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iPhone 5S vs Samsung Galaxy S4 - Camera and Software

iPhone 5S vs Samsung Galaxy S4 – Camera

Reading the specs of the cameras of the iPhone 5S and Samsung Galaxy S4, we’re reminded of the “keeping up appearances” tactics of the megapixel war of 2009. Did you know we had 12-megapixel phones as early as 2009?

Both the iPhone 5S and Samsung Galaxy S4 will have 13-megapixel cameras with LED flashes. Leaked components that are reportedly from the iPhone 5S suggest the phone may have a wider aperture and improved sensor. This is likely, as increasing megapixel count alone won’t have enough of a positive effect on image quality to satisfy imaging experts.

It’s plausible that both phones will use the same sensor – the latest 13-megapixel BSI unit from Sony. This is in-line with imaging parity of last year. Did you know that the Samsung Galaxy S3 and iPhone 4S used the same Sony sensor? The iPhone 5 also features a Sony sensor, albeit a tweaked one.

Identical, or at least similar, sensors to the one we expect to see in the iPhone 5S and Samsung Galaxy S4 can be found in the Sony Xperia Z, which was unveiled at CES 2013 in January.

Innovation points:

iPhone 5S – 0

Samsung Galaxy S4 - 0

Points 2

iPhone 5S vs Samsung Galaxy S4 – Software

As you might have realised by now, the iPhone 5S and Samsung Galaxy S4 make iterative hardware changes on the solid foundations of their respective series. They’re not earth-shatteringly innovative, hardware-wise.

But will either really push the boat out in its software?

Samsung is naturally limited, as it has to work with the base of Android. All its own innovations have to take place within the TouchWiz skin that sits on top of Android.

We know of two new features that the next version may offer – Eye Pause and Eye Scroll. These are a natural progression on from the SmartStay feature introduced alongside the Samsung Galaxy S3. Smart Stay uses the user-facing camera to tell when you’re reading something, stopping the screen from dimming while you are.

Eye Pause will automatically pause a video if you look away from the screen, and Eye Scroll will, you guessed it, scroll down a document automatically as you read it. We wouldn’t be surprised if Samsung brought these two under the “Smart” banner, as Smart Pause and Smart Scroll. They’re gimmicks, but they’re better than nothing.

Any more dynamic changes are likely to come from Google as part of the Android base. The Samsung Galaxy S4 will launch with the current Android 4.2 Jelly Bean software, but will be given an upgrade to Android Key Lime Pie in time.

Apple has more control over the iPhone 5S’s software, and the next-generation iPhone is likely to see the launch of iOS 7. As ever, Apple is not going to let us know what is in store until the software launches. This is likely to happen in June at WWDC, where most of Apple’s geekier announcements are made.

Apple posted a job listing looking for software engineers to work on the “new API/framework” that will appear in iOS 7, so we do at least know that something special is brewing. Let us know what you want to see in iOS 7 in the comments.

Innovation points:

iPhone 5S – 1

Samsung Galaxy S4 – 0.5

Points 1

The Curve Ball – Samsung Galaxy S4 S-Pen?

There’s one possible curve ball, a rumoured feature of the Samsung Galaxy S4 that may not pan out. The phone may feature the digitiser S-Pen seen in the Note series.

A digitiser layer lets a screen sense varying levels of pressure rather than just basic points of contact. This would turn the Samsung Galaxy S4 into a neat little sketchpad.

Although not hugely innovative by itself, the incorporation of a digitiser into one of the most high-profile mobile devices of the year could dramatically increase the awareness and take-up of digitiser tech. That’s pretty interesting, in our book.

Innovation points:

iPhone 5S – 0

Samsung Galaxy S4 – Bonus 1

iPhone 5S vs Samsung Galaxy S4 – Are they Innovative?

