Mobile Technology

Under the Microscope: iPhone 5s vs. Samsung Galaxy S4

Under the Microscope: iPhone 5...
Gizmag goes hands on, to revisit the latest iPhone and Galaxy flagships
Gizmag goes hands on, to revisit the latest iPhone and Galaxy flagships
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The iPhone 5s is 14 percent lighter than the GS4
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The iPhone 5s is 14 percent lighter than the GS4
iPhone 5s on the left, GS4 on the right
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iPhone 5s on the left, GS4 on the right
The iPhone's design didn't change much this year, but it's still a sharp-looking phone
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The iPhone's design didn't change much this year, but it's still a sharp-looking phone
The iPhone's build is higher-quality, but the phone is also looking pretty small these days
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The iPhone's build is higher-quality, but the phone is also looking pretty small these days
The GS4 is four percent thicker, but both phones are very thin
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The GS4 is four percent thicker, but both phones are very thin
The iPhone 5s charges via Apple's proprietary Lightning connector, while the GS4 charges via microUSB
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The iPhone 5s charges via Apple's proprietary Lightning connector, while the GS4 charges via microUSB
Cropped section of outdoor iPhone 5s sample shot
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Cropped section of outdoor iPhone 5s sample shot
Cropped section of another outdoor iPhone 5s sample shot
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Cropped section of another outdoor iPhone 5s sample shot
Cropped section of an indoor iPhone 5s sample shot
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Cropped section of an indoor iPhone 5s sample shot
It's plastic vs. aluminum
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It's plastic vs. aluminum
The 5s far outlasted the GS4 in our battery test, but in regular use, Samsung's phone never posed any problems
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The 5s far outlasted the GS4 in our battery test, but in regular use, Samsung's phone never posed any problems
The GS4 has a 13 MP rear camera, while the iPhone 5s has an 8MP sensor
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The GS4 has a 13 MP rear camera, while the iPhone 5s has an 8MP sensor
Gizmag goes hands on, to revisit the latest iPhone and Galaxy flagships
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Gizmag goes hands on, to revisit the latest iPhone and Galaxy flagships
Text is crisp on both devices, but the GS4's screen packs in many more pixels
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Text is crisp on both devices, but the GS4's screen packs in many more pixels
The iPhone 5s' Touch ID fingerprint sensor lives beneath its redesigned home button
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The iPhone 5s' Touch ID fingerprint sensor lives beneath its redesigned home button
Outdoor shot taken with the iPhone 5s
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Outdoor shot taken with the iPhone 5s
Another outdoor shot taken with the iPhone 5s
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Another outdoor shot taken with the iPhone 5s
An indoor shot from the iPhone
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An indoor shot from the iPhone
The iPhone's dual-LED "True Tone" flash in action
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The iPhone's dual-LED "True Tone" flash in action
The iPhone 5s was a little better in poorly-lit conditions
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The iPhone 5s was a little better in poorly-lit conditions
iPhone 5s on the left, GS4 on the right
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iPhone 5s on the left, GS4 on the right
The GS4 is ten percent taller and 19 percent wider
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The GS4 is ten percent taller and 19 percent wider
Crop of an outdoor shot taken with the Galaxy S4
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Crop of an outdoor shot taken with the Galaxy S4
Crop of another outdoor shot taken with the Galaxy S4
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Crop of another outdoor shot taken with the Galaxy S4
Crop of an indoor shot taken with the Galaxy S4
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Crop of an indoor shot taken with the Galaxy S4
Outdoor shot from the GS4
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Outdoor shot from the GS4
Another shot from the GS4
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Another shot from the GS4
Indoors with the GS4
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Indoors with the GS4
The GS4's flash springs into action
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The GS4's flash springs into action
The GS4's low-light photography was okay, but this was with the night mode filter turned on
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The GS4's low-light photography was okay, but this was with the night mode filter turned on
If you look at weight relative to surface area, then the Galaxy S4 actually comes in at 11 percent lighter
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If you look at weight relative to surface area, then the Galaxy S4 actually comes in at 11 percent lighter
Apple's iOS uses Siri for voice control; the GS4 has the faster and predictive Google Now
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Apple's iOS uses Siri for voice control; the GS4 has the faster and predictive Google Now
The Galaxy S4's glossy plastic build isn't our favorite aspect of the popular flagship
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The Galaxy S4's glossy plastic build isn't our favorite aspect of the popular flagship
When you activate Touch ID, you'll be able to bypass the phone's passcode security by pressing your finger on the home button
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When you activate Touch ID, you'll be able to bypass the phone's passcode security by pressing your finger on the home button
Later this month (supposedly) the Galaxy S4 will receive an Android 4.3 update, which will make it compatible with the Galaxy Gear smartwatch
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Later this month (supposedly) the Galaxy S4 will receive an Android 4.3 update, which will make it compatible with the Galaxy Gear smartwatch
We like the flat design of Apple's new iOS 7
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We like the flat design of Apple's new iOS 7
These are easily two of the top phones you can buy in 2013
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These are easily two of the top phones you can buy in 2013
Command Center is Apple's better-late-than-never quick settings menu
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Command Center is Apple's better-late-than-never quick settings menu
Apple's tap-only keyboard looks pretty antiquated in 2013
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Apple's tap-only keyboard looks pretty antiquated in 2013
Gizmag goes hands on, to revisit the latest iPhone and Galaxy flagships
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Gizmag goes hands on, to revisit the latest iPhone and Galaxy flagships
The GS4 is four percent thicker, but both phones are very thin
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The GS4 is four percent thicker, but both phones are very thin
The 5s far outlasted the GS4 in our battery test, but in regular use, Samsung's phone never posed any problems
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The 5s far outlasted the GS4 in our battery test, but in regular use, Samsung's phone never posed any problems
The GS4 has a 13 MP rear camera, while the iPhone 5s has an 8MP sensor
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The GS4 has a 13 MP rear camera, while the iPhone 5s has an 8MP sensor
The iPhone 5s' Touch ID fingerprint sensor lives beneath its redesigned home button
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The iPhone 5s' Touch ID fingerprint sensor lives beneath its redesigned home button
It's plastic vs. aluminum
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It's plastic vs. aluminum
The iPhone 5s charges via Apple's proprietary Lightning connector, while the GS4 charges via microUSB
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The iPhone 5s charges via Apple's proprietary Lightning connector, while the GS4 charges via microUSB
The iPhone's build is higher-quality, but the phone is also looking pretty small these days
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The iPhone's build is higher-quality, but the phone is also looking pretty small these days
Do you like the Galaxy S4's bigger screen, or the iPhone 5s' more portable build?
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Do you like the Galaxy S4's bigger screen, or the iPhone 5s' more portable build?
The iPhone 5s runs the new iOS 7, while the Galaxy S4 runs Android 4.2
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The iPhone 5s runs the new iOS 7, while the Galaxy S4 runs Android 4.2
Text is crisp on both devices, but the GS4's screen packs in many more pixels
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Text is crisp on both devices, but the GS4's screen packs in many more pixels
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View gallery - 52 images

