Galaxy S4 vs iPhone 5S: Compare specs, release dates and pricing

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The year 2013 has already seen a large number of smartphone launches – more than 25, if you count the various variants and versions, and at least 10 if you stick to the notable launches.

Nevertheless, while there have indeed been a handful of prominent phones launched this year, the biggest launches of the year – Samsung Galaxy S4 and the iPhone 5S (or 6) – are yet to hit us.

And hit they will – sooner than later. The Galaxy S4, as rumours get hotter, is ready to be unleashed, in less than a week from today.

Let’s look at what we know today, based on some credible and some not-so-credible rumours, about the release date, specifications and pricing of the two spearhead stallions in this two-horse race.

Release date

Samsung Galaxy S4: Fans, fanatics and typical enthusiasts have generally come around to agreeing March 14 as the day the new spearhead smartphone from the Samsung stable will be unveiled by the Korean giant. Samsung has sent out invites for its Mobile Unpacked event on the day, at Radio City Music Hall in New York. If indeed the South Korean company unveils the Galaxy S4 at the event, as rumoured, it will mark the first time it would have unveiled its spearhead in the US, in effect making its intentions clear that it will take the smartphone war to Apple’s home ground.

Apple iPhone 5S: Imminently, the next version of the iPhone – the iPhone 5S or the iPhone 6 – will be unveiled by Apple in the next few months as rumours abound that a new smartphone from the Cupertino-based firm is already under production in China, and will be unveiled to the world in July or August. A date is yet to be speculated upon, but rest assured that it will be, soon.

Specifications

Samsung Galaxy S4: With less than one week to go, the buzz about the phone’s potential features is getting boisterous. Numerous updates and a handful of exciting new rumoured specs suggest that the Galaxy S4 will be a master blaster.

Among the exciting new features could be wireless charging and the buzz that its screen will be a literal “green screen” with energy-saving PHOLED material in its AMOLED display. In addition, the Galaxy S4 display is also expected to feature floating touch technology. This, if it is indeed implemented in the new S4, will allow users to operate the phone by directing their fingers just centimetres above the screen. The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 already has a similar feature, Air View, that allows users to operate the pad by hovering the tip of the S-pen stylus over them. But a touch screen smartphone without the trouble of regularly wiping off fingerprint marks from the screen is a cool idea. More than anything else, the proposed eye-controlled features, Eye Scroll and Eye Pause, are something that will definitely raise a few eyebrows (pun intended).

Here are the rumoured specs:

Dimensions: 140.1 x 71.8 x 7.7 mm

Weight: 138 grams

Display: 4.99" full HD ‘green PHOLED’ or AMOLED flexible

OS: Android 4.2.1 Jelly Bean (will be upgraded to 4.2.2 in March itself)

Network / Wireless: 2G – GSM, GPRS, EDGE with 850/900/1800 and 1900 HHz
3G – HSPA & 21Mbps with 850/900/1900 and 2100 MHz
4G – LTE

Memory: 16GB and 32GH, both with MicroSD for expandable memory, and 64GB plus, maybe, 128GB

Colours: Marble white, titanium grey, sapphire black, pebble blue, amber brown, garnet red

Apps and services: KNOX, PlayStation 4, S Health, PayWave

Eye-tracking technology (smart scroll, smart pause, smart rotation)

Connectivity: 4G Wi-Fi, NFC, Bluetooth

Camera: 13MP rear camera, 3D photo-taking through Samsung Orb, AutoFocus, video quality @ 1080p full HD
2MP front camera, video quality @ 720p HD

Battery: 2,600 mAh

Charging: Wireless charging kit

HDTV adapter

Apple iPhone 5S: While rumours about the next iPhone may not be as loud or clear as they are for the Galaxy S4, one reason for that could be that it is still a few months away. Besides, those who claim to be in the know suggest that we might not see be a tremendous upgrade between the 5 and the 5S.

Nevertheless, here’s what we’ve heard so far:

First, analysts suggest that the next iPhone will be strong on security features, and that the S in the 5S will denote ‘security’ more than anything else.

Even as rumours say that a wireless charger will be added to the next iPhone, that can’t be done without a real design overhaul. So that’s unlikely, but definitely not impossible.

What’s more likely, and has been cited by a larger number of sources, is that Apple may introduce a fingerprint reader beneath the home button in the iPhone 5S. While we’ve seen an integrated fingerprint sensor in laptops, one in a smartphone will do away with the need for remembering usernames and passwords on the phone.

These rumours are also based on the fact that Apple acquired Florida-based AuthenTec last July – there has to be something that the Cupertino-based giant will use in its smartphones from that acquisition, and that can, logically, only be a finger-print reader.

In addition, Apple’s new smartphone will have an upgrade in cameras, but one particular rumour has our attention. That’s the photographer’s timer, i.e., according to a patent granted a year ago, on March 8, 2012, the iDevice camera can identify the photographer, and instead of the photographer guessing the time it would take him to join the group and then set the timer accordingly, the iPhone will simply wait until it detects the photographer’s face in the viewfinder before it automatically snaps a photo. Cool.

Apple purchased Polar Rose, a Swedish software firm that specialises in facial recognition, back in September 2010 – and this too should show up sometime; so why not in this upgrade?

Then, there are also strong rumours about Apple introducing 3-D photography in the iPhone 5S. According to Apple’s existing patents, unlike existing 3-D cameras and video recorders that gather three-dimensional information from objects but don’t offer detailed enough results, the next iPhone will deploy a series of systems, tools and methods to capture a 3-D image by using multiple sensors and cameras.

It’ll also see an improved rear camera, if rumours are to be believed. It may be better enough to compete with Sony’s 13MPsensor including f2.0 aperture, plus a flash upgrade – ‘smart LED flash’ for enhanced photo-taking.

In addition, the next iPhone could also see the customary upgrade in processor speed (a new A7 system-on-a-chip). But, uncharacteristic of Apple, the company is planning a release in anodised multi-colour options.

To be sure, more will emerge as the time for the launch comes closer, but for now, this is what the iPhone 5S may pack under its bonnet.

Pricing

Samsung Galaxy S4: Expect a Samsung surprise on the pricing front. Analysts maintain that Samsung will not try to profit from the launch of the Galaxy S4. Instead, it will try to wipe out the competition with a features-loaded smartphone at bargain basement price. There have been suggestions that it could slash the price to as much as $499 (Dh1,830) for its 16GB entry model. If it does that, it’s sure to burn the dance floor with that move.

Apple iPhone 5S: Apple, on the other hand, will keep a tight lid on pricing and is expected to stick to the $649 (Dh2,385) starting price-point for the 16GB unlocked version, followed by $749 (Dh2,750) for 32GB and $849 (Dh3,120) for the 64GB variant.

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