Samsung Galaxy S3 vs iPhone 5: a video comparison

by: Bogdan PetrovanSeptember 22, 2012

iPhone 5 vs Galaxy S3

The most talked about device of this fall is, without doubt, the iPhone 5. Hate it or love it, the sixth generation iPhone is a device that is worthy of your attention. It’s the first iPhone to come with a large(r) screen and LTE connectivity, and, while many will point out that those are standard fare these days, I am sure that Apple will boast record sales once again.

Now for the big question – how is the new iPhone 5 faring against the crème de la crème of the Android ecosystem? Today, we bring you a hands-on video comparison between the Samsung Galaxy S3 and the iPhone 5.

We’ll look at the specs, build quality, displays, software, and features. Let’s kick it.

In a hurry? Jump straight to the Video Comparison or to the Pros and Cons.


samsung galaxy s3 vs iphone 5 specs


The much-touted Retina display looks sharp and Apple claims that the iPhone 5 is now capable of “44% more color saturation.”

The Super AMOLED HD display on the Galaxy S3 is nothing short of beautiful. Plus, it’s 0.8-inch (2cm) larger than the iPhone’s, which, in my book, gives it a massive advantage. The display on the new iPhone is now in the 16:9 format, which is great for watching movies, but will introduce a novel problem to Apple users – fragmentation. Apps have to be rewritten to take advantage of the extra pixels, otherwise they will show black bars on the sides, and nobody likes that.

In terms of PPI, the two phones are close, but the iPhone 5 has a slight edge, albeit a hardly noticeable one. To wrap up, both displays are a joy to gaze at, and the size is the only differentiating factor.

samsung galaxy s3 vs iphone 5 display

Build quality and design

Samsung got a lot of flak over the years for the build quality of their flagship devices. Some are perfectly fine with plastic (I think that my Galaxy S2 looks quite classy), but others swear by the high-end materials that Apple uses in its devices.

While the S3 feels quite good in the hand, the aluminum unibody of the iPhone 5 is much sturdier (check out or drop test if you like some proof). We are not that fond of the glass inserts, but overall Apple has shown its design prowess once again.


The Galaxy S3 is taking the lead in the hardware department. While the user experience is likely to be similar in terms of smoothness, the Galaxy S3 just has more oomph, not to mention a number of extra features like NFC, microSD slot, and wireless charging (with a special backplate).

Not many apps make use of all the cores of the Exynos 4412 processor (or the Snapdragon S4 for some versions) inside the Galaxy S3, meaning that you might not get a real advantage out of it (besides the bragging rights, of course). Nevertheless, we feel that the Galaxy S3 is more future-proof than the iPhone 5, and more powerful and versatile all around.

s3 vs iphone 5 width comparison

Software and ecosystem

The Galaxy S3 features Android 4.0.4 with Samsung’s new “designed for humans” TouchWiz 5 overlay. We are all for stock Android here at Android Authority, but some of the features and modifications of TouchWiz might be useful for some users – things like GroupCast, SmartStay, and picture in picture. And, while critics love to hate TouchWiz, I am sure that many find it intuitive and fun to use.

Few pieces of software get more intuitive than iOS 6, though. Apple has always worked hard to make its OS as smooth and easy to use as possible, and you have to give them that. With that said, savvy users will find iOS lagging behind Android in terms of breadth of features and flexibility. Plus, even diehard Apple fanatics will admit that the iOS interface could use a refresh. What’s the point of having all that processing power if you use if for displaying static rows of icons?

Another big downside of iOS 6 is Apple Maps, which is, to be gentle, half-baked. If you are a heavy Google Maps user, you might want to stay away from iOS6 and the iPhone 5, at least until a Google Maps app makes it to the App Store.

The ecosystems behind the two phones are both vast and rich. Gone are the times when you could say that the iPhone has an edge in terms of apps, and Google is working to bring more music, movies, and books to more users every day. That said, Google has been lagging in launching its full Play Store internationally, so, if you live in a smaller market, you might find it impossible to buy music or books from Google.

