iPhone 4s vs Samsung Galaxy S II (comparison)

The battle of the smartphones continues as the highly anticipated iPhone 4S goes head-to-head with Samsung’s latest and greatest Android, the Galaxy S II. For those looking to upgrade their phones or just want to know how each of the top smartphones (at least “top” for now given how fast upgrades are made), here’s a helpful comparison of the two!

Size

The Galaxy S II is one of the thinnest Androids out there, measuring 5.11 x 2.71 x .37 (all inches, HxWxD) and weighing in at 4.77 ounces. The new iPhone, on the other hand, measures in at 4.5 x 2.31 x .37 (all inches, HxWxD) and weighs 4.9 ounces. The Galaxy S II is considerably larger because of its display but it is lighter.

Appearance

Both share similar features in the looks department. They both come in white and black options, but the iPhone 4S does sport a premium finish with a glass front and back, while the Samsung Galaxy S II has a very thin and sort of flimsy plastic rear case…but this is what makes it so light, so it’s not necessarily such a flaw.

Display

The Galaxy S II has a larger screen than the iPhone coming in at 4.52 inches compared to 3.5 inches (but remember that the S II is lighter). So the iPhone 4S boasts a 640×960 resolution, creating a pixel density of 326ppi, while the Galaxy S II has a bright AMOLED display but it has 480×800 resolution, which means it has a pixel density of 216ppi. Looks like the iPhone wins here, but really, both are awesome touchscreen displays.

Operating System

Obviously, the iPhone 4S runs on IOS 5 and the Galaxy S II on Android. But all the hoopla with the new iPhone was about a new operating system and the latest version is touted as the “world’s most advanced mobile operating system,” as well as the easiest to use. New features with the upgrade include: notification center, iMessage, Twitter integration, reminders, camera enhancements, better photo editing options, PC free, Safari, Newsstand and Siri, the voice control feature that everybody’s taking about. The Multi-Touch interface in the new OS is easier since it was “designed for your finer,” making it finger friendly. But it still lacks flash support, which is a major downer!

The Samsung Galaxy S II runs Google’s Android 2.3 Gingerbread OS with its own Touchwiz interface. It’s claimed to be “more refined and polished,” which basically means a more intuitive user interface.

Processor

The iPhone 4S has received a processor upgrade, which is an A5 dual-core chip, clocked in at 800MHz and Apple says you’ll notice the upgrade with it’s faster responses that make all the difference when you’re launching apps, on the web and doing everything else you do on your smartphone these days. And because the A5 chip is so power-efficient, iPhone 4S has outstanding battery life (but more on that later).

Since the Galaxy S II has a wider screen, it was given a Qualcomm Snapdragon S3 Processor with 1.5 GHz dual-core CPUs so that it wouldn’t freeze while running multiple apps.

Storage

Storage is worth a quick mention with a new maximum capacity of 64GB available on the Iphone 4S. The Galaxy S II maxes out with just 16GB, and but it does redeem itself with the inclusion of a microSD card slot that can take a further 32GB, adding more storage for those who like to keep everything on their smartphones. This totals 48GB, so comes but it still comes in short of only 16GB of its rival.

Wireless Connectivity

They are both world phones, so globetrotters will be satisfied with both. The Galaxy S II is built and engineered to run on 4G networks, making it super fast, which means no waiting even when you have tons of apps open. Thanks to AllShare, you can also wirelessly share and stream videos, photos and music between your phone and TV, laptop and audio system. With a 4G connection you get up to 42 Mbps down speed and it’s Bluetooth 3.0 compatible.

The iPhone 4S also has WiFi abilities thanks to AirPrint and AirPlay, which allows you to print wirelessly and wirelessly stream what’s on your phone to your HDTV and speakers via Apple TV. It also boasts faster connections since Apple says that the new phone is the first to intelligently switch between two antennas to transmit and receive, making call quality better.

