5 Ways The Galaxy S4 Makes the iPhone 5 Look Ancient

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Most people have at least one piece of old technology they use, despite more advanced alternatives. Many still like shooting pictures with film cameras and, the other day, I saw a hipster sitting in the park clacking away on a manual typewriter. If you're into nostalgia tech or just fear new things, Apple's iPhone 5 is a great choice, because its user interface harkens back to 2007, while its hardware offers the best features of 2011.

If you want the latest and greatest that the mobile technology industry has to offer, on the other hand, get a high-end Android phone like the just-announced Samsung Galaxy S4. Moving from an iPhone 5 to a Galaxy S4 in 2013 is like the improvement my family experienced going from a rotary princess phone to a wireless handset in 1983. Here are five ways that the Galaxy S4 makes the iPhone 5 look years out of date.


Bigger, Full-HD Screen

Imagine if Sony continued selling 20-inch Trinitron TVs under the mistaken belief that users don't want anything larger than that. While Apple pats itself on the back for finally offering a 4-inch, 1136 x 640 (326 PPI) display on the iPhone 5 after using 3.5-inch panels on earlier models, Samsung's Galaxy S4 has a 5-inch, 1080p Super AMOLED screen with a whopping 441 pixels per inch.

What can you do with a larger, higher-res screen? How about view full-HD movies at their native 1920 x 1080 size, or use larger, easier-to-hit keys on your virtual keyboard? Of course, you can always get an iPhone 5 and practice squinting and pinky typing.

More: Top 10 Smartphones Available Now

Dual-Camera Shooting

Samsung's Galaxy S4 can shoot photos and videos with both its back-facing 13-MP camera and front-facing 2-MP cam. The iPhone 5 can merely simulate dual-camera still shooting, and only by quickly switching between cameras with apps like DuoCam, because it can't actually record from both lenses at the same time.

Samsung's dual camera allows you to record your reaction to the events taking place in front of you, and even put an attractive template around the image of your face or use a split-screen view. Perhaps Apple will get around to adding dual-camera support in a year or two after Samsung adds a third or fourth camera.

More: The 7 Worst Smartphone Injustices and How to Fight Them

Gesture and Eye Control

From video game systems to smart TVs and laptops, it seems like everywhere I turn there's another device using gesture control. The iPhone doesn't work with gestures at all, but Samsung's Galaxy S4 takes gesture control to another level, adding eye control for good measure. By waving your hands in the air like you really do care, you can answer calls, switch songs in the music player or switch tabs in the browser, all while your phone sits on top of your desk or car dashboard.

The Galaxy S4's Smart Pause feature watches your eyes and recognizes when you're paying attention to video content on the screen; when you've averted your gaze, Smart Pause stops the playback until you look again. The phone's Smart Scroll feature lets you move up and down a Web page by staring at the screen and tilting the phone.

More: Top 10 Smartphones with the Longest Battery Life

Superior Multitasking

As people use their smartphones more and more for productivity tasks, the ability to do more than one thing at a time becomes paramount. On Apple's iPhone 5, multitasking consists of simply switching tasks and hoping your visual memory is good enough to recall what you'd seen in one app after you move on to work in another.

Samsung takes a different approach, allowing you to have a more desktop-like multitasking experience on its flagship phone. The Galaxy S4's dual-view feature lets you run two apps side-by-side so you can, for example, compose an email to your wife about the house you want to buy while looking at its real estate listing page in the browser. Using the S4's Pop Up Play feature, you can watch a video on part of the screen while you keep working on your business presentation in a layer beneath it.

More: How to Get Some of Samsung's Features on Any Android Phone

NFC Support

I suppose we should send Tim Cook a "thank you" letter for not forcing us to use a 1990s-era serial cable to transfer files between iPhones. However, Apple doesn't believe in NFC or Wi-Fi– direct standards, so forget about transferring files across devices with a tap or activating your stereo by rubbing your iPhone 5 against it.

Like most Android phones, the Galaxy S4 comes with an NFC chip that lets you transfer data or interact with an entire ecosystem of peripherals just by tapping. Samsung's S Beam is by far the fastest and easiest way to transfer data between two phones, as it immediately establishes a Wi-Fi–direct connection between devices.

With NFC, the Galaxy S4 can also connect to Samsung's HomeSync media center and start copying files from your phone. Hold the phone briefly against one of Sony's NFC-enabled stereos or headphones, and music that's playing on your Galaxy S4 will magically start playing on the external device. With NFC, you can even take advantage of mobile-payment services like ISIS (provided carriers get their acts in gear).

