Apple iPhone 4S vs. Samsung Galaxy S II–Which Is The Ultimate Smartphone?

Yesterday, Apple announced the highly anticipated successor to the iPhone 4, the iPhone 4S. However, many Apple loyalists were disappointed with the iPhone 4S since the phone did not have any innovative feature. The most disappointing part about the iPhone 4S is that it looks exactly like its predecessor, and is in fact heavier by 4 grams.

Now, that the iPhone 4S has been announced, it is more than obvious that the handset will be stacked against the current top-end Android handset, the Samsung Galaxy S II.

Below is a small comparison of the Samsung Galaxy S 2 and the iPhone 4S.



Dimension wise, the Samsung Galaxy S II is larger, slimmer and bigger than the iPhone 4S. Compared to the Galaxy S II dimensions of 125.3 x 66.1 x 8.5 mm, the iPhone 4S has dimensions of 115.2 x 58.6 x 9.3 mm. Last year, when Apple announced the iPhone 4, it vowed everyone with how slim the handset was. However, it was disappointing to see its successor having the same dimensions as the previous generation iPhone. The Galaxy S II weighs in at 113gms, while the iPhone 4 weighs 138gms.

While the iPhone 4S is primarily made of glass and metal, the Galaxy S II is made of plastic. Both the handsets are pretty stylish as well. However, out of the two, I would prefer the Samsung Galaxy S II, since at least it can be easily distinguished from the original Galaxy S, unlike the iPhone 4S.


The Samsung Galaxy S II has a 4.3-inch SuperAMOLED Plus display with WVGA(800×480) resolution, while the iPhone 4S has a comparatively tiny 3.5-inch IPS LCD Retina Display’ with an eye-popping resolution of 640×960. Like the iPhone 4, the iPhone 4S trumps the Galaxy S 2 in terms of resolution and pixels. However, I would prefer the Samsung Galax S II just because it has a much bigger display with eye-popping colors and contrast ratios.

Also, it is just a matter of weeks (perhaps, days?) before the next-generation Android handsets trump the iPhone 4S with their 720p HD (1280×720) resolution. The Nexus Prime is reportedly rumored to have a 720p HD resolution. The Samsung Galaxy S II HD LTE already has a 4.65-inch SuperAMOLED display with 720p resolution.


The Samsung Galaxy S II sports an Exynos 4210 SoC, which contains a 1.2GHz Cortex-A9 dual-core processor along with an ARM-Mali 400MP GPU. Like the iPad 2, the iPhone 4S is powered by an A5 SoC. The A5 SoC consists of a Cortex-A9 dual core, running at unknown frequency and a powerful PowerVR SGX543MP2 GPU.

While the CPU on the Galaxy S II trumps the iPhone 4S in terms of raw processing power, the tables turn when it comes to GPU. The PowerVR SGX543MP2 GPU is way ahead of the ARM Mali-400MP GPU in terms of performance.


While the Samsung Galaxy S II runs on Android 2.3 Gingerbread, with Samsung’s proprietary TouchWIZ 4.0 UI on top of it. The iPhone 4S runs on iOS5, which includes a completely revamped notification center, iMessage, new camera app, and many other changes.

Compared to iOS5, the Android 2.3 Gingerbread OS on the Samsung Galaxy S II looks pretty stale. Hopefully, things will change when Google announces the next major version of Android this month Ice Cream Sandwich.


Both the Samsung Galaxy S II and the iPhone 4S have an 8MP camera with an LED flash. While the Samsung Galaxy S II camera has an aperture size of 2.65, the iPhone 4S camera has an aperture size of 2.4. The iPhone 4S has a custom ISP designed by Apple, thanks to which it has features like Face recognition, Hybrid IR filter and auto-white balance. From the camera samples released by Apple, it looks like the iPhone 4S is capable of taking better photos compared to the Samsung Galaxy S II. There is not much difference between the picture quality though. However, in low-light conditions, the iPhone 4S totally trumps the Samsung Galaxy S II pictures.

Both the handsets are also capable of recording videos in Full HD (1080p) resolution at 30FPS. The most interesting feature of the iPhone 4S is that it sports real-time video image stabilization, along with real-time temporal noise reduction. Thanks to these features, the iPhone 4S records much better videos than the Galaxy S II. This does not mean that the Samsung Galaxy S II camera is bad. It still has one of the best cameras among the Android handsets.

