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macrumors 6502
Original poster
May 28, 2010
OK, I know this isn't the first time you have all heard this, but I am currently trying to decide between the GS3 and the Iphone 5. I have both, purchased the Galaxy on 9/17 and the Iphone 5 on 9/21. They are without question both GREAT phones, but I will be returning one of them before my 30 days is up on 10/17. Here are my impressions, maybe it will help someone else, maybe not.

First my background, I am probably a bit biased towards Apple devices. My first smartphone was the iphone 3g, then went to the Iphone 4 which I had all the way up I purchased the Galaxy. I had a 4s for almost a month but returned it because I didn't think it was enough of an upgrade from my 4. I also have the new Ipad. Don't have a Mac, but would like one, just couldn't justify the 1000+ cost.

I will compare category by category:

Network: Both phones on AT&T, have LTE in my area, both phones maintain solid connections, although my Iphone 5 only shows 1 bar on my home wifi, it hasn't seemed to effect it's speed or connection. No advantage to either here.

Display: Tough one. The iphone 5 display is clearly brighter and sharper than the Galaxy, with more accurate colors. The whites on the Galaxy aren't really that white, have sort of a bluish tint to them. The Galaxy however has deeper blacks and more pronounced (but less accurate) colors. The bigger screen and black levels of the GS3 makes it much more enjoyable for watching videos or surfing the web, but the sharpness, brightness and color accuracy make the iphone screen superior IMO. When you look at them next to each other, the Iphone makes the Galaxy look bad, but when you are just using the Galaxy, it also looks great.

Advantage: Galaxy for Videos and web surfing, Iphone for everything else - Prefer Iphone display quality, Galaxy size.

OS UI: Another tough one. LOVE the customization of Android, currently have 5 different homescreens, set up by category (news, sports, music), most with widgets like music players, twitter feeds, weather, calendar, news scrolling in my lock screen, etc. Also can toggle settings from the notification shade, and much prefer the notification system on Android. Love having an LED light and different status bar icons for different types of notifications. Love that I can integrate Google Voice into the stock messaging and phone, since I cancelled my SMS plan for Google Voice and saved $20/month.

I know I can do some of the above with jailbreaking, and I did with the Iphone 4, but it feels like I can do all that on the Galaxy stock, and if I root the Galaxy could do more than I could on Iphone. From the sounds of it, the iphone 5 jailbreak could take months.

I find stock ios BORING, I really do. Grids of squares that I've been using for 4 years now. HOWEVER, it is always smooth and almost always works. I have had lag on my Galaxy when scrolling between homescreens. Usually it's when I exit an app or just go into the phone, and once I scroll through one time it goes away. I uninstalled some widgets to try and rectify it but it's still not 100%...what good are all the extras if it slows down my experience? Hoping this gets fixed with Jelly Bean because it might be the thing that returns me to the iphone. Widgets and customization are nice, but I can get a lot of that info from apps themselves, and I value a smooth experience above all. Also had my Galaxy Messages app crash on me a couple times, and couldn't use it until I restarted. Annoying.

Advantage: Draw, but if Jelly Bean fixes the lag/stability, I would prefer Android/Touchwiz at this point. That's a BIG if though.

Camera: Iphone 5 camera is superior. I have tried both, the Galaxy sometimes takes blurry shots where the iphone is more clear. This could be user error, but there is no doubt the Iphone takes better low light AND better Panorama pictures. I took some great panorama shots with the Iphone 5 and when I tried to replicate with the Galaxy there were always stitching artifacts or other imperfections that weren't there with the Iphone. Both are good for a phone camera.

Advantage: Iphone

Battery: The iphone's battery is better, but not by a ton in my usage. I used both with about 50% brightness, wifi only when at home, both on LTE at work. I struggled to get through a day of heavy usage with both, but the iphone was better but not a huge difference, but noticeable. Plus I can buy an extra battery on the Galaxy, and it uses Micro-usb for charging which I have a ton of..whereas the iphone has their proprietary lightning plug. Still, I'd rather rely on only my phone because carrying an extra battery is annoying. Juice Defender made my battery life better, but I don't feel I should have to run an app that makes compromises for better battery life.

Advantage: Iphone but I can live with the S3 battery, not a deal-breaker

Exclusive features: Siri blows S-Voice out of the water, no doubt about it...a fairer comparison would be to Google Now, but won't be able to try that without Jelly Bean. I'm a sports fan, and love how I can now get scores, schedules and stats from Siri. Also Siri is better at understanding context and just more accessible and pleasing overall. Showed both to my 7 year old daughter, she hated the Samsung one and loved Siri...I agree.

Facetime: Another big plus for Apple. I don't live with my daughter, me and her mom are divorced, but her Mom has an iphone and she will Facetime me often. I know I could have them download an app like Tango or Skype, but they'd have to go to an app, login...and then the quality isn't as good. Being built right in and always accessible is a big plus.

NFC/S-Beam: I guess it's cool, but the Galaxy doesn't have Google Wallet, and I don't know many people with GS3's in my social circle. 1 person at work has it and we tried to beam a picture and a song, and it seemed to work, we followed all the instructions and the phones vibrated when close, but nothing showed up on my phone. Would be a lot more useful with Wallet.