More: Samsung HomeSync 1TB Media Center Doubles as Android Station

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Author Bio
Avram Piltch
Avram Piltch, LAPTOP Online Editorial Director
The official Geeks Geek, as his weekly column is titled, Avram Piltch has guided the editorial and production of Laptopmag.com since 2007. With his technical knowledge and passion for testing, Avram programmed several of LAPTOP's real-world benchmarks, including the LAPTOP Battery Test. He holds a master’s degree in English from NYU.
Avram Piltch, LAPTOP Online Editorial Director on
Add a comment
  • Ah Des Says:

    Now that the apps are balancing up, android phone's processor, battery and screen have a clear advantage. They produces phones with screen- smaller medium large, processor- weak average powerful, to cater to all classes of people. Apple only goes for the high-end. But now their screens are not large enough, processor too slow and battery too weak to even challenge in the high-end. The only way to balance off is to buy iPhone and iPad together. That way when the consumer wants to switch to the Android system, they will find it too tedious to switch and stay with Apple. Now tell me which apple user have not experienced that..

  • Joseph Kool Says:

    Iphone 5 has only been out for 6 months and it's already a relic with an archaic OS. IOS is by far the worst smartphone OS today. Android and even WP clobber this outdated pile of bland crap in every conceivable way. It's pretty sad that the best apps for IOS are from Google. People are stupid though and they think Apple is god.

  • El Peluche De Belen Says:

    We alwais use my Samsung note 2 to watch movies all the time, camping at work or hanging out with friend watch off road videos

  • hody Says:

    Apple fan boys just talk and talk... While I am enjoying my s3's features. I can actually have my phone look and feel difrently any time I want. By customizing my screen and or adding a different battery, SD card and launcher. Let's just say that "nano" has a lot of great points. I know that apple is looking into "eye capture" technology, which the media says was a few years away. Well just imagine how many years away it is from doing half the things that that the S4 will do. BTW if the *phone ever makes at least a 4.7" screen with sbeam and NFC technology....I more might look into it. Problem is that by that time who knows what the galaxy lineup might be into. *phone lovers don't take me wrong. The fact is that galaxy is kicking everyone's butt.. HTC, LG, MOTOROLA your *phone etc. The mere fact here is that the aether is stating a fact, period..

  • nano Says:

    Did you look at the photo & specs? The S4 is NOT much larger; the screen is much larger. So resolution and screen size don't matter to apple lovers or gamers. If size doesn't matter, why is apple working on a larger screen with better resolution? Maybe size does matter. If this phone won't fit in your pocket; get larger pockets. If innovation (gimmicks to some) doesn't matter, why did the apple phone take off? Maybe touch screen gimmicks do matter. If you don't like "gimmicks" get a flip phone. Oh, but a phone that flip was a gimmick too; never mind. So, if technology, size, gimmicks, etc. are bad; a couple cans and some string would be great for you. Oh, but you can't leave you home. That darn mobile gimmick just messed up everything.

  • Joe Says:

    Finally a phone that I can buy that rivals the iphone, which I have been resisting buying. The Apple lovers are too religious about the products. Heaven forbid that anyone criticizes Apple stuff. It is far from perfect, but until the release of this phone, was one of the best. Now they have to play catch- up.

  • zakmatt Says:

    Sounds like a lot of butt-hurt apple fanboys here.

  • Bill Gates Says:

    they all suck.

  • Caveat Emptor Says:

    The last iPhone I used was a 4 jail broken on IOS 5.1 everything that subsequently came out was just more of the same (if not less so when it could'nt be jail broken). I had an iPhone 5 for 3 days and gave it away as a birthday present as it was so boring. I normally carry 2 phones so when my trusted Nokia N95 finally died I bought a Note Ii which is a great mobile substitute for an iPad but not really a phone. I've since managed to get a Nokia Lumia 920 which is the perfect balance between a proper reliable mobile phone and a smartphone whilst the Note Ii fills in for the iPad. By the way Windows Phone 8 on the Lumia is as smooth as butter and a far better user experience when compared to plain boring IOS and finicky Android.

  • misterL Says:

    Oh, and yeah, the author of this article comes off as very bitter. Come on man, you need at least an illusion of impartiality if you want to seem credible.