Comparing the iPhone 5s to the Galaxy S4 isn't really all that different from comparing last year's iPhone 5 to the Galaxy S4. But the 5s does offer a few key upgrades over its predecessor, so we thought it was worth hauling out the microscope to revisit Apple's and Samsung's latest flagships. How do the 5s' new fingerprint sensor, A7 chip, and improved camera stack up next to the GS4? Join Gizmag, as we go hands-on, to pit the iPhone 5s against the Galaxy S4.

The new normal?

If you look at weight relative to surface area, then the Galaxy S4 actually comes in at 11 percent lighter
If you look at weight relative to surface area, then the Galaxy S4 actually comes in at 11 percent lighter

Just like when we compared the Galaxy S4 to 2012's iPhone 5, we're looking at a big difference in overall size. Samsung's phone is ten percent taller and 19 percent wider than the 5s. Both phones are pretty thin, but the GS4 is also four percent thicker.

During the last couple of years, Android phones have completely rewritten the definition of a "normal" sized smartphone. The iPhone used to be considered the standard; now it looks very small next to its competitors, including the GS4.

The iPhone 5s is 14 percent lighter than the GS4
The iPhone 5s is 14 percent lighter than the GS4

If you have small hands, you might appreciate the iPhone's compact build. If you want your phone to practically disappear into your pocket, only making its presence felt when you reach for it, then the iPhone is the better choice. But on the other hand, we know people with small hands who use the Galaxy S4 daily, and wouldn't trade it for the world. As always, it's about finding your own sweet spot.