The Verdict

This is perhaps for the first time, that a product announcement from Apple has led to a disappointment. The iPhone 4S while has evolutionary hardware, still sports a very small screen compared to the competition from its Droid counterparts. Also, it looks exactly like its predecessor, which is not a good thing. Had the iPhone 4S been released at WWDC 2011, it would not have been such a disappointment. But, 14 months after the iPhone 4, the iPhone 4S is nothing but a disappointment.

So, who is the ultimate winner? While this is a fairly sensitive and personal issue, I would like to leave this decision on our readers. Drop on your comments, and let us know who the ultimate winner is.

Published by

Rajesh Pandey

Rajesh is a 19 year old nerd, currently pursuing B.Com Hons from Bhawanipore college in Kolkata, India. He loves everything tech, especially Android. You can follow him on twitter @ePandu or mail to him at [email protected]

  • She

    Samsung FTW. I’ve been eligible for an upgrade for months and anticipated on a new iPhone. But the only new thing about it (in comparison to the iphone4) is Siri. Everyone can just download the iOS 5 and walaaaaa. They have the iPhone 4S. Minus Siri , we’ll just have to say she is sleeping. And of course the apple chip.

  • Vince

    First off i’m neither an Apple OR Android fanboy. I judge a product after i use it. I give ease of use and gaming to iOS atm, my 7yr old can easily navigate my iPad. As far as phones with usefull everyday features I say my SGS2. You simply can’t beat the free google navigation, i prefer it over my $200 garmin. As far as media, it doesn’t get any easier to add movies and music to SGS2. Simple copy and paste. No itunes sync or bs. I despise the method to add music and movies through iTunes and always used Copytranspro for moving music to my 3gs I had and still use that to put music on my iPod. As far as screen size I love the larger display, great for watching a movie while waiting on a flight and less eye strain than a iPhone tiny screen. Guess what, with larger screen it still fits in my pocket with ease. In short only advantage iPhone has is the gaming app market, hopefully that will be a nonissue once Gameloft makes their library availale for the SGS2.

  • Kevin

    Completely expected, not sure why people are really upset about how minimal of an update the 4s is. First of all, anyone expecting an iPhone 5 announcement obviously has no earthly idea how the “cult of planned-obsolescence” works, seeing as how they announced a 3gs after the 3g. Second, @MDUB, buddy not everybody has the luxury of the disposable income that allows them to buy both an iphone and an ipad. I disagree that other phones’ screens are too big, it is my opinion that the fact that the 4s’ screen is TOO SMALL, it is a big deal to a number of people and a 4.3″ screen is nowhere close to the size of a tablet, you essentially argue that nobody wants to carry around an “all-in-one” device is completely counter to the selling point of an iphone which touts itself as the ipod and phone in one package. Back to the real argument – the 4s doesnt bring to the table enough of an upgrade to warrant someone like me (owner of a 3g) who has been waiting for a significant change to stick with apple – the only reason I might buy it is the fact that I have sunk money into apps that have been updated to the point where I can’t run them on my current phone anymore (robbery in my opinion). Point is that the competition seems to have caught up with Apple, and where Apple could have stayed ahead of the game with a leap forward, they have allowed everybody to level the playing field by sticking to their pompous (yet effective) scheme of releasing technology years after they have developed it – 4s is a slap in the face, only because they know fanboys will buy it.

  • Bwana

    My son bought the Samsung Galaxy S2 two weeks ago. He’s been somewhat disappointed. He thought he’d love the big screen but finds the handset’s size awkward. The Android OS is weak and the apps available pale in comparison to what his gf has on her iPhone.

    I ordered the iPhone 4s last week. I for one, like the smaller screen, which is the only feature I can see where the Samsung phone could be said to be superior. In all other respects, I prefer the iPhone.

  • hello champ

    Hmmmm a close one let’s just ask siri

  • Faizan

    i think u support samsung galaxy s 2…wen iphone seemz to be overwhelming s2 u suddenly come up with the excuse dat “samsung will release a new software or hardware and it will be better”!! lisn man,,, u sUCCKKK!

