Samsung Galaxy S5 versus the iPhone 5: Which is best for you?

If you care about productivity, which of the two best smartphones should you get?

The just-announced Samsung Galaxy S5 will go head to head with the iPhone 5 for the most popular phone in the world. If you're interested in productivity, which is better for you?

Screen quality and size

Screen size matters when it comes to productivity. So does screen quality. So the Galaxy S5 wins this round, easily. It's got a 5.1-inch screen compared to the iPhone 5's 4-inch screen. That extra inch means a lot if you're planning on using spreadsheets, doing writing, and even reading PDFs or other documents. The S5 also has greater resolution as well, 1920 x 1080 pixels compared to the iPhone's 1136 x 640 pixel. And the Galaxy S5's pixel density of 432 pixels per inch beats out the iPhone's 326 pixels per inch.

Keyboard

The Galaxy S5 includes multiple keyboards, including the ability to swipe your fingers across the screen instead of having to tap. The iPhone has one keyboard, and no swiping for input. That makes the S5 the winner here, because it's so much easier to type on it.

Usability

No phone is as simple to use as the iPhone 5, and certainly not the Samsung Galaxy S5. Turn on the iPhone 5, and you can get right to work. The Samsung Galaxy S5, though, uses the more complicated and sometimes confusing Android, and layers Samsung's TouchWiz interface on top of it. The iPhone 5 wins this one.

Ecosystem and apps

There are plenty of apps available for both phones, many hundreds of thousands of them, so in terms of number of apps, there's no real winner. The same holds true for productivity apps, because both phones have a variety of free alternatives to Microsoft Office, notably Google's Quickoffice. But the Samsung Galaxy S5 gets the nod because Google's entire ecosystem is superior to Apple's, including Google Drive, Google Docs, Gmail, and other services. Even though most are also available as iOS apps as well as on the Web, improvements to them will come on Android before iOS.

Customizability

There's no doubt who wins this round: The Galaxy S5. Android has far more ways to customize it than does iOS. With iOS, what you see is what you get. With Android, what you imagine you can do is what you get.

Bottom line

If you care primarily about productivity, the S5 is the winner. It's got a larger and better screen, better keyboards, a better ecosystem, and is more customizable. If simplicity is all you care about, you'll want the iPhone, of course. But for anything else, the Galaxy S5 comes out on top.

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