The iPhone 5s is 14 percent lighter than the GS4, but both feel extremely light in hand. When you look at relative weight (weight-to-surface-area ratio), the GS4 actually measures in at 11 percent lighter.

Construction and colors

The GS4 is four percent thicker, but both phones are very thin
The GS4 is four percent thicker, but both phones are very thin

We don't have a huge problem with the Galaxy S4's glossy plastic build, but we do think the iPhone clearly wins the construction and build quality round. It sports an air-tight body made of anodized aluminum, and looks like it could have been crafted alongside a Rolex watch (it wasn't, but it might have been crafted alongside an iWatch). Its design has become so familiar and iconic, it's almost easy to forget how seamless and intricate its craftsmanship is.

The iPhone's design didn't change much this year, but it's still a sharp-looking phone
The iPhone's design didn't change much this year, but it's still a sharp-looking phone

The GS4's plastic build isn't nearly as seamless, as our unit has been known to get lint and other schmutz caught around its edges and back camera lens. Hairs and crumbs can usually be cleaned out pretty easily, but by that time, the phone's high-end aura has already been diminished. That's something you don't have to worry about with the iPhone.

The only visible differences between the iPhone 5s and its predecessor, the iPhone 5, are its new home button (more on that in a minute), the dual-LED camera flash, and some new color options. Speaking of colors, Apple replaced the black & slate option from the iPhone 5 with a new "space gray" (with black front) color. The old silver and white model (pictured in this article) survived another year, and there's also a new gold and white version as well.

The Galaxy S4's glossy plastic build isn't our favorite aspect of the popular flagship
The Galaxy S4's glossy plastic build isn't our favorite aspect of the popular flagship

The Galaxy S4's plastic body (available primarily in black or white) doesn't feel nearly as solid or premium, but it does offer one practical benefit. You can pop open its backside, and swap its 2,600 mAh battery for a spare. We'll hit battery life a bit more in a minute, but being able to switch batteries in a pinch is a nice perk that the iPhone doesn't offer.

Big screen, small screen

Do you like the Galaxy S4's bigger screen, or the iPhone 5s' more portable build?
Do you like the Galaxy S4's bigger screen, or the iPhone 5s' more portable build?

Screen size is still one of the biggest differences between these two phones, and it poses the biggest question you'll want to ask yourself before making a decision. If you're comfortable with the Galaxy S4's feel in hand, then you'll get to reap the benefits of a much bigger display.

The iPhone 5s only gives you 63 percent as much screen area as the GS4 gives you. Or, put another way, the GS4 gives you 56 percent more screen area than the iPhone 5s does. The Galaxy S4's screen also takes up a higher portion of its front face, and provides a much bigger window peering into your apps, games, and videos.

The iPhone 5s runs the new iOS 7, while the Galaxy S4 runs Android 4.2
The iPhone 5s runs the new iOS 7, while the Galaxy S4 runs Android 4.2

Many customers still enjoy the iPhone's smaller screen. But five-inch displays like the GS4's offer a lot of upside, and only one potential drawback: the phone's overall size. If you're comfortable with the Galaxy S4's feel in hand and pocket, then there's really no benefit to going with a smaller screen. There are, of course, other benefits to owning the iPhone, but its small screen size alone doesn't really offer anything in return, apart from portability.

Text is crisp on both devices, but the GS4's screen packs in many more pixels
Text is crisp on both devices, but the GS4's screen packs in many more pixels

We don't think screen quality is an issue on either phone. There are, however, a few key differences. The GS4's is much sharper (441 pixels per inch to the iPhone's 326 PPI), though we're really comparing "ridiculously sharp" to "plenty sharp." The GS4's AMOLED display also saturates colors more, giving everything a sort of hyper-real look. Its blacks are also blacker, and its whites have a very slight yellow-ish tinge. The iPhone's colors are more toned down and realistic-looking.

VIP access

When you activate Touch ID, you'll be able to bypass the phone's passcode security by pressing your finger on the home button
When you activate Touch ID, you'll be able to bypass the phone's passcode security by pressing your finger on the home button

The iPhone 5s' killer feature is invisible to the naked eye. Hidden underneath the sapphire home button is Apple's Touch ID sensor, the fruit borne of Apple's 2012 purchase of Authentec. It's the most consumer-friendly biometric fingerprint sensor that's ever been made.