  • Kyle

    I have had an iPhone since the first one came out in 2007-2011 iPhone 3GS. I waited and listened to the keynote for the iPhone 4S and honestly found that it is a great phone. But the updates doesn’t not warrant a better OS compared to gingerbread. IOS 5 is more in the class with Froyo version 2.2. Gingerbread is way better (version 2.3) The only thing that is saving the iPhone 4s is “Siri” voice recognition. Most of the updated on the iPhone, Android already has. Such as know where your friends are located, finding your phone (Samsung dive). Even AT&T has find my friends location. Since I have purchased the Galaxy S2 just last week, I can say the S2 honestly (IMO) beats the IOS hands down. There are so many features in gingerbread that I wanted in the iphone years ago. I remember when “COPY and PASTE” was revolutionary for the iPhone, while android just included it as part of the OS as normal. I believe that Apple will continue to change the design every 2 years. For example, 3G-3GS, 4-4S, 5-5S…etc because the first new design will be beta (3G, 4). An example of that is the iPhone 4 when it had serious connection issues when holding the phone. Hopefully they have improved it on the out of beta version (4S). Since i have had the Galaxy S2, I have found that i can do more with the phone out of the box than with the iphone. I would have to jailbreak the iPhone. I will say that the iPhone is much easier and faster to use straight out of the box than android. I feel like have been closed or narrow minded with the iPhone in order to enjoy Apple’s experience. But since I have the S2 I feel like I can breath again and move freely without constriction (again no COPY and PASTE until the iPhone 3G came out). Thanks to Steve Jobs for changing the smartphone industry. We would not have android or windows 7 mobile if it wasn’t for jobs and Apple creating something new that changed the way we live. And I’m glad the idea was created in America. Thanks Mr. Jobs (God Bless! and RIP)

  • hubert

    hmm, I have seen quite a number of debates around the 2 phones, and a lot of people seems to test them out with a biased method of just testing 1 phone without a detailed side by side comparison. but that is also why people look up google so that we can listen to other people doing the comparison. I am not a smartphone lover, so for me, I couldnt care less if the Iphone or Galaxy s2 wins, the only thing that grab my attention to read about iphone 4s is none other than the Siri function. I can only give thanks to Apple for finally becoming the company that created a voiced 2 way communication and human interpretation program. All the science fiction movies from star wars to bicentennial man is starting to become reality, and it sends me the shivers. For me this advancement in technology is like the creation of the airplane by the Wright brothers or edison’s creation of the light bulb. In the future, people will expand on Siri and turn robots in the future into teachers, helpers and workers like in the movies. Apple has done technology a great service by investing in the creation of a sci-fi program. It has finally broken down 2 important barriers in the 2-way communication problems between man and machine. 1st namely the machine replies by voice in a far more natural and humanly manner, and secondly it interprets the meaning of human commands intead of just following by block commands. Just inventing Siri alone I believe will put apple in the history books of technology advancement.

    • uh..

      Dude. the Sgs2 has a voice recognition system of it’s own. it’s called .. (wait for it…) Galaxy.
      No jokes.

      And it came out WAY before siri did.
      just saying!

  • Angela B

    I am definitely NOT an expert on either the iPhone 4S (or any iPhone generation for that matter) or the Samsung Galaxy S II because I have never personally used, owned or operated either one before. But, because I am currently on the market for either a new iPhone or Android, I am carefully comparing the iPhone to various Androids on the market to determine which phone our family will buy. Just by reading this comparative review of the iPhone 4s vs the Samsung Galaxy S II, it appears that the Galaxy isn’t able to stack up against the performance, power, design, resolution or photo and video quality of the iPhone 4s. Even though the Samsung Galaxy S II has appealing features, such as the lighter weight and larger screen, the Galaxy still can’t surpass the overall quality of the new iPhone 4s. Doing a superficial comparison between the iPhone 4s and the Samsung Galaxy S II, it appears that it will be a close match, but when you get down to the brass tacks, the Apple iPhone still blows all the competition out of the water. The design, the OS, the camera, the video camera along with Apple’s extra bells, whistles and apps make the iPhone 4s head and shoulders above the rest.
    With the passing of Steve Jobs, I hope Apple is able to continue his legacy. I feel history will show that Steve Jobs was an innovative leader and genius, the likes of which we haven’t seen since Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison or Henry Ford.

  • Artthy dharus

    I have one single question for apple diehard fans.
    Why, in the name of phones respect, would somebody want to watch a movie at a screen that it’s not even 4 inch?
    Iphone don’t suck, but it’s time is gone.

  • Shaun

    iPhone 4S hasn’t disappointed me being an apple or ios lvcer I would say apple is still mind blowing and still lives up to my expectations the y can’t keep changing the design look at SII its been with the same design same fone for more tn a year no1’s talkin bout that whereas the iPone has come with an update and is great design matters it doesn’t mean you nee to change it within a year then you would run out of designs in a few yrs… At the end of the day I would say its an iPhone win

  • Tom

    The screen on the SII looks so much better that there really isn’t any contest. The difference in resolution is like the megapixel race was with digital cameras – as long as the sensor doesn’t grow, megapixels are a gimmick. In this case the contrast and brightness of the SII far trump the superior resolution of the 4s.