Video comparison: Galaxy S3 vs iPhone 5

In a nutshell

iPhone 5 pros

  • high-quality build
  • classy design
  • smooth user experience
  • thinner and lighter than most flagship smartphones
  • simple updates

iPhone 5 cons

  • the UI is dated and inflexible
  • smaller screen than most modern smartphones
  • Apple Maps is a mess
  • specs will be dated in a few months

Galaxy S3 pros

  • large beautiful display
  • more software features than iOS
  • the flexibility of Android, plus all the Google apps
  • more future proof
  • NFC, microSD card, removable batter, wireless charging (optional)

Galaxy S3 cons

  • it’s big for many users
  • cheap plastic build makes it less durable
  • Android updates are problematic


What’s going to be? The Samsung Galaxy S3 or the new iPhone 5? it’s hard to proclaim a winner without ignoring certain pieces of the equation.

Think about what you want to do with the phone. Do you want a super-polished experience neatly packed in a gorgeous shell of aluminum and glass? Go for the iPhone 5. But be prepared to give up flexibility, and 4-inch should better be enough for you.

Do you want a powerhouse with a large screen and specs that will stay decent well into 2014? The Galaxy S3 is a wonderful phone and the right choice for you. Plus, it gives you access to Google’s best apps and to the flexibility of Android, and I am not talking just about rooting and swapping ROMs. Android is far more innovative and open than iOS, and we are all behind that at Android Authority.

[poll id=”154″]

  • johnjohn

    biased. facts wrong.

    • alex13809

      Which ones?

    • Seb

      Then tell us what facts you are talking about instead of just accusing without any info, now thats biased imo…

  • Miko

    Lol missing information and incredibly biased. Losers.

    • Jobs

      How on earth is this incredibly biased?

    • Its a pretty unbiased comparison considering its an Android website..
      If this was cult of mac you would be hearing things like how NFC and bigger screens are NOT really that important.. HAHAHA..

  • Amin

    thanks a lot! one for the Great GSIII !

  • Very nice to have future proof in GS3 but one question, by the time that GS3’s future proof has it’s used will android tech savvy ppl still using GS3 or they will update to GS4 or GS5 already? Don’t say I’m apple’s. I am not body fan, in fact I like Android features more than iOS but I buy iOS device because their pros are more important for me than Android’s pros

    • Terrence Greene

      Yes people will update their phones.. but the real point is that all these features and questionable unlikely to be used to its full potential if at all hardware is Built in so we dont have to worry so much about the next big thing. I mean the gs4 will be an improvement but its likely that with an update we will be capable of doing everything it can. I mean im sure ur tired of hearing it but take nfc for example. It may seems nearly useless now…. but when it becomes huge in a few years your dated gs3 will be still have a purpose.

  • Sorry to say, but iPhone’s screen looks way better…
    On S3, everything looks yellowish and less bright :/

    • wipe the shit off your iGlasses and try again..

      • I’m actually an Android fan and I would never buy an iPhone. From this video i saw this difference… I don’t know how would they compare if s3 had different setup. There is even an article which tested the s3 and they discovered that s3 saves power by lowering overall brightness. On the other hand, on video comparing One X and iPhone 5, the screens were equally awesome. Please, don’t be blind like iSheep.

    • lilmoe2002

      mine doesn’t have any of that yollowishness… and the larger screen gives it an edge, things are much more comfortable to read with more things displayed on the screen, and onscreen controls while playing games much more comfortable.

    • One screen is brighter than the other (which can be adjusted). They should of made it more even. Also the light source is coming from the right. I would suggest you not make that claim until they get a photo taken above, laying flat, equal light output and with a light source above. Also clearly the S3 looks much brighter in my opinion.

      • You are wearing Android glasses. This S 3 brightness issue is well documented. Just check Phone dog reviews.
        If fact I suggest you go to an ATT or T mobile store and have S3 next to an HTC One phone and compare. The brightness is so obvious.
        I thought I wanted an S 3 until I place it next to HTC one…..Not even close.

        • In fact not everyone lives in America with ATT or T mobile stores are plenty. I shall go to an Optus store rather than fly to America and visit an ATT or T mobile store :P

  • Mike

    iPhone 5 no question

    • well you should be asking questions. Are you blind?

  • Lesego Matojane

    fair comparison, guys please do some bench marking. i don’t trust any of the other sites

    • the24thfret

      because the iphone performed better on all of the other sites? haha.

