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]

  • iphone 4s

  • Iphone 4s

  • Marko

    If you want abigger screen buy an freaking ipad(its a phone)
    Iphones camera is sooooo much better (i tested them )
    And yea you forgot to mention SIRI (the main feature)
    And the samsung is so hard to hold (it feels so akward in your hand )
    And the ios is sf for android

  • Kukz

    I had an s2 but traded it for a new iphone 4s. Here is what i felt using both the handsets.

    -Galaxy s2-
    1. Really big screen and contrast ratios
    2. Stronger camera flash
    3. Faster processor
    4. Good graphics
    5. And would play any video files you throw in except .dat files.
    6. Awesome standby!

    1. Bad camera focus
    2. Used to restart few times
    3. Bad call reception which would create an echo of my own voice to the person i was calling.
    4. Bad plastic even thou the side is covered in black glossy metal.
    5. Bad battery life which when i tested got 7hrs and 43mins; combined 25mins calls, 2hr internet, 24mb download on 3g network, 43mins playing hd game bug village, 1hr movie and using almost every pre installed apps.
    6. Pixels are clearly visible and i had one pixel whitish which was so annoying, probably a common defect.
    7. Even on 3g and well reception, downloads would fail sometimes.
    8. Os isnt that smooth, i experienced some jerks while unlocking screen or while moving through app menu.
    9. Music clarity through the headset as well as stereo bt (Nokia BH505) is that pleasing; i wanted pure bass rather than just too much voice.
    10. Takes more than 3.30hrs for a full charge, and the heat from that powerfull processor can cause a burning effect while holding in your hand.

    -iPhone 4S-
    1. Feels so rich because its made of hard metal and glass!
    2. Good camera focussing and you get real time active focussing even while recording a video.
    3. Yes the display is just eye popping!
    4. Smooth iOS (personally android needs improvement and more stability and i dont know whether its fixed on icecream sandwich 4.0)
    5. Music over the same bt headset and wired is just awesome!!
    6. Siri is just awesome and can hear you without any errors!
    7. Downloads never failed on the same 3g and even 2g worked fine! Pages would load quicker than s2!!
    8. Prolonged usage never made it over heat like that on s2, maybe because s2’s hawrt is a little bit powerfull than iphone?

    1. Mute call error but got it fixed on my new ios 5.1 update.
    2. A lil bit heavy and pricey! But you get quality for that extra bucks!
    3. Needs third party apps to play video files, even auto sound encoded mp4 video files wont play unless sound is aac encoded.
    4. Battery life was poor until i updated it but better than s2. The same combined gave me 13hrs!!

    And finally i prefer iPhone 4s than my old s2 only after the update to the latest ios 5.1.. Feels rich and not so bulky on my hands. A full battery charge takes under 2hrs because the mini charger is 1mA over s2’s .75mA. Music is powerfull; even at low voice the bass is pure deep! And believe me the ios is smoother than android and no jerks or hang offs.

  • Meh. Your review sucks. You’re clearly an Android fanboy. What for stupid reasons can one have to chose the outdated Samsung Galaxy S2 – which seems to have difficulty getting ICS (LOL!) – compared to the iPhone 4S. You haven’t used an iOS device yet, have you?

  • abdullah

    iphone 4S vs GlaxyS II { winner Glaxy S II }

  • Wilmer

    Galaxy SII wins, however samsung is a horrible company. They keep announcing updates but they just don’t release them. Bada is a good example. They kept saying that Bada 2 was going to be released soon, but it took them more than a year. Apple is a better company. The only bad thing are the prices of Apple products, I think.

  • billnotben

    As much has I dearly wanted to like apple and get one I couldn’t because of the restricted practices. I’ve had one iphone and three androids. I think it depends a lot on whether you like to play around with your phones. Apple seems more usable out of the box but with each android phone I’ve got they are also clearly moving in that direction.

    Many people want to share things and that’s hard with apple. As for size that’s relative as compared to the phones I was using a few years ago the apple is a big lump and the galaxy is just a slightly bigger lump.

    Samsung must be doing something right as they are now the top phone company. But one thing they are both doing wrong is the damn prices of these things. Both companies sell millions so I wish the price could be at a more reasonable level.

    The battery life in both phones could do with being better. Battery technology hasn’t kept up with the phones. That said it isn’t bad for what is in effect a mobile computer.

    When apple bring out the five one thing I would like to see kept is buttons. Android phones seem to be moving away from there convenience and I think that’s a mistake. I dug out my old symbian vivaz and that was still good and easy to use simply because it has dedicated buttons for camera, video, call, and end call.

    Now the S3 specs are out I can’t say I would buy one. 3.5-4.3 screens are fine but above that and you are entering the “doesn’t fit in my pocket too big” zone. I find myself thinking samsung should have taken part of a leaf from apple. Kept the same size screen but increased the res, increase processor speed, and slot in a better camera (like sony).

    I think it’s a taken that the next iphone will probably have a 4 inch screen. It’s all a bit strange when you consider that samsung make the screens.

    Anyway it’s all good as without this heated competition we would all be still using our nokia 3310’s. And have more money in the bank.

  • Iphone 4s sucks compared to SG2…it is slower, screen looks a lot better on the SG2…you apple people just won´t accept that you paid too much money for something that is not the best out there anymore…hahahaha.

  • Nappa

    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.

  • Samsung Galaxy SII indeed, you Apple Fans such a die hard coz you had to spend more times just to add music to your iphone. You don’t know what iphone 4s does, SII can do more…