Samsung Galaxy S vs Iphone 4 - Five reasons to buy the Galaxy S

This is a quick offering of five reasons the Samsung Galaxy S is better than the Iphone 4. I wrote this, not because I’m Apple bashing or because I think the Iphone isn’t good, but to offer an alternative. Ok I am Apple bashing at the end but bear with me. And I think the Iphone 4 is very good. However, there are at least comparable phones out there! There are options that don’t involve paying premiums.

There are Samsung Galaxy S’s (Captive, Vibrant, Epic and Fascinate) and HTC Ones and even strange Droid Incredibles. There are Nokia N8’s (eventually). The main point is that there are alternatives to the Iphone and people are starting to wise-up. Either that or the rest of the industry is catching up, at least in terms of advertising success. And that is the greatest problem for the competition, getting over the hurdle of Apple blindness. So without further ado here they are:

The Screen

There is no doubt that the screen is the most highly visible if not the crowning glory of the Galaxy S. At 4 inches, the WVGA super AMOLED type screen is certainly large enough and pips the Iphone by a half inch. It is incredibly bright and well contrasted with rich and vibrant colours.

I previously had a Nokia 5800 xpressmusic with a paltry 2.8" effective screen size. The change is dazzling. This screen is so good I've got it set on the minimum brightness the phone will allow and it's still easily sufficient.

Now don't get me wrong, the Iphone screen is clearly no slouch, being one of the best available but the Galaxy S is better. At 960-by-640 pixel resolution at 326ppi on the Iphone 4 compared to the 800-by-480 pixel resolution at 233ppi of the Galaxy S, purely on paper, the Iphone's 'retina' type screen is a much better resolution.

In real life this does translate to a certain sharpness that is unmatched by any other phone currently available. Samsung admits to a 3-4% sharpness increase over its super AMOLED screens and in a direct comparison it’s sufficient to be able to tell. In terms of practical everyday use it makes very little difference however. Both screens are of sufficient sharpness that you’ll be wowed which ever you have.

When it comes to contrast however, there isn’t a contest. Due to the way AMOLED screens create their own light and do not have to be backlit the way the Iphone screen is, the natural contrast of the Galaxy S screen is noticeably better than the Iphone. This translates into a number of benefits. Certain items, specifically movies, display much better with higher contrast screens. Colours generally are brighter because the display of them and the difference between them is better with higher contrast and the way the backlight has to actually shine through the display is negated.

As the retina screen is LCD tech, the viewing angle on a super AMOLED screen is also better, though Apple have tried to offset this slightly with a type of technology called in-plane switching (IPS) that produces better viewing angles in LCDs.

Retina Problems

Although the Iphone 4 screen is very good, there are a couple of downers to the way it’s done. The first is a battery life penalty. All those extra pixels suck away your battery life, while the super AMOLED tech actually conserves power over the LCD type screens never mind the pixel density. Samsung offers the figure of 30% more efficient.

Added to the speculation and argument that the human eye actually can’t distinguish the effect of that many pixels puts this slightly into the range of gimmicky although clearly up to a point the screen wins on sharpness.

The second, slightly worrying penalty is in terms of dead or stuck pixels. You may get lucky and not get any at all, you may not see them (and with the retina type pixels being really really small this is what you hope for) or you may get an eternally green pixel. Yep, that perfect sharp display goes over all sparkly. It’s one of the reasons I’ll never get an Iphone again.

The Galaxy S playing Ironman (native Xvid format!)
The Galaxy S playing Ironman (native Xvid format!)


This is a bit of a difficult one to fathom out as both the Galaxy S (I9000GT version) and the Iphone 4 use the same CPU hardware. This is where looking at the System On a Chip or SOC comes in. Very basically a SOC is just a CPU/GPU/memory/memory controller package with all the necessary instruction sets to run them. (Some SOCs by other companies, Texas Instruments, I think, have other bits and pieces on the system such as wireless chips, but in this case - as the basic SOC hardware in both is pretty much a Samsung product it's just the CPU/GPU we're looking at).

So what is actually different and what makes the Samsung Galaxy S offering better than the Iphone 4? While both phones use the ARM cortex-A8 CPU, both companies, Apple and Samsung have tweaked their particular offerings and the GPU hardware is different.


Dealing with the tweaks first, and noting that Apple have certainly tweaked the instruction set themselves through their tame company, PA Semi for exactly the same end aim as Samsung, they haven't put a figure to it. Also they concentrated more on removed parts they didn't require rather than fully optimizing the ones they do.

Samsung is estimating that their tweaks cover about 20% of the instruction sets and that those require 25-50% less instructions to perform than the unmodified version. Accepting their estimate of 5-10% increase in overall CPU speed of processing with a pinch of salt, this is none the less a worthwhile addition which will result in a very real, battery life saving operation of the hardware. In short, the quicker and more efficiently the CPU can process its task, the less power it draws from the battery.

