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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?

Both the iPhone 5 and Galaxy S III support wireless video streaming, but the S III's support for DLNA streaming over Wi-Fi does not work with non-Samsung peripherals, rendering it essentially useless. The iPhone 5 can stream to an Apple TV via its AirPlay service when on a Wi-Fi network; an Apple TV connects to any HDMI device, and through an adapter to VGA devices.

Speaking of Wi-Fi, the iPhone 5 now supports the 5GHz 802.11n spectrum, which is faster than 2.4GHz 802.11n and allows for connections over greater distances. The S III also supports 5GHz Wi-Fi, as well as near-field communications (NFC) short-range wireless connections and Wi-Fi Direct sharing -- useful when you don't have an access point to connect through. For data sharing, the NFC works only with other Android users, as well as a very limited number of payment terminals, building access readers, and the like. Wi-Fi Direct is also not commonly used.

Finally, the iPhone 5's battery lasts much longer than the Galaxy S III's. You need to charge the S III daily, even if you hardly use it. By comparison, an idle iPhone can go days without a charge. My tests of battery rundown rates while idle (with Wi-Fi, cellular, and Bluetooth all on) showed the iPhone 5 consumes 4 percent of battery capacity per hour, whereas the S III consumes 8 percent -- draining its battery twice as fast. An S III that gets heavy usage often can't last the day, while an iPhone 5 can. This is one hardware issue that could be the Galaxy S III's Achilles' heel for many buyers. The good news is that if you turn on the S III's two power-saving options for the screen, the battery consumption rate then matches that of the iPhone 5.

All in all, the iPhone's hardware is better for a business or professional user. But you're more likely going to need your reading glasses with it.

Smartphone deathmatch: Web and Internet support

The iPhone 5's iOS 6 is a little Web-savvier than the previous iOS 5. You can now upload images from your Photos app to websites via a site's standard Upload button -- a boon for uploading photos to sharing sites, for example. Otherwise, the iPhone 5 surfs like the previous iPhones, with the capable Safari Web browser and the strongest support for HTML5 and AJAX of any mobile browser, which lets you use more interactive capabilities on an iPhone, including common facilities such as the Word-like TinyMCE editing widget.

The stock Android browser is quite serviceable, but it's less compatible with AJAX tools than Safari is, so it doesn't work with as many websites. For example, I cannot use an Android device to access InfoWorld's Drupal-based content management system beyond working with plain-text-only fields, while I can use most of our Drupal functions in Safari on iOS.


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