Samsung Galaxy S5 vs iPhone 5S

Galaxy S5
Can the S5 outshine the 5S?

Samsung tried to stand up to the might of the iPhone 5S back at MWC 2014 by releasing the Galaxy S5. Even though since then we've seen both the iPhone 6 and Samsung Galaxy S6 both of these are two strong contenders for your money.

The iPhone 5S itself is now almost two years old but it still sits as one of the most popular smartphones you can buy. As for the Galaxy S5 the price has dropped to a very competitive low since the rapturous applause for the Galaxy S6 so it may be worth dropping some dough on now.

Even though this isn't the top of the game these are still two strong contenders for your money – so how do they both compare and which should you be getting?


iPhone 5S

If there's one thing Apple knows, it's design. The iPhone 5S's two-tone aluminium and glass back looks great. Our only real complaint is that it's much the same design as we saw on the iPhone 5.

Everything changed on the iPhone 6 but many still prefer the iPhone 5S design with a smaller body to house the smaller display - it's all down to your personal taste here.

Samsung Galaxy S5

Unfortunately the Samsung Galaxy S5 just can't compete here, as it's still rocking a plastic back like its predecessor. That said it has an attractive perforated design and feels fairly solid.

Many criticised the Galaxy S5 for its naff feeling design – we even brought it up in our own review – but the Galaxy S6 came back and knocked it out of the park, it's worth having a look at how well Samsung did on its latest phone.


The iPhone 5S has a 4-inch 1136 x 640 IPS LCD display with a pixel density of 326 pixels per inch. It's a great screen, but we've seen better and the Galaxy S5's 5.1-inch Full HD Super AMOLED 432 ppi display certainly falls into the better camp.

iPhone 5S

There's something to be said for the smaller screen on the iPhone 5S though as many still love the 4-inch size and didn't react well when Apple dropped it for the iPhone 6.

If you want that 4-inch display this is your best iOS option to go for – but bare in mind there are rumours of a 4-inch option coming alongside the iPhone 6S, potentially named the iPhone 6C, later in the year.


iPhone 5S

The iPhone 5S launched on iOS 7 whilst the Galaxy S5 came with Android 4.4 KitKat on board. Both are now up to date with the latest software, iOS 8 for the iPhone and Android 5.0 Lollipop for the Galaxy S5.

iOS is the best version of the operating system we've seen so far and it offers a variety of new features including apps such as HealthKit to track your fitness.

Android 5.0 Lollipop comes with new features such as lock screen notifications, but Samsung is insistent on including its TouchWiz overlay on top of the beautiful new Material Design.

It takes some getting used to so beware before you go expecting the best looking Android software you've ever seen.


Samsung Galaxy S5

We've obviously had quite a bit of time to play with both these phones now – we've had each for over a year, and it means we've got a full look at the battery life on each.

The iPhone 5S comes with a pathetic sounding 1,560mAh juice pack but down to Apple's impressive optimisation it manages to last for quite a while. In our battery life testing we found it did even better with the new software and it charges really quickly as well.

As for the Galaxy S5 it has a more impressive sounding 2,800mAh removable cell inside and a powerful battery saving mode. In our video loop test the phone only dropped 16% of its battery after 90 minutes of full brightness video – an impressive result.

James Rogerson

James is a freelance phones, tablets and wearables writer and sub-editor at TechRadar. He has a love for everything ‘smart’, from watches to lights, and can often be found arguing with AI assistants or drowning in the latest apps. James also contributes to, and and has written for T3, Digital Camera World, Clarity Media and others, with work on the web, in print and on TV.