Samsung Galaxy S Vibrant vs. Apple iPhone 4: A touchy comparison


Samsung's Galaxy S Vibrant (left) and Apple's iPhone 4 (right). Click for larger image.

Samsung's Galaxy S Vibrant (left) and Apple's iPhone 4 (right). Click for larger image.

Though it shocks a lot of people when they find out, the truth is I have never spent much time with an iPhone. Sure I’ve used one on an occasional basis as friends and colleagues have let me play with theirs, but my primary device has always been a BlackBerry.

But my good ol’ BlackBerry Curve is beginning to show its age in a big way and I’m gearing up for my next mobile device. The question is, do I stay with the King of the Keyboard or do I throw caution to the wind and join the legions of people who have ditched physical buttons for touch screens? As luck would have it, both Samsung and Apple were kind enough to lend me their flagship smartphones to perform a head-to-head comparison. I’ve now had the Samsung Galaxy S Vibrant for a month and the iPhone 4 for two weeks. And though we don’t have room here to discuss every aspect of these two high-tech marvels, here are my thoughts on how they stack up in a few key areas.

Screen

The first thing you notice about the Galaxy S Vibrant is how it lives up to its name. The Super AMOLED touch screen which measures 4” and has a 480×800 resolution is truly stunning. The blacks are deep; the colours are rich and jewel-like. I’ve always preferred OLED to LCD when it comes to HDTV displays (though sadly this use of the technology has yet to catch on at the manufacturing stage) and the same is true when it comes to the mobile arena. The iPhone 4 uses an LED-backlit IPS-LCD screen at 3.5” with an astounding 640×960 resolution which they refer to as a “Retina Display”. Though the specs are impressive, in comparing the iPhone 4 to the Galaxy S, I didn’t find that text was any easier to read on the iPhone or that images were any sharper. Both phones have excellent screens, but the Galaxy S’s larger and brighter display makes for a better viewing experience.

Text Input

The obvious benefit to touch screen phones over their physical-keyboard brethren is the larger display area and easy, gesture-based interaction. But when it comes to typing, many people find that real buttons can’t be replaced with soft ones. I’ve always been one of those people and it’s been the biggest reason for sticking with my BlackBerry. As I had suspected, typing on the iPhone 4 – even in landscape orientation with a wider keyboard layout – was difficult and required a lot of backspacing. Over the years, my thumbs have developed such familiarity with the location of letters on my BlackBerry Curve that I can often watch the screen and not the keys while maintaining a very good level of accuracy. I recognize that I might get there with the iPhone given enough practice and there are plenty of iPhone users who demonstrate superb typing skills. But the thought of having to go through the inevitable months of pain while I condition myself to a totally different system depresses me.

And then I discovered Swype. And the world changed just a little. Swype is software that ships with the Galaxy S Vibrant and it gives users a completely new way to interact with the soft keyboard on their phone. Instead of trying to accurately hit those little keys, Swype only asks that you trace a path on the keyboard from one letter to the other. You don’t even have to be all that accurate. At the end of the word, remove your finger from the screen and voila – the word you were typing, er, swyping, automatically appears.

It sounds like magic and most of the people who I show Swype to have the same reaction: “No way!” It’s that good. So good in fact that when I switch from the Galaxy S back to the iPhone, I’m even more irritated by the iPhone’s keyboard. Every touch screen phone should come with Swype.

Form Factor

The two phones are fairly similar in outward appearance: Black slabs that are all-screen with a few physical buttons on their front and sides. The Galaxy S is slightly larger in width and height but is lighter in the hand than the iPhone. To some this will feel good – especially if you plan to carry it in your pocket, while others will prefer the iPhone’s heft and its solid feel. The iPhone claims to be the thinnest smartphone on the planet, and while that might be true, you’d need a magnifying glass to be aware of the difference between these devices.

The Galaxy S keeps its power/wake-up button on the side near the top of the phone while the iPhone maintains its traditional top-mount location. While I prefer the iPhone layout, it’s not a big deal. More impactful are the Galaxy S’s three navigation buttons at the bottom of the phone. Nowhere else does the Android vs. iOS experience become so similar to the PC vs. Mac debate. Apple has always maintained that a one-button mouse should suffice when using a computer while PC mice typically feature two or more buttons. And so it goes with the iPhone – a single “home” button that performs several tasks, while the Galaxy S offers the same physical button, but flanked by two dedicated soft-touch keys: “menu” on the left and “back” on the right.