Hardware Upgrades

The second, more tangible improvement is the GPU used in the Samsung platform. It's a model above the Iphone 4's A4. Both GPU's are designed by Imagination Technologies but the Iphone GPU is the PowerVR SGX535 core while the Galaxy S runs the PowerVR SGX540.

Granted that these are only theoretical numbers on paper but...the measurement is in millions of triangles(polygons) per second, the figures for the Iphone 4 is 28 million triangles per second while the Samsung Galaxy S comes in at 90 million triangles per second. While this is well into the realms of not only did I not understand but I don't care, you should to both.

You don't need to understand very much nor do you need to care beyond the outcome. The understanding is that the Galaxy has a better graphical ability than the Iphone 4. The outcome? Better capability for graphical media output, means better and faster games output and video output coupled with the stunning screen - beautiful.

The Battery

No, not the battery life, strictly, the Iphone 4 lists a half an hour better battery life than the Galaxy S. The fact that the Iphone, all versions, do not have a removable battery frankly is terrible. They do it, presumably, because a fixed battery inside a flat bag does not have the plastic case round it saving them a few microns of width. The consequences run beyond not being able to switch the battery out for a second spare one or upgrade (as you can do with the Galaxy S from 1500mAh to 3000mAh).

I sat next to somebody on the plane who had to borrow my phone to make a call to get a lift from the airport because her Iphone 4 had locked up. Phone locks up all the time, nothing odd about that. Highly strung tech an all. I personally haven't had the problem yet but I'm sure, good as the Galaxy S is that at some point it will lock up.

The solution is simple. You hit the power button and reboot. If that doesn't work you go to the one thing it can't ignore. You open the back and you take the battery out. Except that with the Iphone 4 you can't do that. Now the Iphone does have reset sequence (push the sleep/wake button and the home button), but in this case, clearly it wasn't working. So she had to wait, at least till she got home and access to a computer, apparently that helped sometimes. She did say that she'd had to wait up to three days in the past for the battery to run out. Personally, I wouldn't want that in my phone.

The OS and everything that comes with it.

This is pretty difficult to gauge as a point. The iOS is geared to give you a smooth and effortless ride. It does. The android OS with the Samsung Touchwiz interface is geared to give you the same thing and it does. Surprise! And both of them should given that this is the fourth incarnation for iOS on phones and Touchwiz UI is in its god-only-knows incarnation on hundreds of different types of phone over at least three different OS's. Android in itself has been around for at least as long as the iOS but unlike iOS is entirely open source and the mobile baby of the Open Handset Alliance.

Basically for you and I, this means that it's far easier for random developers to write software and pioneer improvements at the most basic levels of the Android than it is for iOS - simply because they have access to everything about Android and a free hand to do it. (Looking at you, customised ROMS!). Right this second that doesn't benefit you immensely over iOS because the development kit for Apple is well up and running, not to mention popular. In the long run (or even the next six months) however, Android has a lot more people working to make it better than iOS.

More apps than you could ever want!
More apps than you could ever want!


While we’re on the subject of the development lets have a look at applications or apps. Everybody knows about the giant Apple apps store where everything is available. Big wow, Google has also caught on and the Android apps market is flourishing. With its massive rate of adoption, Android will catch up in numbers terms for all that’s worth. Speaking frankly, 100,000, 150,000 or 250,000 apps available, the only thing that means to me is that it was cool for anybody who knew how to write an application, Apple or Android.

Vetted by Apple or not, the usefulness if not the functionality of the greater portion of these has to be in question. The same thing obviously applies to Android Market too. The difference is on Android, a larger percentage of these apps are free. A much larger percentage. If you've ever downloaded an app before you know that first you'll look for the freeware version. Whether you want to convert kilometres to miles or look at whets running on your phone, most of these are small programs developed by people with time and interest but not a major corporation.

And More....

It also has all the advantages of Google. Most especially, Google Maps, Google Earth and the general find-where-you-are goodness that Google seems to do well at. Search engine also.

And true multi-tasking. Not a watered down version of multi-tasking or the mobile version, or the kinda, sorta looks like multi-tasking, multi-tasking, just multitasking.

Finally - Not Apple

Google has a reputation for being a company that wants a look in every aspect of your life from reading you emails to listening to you singing in the shower. Their motto should be “Honest we’re not that evil!” Apple has roughly the same in a sneakier way plus being incredibly secretive and intolerably smug about everything. Personally, I think whichever way you go is a company looking for ways to get your money. That's what they're there for as a company. So in that sense I cut Apple some slack and even admire their ability to grasp cash with both hands while somehow not being overly blatant about it.