  • Glorfindel

    I have always had iPhones and have had a GS2 since June. Hardware wise the GS2 is the best phone I’ve owned, Android OS has room for improvement though. Trouble with iPhones is you get bored looking at the same icons for years, thank god for jailbreaking. Apple amazingly don’t seem to know that people want to customise phones and make them theirs, here Andriod wins hands down.
    I prefer iOS but it is too inflexible, Android is open to new ideas, quite a few have been stolen by Apple; who know what ICS will bring?
    We are now at a time where phones are only the fastest gun for 6 months max, the iP4S is faster than the GS2 in virtually every way, even at ‘only’ 800 MHZ, this is down to truly excellent software integration. Question is will it be faster than the Prime or the GS3? See how pointless this way of thinking is, most of us can not afford a new phone twice a year, so why worry?

  • Vijay Singh

    Thnx man.
    I am studying at Amity Jaipur in MCA. I am recently usingh Galaxy S II from last 4 months. I am confuse about memory card that which will we the better for S II 16 GB or 32 GB, is there any problem with 32 GB like that mobile hang or respond time increase beside 16 GB memory card.

  • lang van

    I would like to know the function remind that I meaning I can tell the phone remind me to do somthing when I nêed and what I nêed to do does the same iphon 4gS ?

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  • Mike

    well guys i see that mostly you speak about crash test between iPhone 4s and galaxy s2…well listen carefully if you want a cell phone to smash anyones head take samsung. . .cell phones are not to play around specially smartphones. . .and if you want to see what is better check only their software…android will never reach iOS…greetings from greece ;)

  • Remi

    Well this is stupid. Why would you need a phone, with a giant screen? You don’t want the phone to take to much space, and you wan’t to be able to hold it.

    I never watch movies on my IPhone 4S, I never do. Why? Because I got an IPad2. Size of the screen is irrelevant, most of the time. Samsung S2 is better than IPhone 4S, but only slightly. Still they’re both a 6.

    What do you think Apple can do with the IPhone design wise? At the end of the day, it’s the inside that really matters.
    People today buy a good phone for the wrong reasons, how it looks.

  • johnny

    I have the S2 and I have messed with the iPhone 4s since it came out and I have to say that the s2 far better. I LOVE APPLE but the 4s battery dies quickly, it isn’t on 4g, the only thong new is the camera and Siri. But the camera on the s2 might as well be just as good to the human eye and android now has a free app called “speaktoit” which is the sister app to Siri and works great. Both phone are awesome but the s2 takes the cake.

  • nripen

    just adding up some features after the rival had released theirs doesnt make it a better handset….my vote goes to samsung….

  • Galaxy S2 is the winner, no doubts

  • mitch

    ofcourse he is biased towards the android, he owns a small android site… very disappointed with this review.

  • hawk

    Well, I personally think that the iPhone 4S is the winner even though it retains the same old design and its OS still restricts user customization. Its processor and OS however, can work together well and its the hands-on experience that counts, not just the tech specs. Furthermore, the benchmark results all say the same thing for apple, that it probably has the best performance in the market, regardless of the disappointing looks and screen size. So, Apple iPhone 4S FTW!!!

  • Jabslacked

    It amazes me how angry apple customers get when the new product isn’t shiny enough. Honestly for me though I’m gonna replace my 3gs with the 4s rather than the galaxy s2. I’m not an apple fanboy at all, I use a pc, I think the iPad is a crappy over sized iPhone and I think the way apple drip feed new features every year is a cheap move but I just like the iPhone 4s better then the galaxy s2. I like the size of the iPhone, I don’t want anything bigger and it has a crisper image for the screen size. Also its better for gaming so that’s a deal breaker. If I worked an office job and wanted slightly bigger font and a phone that was more of a pda than anything else, I might lean the other way. It’s a matter of personal preference, stop trying to tell each other that your toy does everything better.

  • Mark

    Yeah I think Samsung Galaxy S2 is better than the iPhone 4s. I gives you the ‘openness’ that iPhone didn’t even wanted its users to have. The technology is better, the functionalities is better, though I think Iphone wins when it comes to design (physical). But when I was just about to buy a new phone, while having an iPhone 4s and a GII in front of me, I go for GII, come on people, how long have AppStore have been around, then the android market, but you guys can see the drastic increase in number of apps. Another thing, GII have been around for some time now, then there goes the 4s,and yet people can’t decide whick one to pick, that alone can prove that 4s is not ahead the GII. I have my GII for 2months now, everything is just great (except the battery). Thanks Samsung, Apple, been sleeping for a while now, wake up beast…=)