I’m going to take a guess that if you agree with Apple on the whole mouse design issue, you will have no problem with their single home button – instead relying on the operating system to provide you with all the navigation options you need. I’m not in that camp. I like my computer to have a two button mouse (with a scroll wheel!) and coincidentally, I really like having a menu button and back button available to me whenever I want them on a smartphone. Can you get by without them? Sure – the iPhone works just fine without them. But they sure are handy.

Call Quality

Despite the entire furor over “Antennagate”, I didn’t experience any issues with dropped calls on either the iPhone or the Galaxy S. But there was a noticeable difference in the quality of the sound itself. On the iPhone, voices sounded rich and natural – at times it was hard to tell I was talking on a mobile phone. The Galaxy S on the other hand, sounded tinny and distant. This wouldn’t be a deal-breaker for me as voice calls are something I do only rarely, but if you’re a big talker, the iPhone wins hands-down.

Email

This is one area where I wish I could combine the strengths of each phone into one device. The Galaxy S gives you great control over your inbox, letting you perform bulk actions like multiple-delete, something the iPhone lacks. [Update: the iPhone 4 can do this too, but you need to jump into an edit mode to do it – Thanks Robert for the clarification in the comments section]. Whereas the iPhone does a better job of rendering HTML emails to preserve their original format. The Galaxy S lets you access all of your mailbox subfolders (inbox, sent items etc) from any screen, but the iPhone lets you see message threads as a single item, so you can more easily see how a conversation has progressed over a series of replies.

Photos & Video Recording

Both devices have 5 megapixel cameras capable of capturing 720p high-def video at 30 frames per second. Both have software zoom capability. But the iPhone takes a slight lead in this category, based solely on improvements to the iOS. The iPhone 4 can capture HDR (High Dynamic Range) photos which significantly improve the look of images that would otherwise have washed-out areas or poor detail. In video mode, you can trim the video clips you just shot and immediately upload them to YouTube via Wi-Fi.

iTunes Vs. Samsung Kies

Though most smartphone buyers are going to judge their next device based on what it can do when you’re out and about, some consideration should be given to how easy it is to transfer content to and from the device using your PC or Mac. When using an iPhone, iTunes is the de facto standard for device management. Though there are certain weaknesses (e.g. you can’t import or export photos and videos via iTunes on a PC) iTunes is a very polished piece of software with two undeniable strengths: 1) The built-in store gives you super easy access to a wealth of first-rate content including music, movies, TV shows and Apps. 2) You can back up every app, video and song you have bought from the App Store so that if your iPhone dies you haven’t lost your investments in content.
The Galaxy S line of phones has an equivalent to iTunes known as “Kies”. What’s odd is that this very useful piece of software is largely unpromoted by Samsung. There’s no mention of it in any of the product manuals that accompany the phone, and I only happened to stumble upon it by accident when googling an unrelated search. Kies is essentially a virtual desktop program. When launched on a PC, the program simulates a desktop complete with a “My Computer” icon in the top left corner and a dock area that contains icons for the program’s various functions such as “media player” and “photo viewer”. Anyone who has worked on a Mac will immediately see the similarity to MacOS. When you connect your Galaxy S device via USB, it shows up as a mounted icon in the upper right corner. The reason for the desktop interface is that Samsung is trying to provide an all-in-one environment for duplicating the functions of the smartphone. Instead of jumping from one app environment to the other the way you would on the actual phone, these functions appear as windows on the Kies desktop. It’s a system that works surprisingly well. The ability to fully back up your phone is absent as is any connection to an e-commerce platform to buy content, but I expect that Samsung will be adding this soon, given their recent announcement of their iPad competitor, the Galaxy Tab and its associated storefront known simply as the “Media Hub”. While Kies may still lack the sophistication of iTunes, given that it is still early in its development cycle compared to the more mature iTunes (now in version 10), there’s plenty of reason to think it will get better as long as Samsung doesn’t abandon it.

