Samsung Ativ S vs Apple iPhone 5 comparrison

Written by Cornelius J. van Dyk on . Posted in Blog

Well Windows 8 has come and so has the Surface tablet.  I got my Surface on launch day and having strayed to the dark side over the past couple of years, I’ve been itching to consolidate my household operating systems under the Windows banner.  Of course, it seems this is a feat more easily achieved than obtaining an Ingress invite code! 

I have always been an avid softie, while still remaining an objective and sometimes harsh critic.  Case in point.  I tried Vista.  It sucked and as a result, I held off and stayed on XP until I was able to make the jump to Windows 7.  At the end of the day, it comes down to features and convenience for me.  If any gadget I am looking at, regardless of brand, does not have the features that I insist on having, then I look elsewhere.  Brand loyalty can help one to endure some inconveniences, but not many.  Years ago, I strayed from the Windows Mobile phone because back then, well… I was tired of my phone having to be rebooted daily and rebuilt monthly.  Those were dark days. 

In recent times, Apple has lost it’s edge and have chosen to litigate rather than innovate.  As a result, Android has really caught up and left iPhone in the dust.  We are a Windows family and both Jess and I have the iPhone 4.  I got so tired of all the bs litigation from Apple that I’ve become very jaded against the company and it’s product.  Since it’s time for us to get new phones, I had to decide what to get.  I hadn’t come to any conclusion at the time, but I knew very well we were not going to enrich Apple’s pockets any longer.  So it came to be that it was time to make my list of requirements for what I wanted in the device… yet again… just like in 2008.  Here then, are my requirements: 

  1. 4G internet.
  2. At least 5 MP camera.
  3. Front and rear cameras.
  4. HD video recording.
  5. 32 GB internal storage.
  6. MicroSD storage expansion slot.
  7. NFC for data transfer.
  8. Multi-core processor.

The phone I found that fulfilled all these requirements, was the Samsung Galaxy SIII.  I had previously gotten the Google Nexus 7 tablet, which was my first exposure to Android.  Honestly, I wasn’t blown away and that left me looking forward to the Surface to see how Windows 8 in the tablet world stacked up. 
I’ve been very pleased with my Surface thus far and the though of replacing one foreign household OS (Apple’s iOS) with another (Android) and remaining a multi OS household, did not appeal to me. 
Enter the Samsung Ativ S 

This baby is essentially the Galaxy SIII hardware, but running Windows Phone 8.  As a consumer I’ve been frustrated by many apps that do 95% of what I want, but I just can’t get the apps that do it all.  As a developer I know I can develop my own apps to suit my needs.  Yes, yes, I can hear the Linux geeks perk up from their seats already. 
So then the waiting began.  Samsung previewed this phone as the first Windows 8 phone in the world, beating Nokia and HTC to the punch, but availability has been non existent.  I just got word today that general availability has been pushed back yet again, this time to January 2013.  What was supposed to be a Christmas gadget for Jess and I to play with, is quickly becoming a source of major frustration.  Of course the SIII sales is part of the problem since both phones use the same screen. 

Wow this article took the looooooong way around to get to the actual comparison.  Be that as it may, I stumbled across this article today which pitted the iPhone 5 and the Ativ S against each other.  The article noted 10 reasons why the Ativ S is better and a whopping 23 reasons why the iPhone 5 is better.  So without further delay, let’s look at the comparison and make a consumer based, level headed analysis of the comparison. 