When setting up your iPhone 5s, you'll be given the option to activate Touch ID. Teach the phone your fingerprint (by repeatedly pressing and lifting your finger at different angles), then set up a passcode. You'll be able to unlock your phone by holding that finger over the home button for a moment, while anyone else will need a passcode.

The iPhone 5s' Touch ID fingerprint sensor lives beneath its redesigned home button
The iPhone 5s' Touch ID fingerprint sensor lives beneath its redesigned home button

Touch ID lets you enter up to five fingerprints (your fingers or those of trusted friends or family). It works mostly as advertised, very quickly, and without fanfare.

As we mentioned in our iPhone 5s review, there are a couple of exceptions. If your finger gets dry or ashy, it might not recognize it. If your finger is wet, forget about it. I live in a dry climate and swim regularly, so Touch ID was pretty hit-or-miss with me. Chances are, though, it won't cause as many problems for you.

The Galaxy S4 doesn't have a fingerprint sensor, but it will soon have a similar blend of security and convenience. Once it's compatible with the Galaxy Gear smartwatch (via a software update that is supposedly coming this month), you can set the phone to require a pattern lock if out of range of your watch. So if you leave your GS4 on the subway, but still have your Gear on your wrist, whoever finds it will be locked out.

Later this month (supposedly) the Galaxy S4 will receive an Android 4.3 update, which will make it compatible with the Galaxy Gear smartwatch
Later this month (supposedly) the Galaxy S4 will receive an Android 4.3 update, which will make it compatible with the Galaxy Gear smartwatch

This obviously isn't quite as bulletproof a solution as the fingerprint sensor. For example, if someone stole your Galaxy Gear along with the phone, they could unlock it without a code. But once the Gear becomes compatible with the GS4, this option will be at least in the same ballpark as Touch ID. That is, if you don't mind spending an extra US$300 on the smartwatch.

Camera comparison

The GS4 has a 13 MP rear camera, while the iPhone 5s has an 8MP sensor
The GS4 has a 13 MP rear camera, while the iPhone 5s has an 8MP sensor

Both phones have top-notch cameras (well, at least for smartphones). Let's look at some sample shots ...

Here are both phones in direct sunlight:

Another outdoor shot taken with the iPhone 5s
Another outdoor shot taken with the iPhone 5s

Another shot from the GS4
Another shot from the GS4

Now some cropped sections of the same two shots:

Cropped section of another outdoor iPhone 5s sample shot
Cropped section of another outdoor iPhone 5s sample shot

Crop of another outdoor shot taken with the Galaxy S4
Crop of another outdoor shot taken with the Galaxy S4

We see very little difference in this setting. The GS4's looks a little sharper, and its 13-megapixel sensor does have higher resolution than the 5s' 8 MP shooter.

Now let's stay outdoors, but move into some more indirect sunlight:

Outdoor shot taken with the iPhone 5s
Outdoor shot taken with the iPhone 5s

Outdoor shot from the GS4
Outdoor shot from the GS4

And now cropped sections of those shots:

Cropped section of outdoor iPhone 5s sample shot
Cropped section of outdoor iPhone 5s sample shot

Crop of an outdoor shot taken with the Galaxy S4
Crop of an outdoor shot taken with the Galaxy S4

Again, hard to argue with either result. The iPhone's shot looks slightly darker and more saturated, while the GS4's appears to show a smidge more detail.

Now let's move into some moderate indoor lighting:

An indoor shot from the iPhone
An indoor shot from the iPhone

Indoors with the GS4
Indoors with the GS4

Now let's crop those two:

Cropped section of an indoor iPhone 5s sample shot
Cropped section of an indoor iPhone 5s sample shot

Crop of an indoor shot taken with the Galaxy S4
Crop of an indoor shot taken with the Galaxy S4

Again, very close call. Not much to nitpick here.