Battery Life

If you’re a BlackBerry user, battery life is one of the big differences when it comes to using other smartphones. My Curve has been known to go for three days without a charge and I have never had the battery die on me during regular use. I’d already heard the complaints about the iPhone 3G and 3GS batteries so when I got the iPhone 4 I was prepared for regular charging. Much to my surprise, I was able to get two days out of the iPhone before needing to charge, and that was with fairly liberal use of Wi-Fi, 3G and calling. No massive hour-long conversations or anything, but neither did I hold back. The Galaxy S on the other hand was never able to go more than 24 hours on a full charge, and even then, I wasn’t able to use it as hard as the iPhone. A few people in the office were quick to blame things like the Samsung’s larger AMOLED screen, but I don’t think the difference is a result of power-hungry components. I suspect the reality is that Apple put a much higher capacity battery in the iPhone 4 than in previous models. Apple has made enormous strides in battery life since the first iPod models hit store shelves and I think they have finally achieved a balance between weight, cost and longevity. Not being able to replace the battery on the iPhone is no longer a reason to avoid it, if ever it was.

Conclusion

The Galaxy S Vibrant and the iPhone 4 are both incredibly sophisticated and powerful smartphones that are ideal companions for people who want complete control of their digital lives while on the go. Which one you choose will likely boil down to how you answer the following questions:

  • Are you already hooked into the Apple ecosystem because you own devices like the iPad or iPod Touch? If so, you may as well get the iPhone 4 as it will allow you to maximize your existing investments.
  • Are you frustrated by the inaccuracy of touch screen keyboards? Samsung’s embedded Swype application largely takes the pain out of this experience and 2 minutes of playing with it will make anyone feel speedy.
  • Are you swayed by fashion and trends? Get the iPhone 4. You’ll get tons of admiring glances and you’ll have a virtually unlimited choice when it comes to accessories for dressing up your phone.
  • Do you prefer to exert more control over your technology instead of going with the default settings? The combination of Samsung’s TouchWiz 3.0 interface and the Android 2.1 OS gives you lots of choice in how you interact with the Galaxy S.

As for me? Well, I’m waiting to try out RIM’s BlackBerry Torch before making my final decision. But if I had to choose right now, I’d probably go with the iPhone. While I preferred the overall user experience of the Galaxy S, having an iPad at home has made me an App Store junky and I’m reluctant to give up on our collection of apps even if it means a few more typos.

139 comments

  1. Dasia

    U wrong on that I have the vibrant and your wrong on so many level one being it does have apps just like the iphone but it loads faster than the iphone and blackberry new is ok but it has nothing on these but you gave alot of nice tips too

    Like

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  3. Bobby

    A great feature not mentioned was the ability to use your PC to set up Gmail that automatically transfers between the Galaxy S and your PC. It is much faster on a key board to enter/edit contacts list. The Google Maps feature and Navigation are also useful, and ‘street view’ allows you to see the destination in 360 view, no need to buy a separate GPS system. I avoided ‘swipe’ at first, but now find it is much faster than typing but does require some practice to get the speed. There seem to be more apps available every day. Picture quality (even without flash) indoors was quite good. Great phone!

    Like

    • Adam

      The biggest thing is that with gmail integration all of your contacts/daily information get backed up, just like an exchange server, for free. I won’t get an iPhone because of the lack of a real exchange client in the build, and the fact that its an extra $100 to add it to an already ludicrously priced phone.
      ($769 for an iPhone, or 600 for an iPad with more technology…)

      OR

      $499.95 for a vibrant, which has the iPad processor and a larger, nicer screen than the iphone4, swype, and android. i’ve said enough.

      Like

      • JK

        You can set up your gmail calendar, email and contacts to sync you just have to go through the microsoft exchange. If you have a corporate email and they frown upon your using your own phone to sync your calendar you can do it this way. Just e invite yourself from either your phone( envite your work email) or from work (evite your gmail. Of course once you have done it from your phone it should remember your email.

        Right now I have an unlocked iphone on T mobile and am expecting my Vibrant any minute. I really like the iPhone but it really lags between screens…yes I have rebooted and removed all call logs and text logs.

        Oh yes, the point of this is you can with a very small amount of tweeking set up your calendar, email and contacts to sync on your iphone.

        Like

      • Anonymous

        Ummm the iPhone 4 has more technology than the iPad…Just so you know. Just because something’s bigger doesn’t mean it has more technology.