Total points:

iPhone 5S – 2

Samsung Galaxy S4 – 2.5


The iPhone 5S and Samsung Galaxy S4 will not fail to make a huge impact at launch. Each has the rapt attention of millions of fans. However, this time around the phones are likely to offer mostly iterative changes, aside from the adoption of IGZO screens in the iPhone 5S and the possible use of an S-Pen in the Samsung Galaxy S4.

But when on the road to success, would you veer off into the outback? Or do you think a lack of dynamism will trip up Apple and Samsung soon enough?

David Alan King Jr.

January 29, 2013, 2:28 pm

The CPU portion is absolutely preposterous it's in poor observation Apple never uses the same chip twice it'll be an A-7 chipset instead of the idea of using an already exhausted plan. Do better research actually look at apples past and its never the same phone released and the chips are all different on each device. Also any A-X chip is most likely just to push the iPad a little over the iPhone.


January 29, 2013, 3:31 pm

Really? The 3GS and iPhone 4 had an Arm Cortex-A8 CPU at heart. Yes Apple added a gpu and manufactured it at 45nm for the A4/iPhone 4 but the basis was the same. Not to mention the original iPhone and iPhone 3G ran exactly the same processor - Samsung ARM 11 processor at 412 MHz.

Do better research actually look at Apple's past...


January 29, 2013, 3:39 pm

s4 could have hexagonal subpixel layout which could support higher than 440 ppi ,even 500 ppi so nothing is final


January 29, 2013, 3:42 pm

s4 wont have spen


January 29, 2013, 3:43 pm

and s4 shouldnt have s pen its only for note series


January 31, 2013, 12:38 pm

I won't trust apple no more... I got an iphone 4 and it's the worst device I ever had on any option... only battery life is ok... even my old samsung galaxy ace is better than that iphone... app store is ok but phone is locked on itunes I can't see my phones files nowhere else only in itunes, I can't import thinks from other devices via bluetooth, many times itunes freeze and can't find my songs... I can't import videos at all... and a week ago my phone went faulty and they want £120 to fix it... I am not going to give even a penny for that rubbish... my next choise will be samsung again and because I didn't like note 2, it was too huge for me, I will take the samsung galaxy s4...I hope it will come soon... just be careful when you want to buy an iphone... for me it is waste of money!!!


January 31, 2013, 7:25 pm



January 31, 2013, 10:32 pm

you can't complain when you're using an iphone 4 that's two generations behind... that phone is over 2 years old now. comparing it to an upcoming phone is unfair in every regard

Mohamed Bouazizi

February 1, 2013, 2:52 pm

Cool so true radical


February 1, 2013, 9:47 pm

this author is an idiot....obviously hes an iphone user.....he only stated 2 small facts coming out with each phone...and the S pen will be included since big enough to fit into the phone.....it is not just for the Tab serious....boring article


February 8, 2013, 2:41 pm

yet all of his point are valid even for the latest gen of iphone


February 12, 2013, 3:41 pm

Your spelling leaves much to be desired, too.

Debra Harker

February 17, 2013, 4:16 am

What about the momentous changs Apple made on the connectors now used in the iphone5? I'm thinking of the charger plug and the smaller SIM card. Not so easy now to buy a phone and then put your SIM card in. Ditto on charger options for the iphone5.


February 18, 2013, 5:40 am

This whole article is a sham. With no official spec sheet giving such review is pointless!

King Pin

February 21, 2013, 4:43 am

i agree - very weak article for all the reasons you stated

King Pin

February 21, 2013, 4:46 am

ditto - nobody really minds the iphone hardware, cam's good at least. it's the software which is shite in how locked it is and in over 5 years has barely changed

King Pin

February 21, 2013, 4:47 am

ditto - nobody really minds the iphone hardware, cam's good at least. it's the software which is sh*t in how locked it is and in over 5 years has barely changed

Garris Rago

March 6, 2013, 10:45 pm

Author awards S4 more points

Gets accused of a bias towards iPhone

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