Samsung Galaxy S4: Powerful Hardware, But A Less-Than-Powerful Experience

Galaxy S4 Front iPhone 5 two

It’s time to set something straight. When it comes to consumer electronics, a significant number of users will often base their purchase decision on which device delivers the most powerful hardware specifications. But, there is also a misconception that devices with impressive components will always be the best. And that’s simply not true.

There is no denying that the new Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone is one of the most powerful handsets on the market. With a 1.9 GHz quad-core processor, 5-inch display, 13-megapixel rear-facing camera, 2 GB RAM and NFC, the Galaxy S4 blows the iPhone 5 out of the water. But when it comes to the overall experience, it’s a different story. 

Samsung's Galaxy S4 outscores the iPhone 5 by nearly 2 to 1 in benchmarks.

Samsung’s Galaxy S4 outscores the iPhone 5 by nearly 2 to 1 in benchmarks.

One of the advantages that Apple possesses with the iPhone is control over every aspect of the smartphone. While some pundits will argue that this closed environment — sans jailbreaking — hinders freedom and overall innovation, and keeps users within a heavily restricted ecosystem, the upside is the perfect unison between hardware and software. Why? iOS is designed for one smartphone. Android powers thousands.

Samsung might design and manufacture the Galaxy S4, but it then turns to Google and its Android mobile operating system for software. On top of that, it applies the custom TouchWiz skin, which many Android fans themselves agree delivers far from the best experience possible. Third-party mods, CyanogenMod in particular, are much better alternatives.

Samsung's Galaxy S4 is powered by Android, with TouchWiz on top.

Samsung’s Galaxy S4 is powered by Android, with TouchWiz on top.

Apple, on the other hand, is the curator of iOS software for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. And there’s no TouchWiz-like look and feel added over top. What you see is what you get, unless you choose to jailbreak of course. This allows Apple to optimize its custom Apple A6 processor to work in unison with iOS, resulting in a great overall experience.

So when you look at the iPhone 5′s custom 1.3 GHz dual-core Apple A6 processor and 1 GB RAM — that’s half the memory of the Galaxy S4 — you might think that it is outperformed by the Samsung smartphone, but that’s hardly the case. In fact, this leaked video below allegedly shows unlock screen lag on the all-so-powerful Galaxy S4:

Ultimately, both the Samsung Galaxy S4 and iPhone 5 are top-of-the-line smartphones. If you’re an Apple fan, the iPhone’s hardware and software work together great to provide a good user experience. If you prefer Android, the Samsung Galaxy S4 is arguably the best smartphone you’ll be able to buy in that domain. But, in the end, it’s important to remember that hardware specifications aren’t always the most important aspect.

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