        Like

  4. Sai

    I have the samsung Galaxy S Fascinate…the battery never stays full. Even after just charging it. So I try to combat that by turning off my backlight, lowering the display’s brightness, not using apps, etc. Other than that I have very little complaints. But I do miss my iPhone.

    Like

  5. xiaoa

    Yes, the Galaxy S Vibrant and the iPhone 4 are both incredibly sophisticated and powerful smartphones that are ideal companions for people who want complete control of their digital lives while on the go. I am also hesitating which one i should buy. On your analysis, i think i probably buy the Galaxy S as i hate the touch screen keyboards. but no matter which one i will buy, it is necessary to download a Aneesoft video converter.

    Like

    • Mo Yang

      Actually for the most part the Samsung Galaxy S series phones are really powerful out of the box and converting isn’t required for most video files. For example I am able to play mkv, avi, & mp4 files just fine without converting. If there is a file type that isn’t supported, download the app “Rock Player” as it expands support on even more video codecs.

      Like

  6. John Carson

    “While I preferred the overall user experience of the Galaxy S, having an iPad at home has made me an App Store junky …”

    So, really, your whole review was just based on the apps you already had as opposed to the better user experience of the Galaxy; the Samsung had no chance. Not very impartial, Simon.

    BTW, I have none of these = still looking for my next phone.

    Cheers,
    John
    @johncarson

    Like

    • Simon Cohen

      Not at all. My review compared the two devices as I experienced them over the course of several weeks. What I said in my conclusion was that I would likely get the iPhone simply because I’m already invested in Apple’s ecosystem. That’s not the same as saying I recommend the iPhone over the Galaxy S for readers. I suggest you re-read the review and the conclusion. I think you’ll find I was impressed by both phones, and that readers need to consider a number of factors before deciding which to buy.

      Like

      • Mo Yang

        One other thing that wasn’t mentioned is that all apps that are purchased through the Android Market are linked to the gmail account that you’ve registered your phone under. For example, when I had the T-Mobile G1 I purchased about 50 apps. When I upgraded to the Samsung Vibrant and registered the phone under the same gmail as my G1 I had access to all my apps without having to repurchase.

        Like

      • JK

        I have ordered the Vibrant from t mobile(great plans) and I plan on keeping my unlocked iPhone to wifi only (cheaper than buying a new iTouch). I have several apps that I like to use and I am a Words with Friends junky!

        We got a buy one get one free deal at Tmobile.

        Like

      • Jeff D.

        Very fair article. The one thing I was counting on from Samsung was call quality. Sounds like this is one of the few Samsung devices that does not have excellent call quality. What a drag! How about the speaker phone on both of these? I hate trying to drive w/ the phone in my hand. Last question Simon; isn’t the iPhone service plan more expensive? I’m leaning towards the Vibrant or waiting for the new one in Feb. Thanks again for the great article.

        Like

      • sholom mossman

        Nice review, Simon. I’m coming from iphone 3g. Decided to go with Samsung Galaxy S (tmobile). I’m not disappointed at all; enjoying the Vibrant. Looking forward to getting Kies to recognize my phone. But this is relatively minor. Creative types can always find a work around. The iphone does perhaps have an aesthetic advantage. This is likely due to the integration of hardware and software both created by the same company. My next project is upgrading from Android 2.1.

        Like

    • Mo Yang

      Well, once you do get Kies to work it is amazing because it also allows you to use your phone as a modem without “rooting” it.

      (Rooting = similar to Jailbreaking and Iphone. Basically gives the user Administrative privileges. If you are a power user it really utilizes the capabilities of the phone.)

      Like

    • Queefy

      That’s to bad u feel that way!!! Maybe u r computer illiterate? KIES really does rock! Like the Galaxy S, u just need to understant her… And thus, u will have the world at ur fingertips!!

      Like

  7. Latisha

    I am having trouble deciding which phone to buy, but I am leaning more toward the Galaxy S… after reading a series of reviews, I am sold on the bigger screen and swipe keyboard. Many people that I know are switching over from Apple to Samsung, and as I do realize the battery problem, I figured that I charge my phone overnight, EVERY night anyways… full battery or not. Great review, Simon!

    Like

  8. Judy Ford

    I am considering both but no mention of the lack of flash in the samsung ? How does this affect pics taken at night or inside ?