Now we move into a very poorly lit indoor scene (note that we set the GS4's automatic night mode filter on for this shot):

The iPhone 5s was a little better in poorly-lit conditions
The iPhone 5s was a little better in poorly-lit conditions

The GS4's low-light photography was okay, but this was with the night mode filter turned on
The GS4's low-light photography was okay, but this was with the night mode filter turned on

The advantage goes to the iPhone, but not by an enormous margin. It's worth noting, though, that if we had turned off the GS4's night filter, its shot would have been nearly pitch black.

Finally let's take that same setting, and turn both flashes on:

The iPhone's dual-LED "True Tone" flash in action
The iPhone's dual-LED "True Tone" flash in action

The GS4's flash springs into action
The GS4's flash springs into action

The iPhone's shot looks more saturated, and has higher contrast. Both shots look very much like typical smartphone flash photography, but the iPhone's "True Tone" Dual-LED flash appears to make its look a little less washed out.

If you're going to split hairs over photo quality, then we'd probably cast our vote for the iPhone. Especially when you throw in its terrific burst mode (which automatically chooses the sharpest shot) and slow-motion video features, we'd say its camera has the edge. But the GS4's camera is no slouch at all, and you could easily argue that its quality was at least as good in all of the above samples, apart from the last low-lit shots.

Battery life comparison

The iPhone 5s charges via Apple's proprietary Lightning connector, while the GS4 charges via microUSB
The iPhone 5s charges via Apple's proprietary Lightning connector, while the GS4 charges via microUSB

On a technical level, the iPhone 5s has a 1,570 mAh battery, while the Galaxy S4 holds 2,600 mAh of juice. Based on our experience, both phones' batteries should last a full day for almost any kind of "typical" use.

In our more formal test, where we stream video with brightness set at 75 percent, the iPhone 5s came out far ahead. It lasted about six hours and fifteen minutes. The GS4, meanwhile, only lasted around four hours and ten minutes.

The 5s far outlasted the GS4 in our battery test, but in regular use, Samsung's phone never posed any problems
The 5s far outlasted the GS4 in our battery test, but in regular use, Samsung's phone never posed any problems

Our day-to-day use didn't necessarily show such a big discrepancy between the two, but that might be because neither handset ever came close to conking out at the end of the day. The bottom line: both are solid bets in this department, but for those who want to squeeze as many hours as possible out of the battery, the iPhone wins.

As we mentioned earlier, though, you can basically double the GS4's battery life by toting around a spare battery. Power down, swap for a fresh one, reboot, and enjoy another day of battery life.

Performance and processors

We like the flat design of Apple's new iOS 7
We like the flat design of Apple's new iOS 7

We always monitor performance when reviewing mobile devices, but we aren't going to blab on about it too much. Why? Because just about every high-end phone these days is far more capable than nearly any app you can throw at it requires it to be.

Both of these phones fit that bill. The iPhone's A7 chip makes it the faster phone, and this is reflected in benchmarks. But at this point, that's almost like telling a soccer mom that this racecar is faster than that racecar. Both are extremely zippy and responsive, and likely far beyond what you'll ever need.

It's possible that, in a year or two, there will be apps and games that push both of these phones to their limits. If that day comes before these two handsets are obsolete, then the iPhone will have an edge. But most app developers want their software to be compatible with as many generations of phones as possible, so we wouldn't worry too much about future-proofing.

The most notable item about Apple's A7 system-on-a-chip is its shift to a 64-bit architecture. This is significant for the future of not just iOS, but mobile devices in general. Though the iPhone 5s only has 1 GB of RAM, future 64-bit iOS devices could support over 4 GB, making mobile devices a bit more like their desktop counterparts. This could have a ripple effect throughout the entire mobile landscape, because as Apple goes, others tend to follow (Samsung is already reportedly working on 64-bit mobile processors).

Software features

These are easily two of the top phones you can buy in 2013
These are easily two of the top phones you can buy in 2013

iOS 7 is Apple's first big cosmetic makeover of its mobile operating system. But the changes aren't all skin-deep. In addition to its new flat design (fewer shadows, reflections, and simulated real-world objects), you get a few new features thrown in.

Our favorite new feature is Command Center, Apple's better-late-than-never quick settings menu. Slide up from the bottom of the screen, and do things like toggle Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, adjust brightness, or change your music track. Android phones (and jailbroken iPhones) have had similar slide-in settings toggles for years, so we'd say "finally" is an appropriate description here. For what it's worth, though, it is well done, and exactly what an iOS quick settings center needs to be.