Samsung vs Apple

Samsung Ativ S
Apple iPhone 5
1 Front facing camera 1.9 MP 1.2 MP The quality of the front facing camera matters because it’s used during Skype and other video chat activities.  If the difference was small, it might not matter much, but the difference is 50%+ in this case. 
Samsung 1 – Apple 0
2 Display size 4.8 inches 4.0 inches This is going to be a personal preference item, but generally most people prefer larger display sizes. 
Samsung 2 – Apple 0
3 Display pixels 1,049,088 pixels 727,040 pixels The number of pixels translates into resolution sharpness.  The Ativ S has 218,560 pixels per inch of screen compared to the iPhone 5 which only has 181,760.  Regardless of screen size, more pixels per inch = sharper images. 
Samsung 3 – Apple 0
4 CPU semiconductor size 28 nm 32 nm This one really doesn’t matter in my opinion.  All the semiconductor size tells you is which one is newer technology and is more likely to consume less power during operation.  If I’d have to score this one, Samsung would win this round, but I don’t believe this matters in this case so I’m not awarding point in this round. 
Samsung 3 – Apple 0
5 CPU speed 2 x 1.5 GHz 2 x 1.0 GHz More cores = better multi tasking and faster CPU = better performance… period! 
Samsung 4 – Apple 0
6 Standard USB charge Yes No This doesn’t really matter either since the mini USB connector isn’t really used on anything except phones.  In the same sense, the Apple proprietary connector has a USB connection on the other end so both devices would charge from any USB port like that on the Surface tablet.  Though it does suck that Apple changed their ports forcing owners to buy new connectors, I don’t think this difference is worthy of points in this round. 
Samsung 4 – Apple 0
7 Removable Battery Yes No Yes, the Ativ S has a removable battery, but be honest… when was the last time you used replaceable batteries with your phone?  For me it must be at least 10 years since I’ve felt the urge to swap and charge a battery.  For this reason, I don’t think this is worthy of points either. 
Samsung 4 – Apple 0
8 Battery Size 2,300 mAh 1,418 mAh This one matters!!!  Everyone knows that more battery means you get to do more on your device for longer before you have to plug in somewhere. 
Samsung 5 – Apple 0
9 Near Field Comms (NFC) Yes No I never thought this one mattered, but it does.  After the countless hours I spent trying to consolidate pictures from two iPhones together via stupid apps that doesn’t work right or emailing it to myself, this is very important to a consumer.  The ability to share content from one device to another matters! 
Samsung 6 – Apple 0
10 MicroSD Expansion slot Yes No This one matters too, especially in our current world where video is becoming the main mode of capture.  Having the ability to extend internal storage by swapping a card is essential. 
Samsung 7 – Apple 0
11 Internal Storage 16 GB 32 GB Now we start the list of reasons the site gave for why the iPhone was better.  This one doesn’t count.  The Ativ S comes in a 32 GB version as well so they didn’t do their research and this round is a draw. 
Samsung 7 – Apple 0
12 Corning Gorilla Glass No Yes Another one that speaks to lack of research.  While the iPhone 5 has Gorilla Glass, the Ativ S has Gorilla Glass II.  I’m sure both are awesome, so this round doesn’t award any points. 
Samsung 7 – Apple 0
13 Corning Gorilla Glass II Yes No See #12 above. 
Samsung 7 – Apple 0
14 CMOS Camera sensor No Yes I’m not sure what a difference this makes to my photos and I’m sure some photography geek will point it out, but most of us simply point the phone at our target and snap the photo.  I’m yet to see convincing proof why this would make my photos wildly better so we’re not awarding points here either. 
Samsung 7 – Apple 0
15 Back Illuminated sensor No Yes See #14 above. 
Samsung 7 – Apple 0
16 Manual White Balance No Yes Let’s be honest, who’s ever tweaked their camera white balance settings on their iPhone? 
See #14 above. 
Samsung 7 – Apple 0
17 Touch AF No Yes I’ll be honest, I don’t know what Touch AF is, but I’m pretty sure it doesn’t matter much to the average consumer. 
See #14 above. 
Samsung 7 – Apple 0
18 Built in HDR mode No Yes Now this one I have actually used.  When you’re trying to take good pictures in low light settings, this actually works quite nicely.  The problem is that it’s slow.  Nonetheless, we’ll award a point here. 
Samsung 7 – Apple 1
19 In camera panorama No Yes Except for the once in a lifetime when you visit the Grand Canyon, I don’t see how this matters.  No points this round. 
Samsung 7 – Apple 1
20 Dedicated camera button No Yes Most consumers have grown accustomed to screen touch buttons, but I’ll award a point anyway. 
Samsung 7 – Apple 2
21 Manual ISO No Yes This is the same as the white balance.  No points. 
Samsung 7 – Apple 2
22 Three microphones No Yes And this matters because?  No points. 
Samsung 7 – Apple 2
23 APPS 150,000 425,000 Again, a lack of research on the part of the article author.  They listed numbers that probably are from the Android store instead of the Windows store which hasn’t reached 100,000 apps as of this writing yet.  That being said, the number of apps doesn’t matter.  As long as you can get the 100 apps that YOU use on your device, the excess adds no benefit.  No points. 
Samsung 7 – Apple 2
24 Free Navigation software No Yes Sure, if you want to get lost.  OK, I’m being a little overly harsh on Apple Maps.  I’m sure they’ll get it fixed.  That being said, I’ll also be overly generous and award a point here. 
Samsung 7 – Apple 3
25 Direct OS vendor updates No Yes Trust me this does NOT matter.  As a consumer I subscribe to one golden rule.  If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!  A phone is a tool.  As such, once it works and does everything you want it to do, there is no reason to upgrade the OS unless there’s some major new functionality you’ll gain.  Given the vast number of hours I spent messing with this and having OS updates break my apps, I’d prefer not having my OS updated unless I hack it.  No points. 
Samsung 7 – Apple 3
26 Dual microphone No Yes Didn’t they say 3 microphones just now?  Whatever the number, it still doesn’t matter.  No points. 
Samsung 7 – Apple 3
27 Thickness 8.7 mm 7.6 mm OK, I’ll grant it to the iPhone, it’s thinner than the Ativ S, but let’s think about why that is.  Could it be the 62% more battery?  Of course it is.  If you could get 62% more battery life in exchange for 15% more thickness, wouldn’t you make the trade?  Most people would.  No points. 
Samsung 7 – Apple 3
28 Weight 135 g 114 g Here too, the iPhone, it’s lighter than the Ativ S, but again it’s the 62% more battery.  If you could get 62% more battery life in exchange for 18% more weight, wouldn’t you make the trade?  Most people would.  No points. 
Samsung 7 – Apple 3
29 Width 70.5 mm 58.6 mm The width is in relation to screen size and battery so this doesn’t matter.  If you prefer the smaller form factor of the iPhone, it’s not going to matter that it has a 62% smaller battery.  No points. 
Samsung 7 – Apple 3
30 Body Volume 74.8 cm3 55.1 cm3 See #29 above.  No points. 
Samsung 7 – Apple 3
31 Height 137.2 mm 123.8 mm See #29 above.  No points. 
Samsung 7 – Apple 3
32 Bluetooth 3.0 4.0 Though I’m sure Bluetooth devices will probably all work fine on both, I’ll award points on this one. 
Samsung 7 – Apple 4
33 Download speed 42 Mb/s 100 Mb/s According to a PCMag article the best download speed that 4G providers can give right now, peaks out at about 22 Mb/s.  That means that the Ativ S has plenty of room for growth and give the average life of handheld devices these days, it’s very unlikely that you’ll every run into the download ceiling here.  That being said, faster is still faster and I’ll award a point. 
Samsung 7 – Apple 5
34 WiFi Hotspot No Yes This is really related to #33 above and in combination with the retarded way in which cellular providers handle data plans in the US, it’s highly unlikely to matter to most people.  No points. 
Samsung 7 – Apple 5