    Like

    • Simon Cohen

      Hey Judy, while I didn’t do extensive testing of the phones’ photo capabilities, i found the quality of shots taken in daylight very similar. I’m sure that the iphone’s embedded flash will help in low light shots, but only when the subject is very close. If you think you’ll be using these phones for a lot of photography then, yes I think the iPhone has an edge, not only because of the flash but now with the addition of HDR too.

      Like

      • Mo Yang

        The Samsung Vibrant has some really interesting camera settings as it has “night-time” photo shot scenes. I don’t have any links but if you just google “Vibrant camera scenes xda” you will find examples of how well the Vibrant takes photos at night without flash.

        Like

  9. Dennis

    Hey Simon:
    Good review on these phones. I’m curious if you tried these phones with bluetooth headsets. I like to talk using a headset and am concerned about the clarity of voice. You mentioned you preferred the call quality of the iPhone but I’m leaning toward the Samsung Captivate as I have AT&T. Also, any idea of how MS Outlook integrates with the Android OS?

    TIA!

    Like

    • Simon Cohen

      Hey Dennis,
      I did pair both phones with my in-car bluetooth system and they both worked flawlessly. The Samsung uses the newer V3.0 standard which should offer even better sound, but I think I would have needed to use BT headphones to try that out. Sadly my car system doesn’t stream music via BT :(
      MS Outlook integrated effortlessly with the Vibrant, but I was using ActiveSync on an Enterprise Exchange Server so I can’t really say how well it would work if you were using Outlook just on a PC with a POP or IMAP account.

      Like

    • Mo Yang

      The quality of the BT relies more-so on the actual headset. Both phones have crisp and clear voice and sound on my headset. The advantage of having bt v3.0 is that it allows faster transfer of large files. (i.e. when transferring files between two bt 3.0 devices it’ll actually use the wireless card on the phone to create an adhoc connection to get b/g/n speeds depending on the wireless cards present in both devices. I’ve transfered about 10 megs from a captivate to a vibrant using bt 3.0 and it took about 30 seconds.)

      Like

    • Jatan

      I had the Iphone 3GS and then bought the 4. Replaced the 4 with the Vibrant after 10 days as I loved the DLNA feature on the Vibrant. I have used both the phones on the BT in the car, and the Vibrant beats the Iphone hollow in every sense. Even my wife who very reluctantly switched from the Iphone 3GS to Vibrant, felt the enormous connectivity difference, sound quality etc between the 2 phone.

      Like

  10. Mike K.

    Hey Simon,

    I am trying to decide which to buy. I watch a lot of tv shows on my Itouch, where can I get tv shows on the net for the vibrant and what other downloads would I need?

    Thanks
    Mike

    Like

    • Simon Cohen

      Good question Mike. I’m not very familiar with the TV landscape on Android devices, but a quick Google on the topic reveals at least a few options including “Spb TV” and “BitBop”. There is also the Bell video option which gives you a variety of programming including some exclusive live events for $8/month. Hope that helps!

      Like

  11. Noemie

    Hi Simon,
    Just wondering what you thought of the earphones and the jack on the Samsung. I want to use my phone as an MP3 player and listen to music and podcast and I read on a review that the sound and the stereo was not great.
    Any ideas?

    Thanks a lot
    Noemie

    Like

    • Simon Cohen

      The earphones on the Vibrant are the in-ear variety which are designed to isolate sound. These type are often a love ’em or hate ’em design, so it’s very much personal preference. They sound good, but not great – but certainly no worse than the iPhone earbuds. The have an in-line mic which means if you choose not to use them you might be giving up this feature. The actual audio playback on the Vibrant was good, with lots of equalizer options including a mysterious “5.1” option that didn’t do a very good job of simulating surround sound if in fact that’s what it’s supposed to do! Bottom line, unless you’re an audiophile, I think you’ll be happy enough with the Vibrant :)

      Like

    • Cat

      If it helps… I bought my Vibrant yesterday and watched Avatar on it using the headphones-the sound was beautiful & I’m a bit hard of hearing.

      Like

  12. Robert Davis

    Nice review but I do have to take issue with the following statement…

    “The Galaxy S gives you great control over your inbox, letting you perform bulk actions like multiple-delete, something the iPhone lacks.”

    In fact all you have to do on the iPhone is click on edit in the top right corner and you can select any number of messages and either delete or move them at the same time; this is a big time saver and the iPhone does it well.