Messaging/Email: I'd say 9 out of the top 10 people I talk to most have iphones. I text alot, and with my cancelled SMS plan, iMessage is great. What I did prior was gave everyone without an iphone my Google Voice number, but on the non-jailbroken iphone that meant I would get some texts into the messages app via imessage, and some into the Google Voice app (which sucks on iphone). Another limitation of Google Voice is not only can you not receive MMS, but the person who sent it won't even know you never got it which sucks. To me, the few MMS I receive a year aren't worth the $20/month extra for unlimited text which is why I went with Google Voice, but if I stay on iphone I will be able to get most MMS via iMessage. Big plus for Android on the Google Voice integration but hate that I miss MMS. Tough call on messaging, draw for me.

The Email experience on the Galaxy SUCKS. I cannot see the entire email on the screen when I open it, I have to pan left and right. On the stock iphone email app, it formats it perfectly so it fits the screen. I use Gmail and Yahoo apps over stock Email, but still same viewing issue.

App Store: OK, the iphone app store is better yes. Higher quality apps and they usually come out first on the iphone. Example: Optimum is my cable provider, they have an app on iphone and Android. However, the iphone one lets me watch LIVE TV, any channel when on my home wifi. The Android one only lets me schedule DVR recording and browse the channel guide.

BUT for most major apps, they are available for both and either the same or similar. I'm not a huge app discovery guy. I stick to Facebook, Twitter, a few major sports and news apps that are on both, and music apps also on both plus Youtube. I do not game on my phone, I love gaming but do it on consoles at home. I do not explore looking for new apps. For me, this category is almost equal with a slight edge to ios, BUT if you are a person who loves looking for new quality, cutting-edge apps that work great, this becomes more of an iphone advantage for you.

Advantage: Iphone but for my app patterns pretty much a draw

Maps: Not much needs to be said here, we all know the Google Maps are superior and they should be, Google has a wealth of data built over years while ios is new to maps. I won't go into detail here because I haven't really tested them. I have built in nav in my car. I am about 40 minutes from NYC and I know Google would be a huge advantage there since they have transit and walking directions built in, but I haven't been to the city since I got the phones. I have done a couple navigations with both and the both took me to the destinations in an optimal way. Most probably won't even notice the Google advantage for casual use, but it definitely exists. If you depend on maps for your everyday nav needs, Google has more of an advantage for you.

Advantage: Google/Android

Build Quality/Looks: Iphone is more sexy and a premium build, aluminum and glass compared to plastic and glass. I do like the look of the front of the S3, but the back is hideous IMO. Won't go into too much detail here, as this is subjective. Hate that I have an AT&T logo on my Galaxy.

Advantage: Iphone (for my tastes)

Other factors: Iphone will likely maintain a higher resale value, will be better supported by future updates. Less carrier bloatware, although Apple certainly has their own, although I prefer theirs to AT&T AND Samsung crapware.

Conclusion: I still haven't made up my mind. SUCH a tough choice. I feel iphone has more advantages overall if I tallied them: App store, camera, Facetime, imessage, smoother UI, brighter and sharper display, premium design, etc.

But the Galaxy is new, fresh, more customizable (I'm a tinkerer), has the bigger display and I'm a big web-surfer/video watcher. If it was as smooth and stable as ios, I am SURE I would pick Galaxy. And especially if I could receive MMS via Google Voice. Love having it integrated. But the homescreen lag really bothers me, and the few crashes I've had in only a couple weeks time.

Right now it's too close to call for me, I will update this thread once I make a decision. I truly think you can't go wrong with either one, both great phones. Tinkerers and themers might gravitate towards Android, where anyone who just wants a phone that works well and is easy to use/intuitive will likely gravitate towards iphone.
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Moderator emeritus
Mar 7, 2007
Since you like to tinker, you'll probably want to keep the GS3 - you'll be able to tinker any time you like.


macrumors 603
Jul 12, 2008
Las Vegas, NV
Well that was a long winded post.

Nobody can make your mind up for you, you have to do that yourself. All i can offer you is a tip. Go into system setting, app management and disable the bloatware that you wont ever use. I disabled S Suggest, Chat On, Bonus Apps(T-Mobile) All share play and yes, i turned off S Voice so it wont work till i push the button...and my battery is better than it was before. It is very good now. If you do this and come to a bloatware that wont disable, you have to undo the updates you have gave it and then you can disable it.

S Voice for me wasnt that good. Google Now will be but S Voice...not! There are apps that are better.
I did a S Beam today. A few of us had the GS3 and we traded some things. I bumped phones to get a 12:30 video and it transfered in about 20-25 seconds. It works really well. NFC tags work really well. No Wallet isnt supported for some reason but i think you can get it if you root and download a file.

I have no problem with others that have iPhones but id say facetime is best for that with those that have iPhones if you do that alot but i do use Skype with my Wife who has a Windows 7 phone.

You can also get text apps that are free so you dont have to pay for it on your carrier but thats something else entirely. And i dont feel Apple App store is an advantage. Apples has 700,000 apps, Play Store has 650,000 but who needs that many? I sure dont.

Anyways, i suggest do what is best for you. Not what we say you should do. Good luck.
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macrumors demi-god
Aug 23, 2005
a better place
Build Quality/Looks: Iphone is more sexy and a premium build, aluminum and glass compared to plastic and glass. I do like the look of the front of the S3, but the back is hideous IMO. Won't go into too much detail here, as this is subjective. Hate that I have an AT&T logo on my Galaxy.

The reason I went with the One X. Had a SGS2 and a Galaxy Nexus and both were like tat too. Really hate that back panel. Grand from the front, but that über thin plastic back panel that can flex gave them a really cheap feel.

I agree with most of your points just change SGS3 to One X for me. Also have a black 64gb iPhone 5. I've decided just to keep both, and then I don't have to decide between them :)
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