On the other hand Apples repeated advertising ploys of not promoting their own products by telling you what’s good about them but heavy handidly bashing the opposition’s products really irks me. The way they try to convince you that this is everything you’ve ever wanted in a product and more (!) also irks me (hold it the right way you moron!). The fact that they can advertise just by saying “This is an Apple product” irks me – although I suppose they had to work for that, it’s mainly down to a hefty flock of isheep.

Their pricing especially irks me. Their hardware is usually pretty top notch; however you pay way over a premium for it. At one point the cost of the Iphone parts over the cost of the actual phone was reassuringly balanced. Now with stories of cheap parts (and cheaper labour), the cost to the consumer is perhaps a trifle high. The story of the retina screen over super AMOLED is ostensibly because Samsung cannot supply enough screens to meet demand. This was probably true. The fact that the retina screen is cheaper tech also maybe tipped the balance a teeny-weenie little bit.

The singular lack of choice on hardware (R.I.P Phystar) on all Apply products irks me. Not only do they severely limit the hardware, but they then proceed to bash opposition products for not working as smoothly when in truth, opposition products don’t work as smoothly because they cater to thousands of different hardware profiles. Yes, you get a better product on your one-soc-fits-all, but at the expense of choice and competitiveness. Imagine if you couldn’t replace your government every four years. They’d become smoother through practice but by the Lord Harry they’d be corrupt as Russian politics!

The way Apple sneakily claims credit for the first of things –albeit not outright but by implication, irks me. The whole changes everything - again and all the other incarnations. Apple, you did not invent the touch screen, you did not invent the smartphone, you did not invent the tablet form or PDA or practically anything else the Iphone 4 is touted for. You did it well, you brought things together, but somebody else did it most of it before you. You can sue the likes of HTC for strange infringements of gestures but heaven forbid if you yourself get sued for infringements a lot more solid than that!

Grudging Notes

I admire Apples products, I admire, after a fashion, the way Apple runs business. I love the fact that everybody strives to beat Apple because it means I get a better product and the gadget gets developed faster. Unfortunately, there is just something about Apple that irritates me to the extent I cannot bring myself to own another Iproduct. The fact that there are comparable or superior phones (and other products) out there means I can easily do this without losing out.

More by this Author


taichee 6 years ago

Dear Lymond,

Further read on why SGS is better ;-)

Lymond profile image

Lymond 6 years ago from UK Author

Hey Taichee, thanks for that, about as comprehensive a write-up as you can get! Excellent reading for the interested or the gloating :-)

taichee 6 years ago



SGS = 8.6

iPhone = 8


Lymond profile image

Lymond 6 years ago from UK Author

I think its most major flaw is the close resemblance to the iphone 3. Why make something better if you look like you're mimicking the competition?

save my system profile image

save my system 6 years ago from United Kingdom - London

Galaxy is new gen. phone and offers almost every single feature you will get in Iphone- 4 or any other version of Iphone. Galaxy is available in much cheaper rate than I phone.

Lymond profile image

Lymond 6 years ago from UK Author

Absolutely, the only thing I would say is that it is a next gen phone, but it's a comparable generation with the Iphone4, it doesn't win because its newer tech, merely because its better.

Regor99 6 years ago

I would like to add my own additional reason why I bought my SGS after 2 years of owning an iPhone

I hated iTunes relationship with my iPhone.

Don't get me wrong. I love iTunes as a concept and a media management system. Just not this monster it has become. I use "Sync" with my SGS and iTunes and it syncs my media quickly, effectively and efficiently.

Back up of apps and data on the Android is as simple as running a program and it puts everything on your internal or external SD easy as pie. Not grudgingly slow like iTunes. The info can be easily found and not hidden in coded files deep in your PC. Recovery of the data is uncomplicated and 100%

I also hated that everytime a new version of iTunes would be released it would reset my jailbreak making my phone, which I paid for, work at half it's potential.

Goodbye iPhone. It was good knowing you but time to move on.

Lymond profile image

Lymond 6 years ago from UK Author


This is true. A little more openness would go a long way for Apple but it's not the way they work. Like MS used to be and to a larger extent still is, you are not to be trusted with what you own! It took me about 3 months of reg editing to rip itunes off my computer, that was about 5 years ago though, it might be easier now.

Rob 6 years ago

Also don't forget that the iPhone doesn't like bluetoothing to other devices as my father found out while trying to print a photo at one of those machines in Boots. I had my prints appearing within seconds.

Also, and correct me if i'm wrong, but the Galaxy works as a 3G modem for your laptop, which you can't do with the iPhone. A colleague of mine as an iPhone 4 and also a £15 a month 3G modem. Ouch...!

