won't sell cheap kit? Prepare the iOS garden wall WRECKING BALL
It can throw the low cost race if it looks to the cloud
Samsung Gear S: Quick, LAUNCH IT – before Apple straps on iWatch
Full specs for wrist-mounted device here ... but who'll buy it?
Apple promises to lift Curse of the Drained iPhone 5 Battery
Have you tried turning it off and...? Never mind, here's a replacement
Now that's FIRE WIRE: HP recalls 6 MILLION burn-risk laptop cables
Right in the middle of Burning Mains Man week
Reg man looks through a Glass, darkly: Google's toy ploy or killer tech specs?
Tip: Put the shades on and you'll look less of a spanner
HUGE iPAD? Maybe. HUGE ADVERTS? That's for SURE
Noo! Hand not big enough! Don't look at meee!
AMD unveils 'single purpose' graphics card for PC gamers and NO ONE else
Chip maker claims the Radeon R9 285 is 'best in its class'
Tim Cook in Applerexia fears: New MacBook THINNER THAN EVER
'Supply chain sources' give up the goss on new iLappy
Just in case? Unverified 'supersize me' iPhone 6 pics in sneak leak peek
Is bigger necessarily better for the fruity firm's flagship phone?
prev story

Whitepapers

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup
Learn why inSync received the highest overall rating from Druva and is the top choice for the mobile workforce.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.