      • They might just be waiting for Project Butter to come out(so both has the newest OS), I think the benchmark for S3 went from 1400 to 1700 or something like that, beating the iPhone5

        • Luis Leon

          The thing that sucks is that, phone manufacturers take toooooooo long updating Android! Jelly Beans out, and phone manufactures are barely upgrading to ICS!

  • excellent comparison! but now it’s even tougher to choose between the 2

  • Iver

    Wy dont make the performance test????. You show how big is S3.

  • The video is private

  • Kabvuto

    You cannot compare aluminum to plastic in a test fall. Even falling from the moon or from Pluto aluminum may not break but still this makes the galaxy S3 a fantastic phone, a phone of the year and a marvelous tech device to own. IPhone may lead in sales but the S3 and it’s OS are simply superb. I just love the feel of my galaxy S3; speed-wise it’s excellent though this is network dependant. IPhone will only lead in sales coz they revolutionized the smartphone world but that won’t make the galaxy S3 a useless phone. For me Sammy’s gs3 is the best, period! Apple are afraid of Sammy in terms of competition and for this, Apple depend on Judge Lucy Kho…

    • Jo3

      Toucbwiz is bad man.. The ideal android phone would’ve been the htc one x with the samsung gs3 features, but with sense 4.0. That would be a beautiful phone. Touchwiz is all over the place. It doesn’t flow properly at all. Whether it’s the colors, or design of the menus, it just doesn’t match up to sense 4 or ios. Even samsung said that software is going to be their major concern this and next year. Apple will always have that build quality and that is a huge factor. With all of the manufacturers of Android, build quality is all over the place. It’s hard to tell which phone actually has quality hardware and software to the average consumer.

      • Kabvuto

        Yes, Apple will always have and remain with it’s build quality and features limited to the iPhone but the features on the S3 are exceptional, cool. Build quality – it’s not like I’ll go on top of a skyscraper and drop my S3, no. The features on my S3 will always carry me. The features and performance are very very vital, and not the drop from a top floor. NFC is also exceptional… Memory capacity is vital especially if it can be expanded through an external sd. Today smartphones are being used to store HD movies which take up much space. Limited memory capacity is thus not useful. The S3 provides an external storage for more and more downloads…

        • I like the fact that if you don’t like the stock software you can take a chance and flash modded stuff real easy

  • azsxdc

    This is a much fairer review that I would have though from an Android site (no offence) but how is it that the iPhone is going to be outdated in a few months while the SGSIII is future proof?

    • What they mean by future proof is simply the fact the gs3 is quad core and when app creaters utilize this further down the line quad cores will come into their on leaving dual cores to struggle no matter how good they are. Just look at laptops and pc. Then again theres nfc, its not massive right now but again if it takes off then the iphone 5 is left without it and crying. Thats when apple make the iphone 5s and update its features you know its coming. Then theres the constantly updateable os that is android people like me used to ice cream sandwich love it and already theres a massive upgrade coming.

      • Yes a little bias of me but all true points. Apple could easily have implemented nfc but decided not to because right now its not that big but you know in 6 months it might be huge. Oh thats like i said when the 5s comes in

        • kamy

          Apple needs another selling point for the iphone 6 (or iphone 5s) just like the LTE in iphone 5. They could have included LTE in the 4s but chose not to. If they give every state of the art features in one release, it will be difficult for them to make the next version “groundbreaking”. Of course, they can always say that they won’t implement any technology until it’s mature in order to give consumer the most satisfying experience. I will not be surprised that they will promote NFC as the greatest thing on earth at the next iphone release, once they have it packaged :-)

          • the funny thing is that AFTER Apple starts to promote something it typically blossoms. Sad but true.

          • kamy

            Agree. With the volume (and loyalty :-)) of the Apple user base, their impact in promoting new technology is unquestionable. However, I’d like to see them taking more visionary approach in their product design. If you always wait until a technology or feature matures before you include it in your design (e.g. bigger screen, LTE, and soon NFC), then you’ll always be behind and catching up with competitors. I truly miss the Steve Job era that brought us truly revolutionary products like iphone and ipad. Sure not every ideas of his are successful (e.g. MobileMe), but it’s the spirit to always explore and provide groundbreaking ideas/products that has made Apple so successful, IMHO.

