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Head to head: Samsung Galaxy S3 or Apple iPhone 4S?

The Gadget Show  Wednesday 09 May 2012

Head to head: Samsung Galaxy S3 or Apple iPhone 4S?

The Samsung Galaxy was finally unveiled in London last week bringing with it a massive 4.8-inch Super AMOLED screen, Android 4.0 goodness and lots of unique features. The big question is: does the Samsung Galaxy S3 have what it takes to compete with the Apple iPhone 4S? Let’s compare the two to find out.

Samsung Galaxy S3 launches with whopping 4.8-inch screen

If the Samsung Galaxy S3 is going to be the year’s must-have smartphone, it will have to stand toe-to-toe with Apple’s iPhone 4S. Here we look at some of the features across five key categories to help you decide which phone is right for you. Starting with…


The first thing we all notice. Like all Apple products the iPhone 4S is a beautifully designed bit of kit. It carries off the same industrial metal and glass design first seen on the iPhone 4. However even the iPhone 4S is beginning to look a little dated. The iPhone design has continually been refined, but never completely overhauled. With the Samsung Galaxy S3 Samsung has gone for a more futuristic look, with curves all over the place and its thin dimensions despite its size, it feels and looks like the more modern phone. For the next iPhone Apple needs to do something different.

Operating system

The operating system of each is what really makes each phone what it is. The Samsung Galaxy S3 features Android 4.0. Users can place their favourite widgets on any of the homescreens and have social network updates and feeds placed within a second’s glance. You can’t do that with iOS. Instead a notification bar slides down to reveal any notifications from Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and more. iOS is still very colourful and pretty, but tends to involve more scrolling through apps.


Unless you’re serious about smartphone photography there is very little to separate the two cameras. Both the Samsung Galaxy S3 and iPhone 4s sport 8-megapixel cameras capable of shooting video in full 1080p high definition. The Galaxy S3 has neat features such as smile and blink detection. The iPhone 4S also features face detection, tap to focus and more, but if video calling is your thing Apple’s free FaceTime service might sway it. Otherwise both camera features everything the average user could want.

Apps and games

The Android Market, renamed Google Play is constantly growing with thousands upon thousands of apps and games. However Apple’s App Store is still king when it comes to downloading extras for your smartphone. Different versions of Android on different Android handsets has resulted in some apps that can appear unstable on Android devices, and delays to apps appearing on the platform due to fragmentation of the platform.

Unique features

The Samsung Galaxy S3 has lots of unique features such as a Smart Stay sensor that detects when you’re looking at the phone, putting it into sleep mode when you’ve looked away long enough, Direct Call that lets you trigger a phone call when reading a text by tilting the phone to your face and AllShare Cast that lets you beam footage and games to a compatible TV nearby.

The iPhone 4S has lots too, such as Siri (the S3 has S Voice) to let you enable commands using voice, FaceTime for free iOS to iOS video calls, iMessage for free iPhone to iPhone text messaging, and AirPlay that lets you wirelessly stream what’s on your iPhone 4S to a nearby HDTV and speakers. 

Samsung Galaxy S3: top five features


As we can see, there is little to choose between the two. Both are nearly on par with regards to features. If games and apps are your thing, the iPhone 4S is still the way to go. But if easier access to widgets and social feeds are your bag, it’s the Samsung Galaxy S3. Which do you prefer?


Head to head, Samsung, Galaxy S3, Apple, iphone 4S, Smartphone, Android, iOS

User comments (9)

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Galaxy S 3 all round!

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Are you kidding me? "Little to choose from"?! The Samsung Galaxy S3 Wins HANDS DOWN

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Philip Spark

Popping the S3 up against the iPhone 5 will be more relevant

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@phillip spark. Even those two models wouldn't be relative

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I know you're iPhone Fanboys, but come on. The new S3 has a replaceable battery, expandable storage with a Micro-SD slot, 50gb Dropbox free for 2 years, freedom from the Apple Eco System, a much bigger screen, a thinner, lighter design and it's cheaper sim-free. It has free alternatives to Face Time and an excellent alternative to Siri. The only thing you can say about Apple is that it has a more established AppStore, but I've been using android for about 3 years and have never felt like I was missing an essential App.

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Another biased review brought to you by the iGadget Show.

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Horses for courses. I personally think the Samsung would be better if the screen was 4" - these massive Android handsets are getting out of hand (see what I did there...). I think the iPhone would be improved by a 4" display, but wouldn't want anything larger than that - too ungainly. Try some phones, pick your favourite and enjoy it.

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give me a nokia 3210 anyday.

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Come on igadget, take the blue pill and see how far the rabbit hole goes...... You should free yourself from the imatrix.

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