Samsung Galaxy S5
IBTimes UK

Samsung and Apple have been at each other's throats for a number of years now, nowhere more than in the smartphone market, so how do their flagship smartphones match up?

Whether it's in the serious surroundings of the courtroom or taking the mickey out of each other in ads, Apple and Samsung could never be described as the best of friends.

Nowhere is this more evident than in the smartphone market. Samsung may hold the lion's share of the market, but Apple is still seen by many as producing the pinnacle of smartphone sophistication with the iPhone.

Samsung has just launched the Galaxy S5 at Mobile World Congress, its flagship model for 2014, so how does it stack up against Apple's iPhone 5s?

Galaxy S5 vs iPhone 5s: Screen

iPhone 5s

All the talk ahead of the launch was that the Galaxy S5 would have a super sharp 2K resolution screen (2,560 x 1,440 pixels) that might even be curved. But as it turned out Samsung has simply made the phone 0.1in bigger than the Galaxy S4, while retaining the Full HD resolution (1920 x 1080).

Apple on the other hand continues to resist the lure of the bigger screen (until the launch of the iPhone 6 at least) and the iPhone 5s retains the same 4in Retina Display as the iPhone 5. Yes it looks great, but compared to the Galaxy S5, and practically every other premium smartphone these days, it looks tiny.

Galaxy S5 vs iPhone 5s: Design

Again, all the talk ahead of the launch of the Galaxy S5 was of Samsung taking a leaf out of Apple, Sony and HTC's book by producing a phone with premium materials rather than the plastic chassis we're used to from the flagship Galaxy models.

That hasn't happened and Samsung has retained the look and feel of the Galaxy series, continuing to use the plastic chassis seen in all previous models.

The iPhone 5s is the opposite. Its build quality and premium materials make the phone seem like a work of art. It is beautifully built and designed, and Apple doesn't need to change what is clearly working.

Galaxy S5 vs iPhone 5s: Hardware

This is where the Galaxy S5 finally begins to show some improvement over the Galaxy S4. The fingerprint sensor adds security and makes it much easier to pay online (if you use PayPal that is).

While the addition of the heart rate monitor will please some, I can't imagine too many people using it while out running or during a workout in the gym to keep an eye on their heart-rate. Samsung's inclusion of one of its new Gear 2 smartwatches makes much more sense.

Samsung Galaxy S5 Official

Samsung has also upgraded the chips powering the Galaxy S5 (Qualcomm Snapdragon, quad-core, 2.5GHz processor, 2GB of RAM), but while this will ensure everything continues to run smoothly, performance issues were not one of the big bugbears of Galaxy S4 owners.

Apple's iPhone 5s of course already has Touch ID to unlock the phone with your fingerprint as well as make purchases from the App Store, and while it doesn't have any heart-rate monitor, it does have a 64-bit processor along with the M7 motion co-processor to allow it to constantly track your movements – for use with fitness apps.

While Apple does offer three storage options, (16GB/32GB/64GB) compared to Samsung's 16GB and 32GB, the Galaxy S5 does offer the option of boosting the amount of storage available with a microSD card slot.

Galaxy S5 vs iPhone 5s: Operating System

Apple iPhone 5s Review Video

Unsurprisingly, Samsung – having just signed a decade-long licencing deal with Google – has launched the Galaxy S5 with Android 4.4 (KitKat), the latest version of the operating system. However the more interesting update is to TouchWiz, with Samsung giving their interface a polish and making it more like iOS 7 in some respects.

Apple launched iOS 7 alongside the iPhone 5s and the new, flatter, operating system looks and performs beautifully. It may not be as open as Android, but it has a better selection of quality apps still.

Galaxy S5 vs iPhone 5s: Camera

This is possibly the area where Samsung has made the biggest improvements. The Galaxy S5 has a new 16 megapixel sensor (compared to the 13 megapixel sensor on the Galaxy S4) which promises 4K video recording.

Samsung has also included a slow-mo mode; Selective Focus to allow you refocus a picture after taking it and Live HDR to see what a picture would look like with HDR mode on.

The iPhone 5s also includes a slo-mo mode and features a two-tone flash which improves white balance. A 15% bigger sensor and wider lens which allows in 25% more light (than the iPhone 5) means Apple's camera is good – but it may now be behind the Galaxy S4 in terms of power.

Galaxy S5 vs iPhone 5s: Which should I buy?

This will essentially come down to personal choice as the cost of both phone will likely be similar (with Samsung yet to anounce pricing for its new phone).

On the one hand the Galaxy S5 offers a big, bright screen with a great camera, better battery life, as well as the additions of a fingerprint scanner and heart-rate monitor – if those things are important to you.

The iPhone 5s on the other hand is smaller and more compact, but delivers flawless design and build quality, a great OS with wide app selection, as well as the fingerprint scanner and M7 motion co-processor.

The choice, as they say, is yours.