  • misterL Says:

    I'm using an ancient iPhone 3GS, and these things still don't sound appealing to me. The Galaxy line is simply too large to pocket comfortably, so a bigger screen isn't too tempting. The dual cameras and NFC support really seem like gimmicks to me, things that I might try once and never touch again. What use is being able to touch-transfer files when all my friends and colleagues own iPhones, anyway?

    The eye tracking actually sounds like a problem to me, I like being in full control of my devices. I don't want my movie to stop playing because I checked my watch, this is something I would probably turn off immediately. There's a point where "smart" technology starts to become detrimental to our user experience, as machines try to second-guess what we want and invariably end up making the wrong choices sometimes.

    The multitasking I will give you though. I've more than once tried to remember numbers or details as I switched between apps on my iPhone. Having a split-screen feature would be nice.

    And lastly, Samsung's designs are all very unattractive to me. Very cheap-looking and feeling, like an artificial sense of class that isn't quite working. Apple is no great shakes in this department either, but they at least remember to Keep It Simple, Stupid. Samsung's chrome and brushed metal and curves in all the wrong places just turn me off.

  • geekmee Says:

    Everything you need to know about Samsung phones was told to you in fairy tales long ago....

    ...."Don't look at that man behind the curtain!!"

  • Michel Says:

    Iphone is zen phone.
    Want a bigger screen ? IPad mini is here for that. A really bigger screen, with really good apps.
    I've actually purchased a Note2. Switched back to iPhone, and I'm not alone in this switch-switch club.
    Android apps are pieces od s***t, except any.do :-)

  • rgp Says:

    My current android has great battery life (better than my business partner's iPhone 5). As far as practicality - when the iPhone first came out and became a huge success, there was no practically about it at all. At the time even the Blackberry was way ahead in that department - they had the most practical, secure phone on the market. Look where that got them.

    The iPhone didn't jump ahead of Blackberry and everyone else at the time because it was a better phone - but merely because it had more "Bling"! I owned one - and i can emphatically state that the iPhone was barely average as a phone, had LOUSY email, no cut & paste, the speakerphone stunk up the place (on YouTube there were actually videos showing you how to poke holes in the speaker cover so you could finally hear it!!)

    You could go on and on - funny thing though- none of that seemed to matter to the public. It was cool - and you could play games like crazy! And people bought it in spite of what it couldn't do (and didn't do well for a very long time). So yes - Bling sells big time! Now, android (especially the Galaxy lineup) has passed them when it comes to real business use (practicality) - and it appears they might even be passing them in the 'Bling department too. I'm not a gamer - I use my Galaxy Note 2 exclusively for business, and I wouldn't trade it for a bag full of iPhones. And practical or not, many android phone manufacturers even seem to now be adding the "bling" faster than the iPhone.

    The people who love android phones evidently love being able to customize their phones, have real multi-tasking, nfc, etc., but when a lot of people hear that they can control anything about their phone with their eyes - well that's cool! Who cares if it actually works well or not? It's COOL! Apple should be the first to get it - they didn't worry if some aspect of their phone actually worked well or not - it was COOL! They started out successfully selling their phone based on tons of un-practical bling - so they shouldn't be surprised when that approach works for everyone else as well.

    Nothing but love for Apple's latest attempt at maps by the way! Wonder why they didn't wait until it was working before they sold it to the public? Oh - I know - it was COOL!

  • NeilT Says:

    5" screen is too big for a phone. iphone does all I need a phone to do, and does it just fine. My Android was laggy and the battery died too quickly (probably because of all the cool apps & features I had enabled but rarely used).

    These features would be cool in a tablet, though - they could do with better multi-tasking and HD, and with bigger batteries they could handle it.

    Windows did the same to Apple before: a zillion more features, but mostly bling, with little practicality.

  • Apple Fan Says:

    BooHoo I love apple stop saying we are not the best baaaaa hang on have to follow the rest of the flock!!!

  • Sell Cell Says:

    The screen resolution is impressive on the Galaxy S4, but it still looks a cheaply designed phone compared to Apple's iPhone.

    It's also hard to compare two phones that were launched onto the market in two different years. A lot can happen in the tech world over the course of 6 months.

  • Neil Says:

    Did the author get fired from Apple? He clearly has a chip on his shoulder. Features? No. Gimmicks, all. Will anyone really use them? Oh, and I didn't have to carry my 20" Sony Trinitron around in my pocket all day. You can have your S4. I'll stick with my iPhone.

  • Roman Says:

    As good as my GS2 screen is, I don't watch movies on it, coz then the battery just vanishes. For movies, you have a tablet or laptop/ultrabook

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