The iPhone 5′s 4-inch screen may be the biggest of any iPhone yet, but Apple has kept things thin, light, and small-hand friendly. At 4.87 by 2.31 by .30 inches (HWD) and 3.95 ounces, the iPhone 5 is still pretty petite by today’s giant smartphone standards. The Galaxy S III measures 5.38 by 2.78 by 0.34 inches and weighs 4.7 ounces, but it also packs a much larger 4.8-inch display. As always, pixels matter, and the iPhone 5 remains Retina approved, with a 1,136-by-640-pixel display, which retains the 326 pixels per inch of the iPhone 4 and 4S. The Galaxy S III has more total pixels, with a 1,280-by-720-pixel display, but its larger screen means fewer pixels per inch—306 to be exact.
The Galaxy S III is powered by Qualcomm’s dual-core S4 Snapdragon processor, which is one of the fastest we’ve tested. We don’t know much about the new A6 chip powering the iPhone 5, but given Apple’s reputation, it should be a good match. During its presentation, Apple promised double the processing and graphics power over the A5. Both smartphones have 16 and 32GB versions, but the Galaxy S III allows expansion via microSD by up to 64GB, while the iPhone 5 offers a 64GB model, but no memory expansion.
Connectivity wise, these two phones are closely matched. The iPhone 5 finally brings LTE, matching the Galaxy S III and pretty much every other high-end smartphone today. Both also feature 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi on 2.4GHz and 5GHz, as well as Bluetooth 4.0. The big difference here is carrier compatibility. The iPhone 5 will be available on AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and Cricket, while the Galaxy S III is available on AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile, and U.S. Cellular.
The cameras on the two phones are, on paper, pretty similar. Both feature 8-megapixel rear-facing cameras, while the the Galaxy S III has a 1.9-megapixel front-facing camera, to the iPhone 5′s 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera. We haven’t had a chance to test the iPhone 5, but we were impressed with the Galaxy S III’s cameras, which took good-looking photos, as well as smooth 1080p video at 30 frames per second.
There are plenty of differences between iOS and Android, but really, which is better is going to be a matter of personal preference. The iPhone 5 will come loaded with iOS 6 and all the new features that come with the latest mobile operating system. The S III runs a heavily skinned Android 4.0, and while it’s not the latest (4.1 “Jelly Bean”), Samsung also included a lot of its own homegrown features that set it apart. The iPhone 5 will again feature the virtual assistant Siri, while the Galaxy S III relies on Samsung’s S-Voice assistant. In our tests, though, we found S-Voice less seamless and more incomplete than Siri, and that wasn’t even the new Siri featured in iOS6.
Make no mistake, both of these phones are powerful and full-featured options. The biggest difference is probably size—the Galaxy S III is considerably larger. Some people will prefer the media-friendly big screen, but others might prefer a slender phone that won’t make a huge bulge in your pocket. Which do you favor? Let us know in the comments section below.