September this year saw two very different flagship devices announced with Apple introducing the iPhone 5S and Samsung unveiling their new Galaxy Note 3 phablet. Yet with just one week between the announcements, both Apple and Samsung are set to go head to head in the battle to secure a sale.
The iPhone 5S brings the same iPhone experience with a couple of new changes including a Touch ID fingerprint sensor built into the home button and upgraded internals including a powerful new Apple A7 processor. In comparison, the Galaxy Note 3 lands on the market boasting best-in-class specifications all around and a redesigned versatile S-Pen stylus built into the phablet casing.
The difference between Apple’s and Samsung’s design philosophies has never been clearer than when comparing these two devices. Whilst the iPhone 5S comes with a metal back, brushed aluminium finish and two-tone colour scheme, the Galaxy Note 3 still deploys the plastic that Samsung traditionally use albeit in a new style.
Whilst past Samsung devices such as the Galaxy S4, Galaxy Note 2 and Galaxy Mega all use plastic backs that attract fingerprints and more issues, the Galaxy Note 3 comes with a plastic back cover that has a faux-leather finish. The result is a more premium feel, that is enhanced with the stylish stitching on the cover and less fingerprints. On the iPhone 5S, the brushed metal finish attracts fingerprints and is very difficult to keep clean.
Traditionally Apple’s ‘S’ model has been an incremental upgrade over the past generation but the iPhone 5S changes this as along with the new processor and Touch ID sensor, there’s an all new 8MP camera with µ1.5 pixel size boasting much improved low light performance. The iPhone 5S also sees the debut of the True Tone dual-LED flash, which combines an amber and white LED to dynamically adjust according to the scene you’re trying to capture.
In comparison the Galaxy Note 3 brings the same 13MP camera sensor found on the Galaxy S4 and sports Full HD 1080p video recording and a single LED flash. The Galaxy Note 3 is also the first smartphone to bring 4K Ultra High Definition video recording and the camera on the Galaxy Note 3 almost ticks all the boxes, apart from the lack of Optical Image Stabilisation.
Fans of larger screen devices have long been clamouring for Apple to produce a larger display than the 3.5 inch screen found on the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S. Apple’s answer was the 4 inch Retina Display first introduced with the Apple iPhone 5 and used again in the iPhone 5C and iPhone 5S. In comparison, Samsung has moved on to produce screen sizes varying from 4 inches to 6.3 inches and with the Galaxy Note 3, they’ve used a 5.7 inch Full HD 1080p screen and although it seems large on paper, clever software enhancements and the design mean it is portable and easy to use.
Although Apple may consider 5.7 inches too big for the iPhone range, the success of the Galaxy Note (over 40 million units sold of which 30 million are Galaxy Note 2) show that consumers can adapt to the larger screen size. Until Apple are able to offer a phablet device, it’ll be up to devices such as the Galaxy Note 3, HTC One Max and Nokia Lumia 1520 to cater for consumers who find Apple’s devices too small.