  • Iphone 5 win simply by having a much better display.
    S3’s brightness is absolutely AWFUL. Don’t believe me. Just have it next to an HTC One phone and you will see how dim it is. It’s not very good in the sun.

    Duo core, Quad core…all sounds very nice. I never hear any iPhone 4 or 4S users complain of slowing of the iOS even after 2 yrs. Unfortunately, I don’t know if it’s the Android OS or the POS HTC/Samsung skin that is slowing nearly all their Android phones after > 6 months usage. So far every benchmark ran showed iPhone 5>> S3.

    btw, I use an Android phone.

    • Well that benchmark performance u just stated is rubbish because every one ive seen has put the galaxy s3 out ahead of the iphone 5 overall. Its easy to be fooled as many pro ape sites will pull out a single test from the overall to show the iphone is faster at something wheras when u look at bigger picture overall the galaxy s3 comes out ahead all things considered. Its not by much but it wins benchmarks when overall is considered which many like u have failed to seeo

      • ok. so all those sites are idiots then? you want to use hardware specs to compare phones but refuse to believe the benchmarks ran on them. You can’t have both.
        GS 3 is an excellent phone but to claim that it’s future proof is ridiculous. It is just now getting JB. Next update will take Samsung another 6 months after it’s released if Samsung updates it at all (just look at Samsung history).

        • Luis Leon

          Well said!!!

    • anon

      I have a GS3 and have had no problems with the brightness….you can easily adjust the brightness in the settings

      • Try it at the store. Max brightness for GS 3 vs HTC one. It will be put to shame. It’s too bad Samsung made it this way.

        • macleod644

          it actually has to do with the software, when S3 gets JB 4.1 it should fix the brightness issue as well as face detection issues

  • DaGr8Pnoy

    the iPhone 5 is solid and thats it. it doesnt come with any cool features exclusive to it besides game center. all it has is everything a smartphone should have at least today. nothing special really. the GS3 has tons of cool features like pop up play and smart stay which were unique until the galaxy note 2 came out. they are both great smartphones but the gs3 has more features and customization.THE WINNER IS CLEARLY THE GALAXY S3!

  • aholsteinson

    The Galaxy S3 hands down.

  • d00d

    Why is the brightness such a big deal to you guys? I just turn auto brightness on and there’s never a problem with seeing what’s on my screen. Most people that buy iPhones are rich little kids who don’t care about specs and just want the iPhone because they’re a dick rider. Apple brainwashes their customers, don’t be stupid

    • mistermark123

      I love dick, especially thick ones.

      • Tito73

        Not everyone is homosexual! All my respect to lesbian and homosexual of course!

        • mistermark123

          Who said everyone is?

    • RichBoy

      I have the i phone 5, and yes I am well off with a trust fund..and believe me,,it feels great when im on my i phone sitiing on the lap of a big dick poor boy while he stare at my phone and wishes he had one ! ^-^

      • Zac

        I don’t know what 3rd world country you live in, but here in the UK most people on benefits (people who don’t work and get paid by govt) have the latest iphones. That kid was probably staring at you, because you are a moron and were acting like one.

    • Luis Leon

      Actually, with the specs, the iPhone 5 still runs better than the galaxy s3! Some websites actually said that the 4S runs just like the S3! Android does run smooth, but with stupid crap that phone manufacturers put on it, slows the phone down! So what good is it to have 2GB ram, and all these Ghz, quad core!?!

      • Jusephe

        Actually 4S has GPU that is faster than S3 and abou coparable to note 2. But iPhone 5 kills the 4S.

  • AndroidSux

    The iPhone does have the ability to share contacts and such with just “bumping” them together. The app is called Bump. It does the same exact thing.

    • bump is not the same as NFC….NFC can transfer any file and almost any size…I was able to transfer some music to a friends gs3 without issue…mp3’s around 5-7 mb’s in size transfer in matter of seconds…with bump it will send you to the market to purchase the song or app

  • anon

    I think in terms of features the iPhone 5 and Galaxy S3 are pretty much even, the main difference is that the S3 is free and open and the iPhone 5 is limited and closed.

    I have the S3 and my mom has the iPhone 5.

    With the iPhone everything is limited and closed, you have to use all types of special software just to transfer mp3s and other files to it.

