A few weeks ago Samsung officially introduced its flagship phone for 2014 and even though it’s not yet on the market we though we should put it head-to-head with its predecessor in the Galaxy S5 vs Galaxy S4 specs battle. This article aims to give you an insight on the differences between the new Samsung Galaxy S5 and the Galaxy S4 and, who knows, maybe guide you into purchasing the one that better suits your needs.
You may know from our previous Versus articles that the Galaxy S5 vs Galaxy S4 specs fight will be split in ten different rounds where the two smartphones will be put under the microscope in terms of Dimensions, Display, Processor, Memory, Connectivity, Camera, Operating System, Price, Battery Life, and Design. Each round is worth 1 point and once the battle is over the smartphone that manages to score most points is declared winner.
The Samsung Galaxy S4 is 136.6 mm tall, 69.8 mm wide, and 7.9 mm thin, and has a weight of 130 grams. Because it has to accommodate slightly larger screen and battery the Galaxy S5 measures 142 x 72.5 x 8.1 mm and weighs 145 grams.
There’s no doubt that the Galaxy S4 is more compact, thinner, and lighter than its successor, so it wins the Dimensions round and scores one point.
The new Galaxy S5 boasts about a 5.1-inch Super AMOLED screen with 1080 x 1920 resolution , 432 ppi, and Gorilla Glass 3 protection. Its predecessor, the Samsung Galaxy S4 sports a slightly smaller 5.0-inch Super AMOLED screen with the Gorilla Glass 3 protective layer and the same 1080 x 1920 resolution. Because the S4 has a smaller display and the same resolution its pixel density is a bit higher at 441 ppi.
There’s not much of a difference 0.1 inches can make when it comes to smartphone displays, therefore this rounds ends as tie.
The Galaxy S4 is powered by a Qualcomm APQ8064T Snapdragon 600 chipset based on four Krait 300 cores clocked at 1.9 GHz and a quad-core Adreno 320 GPU.
Inside the Galaxy S5 Samsung has squeezed Qualcomm’s latest and greatest chipset, the MSM8974AC Snapdragon 801, which arrives with a quad-core 2.5 GHz Krait 400 CPU and Adreno 330 GPU with four processing cores.
The Galaxy S5 has by far the more powerful processor, so it wins this round.
The Google Play Store content is increasing every day and you’ll need a lot of storage for your apps, photos, music collection, or favorite TV shows.
Galaxy S5 is available with either 16 or 32 GB native storage and has support for microSD cards of up to 128 GB. That’s a maximum of 160 GB. On the other hand, the Galaxy S4 comes with 16/32/64 GB internal storage expandable using microSD cards up to 64 GB.
Both devices pack 2 GB of RAM so the multitasking experience would be similar on them.
While the Galaxy S5 can bring up to 160 GB storage, the Galaxy S4 can max to 128 GB. In my opinion 128 GB of storage should be enough even for the most demanding users, so the Memory round ends as tie.
The Galaxy S5 features HSDPA, 42.2 Mbps; HSUPA, 5.76 Mbps; LTE, 50 Mbps UL, 150 Mbps DL, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, DLNA, Wi-Fi Direct, Wi-Fi hotspot, Bluetooth 4.0 with A2DP, EDR, LE, NFC, IR blaster, and microUSB 3.0.
In terms of connectivity the Galaxy S4 comes with 42.2 Mbps; HSUPA, 5.76 Mbps; LTE, 50 Mbps UL, 150 Mbps DL, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, DLNA, Wi-Fi Direct, Wi-Fi hotspot, Bluetooth 4.0 with A2DP, EDR, LE, NFC, IR blaster, and microUSB 2.0.
The only difference between the two handsets is that the S4 packs with microUSB 2.0, while the S5 has microUSB 3.0, which isn’t enough to bring the point allocated to the Connectivity round to Samsung’s newest flagship. Another round ends as tie.
When it was first launched, the Galaxy S4 featured one of the best smartphone cameras on the market. The primary shooter of the S4 came with 13 MP sensor, autofocus, LED flash, Dual Shot, Simultaneous HD video and image recording, geo-tagging, touch focus, face and smile detection, image stabilization, HDR, and support for recording 1080p@30 fps videos. The S4 also introduced a few interesting camera features like Dual Shot, Sound and Shot, or Drama Shot.