Camera and Video

Other than Sira, the other significant iPhone 4S upgrade is its rear-facing camera, which has been bumped up to 8MP from 5MP, and it also has a custom lens with a larger f/2.4 aperture. But the Galaxy S II 8MP camera matches that of the new iPhone 4S, making them even in this category. The details continue to be the same across the board with an LED flash, auto focus and digital zoom. The two are neck-to-neck on video abilities, too, with HD 1080p at 30fps. Both also come with software for photo and video editing.

Battery Life

Apple placed a built-in rechargeable lithium-ion battery in their new iPhone, with a talk time of up to 8 hours on 3G. Standby time is up to 200 hours, while Internet use is up to 6 hours on 3G and up to 9 on Wi-Fi. Video playback is up to 10 hours and audio playback is up to 40 hours.

Samsung added a rechargeable 1850 mAh lithium-ion battery with talk time pretty much the same with the iPhone so expect 8 hours to be the maximum.

Carriers

You can get the iPhone on AT&T, Sprint and Verizon, while the Galaxy S II is available on T-Mobile, AT&T and Sprint.

Price

The iPhone 4S will put you back $199 for the 16GB, $299 for the 32GB and for those big spenders, $399 for the 64GB…but this is for new contracts or those eligible for upgrades. Price jumps between $600-$800 depending on the carrier and GB variant.

With AT&T, the Galaxy S II starts at $199.99, while T-Mobile has it for $299.99. Sprint is carrying it for 199.99 also (all with a new contract).

Winner

Really, it’s a tie. Both the iPhone 4S and Galaxy S II sport the latest and greatest tech when it comes to smartphones and share a lot of the same features. So it really depends on whether you’re a devoted Mac fan or an Android lover. But whichever one you opt for, you’ll end up with an awesome smartphone that will entertain you for hours and/or  help conduct business when you’re away from the office. It’s a win-win situation!

Kristie Bertucci

Kristie Bertucci is an L.A.-based writer, who can't live without her MacBook Pro. When she's not writing, she's either reading or shopping (online, of course) and loves lazy days so she can catch up on her DVR-recorded shows and movies. She's definitely a Mac girl, she loves music and is currently on a mission to to have an insane and enviable iTunes library.

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39 Comments

  1. iPhone 4s is best uncompareable with Galaxy. I request to all viewer plz take 50 photoes from both mobiles and slide the photo as fast as u can using finger then u will get the result. iPhone is more than 10 times faster than Galaxy

  2. Galaxy S2 has worst graphics than 4s bcz of the weaker graphic card.But its faster overall,faster core,bigger ram.Also s2 screen is bigger and with more lively colours.Less Dpi and resolution though.Camera and video quality are almost the same with 4s taking slight advantage.(s2 with ics gets some quality boost on camera rivaling the 4s even more) Both phones are great and it comes down to personal choice.4s is maybe better for games and shooting pics/videos(difference is microscopic especialy when s2 is on Ics though)4s build quality is better but with less endurance than gs2 plastics.S2 is better to watch videos or movies ,and also better for browsing(4s is better for reading though bcz of its better dpi).Id go with the s2 bcz of its screen size and technology,and its better conectivity.But iOs fans will propably prefer the 4SI also have a feeling that iphone5 will give s3 a hard time xD.

  3. Kristie!
    Superb comparison…..It has been compared very nicely and deatiled…

    Dr.Er. T. Thinlas
    Leh-Ladakh

  4. I recently upgraded from to the an HTC Evo to the Iphone 4s. I was not impressed, after about a week I returned the phone and bought the Galaxy. I could not go from 4g back to 3g, everything was to slow and I experienced difficulties retrieving and loading some emails. I liked the iphone’s games and apps but for work purposes I would pick the android , hands down. Maybe when apple gets 4g i will give it another shot but for now Itouch for games android for work 

  5. Solid review, good point to point comparison.  I’m sorry this review did not (like 99% of the gear reviews out their) look at and compare ease of synchronizing between phones and PC’s for all five of the Outlook /real-life basics: contacts, calendars, notes, tasks and pix/vids.  Still, a good review and helpful.  Thanks! 