Command Center is Apple's better-late-than-never quick settings menu
Command Center is Apple's better-late-than-never quick settings menu

iTunes Radio also makes its debut in iOS 7. Apple still doesn't have an on-demand Spotify and Rdio rival, but iTunes Radio gives the company a Pandora alternative, complete with computer-programmed radio stations based on your favorite artists, songs, or albums.

iOS 7 also gives you improved multitasking, which now shows you live preview cards of your open apps. AirDrop also makes the leap from Mac OS X, letting you easily share media files with nearby friends (provided they also have iOS devices).

Our least favorite part of iOS is its keyboard. After using trace keyboards on the Galaxy S4 (and other Android phones), the iPhone's tap-only keyboard seems primitive and extremely limited. Android lets you choose from a variety of keyboards, many of which have excellent predictive text and novel approaches to typing. iOS lets you ... tap. If Apple isn't going to open its keyboard up to developers, then let's hope it at least expands its own keyboard's capabilities in iOS 8.

Apple's tap-only keyboard looks pretty antiquated in 2013
Apple's tap-only keyboard looks pretty antiquated in 2013

We could write a book on the software features that Samsung threw into the Galaxy S4, but we'll just stick to a few of the most memorable. We're looking at a laundry list of features, most of which we never used after our first five minutes with the phone. Most infamous are gimmicky air gesture and eye tracking features, which we never found very useful. Smart Stay, however, which keeps your display on as long as you're looking at it, is actually pretty handy.

The Galaxy S4's similarly-exhaustive selection of camera features is a bit more practical. This includes not just the standard HDR and panorama modes, but a sports mode (simulates a much better camera's high shutter speed), a portrait mode (enhances and focuses on faces), and Best Face, which lets you, in a group shot, choose each person's best-looking face, before merging them into one final product.

The iOS vs. Android fanboy wars won't end anytime soon, and we aren't under any illusions that we're going to settle it here. Our take? Both have matured into excellent, top-tier mobile operating systems. Pick your favorite (on the most general level, iOS favors bullet-proof simplicity and Android favors customizable flexibility), and don't worry too much about what anyone else prefers.

Wrap-up

It's plastic vs. aluminum
It's plastic vs. aluminum

It's hard to go wrong with either phone, but they each have their pros and cons. The iPhone 5s is light and fits easily into just about any hand, but its screen is small and the phone is only slightly changed from last year's iPhone 5. The Galaxy S4, meanwhile, has a big and gorgeous display, but its construction looks cheap next to the iPhone, and many of its software features are gimmicky wastes of space.

How do you choose? Well, we can't do that for you. But we think this will give you a nudge in the right direction, and help you to find the phone that works best for you.

For more, you can hit up our individual reviews of the iPhone 5s and Galaxy S4, and our comparison of the three iPhones for sale this year.

