Apple introduced the iPhone 5 at a press event yesterday at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco. The new iPhone is thinner and lighter than the iPhone 4S while increasing the screen size to 4-inches at 1136 by 640 pixels (326 ppi). Comparisons between iPhones and other brands are inherently flawed since the final user experience takes many factors into consideration, some of which cannot be measured in specifications. But some may find it helpful to have a set of baseline features to consider when making their decisions.
Apple did not release specifications for the A6 cpu used for the iPhone 5. It’s rumored to be a fast dual-core cpu with a discreet gpu. Samsung’s Note II uses a Samsung Exynos 1.6 GHz quad-core with discreet gpu. Both are incredibly fast and offers plenty of performance for apps, games, and HD video.
Size and screen
Obviously, the Note II will be larger and heavier since it is a 5.5″ device compared to iPhone’s 4″ device. In terms of thinness, the iPhone comes in at a very thin 7.6 mm while the Note II is at 9.4 mm. By the time you add a protective case, the difference is negligible. For older users and those who prefer a larger screen, the Note II is the largest smart phone in the market. Despite predictions that the market would never accept such a large phone, Samsung has proven the critics wrong. When placed next any other smart phone, the Note II really dwarf them. Play a movie on a Note II and you many never go back to a smaller phone. If you’re a pixel counter, the iPhone has a much higher pixel density at 326 ppi vs the Note II’s 267 ppi. For most people, the difference is imperceptible. Samsung Note II goes to a true 16:9 aspect ratio with 1,280 x 720 while iPhone 5 is a close 16:9 at 1136-by-640.
iPhone finally gets 4G LTE having been left behind by their competitors. Officially, Samsung has not announced U.S. carrier partners but if the Note II follows the same path as the Note, there is no reason to think it will not support LTE. The global version of the Note II supports 4G LTE. Both the iPhone and Note II support dual band Wi-Fi up to n but it’s worth mentioning that the iPhone does not support near field communications (NFC) while the Note II does.
Capacity and storage
As usual with Apple, they have declined to include any expansion memory slots in the iPhone 5. This has to be deliberate move to maximize long term profits. Buyers are forced to pay more now for a higher capacity model or risk running out of space in the future. As the cost of memory declines over the life of the phone, Apple will not drop the prices and all that money goes in their pocket. Samsung, like most other Android smart phone makers, offer a microSD expansion slot so users can add up to 64 GB more storage even years from now. As a point of comparison, going from a 16 GB iPhone 5 to a 64 GB iPhone 5 will cost you $200 more for that extra 48 GB. That works out to $4.16/GB. A SanDisk Ultra 64 GB microSDXC card is $54 or 84 cent/GB.
Poor battery life is the Achilles heel of most Android smart phones. No other company in the world can match Apple’s tight integration between hardware and software to optimize battery life. While the Note II does come with a larger 3,100 mAh battery, it’s unclear how this will perform with the quad-core cpu and 5.5″ screen. Apple did not releases specs for the iPhone 5 battery but it’s a safe bet it will outperform the Note II in both usage and standby time.
Camera and photography
Both phones come with a 8 megapixel rear camera but Apple includes a f/2.8 lens with the iPhone 5 which will result in better low light photography. In terms of end results, few are able to match Apple’s camera quality. Real time panoramic stitching is new to the iPhone 5 while Samsung adds face tagging and burst mode shooting to the Note II. The Note includes a 1.9 megapixel front camera while the iPhone 5’s Facetime camera comes in at 1.2 megapixel; a difference that is negligible.
Both capture full 1080p video at 30 fps. iPhone 5 takes the advantage with image stabilization. On the playback front, the Note II will play most video formats like 3GP(MP4), WMV(ASF), AVI, FLV, MKV, WebM while Apple will limit you to mp4 and Quicktime.
The connector has changed with the iPhone 5 making all existing docking accessories obsolete. This is something new iPhone 5 users have to consider if they or their friends have existing accessories they want to connect to. For some users, the cost to move to the iPhone 5 may extend to replacing some of those accessories. At some point, someone is probably going to make a converter to mate the Lightning connector with the older 30 pin connector.
Pricing, carriers, and availability
Samsung has not officially announced pricing, U.S. carriers, and availability for the U.S. version of the Note II. The iPhone 5 is available for pre-order starting tomorrow (September 14) and will be in stores on September 21. Sprint, Verizon, and ATT will all carry the iPhone 5. Prices are $199 (16 GB), $299 (32 GB), and $399 (64 GB).