  6. I was looking for a more personal comparison. Not a detailed one… That I could do myself…..  But thanks anyway! 

  7. the samsung galaxy S II has a 1.2 GHZ Dual core processor not a 1.5GHZ as stated in the article. not only that but the iphone 4S has 900 MHZ not 800 MHZ just thought i put that out there.

    1. It actually does have a 1.5ghz processor depending on what model of the gs2 your looking at. Google the gs2 hercules (t989) that actually has a 4.56 inch screen and a 1.5ghz processor.

  8. Terrible article! I’m actually looking to buy one of these phones and this article basically just repeated the specs of each phone, which can be found anywhere.  The battery section is particularly useless – so you tell us what the battery specs are, great! So how do they actually measure up during use?  This did not help me at all in my decision.

  9. Great articles! Thanks so much! In Cambodia Samsung’s prices drop off very fast but Iphone is becoming more and more popular. But most of my friends who are using both said Galaxy sII is better. 

    1. Apple costs more because Apple never lowers their prices; they enforce the myth that nobody else has a product anything like them. It’s a psychological monopoly.

      1.  I agree, Actually Androids lag issues were fixed by using an ext4 filesystem, My Phone (Galaxy S) doesn’t lag since I used this fix. Check out Darkys rom. This is another reason I love android, I can tinker around with it.

        1. You have to compare phones to similar phones; there are Android duds that cost $50 to produce, and ones on par with the iPhone. This one is on par and Samsung hasn’t stopped. Apple’s getting paranoid, though… Otherwise they wouldn’t be rabidly suing Samsung.

  10. Great article, thanks.  I am presently using a Galaxy S2 privately, and for work iPhone 4S. I gotta say I like the Samsung Galaxy S2 better for everything but games. The 4s beats on games…go figure, its the work phone!

    Daniel Eriksson
    http://www.frimobil.nu
    “Lås upp din mobil”

      1. it´s amazing how apple manage to make people think that they are innovating. Siri, is just another voice command assistant, the innovation is that they included stupid answers to stupid question stupid people ask. There are thousands of voice command application on the android market and in apple app store. I will agree with the article and call it a tie, just to be fair cause the Iphone is a very good device, but personally I’m a prefer the control and customization of an open source OS like Android.

        1. Siri may not be the only voice command out there atm but it is the best. I’ve seen a few head to head comparisons and not only does siri understand people better but it can do more clever functions with the iphone software. It actually feels almost like your iphone has a (really bland) personality while alot of other voice commands just feel like a gimmicky search feature, often just turning any query into a google search. Im no apple fanboy infact the only apple products Ive ever liked are iphones and ipods

          1. Siri compared to the voice assistant in android isnt much different. Yes, it is more user friendly. So if u wanna know the weather, you would ask siri “what will the weather be like tomorow?” and for android “weather forecast for _____whatever area you live in” no big deal. That is NOT going to be a deal breaker because they both do the same thing. You just word them differently. What is a deal breaker is the amount of customizing you can do in android. All the beautiful widgets, the removable battery, flash support, and the list goes on. Galaxy s2 wins!

      2. Siri has become popular because apple has focus in it and making us know the convenient way of ‘the usability’ of this thing.. but truly this is a hard choice :)

      3.  While Android might not have siri, It does have something like it. It might not talk back to you but you can google search and speak text messages and other things like that. And it could be done since eclair.

    1. Teri maa takli Saale behenchod ! Jaa jaake angrezon Ki tatti chaat ! I have an iPhone 4S ! It’s not a luxury to have an iPhone !

  11. unless you actually test the output of the camera sensor and lens you can’t say much about them being equal, the megapixel number means very little these days.

      1. The little photo fixing they put into the iPhone will probably make it APPEAR better, yes. But Android users have many more options for alternative cameras and photo editors, which are more free than Apple’s counterparts.

    1. Pepsi57, it really depends on you.  The iPhone 4s is great.  Sick camera, fast and Siri. On the other hand Motorola just announced the DROID RAZR, which looks amazing for an Android handset.

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