OK, so I added line 13 because it was missing from the original article. 
As you can see, the Ativ S is my choice for going Windows Phone 8.  Now if I can just get my hands on one! 



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Cornelius J. van Dyk

Born and raised in South Africa during the 70's I got my start in computers when a game on my Sinclair ZX Spectrum crashed, revealing it's BASIC source code. The ZX had a whopping 48K of memory which was considered to be a lot in the Commodore Vic20 era, but more importantly, it had BASIC built into the soft touch keyboard. Teaching myself to program, I coded my first commercial program at age 15.

After graduating high school at 17, I joined the South African Air Force, graduating the Academy and becoming a Pilot with the rank of First Lieutenant by age 20. After serving my country for six years, I made my way back into computer software.

Continuing my education, I graduated Suma Cum Laude from the Computer Training Institute before joining First National Bank where my work won the Smithsonian Award for Technological Innovation in the field of Banking and Insurance. Soon I met Will Coleman from Amdahl SA, who introduced me to a little known programming language named Huron/ObjectStar. As fate would have it, this unknown language and Y2K brought me to the USA in 1998.

I got involved with SharePoint after playing around with the Beta for SharePoint Portal Server 2003. Leaving my career at Rexnord to become a consultant in 2004, I was first awarded the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional Award for SharePoint in 2005, becoming only the 9th MVP for WSS at the time. I fulfilled a life long dream by pledging allegiance to the Flag as a US citizen in 2006. I met the love of my life and became a private consultant in 2008. I was honored to receive my ninth MVP award for SharePoint Server in 2013.

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