    With my S3 I can do just about anything and the screen looks amazing.

    Because everything is free and open Android already has far more free apps than the iPhone.

    So if you’re deciding it’s really just about what you would prefer.

    • free and open? google gets to collect all your information, search patterns etc. Nothing is free.

      • Uber Talaga

        So? that is how the social media works. If your not feeling secure in the net. Don’t use the internet. You are just too naive to say that “they” have your data! How about apple they don’t have your data as well?

        If you’re a data freak.. Stay away from technology and stay inside your cave so no one will see or know you! Get a life!

        • iDevice4Me1

          A quote from you. “You are just too naive”. Yes you are. You clearly are blind to the facts of life.

      • R u hiding something?? lol

    • waqas

      yup, S3 is better. but i like Iphone games.

    • iDevice4Me1

      WTF!! what special files for music and movies IT GETS NO SIMPLER THAN iTUNES!!! For other files it is no different than android except with the iPhone Apple has iTunes where Google has nothing like that. Stop posting blatant lies!

      • Lucy Saxon

        Cutting out the bloated piece of software seems rather simple to me. Or do you find dragging and dropping files to your phone difficult? I promise, you’re not as stupid as Apple would like you to believe.

  • Only downside is S3 feels plastic

  • Son Thuong

    samsung=best copycats ever

  • Son Thuong

    yeah Samsung very good ! allway good copycat

    • Sondre Krumsvik

      how is the samsung a copycat? Apple stole, basically, everything from everyone and samsung had done most of those things already and they started to innovate and apple have not innovated in 6 years.

      • Krypto02

        Stop there, who started the full touch screen smartphone technology, its Iphone, then who followed afterwards? ofcourse one of it is Samsung

  • Sondre Krumsvik

    in short:
    Big price tag, boring UI and a good build quality = iPhone 5
    More features for less cash, micro SD and Innovative UI = galaxy 3

    • how is iPhone 5 more expensive? $199, $299…?
      GS 3 will be outdated by it’s own company in 6 months. And no longer supported in about a year….bad boy Samsung..

  • rockerz

    Iphone5 is the fastest phone out there in terms of bench mark but i think that galaxy s3 would get faster after the jelly bean update. But still i got to say iphone5 kinda rocks

  • yarrellray

    Can’t help but laugh at the iphone 5 finally arriving with some of the features most android devices have had for 2years already. The Galaxy S3 pimp slaps iphone 5 drastically from a software standpoint. We won’t even get into the 2gb of ram that makes the GPU in the Galaxy S3 better. Matter of fact when the Galaxy Note 2 arrives with quadcore, 1.6 Exynos with 2gb of ram and Lte/Hspa plus and jellybean you will see exactly what I am say at how inferior the iphone 5 really is. The Galaxy S3 and Galaxy Note 2 rules this space….

    • squiddy20

      “Can’t help but laugh” that you actually think RAM makes the GPU “better”. Coming from the idiot who insults people about being “uneducated simpleton’s”, that’s hilarious. Try looking up the parts of a computer once in awhile.

      • Vosgy

        You do know that GPU’s have RAM, and if they don’t have there own RAM they use system RAM, which is most common in these phones?
        There for more RAM will improve the amount and size of textures that can be preloaded hence improve performance?

      • yarrellray

        Your not as smart as you think you are. You need to go back to high school your college education hasn’t helped you much. So go back to the beginning….

  • prajwal

    galaxy s3 is a pure winner!!!

  • You forgot the iOS apple store with more apps. But still , iPhone is still a long way from S3 and Android.

    • mggiphone

      more crappy apps … a lot more than Android. Apple should put a voting system in place to vote for useless apps to be removed. … the list will go down by a lot.

  • RottenRonnie

    You might need to revise build quality rating for i5 due to scuffgate

  • Ryan MORGAN

    The battery is shit on the iPhone 5, so when an iPhone 5 user is using the shitty map app to find their way to a Starbucks, their iPhone will die! Mwahahahahaha!

  • Tito73

    Very very happy with my s3! Could not change it for I phone…

  • Tito73

    Is not really a comparison! You just talk and showed nothing! With one x you did a bit better comparison!

  • nikki

    Still depends on the user and the user’s priorities on buying a phone.