View gallery - 52 images
23 comments
Maxomolo
Interesting that even Gizmag fall for the AMOLED resolution "hoax". Where you in the AMOLED world count resolution of sub pixels (Pentile screen) instead of full pixels. If you have perfect vision and take a real look at the older S3 screen, you'll notice that while displaying computer generated graphics, you'll actually see the pixels, despite this screen having higher resolution than the iPhone looking at the specs. That you'll never see the pixels on the iPhone screen. The AMOLED is sharper than the iPhone LCD on resolution specs, but not in reality. The S4 screen has higher resolution, but it's still only on par with the iPhone, not sharper. In reality that is.. Also the brightness differs a lot, only 313 cd/m2 compared to 556 cd/m2 of the iPhone. This is something you'll notice for real while out in normal sunlight. At full brightness is draws a lot more power than the iPhone screen as well. Source: Real life and http://www.displaymate.com/Galaxy_S4_ShootOut_1.htm I thought Gizmag at least were more in depth when it came to these kind of details..
Graham HomeMaintenance
I have both Galaxy and iphone for work, the iphone is more difficult to navigate, it generally takes a better picture but looking at the above I noted the excess of red in the indoor pics, the iphones tend to last longer before needing recharging, I don't think the iphone is better and the restricted OS is annoying
Chris Goodwin
I find the picture comparisons unconvincing. Yes, the iPic is slightly warmer, or richer in tone - but is this a more accurate colouring than the Galaxy? There should be a third picture, taken with the very best camera available (not a smart phone camera) so that we could have a "truer" (?) view of just how brightly coloured that ball/patch of grass - "really" looks. And then, and then, the magnificationS. The iPics are slightly more distant, revealing more background: and hence needing more magnification to show the close ups. So is their detail quality worse? If the degree of blow up is not the same, then the comparison is unfair. But, of course, smartphone loyalties are pretty much ecclesiastical: it is a religion, and who wants to admit that their previous choice of Tweedledum over Tweedledee was not "smart" ? " - 'twas so! " " 'twas not " "... "
Island Architect
My daughter got "upgraded" into a Samsung device by a pushy salesman and now yearns for an iPhone again. I suspect that's because she has an iPad as well. Does that fit within the proverbial "System of things"? Nothing like holding something "classy" in your hands. Bill
Marco Corona
Since the majority of cell phone owners purchase cases to protect their phones, I find construction materials to be a silly and moot point when comparing cell phones.
christopher
conspicuous lack of revelation about the fingerprint hack. anyone who steals your iphone needs only some wood glue and a laser printer to log in (assuming you've left fingerprints on your phone, and lets face it, it was your phone. You have.)
BleedingEdge
The iPhone 5s is a great phone, no doubt but some of it's strengths are are also weaknesses. The case for example is superb, however that battery is completely sealed and non-serviceable as a result. Like literally ALL - as in every singe one - batteries start to fail to fully charge over time. Depending on usage and charging habits the battery can lose up to half is charge capacity or more before your phone's contract is up. Then it will need to be taken or sent to a qualified technician to replace the battery. This may not be a 'while you wait' proposition. Second, hopefully everyone with an iPhone 5s will enable an alternate unlock method (if there is one) than the fingerprint sensor. Here's why: You've just been in a traffic accident. You try to clear your head and find your phone to call for help. You cut your hands while searching through all the shattered glass particles for your phone. You're bleeding. Perhaps not only from the cuts on your fingers. You try to use the fingerprint sensor and it can't read your print through the blood on your fingers. You pass out. Third, sooner or later all passwords are exposed due to some party's negligence be it Apple or a third-party's app authentication. Passwords can be changed. If at some point your fingerprint data is compromised you may experience some difficulty changing your fingerprint...
Peter Breis
I really don't understand how the most glaring difference, the Super AMOLED blue-grey screen gets so over looked. It is not just a little difference, it is a big difference, particularly if you are trying to take photos. I actually got roped into an argument settler in a NY subway between some guy and his girlfriend. They flashed their iPhone 5 and Galaxy S4 at me and asked which had the better screen I pointed at the iPhone without thinking. It was my instinctive reaction that stopped the girlfriend in her tracks, it had been getting quite heated apparently. The odd thing is that it is males who are usually color blind or insensitive. Now it seems that there is a whole new class of color blind Samsung customers who sweep aside any personal perception, swallowing the marketing hype and the obvious "but its bigger!" How does that old Jewish joke go? "The food here is terrible!" "Yes, and such small portions!!"
Sam Joy
Why is it that on some of the photos that on one the iPhone & S4 has good color and low noise, then on another the reverse is true for both in opposites. its hard to discern which of the two are better at true colors reproductions, nor even the noise from the photos are constant from either phone?, is it because the phone were not place in the exact environment of lighting, light angles of reflection, height & distance from subject??....I think if we were to take the same phone in shots of 10 seconds apart, after walking away and then returning to same spot to take next shot you would have same inconsistencies!, if you are going to do comparison testing of this type then the way you do the test will make the results near worthless!, sorry to be so critical, but given I was a Test Engineer for 28 years it makes me cringe when I see these types of inconsistencies!, for a person wanting to make a decision on either phone this could be a deal breaker if data is not pure to the test.
Silverbird
Worrying about the iPhone 5s' Touch ID hack is unwarrented. Besides the fact that the phone is worth more than any information stored on it, unless you work for the CIA or such, your common theif is not going to take the time. It is much quicker for them to find a mark on craigslist to sell the phone to and make with the cash. Most theives that feel they need to steal a phone are usually "opportunity theift" crimminals who are not that high tech. Just some food for thought.