The GS5 has a 16 MP primary camera with phase detection autofocus, LED flash, 1/2.6” sensor size, 1.12 µm pixel size, Dual Shot, Simultaneous HD video and image recording, geo-tagging, touch focus, face and smile detection, image stabilization, HDR, and support for 4K@30fps and 1080p@60fps video recording. The rear-mounted shooter of the Galaxy S5 is capable of focusing in just 0.3 seconds (the fastest focus on a smartphone camera) and allows the users to choose the focus point of a photo after it was taken courtesy of the Selective Focus function.
There’s no question that the Galaxy S5 has the better camera so it has to win the Camera round and score another point.
Launched with Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean then updated to Android 4.3, the Galaxy S4 is now upgradable to Android 4.4.2 KitKat which brings a couple of minor interface tweaks, performance improvements, and better security compared to the previous version. Air View, Air Gesture, Samsung KNOX, S Health, and Group Play were just a few of the TouchWiz software features that impressed us when the Galaxy S4 was officially introduced about a year ago.
On the other hand, the Galaxy S5 runs Android 4.4.2 KitKat out of the box, customized with the latest TouchWiz UI version. Besides being flatter and more modern-looking, the new TouchWiz comes with features like Download Booster (combines the LTE and WiFi to improve download speeds), Ultra Power Saving Mode (the phone turns the display black and white and kills unnecessary processes – promises 24 hours of usage with only 10% battery), mobile payments via PayPal using the fingerprint scanner, and Private Mode (hide certain apps or files – also accessible using the fingerprint scanner).
The Samsung Galaxy S5 is yet to be released on the market, but the major US carriers have already announced the pricing of the new handset. AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon will sell the smartphone at $199 with two-year agreements.
The Galaxy S4 now costs $99 with two-year AT&T or Verizon contracts, or just $49 at Sprint, also with a two-year contract.
On Amazon, the Galaxy S5 is available for pre-order for $189.99. You can choose either the AT&T Galaxy S5 or the Sprint Galaxy S5 and, as you’ve already guessed, the price depends on a two-year deal with the carriers. At the same online retailer the Sprint Galaxy S4 is only $0.01 on-contract, while the AT&T Galaxy S4 and Verizon Galaxy S4 are both priced at $49.99 on-contract.
The GS4 is way cheaper than its successor, therefore it scores a point in the Price round.
There’s a real problem with the battery life of the modern smartphones, as you can barely find one to go past one day of normal usage.
When we tested the Samsung Galaxy S4 its Li-Ion 2600 mAh battery was capable of getting it through almost 24 hours of moderate usage, which is pretty decent.
Because the S5 was not yet released on the market we couldn’t test its battery life, but we can make an estimation. Its display has almost the same size as the one of the S4 and the same resolution, while its processor is more battery-friendly and the battery is 200 mAh bigger (Li-Ion 2800 mAh cell). You should expect the Galaxy S5 to offer an autonomy of around 36 hours.
The Galaxy S5 scores another point after winning the Battery Life round.
Even though there were many bashing it, I personally liked the Galaxy S4 design. It’s a pretty solid device and although is made of plastic, the build quality is way over the previous generations. The aluminium bezel on the sides looks good and the removable back lid allows you to pull out the battery and replace it with another one.
The Galaxy S5 doesn’t wander too far from the design language introduced by the GS4. Of course, a handful of changes occurred: the dotted back offers more grip, it has less rounded corners, and better materials. But, in terms of design, Galaxy S5’s ace up the sleeve is the water and dust resistant body. It also has a fingerprint sensor embedded into the home button, while on the back there’s a heart rate monitor, right next to the LED flash.
The S5 is the better-looking smartphone and the water resistant construction gives it a huge advantage over its predecessor. Point for the Galaxy S5.
That was the last round of the Samsung Galaxy S5 vs Galaxy S4 specs battle, so we must do the math and see which handset scored most points.
Three rounds ended as tie, because the handsets are equally matched when it comes to Display, Memory, and Connectivity. Both have similar-sized screens with identical resolution, both have almost the same connectivity features, and both offer enough storage and RAM.
The Galaxy S4 has won two rounds (Dimensions and Price), therefore it scored 2 points. Why? Because it’s more compact, thinner, and lighter than its successor, and because it’s cheaper too.
The Samsung Galaxy S5 has outmatched the GS4 in the Processor, Camera, Operating System, Battery Life, and Design rounds: it has a more powerful processor, better camera, runs the latest TouchWiz version, has bigger battery, and it’s water proof. It scored 5 points.
In our opinion the latest Sammy flagship wins the Galaxy S5 vs Galaxy S4 specs battle, but you are entitled to have a different opinion. Maybe certain rounds have different results in our view, so we are inviting you to speak your mind in the comments section.