Home » Opinions » Samsung Galaxy S3 vs HTC One X vs iPhone 4S » Samsung Galaxy S3 vs HTC One X vs iPhone 4S - Camera, Software and Connectivity

Samsung Galaxy S3 vs HTC One X vs iPhone 4S - Camera, Software and Connectivity

Software

Samsung Galaxy S3 - Android 4.0, TouchWiz

HTC One X - Android 4.0, HTC Sense

iPhone 4S - iOS

The argument of Android versus iPhone has been fought for the best part of five years now, and the two sides are just as passionate as ever. In case you've not read up on this ongoing debate before, Android is more open, more customisable and - usually - a fair bit buggier. Android 4.0 helps to lessen the gap on this front, but it's still roughly true.

A tinkerer can change how the phone behaves and looks significantly, without hacking the device. Apps from outside the official Google Play store can be installed easily too.

Samsung Galaxy S3

With an iPhone, you can't change any of this. You can alter background images, but that's about it - unless you hack the phone. The trade-off is that iOS has a much better selection of apps and games available. There are loads on Android too, but they don't reach the same heights in most fields as iOS.

What about the custom UIs of the Android phones? HTC Sense and TouchWiz have been used in HTC's and Samsung's phones respectively for years, and each offers features not seen in vanilla Android. HTC Sense is a little better-looking, with greater character and clock widgets that have become iconic.

There are downsides to using these custom UIs, though. They slow down Android updates, because they have to be reworked each time a new version of Google's OS comes out. Try to fit one piece of software into another and you can bet bugs will appear all over the place.

Connectivity

Samsung Galaxy S3 - microUSB w/MHL, 3.5mm jack, microSD, Wi-Fi Direct, DLNA, Bluetooth 4.0

HTC One X - microUSB w/MHL, 3.5mm jack, Wi-Fi Direct, DLNA, Bluetooth 4.0

iPhone 4S - proprietary socket, 3.5mm jack, Bluetooth 4.0

Like many top-end Android phones these days, both the Samsung Galaxy S3 and HTC One X have rejected the miniHDMI port. You're not left high and dry for video output, though. The microUSB slots on these phones are MHL-compliant, meaning you can plug them into a TV and pipe across HD video and surround sound with the right cable.

iPhone 4S camera

These MHL cables never (in our experience) come bundled with the phones, but are available for well under £20 if you shop around. Samsung has also produced an AllShare dongle, to make piping content over Wi-Fi to any TV dead easy.

The iPhone is a little more constrained, predictably. You have to invest in an HDMI adapter to get video transmitted non-wirelessly, and the official one costs between £28 and £35. That doesn't include the HDMI cable, either.

Cameras

Samsung Galaxy S3 - 8MP, LED flash, 1.3MP user-facing

HTC One X - 8MP, LED flash, f/2.0, 1.3MP user-facing

iPhone 4S - 8MP, LED flash, f/2.4, VGA user-facing

Is the megapixel war coming to an end? Maybe it's already over. The first 8MP phones were released four years ago in 2008, and yet we're still rolling along with similarly-specced sensors today.

It's not quite as simple as that, though. Manufacturers are starting to pay a bit more attention to the aperture of their sensors, which also has a big effect on image quality. In spite of using a very wide aperture for a phone, we found that the iPhone 4S was still a bit better than the HTC One X at capturing detail. We haven't yet had a chance to give the Samsung Galaxy S3's camera a proper going-over, so stay tuned for the full review.

Battery life

Samsung Galaxy S3 - 2100mAh

HTC One X - 1800mAh

iPhone 4S - 1432mAh

The Android duo have much larger batteries than the iPhone. It's no surprise when they have to power much larger screens with many more pixels in 'em.

However, as with processor power, there's another factor to consider here - power management. Android is notoriously bad at power management, in part because it allows apps do get away with murder in the background when not being used, accessing all sorts of battery-sapping system functions.

The Samsung Galaxy S3 should fare better than most, 2100mAh being enough to hold out for almost two days of light-to-medium usage. There is a solution to increase any smartphone's battery life hugely, of course - switch off mobile data. But then your smartphone stops being quite so… smart.

ale0sensation

May 4, 2012, 4:49 am

Wrong, Galaxy S III has Gorilla Glass 2 !!

Vague Boy

May 4, 2012, 4:51 am

"However, as with processor power, there's another factor to consider here - power management. Android is notoriously bad at power management, in part because it allows apps do get away with murder in the background when not being used, accessing all sorts of battery-sapping system functions. "

I take it you've completely missed all the problems with iOS 5 and battery management?

Google "iPhone battery bug" and you'll see what I mean.

iOS 5.0.1 was supposed to have fixed it, but apparently not.

box

May 4, 2012, 5:20 am

iPhone 4S does not have gorilla glass. It only has a scratch proof layer added on top of the screen. Watch any of our stress test videos on YouTube. It is of vital importance to uphold ones reputation by writing with intelligence not assumption.

stulibious

May 4, 2012, 11:40 am

What about Sony Xperia S? why dont you even mention it here? it's at least much better looking than the htc and samsung and the specs are quite competitive

Andrew_TR

May 4, 2012, 2:15 pm

Hi Stulibious,

We felt that more than three phones would get a bit... cluttered. Your wish is our command though - we'll try and fit this comparison in within the next few days.

Andrew

AJ

May 4, 2012, 3:21 pm

It does amaze me that there a whole load of people that seemingly just read this site to pick up on the tiny errors or typos that are posted in a review / article.

I enjoyed the article, but at the end of page 2 it doesn't really seem to end as you'd expect, instead I was looking for page 3.

With all the increasing screen sizes it's going to be interesting in the next year / two to see if Apple also go "bigger". Can't see them going for the vulgarity of 4.5" or above, but a classy edge to edge 4" model could be very sexy indeed.!

LaughingJohn

May 4, 2012, 7:32 pm

The Galaxy S3 has a 1.9MP front facing camera!

Gk.pm

May 6, 2012, 2:29 pm

You can certainly also shop around for iPhone HDMI adapters - not just the MHL ones, a quick look on Ebay reveals plenty of iPhone ones at about £18.

ricky0702

August 8, 2012, 6:53 pm

I bought my SG3 two days ago, and I really regret I did it so late. The device is the best one I ever touched and used.Its quality is excellent, and I still wonder why some people keep telling iPhones are better.Check 7 Unique Features of the Samsung Galaxy S III

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