Apple's iPhone 4S has been on the market for 6 months already and the Samsung Galaxy S III doesn't even hit store shelves until the end of May. Yet the iPhone 4S remains the best selling handset in the world and the Galaxy S III claims to be the best handset on the planet, period, so let's put them head-to-head, Mobile Nations style.
(Technically Phil is using a Verizon iPhone 4 in the video, but lack of a SIM-card tray aside, it's physically identical to an iPhone 4S, and that's the phone we'll be talking about here in the text).
It's immediately obvious just how much bigger the Samsung Galaxy S III is, with a whopping 4.8-inch, SAMOLED PenTile screen. The Galaxy S III is so big, it looks like you could hollow it out and use it as an iPhone case. For people who don't have a tablet, this is as close as you can get without become a... Galaxy Note. On the downside, some (yours truly included), far prefer the color and pixel perfection of a non-PenTile iPhone- or HTC One X-style LCD LED display.
Unfortunately, Samsung still seems to be clinging to their Hasbro-style plastic casings, which are frankly terrible compared to the glass and stainless steel feeling of the iPhone, not to mention the unearthly good plastics Nokia and HTC have been using these days.
The software side is a bit of a mixed bag for the Galaxy S III as well, with the latest version of Android 4.0, Ice Cream Sandwich all loaded up, but hidden beneath Samsung's TouchWiz. While intended to give a more consumer-friendly (i.e. Apple-like) look and feel, it also gives a slightly out-dated, Gingerbread-esque vibe to overall experience. Pro users will no doubt prefer stock (and will no doubt flash to that, or something close to it, at their earliest opportunity). The rest includes some interesting, innovative features like talk to wake, accelerometer switch from texting to talking, as well as versions of Siri and iTunes Match once again cloned directly from Apple's 2011 keynote.
The bottom line, however, remains the same -- Samsung makes fantastic, futuristic, totally uninspiring devices. They can spin out specs so impressive they literally make your nose bleed, but they don't really know how to innovate. Every atom and pixel just sort of reminds you of something you've seen before from Apple or Nokia or someone else. They're mechanics more than artists. Of course, that matters more to gadget divas than to mainstream consumers. That's why Samsung sells tens of millions of these big boys, and why -- like Apple -- they're actually profitable.
Still, this time around I think HTC stole a step on Samsung. The One X just looks and feels like a better next generation Android phone. (I've argued the Nexus One was far better for it's time than either the Nexus S or Galaxy Nexus as well -- Nexus one was the future of Android, Nexus S and Galaxy Nexus were both summations of Android as it was.)
Speaking of which, neither the Galaxy S III nor the One X are Nexus devices, however, so if/when Google announces Android Jellybean, it might well be a race to see who gets it first... or last... or never.)
Either way, we're going to have to wait until June to see iOS 6, and likely October to see the iPhone 5,1. Right now the new Androids are hitting the market against the old iPhone, which is a good bit of counter-programming. The more interesting war will be fought this fall, and Windows Phone 8 and BlackBerry 10 might just make it a 4 way race this time.
As always, watch the video, check out the pictures, and let us know what you think.