  • btronix

    if you after pride pick iphone 5 but if you want enjoy the offering of new exciting technology pick SG3

  • iced

    The drop test seems iffy at best. The Pavement was not smooth. Couldn’t one argue that the S3 hit the corner of a stone and that’s why it cracked, when perhaps the iPhone did not suffer such a hit? I feel that drop tests such as this have to many variables to be accurate. Its better the nothing, but a repeat of the test may yield very different results. With that said I am sure the iPhone feels more solid, but I prefer things that will bend rather then break.

  • Me

    Well I can give my opinion only, and that’s what all this comes down to. I am a lifetime apple mobile user. I am also the person in our IT department responsible for all of our tablets and smart phones which is about 1100 moto XYs, Samsung Galxy, and various android phones. I love both the android and iOS. Here are my arguments. If I tuly had to pick one and not ever use the other I would probably select a stock S3….. however when you throw jailbreaking(or rooting) into the picture the story changes. I will and have take a JB iOS device in a heartbeat. Apple’s biggest flaw is not giving the experienced user flexibility. They designed a very clean easy to use intuitive OS, but for those of us that want a little more or some individuality… forget it! Android has taken the idea of making your phone yours and done well. I can make my phone look and act how I want it to not the manufacturer(in most cases). There is one more thing tho that brings me to my reason for picking iOS(Jailbroken) or Android(rooted or not) that is my phones ability to be quick and easy to use when I need it, and Apple really knows how to build a device that can learn you. I can honestly say that my iphone knows ME better then my droid, however my droid lets me design it along my terms, but its is not really learning from what I do.

    So… there is my wishy washy answer, LOL.
    iOS with Jailbreak or Android stock.

  • YadiYdiaYada

    Samsung Galaxy ( especially S3) and Andriod dominate the marketplace!!!!!!!!!!

    • iDevice4Me1

      with a shit load of load of crap devices yes android dominates the phone space.

      • Lucy Saxon

        Out of curiosity, did you use Apple Maps to locate Mac Rumours and end up here instead?

  • just saying damdung galaxy is better. iphone 5 has almost no difference expect the size and the LTE and the speed. other then that they didnt changed anything compare with galaxy s2 to galaxy s3 they switched a lot of stuff and also they are releasing jellybeans 4.1 for the galaxy s3. i would say. GALAXY S3 FOR THE WIN

  • rash1d
  • Asim iam pakistani

    Samsung s3 is the bes mobile is my vot

  • dj

    on the storage section, the review forgot to mention that the Galaxy s3 also does USB On the GO or USB OTG which allows the user to connect, any size usb flash drives and hard drives to the phone for extra storage. Galaxy s3 is the best phone period.

  • Rob

    I own a galaxy s3 and would never ever in the whole wide world consider buying an apple product. Even so i do think that while reading this article that you are not totaly objective which i think is less than impressive if you are going to write a review or compare 2 high end phones. I could se the iphone hater popping up. It’s not that i don’t agree with it. Just think that articles should be objective.

  • Alex

    I’m an iPhone user and I have to say, even though this is AndroidAuthority I love how unbiased your reviews are. Well done!

  • Krypto02

    Iphone5 = German Cars (European Cars), sleek, classy, stable, durable
    Samsung GS3 = Korean Cars, many features, doesnt last long, bumpy, unstable

    Who do you buy then?

  • Krypto02

    Iphone5 = are like European Cars, classy, durable, less repair, proud to use, worth the money

    Samsung S3 = are like Koren Cars or Chinese cars, many features, needs more repair or buggy update, unstable, last for short time, cheaper.

    Who do you buy then?

  • iOS.piRaTE


  • dale330i
  • dale330i
  • tiziano
  • yes I am well off with a trust fund..and believe me,,it feels great when
    im on my i phone sitiing on the lap of a big dick poor boy while he
    stare at my phone and wishes he had one ! by

  • Ian_staff

    Thanks for that I had already started swaying to S3 and your review has made my mind up for me
    Thanks again from Ian staff

  • zefrolasia

    i am iphone user from indonesia. I hv iPhone 4, & My husband hv s3. Android has many application for u to download. but still, iPhone’s application is better.

    but, its ur choice. its depend on our need, & our interest afterall.