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Deathmatch: Apple iPhone 5 vs. Samsung Galaxy S III

Galen Gruman | Oct. 4, 2012
Is Apple's svelte, skinny iPhone 5 strong enough to fend off the challenge from the big, bold Android muscle phone?

I do find it easier to navigate within iOS apps than within Android apps. Android's use of the Menu button seems a throwback, and the Back button's role in navigating within an app and across apps confused me. iOS's multitasking tray is simpler to use than Android's running apps list, and iOS's richer gestures and accessibility support also outclass Android.

But when all is said and done, the usability pros and cons of the iPhone 5 and the Galaxy S III even out. They're different, and you may prefer one over the other, but they're both very good overall.

Smartphone deathmatch: And the winner is ...

When you weigh all the factors, the iPhone 5 is the winner in the InfoWorld Test Center comparison. But it's no more a winner than the iPhone 4S was, especially if LTE is not a factor where you are. Although Apple has upped the hardware quotient, it hasn't really moved the needle. The Galaxy S III really has moved the needle for the Android platform -- just not quite to the level the iPhone already occupied.

The iPhone 5 is not a must-buy iPhone; if you have an iPhone 4 or 4S, you could happily stick with it. The iPhone 5 is a logical refinement in a skinny black (or white) dress. But the iPhone 5 is an exceptional smartphone, especially if you have an older iPhone, BlackBerry, Windows Phone, or older Android smartphone.

The Galaxy S III should be at the top of your list if you're looking for an Android smartphone or simply a large smartphone. It may be too spacious for many, though, and the relatively short battery life is a red flag. It's a big, bold phone with earnest appeal but a few rough edges.

Either smartphone is a good choice. The differences are narrow enough that your personal needs and preferences will and should matter more in your choice than these smartphones' features. After all, the world loves both skinny models and boisterous jocks.


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