Lymond profile image

Lymond 6 years ago from UK Author

Rob, this is true, iphone to iphone bluetoothing is set up but anything else is out. I didn't mention it as it's maybe something you can do without although probably miss more consciously than a lower grade graphics chip :-)

The Galaxy does work well as a wireless access point (settings-wireless and network-mobile AP settings- tick with password and network name). I use it all the time and have even 'lent' it out to a random person in the airport who needed an email. I find it very good! Thanks for commenting!

Mike 6 years ago

I don't know much about phones i just want to say i love my new Galaxy S! I think it's far better than the i phone :-)

Lymond profile image

Lymond 6 years ago from UK Author

In the end Mike, that's all that matters whatever you bought :-)

jobister profile image

jobister 6 years ago from Anaheim, California

The only reason I don't like Android phones is that Network carriers like AT&T are messing with the Android OS by bundling crapware. I used to have an Android phone and AT&T most likely won't be upgrading the Android OS on it ever and I can't root to upgrade myself because AT&T took the ability away! I almost wish the Phone manufacturers would sell a basic android phone without crap loaded on it.

Lymond profile image

Lymond 6 years ago from UK Author

Hi Jobister, thanks for commenting. I don't know much about the USA carriers, but don't you get the upgraded OS courtesy of Samsung (on a samsung adroid phone) rather than the specific carrier? I feel the pain on rooting, I have one of the few phones where the 3 button reset doesn't work and rooting is looking a little difficult with Froyo.

Douglas 6 years ago

Thanks for this people am so definitely loving my sgs I read the review before it was released na month aster its release I knew it was the one for me. A friend got it recently from my recommendation but failed to enjoy it n took it back for a iphone 4 n he said it was better so I got him a few review sites n since reading the reviews he has been well quite n now am also gonna email him a link to this one as well. Thanks lymond

Lymond profile image

Lymond 6 years ago from UK Author

Hi Douglas, thanks for commenting. The phone is fantastic, and I thoroughly enjoy it. There are glitches, stuff that Samsung should have sorted out but haven't and I can understand people not enjoying the phone if one of these glitches weighs heavily into your acceptance of the phone. I wrote this to help level the playing field of Apple advertising :-)

James 6 years ago

Now I'm starting to consider about Galaxy, thanks for info, it's nice info, thumbs up :)

Antony 5 years ago

Not biased at all (sic).

Now lets hear 50 reasons the iPhone is better.

Lymond profile image

Lymond 5 years ago from UK Author

Please read the first paragraph :-) Other than that, be my guest

frank 5 years ago

I only see people waiting in queues for buying an Iphone and not any other android phones, that itself tells what the phone is, also other brands have 10000000 s of models (to clear bugs in previous versions)and will confuse hell of a lot and you end up buying a phone which you had not intended !!Whatever you claim the fact remains iphone is "awesome"

Lymond profile image

Lymond 5 years ago from UK Author

Lots of people attended Hitler's rallies. Lots of people and lots of charisma does not necessarily mean it's the best option. The Iphone4 is good I grant you that and have said so, however awesome...not so much.

Ged 5 years ago

Thanks for this guide, helped me with my Galaxy S with kies - what a nightmare.. come on Samsung.. what you doing?? You wanna take on iPhone.. then atleast sort out the software customers rely on to update the damn thing?!? On iPhone vs Galaxy.. well I have have 3GS and Galaxy. My opinion (without bashing either side here..) is I do think iPhone have an upper hand in that its simply does what it says on the tin! Whereas, I must admit, with my Galaxy S (which I love anyway..) I have had to read on many forums on how to do this, that and the other.. some very basic things as well, like copy n pasting. My point is what Apple do right (for sales anyway) is offer a phone for the masses, easy to get into, update and navigate. And I still think the iPhone has a crisper, polished response when navigating. Slight lag on Galaxy, hey but which am I using.. Galaxy lol.. ;0).. its up to YOU to decide IOS or Android ;0)

Mick 5 years ago

I'd really like to stress the price differences; in Australia, i did a lot of shopping around and researching, and found that regardless of carrier, an iphone carried a large premium. For a 3g (a year ago) i had to pay an extra $15 per month; and for a i4, it was an extra $25. Therefore it came to the SGS and W7 Mozart, where SGS won and i am truly happy. I just wish Kies wasn't truly unusable and that the market had a few key apps that appstore has, usually in the form of games

Lymond profile image

Lymond 4 years ago from UK Author

Vishwajeet, try posting the comment without varying references to anatomy and I won't delete it. Also, go away and check the statistics on numbers sold (not profit, we know Apple is the king on taking money off punters)and also on the subject of innovation, everybody is currently suing everybody else over patent infringements, that includes people suing Apple (Notably Motorola in Germany) so I'm pretty sure that Apple didn't invent everything!

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