    Other than that I thought the review was very well balanced.

    Like

    • Simon Cohen

      You’re absolutely right Robert and I’m ashamed to admit I didn’t notice that option when using the iPhone. Thanks for the comment!

      Like

  13. Joe Jabes

    There’s an update to the operating system of the Samsung Captivate. I was wondering if you know what it’s expected to do. I have an an I Phone 4 and am very frustrated that it does not open video attachements in emails. I know that the Samsung does. Is there a way to open up those attachements in the I phone?

    Like

  14. Mo Yang

    Both phones are great and have similar capabilities and features. The main difference between the two is user preference. If you’ve never owned an Android device the learning curve is about a few hours to a day (depending on whether you are used to using Windows or Mac). It is very intuitive and easy to use. I found the “one button” for everything on the iPhone not as convenient just because I am used to having many different ways to open/close and switch between applications. For example, you are multitasking on your Android device. If you want to switch between the last 6-9 apps you’ve been using, just long press the “home” button until you get a pop-up that works like the taskbar in windows. This allows streamlined transition between apps when multitasking. As Simon mentioned, I find the dedicated back button very useful, because instead of searching on the screen for the option to go back (works in the browser to go back to the last page as well as taking the user back to the last open screen/app on the phone when NOT on the homescreen page), I have a dedicated button to go back.

    Like

  15. M Lee

    what do you guys think about cost of using these two phones? I am kinda struggling on ATT or Tmobile, but each gives difference options and prices.

    Like

    • JK

      We got a buy one get one free…so 2 vibrants for $200 with a 2 year contract. We also did the family plan. We have unlimited text, internet and minutes. Even with my employee discount it would have been about $100 more per month at ATT, Sprint had the next best price about $150 per month. I have also been with Tmobile since it was VoiceStream! So I get perks for that. I have Sprint for my parents internet service and they have ATT for cell service.

      I can tell you that after having to deal with all three of them, Tmobile does have the BEST CS, HANDS DOWN!

      Like

  16. Shoji

    I just received my Vibrant from T-Mobile as an upgrade. My old school bb pearl took a sh!t on me and thought I would step up with a new smartphone. Ok, I have never wanted or pined for an iPhone or droid style phone. All my friends had theirs and I just didn’t get the fascination over something that I thought would just make calls and texts from. After owning the Vibrant for 3 days now, I cannot believe I have lived this long without this. The Vibrant is an amazing phone. I have played around with iPhones, but imo the Vibrant is the way to go. The video/screen quality is just unreal. Everyone I show Avatar to cannot belive their eyes, and this was with the power saver on, (auto adjusting the screen brightness.) I just found out that I can unlock this and turned it up to 100% brightness and just about sh!t my pants. The quality just got even better…The swype feature for composing messages is amazing. No stumbling for touchy letters, I can compose an email or text, with what looks like me scribbling on the touchscreen, lightning fast now. The Vibrant also easily combines contacts from Gmail as well as combines multiple email accounts in an easy to use interface. The features are amazing and I would choose the Vibrant over the iPhone hands down.

    The only complaint I have at all is battery life. I just purchased an extended life battery from Mugen Powers to fix that issue. Stick with the Vibrant, you will not regret it.

    Like

    • Thomas

      hi shoji,

      found the review very helpful, but curious how you made out with the extended life battery? did it help get a little more life out of the vibrant?

      thanks

      Like

    • Jeff D.

      By the way, I’m in the same boat as you. The BB Pearl is in the ICU. Track ball is definitely NOT ballin’ anymore.

      Like

  17. Avarice

    You kinda can obtain your music from iTunes to your Samsung Vibrant, you just have to search on your computer for the iTunes folder and transfer the files via usb to your phone.

    Like

  18. sabina husic

    If applications is what you are looking for in a phone, and if that is what made you choose the I-Phone 4g as the preferred phone, then you should really consider trying out the Android part of the Samsung Vibrant. You will see that you can download many more applications on Android that you cannot with any other phone. The Android market gives you the ability to download 3rd-party applications that companies such as AT&T, Verizon Wireless, or T-Mobile don’t, simply because they would rather you use their applications.

    Like

    • Anonymous

      As I agree that there are many more apps on the Android Market, the apps on the App Store are far higher quality. The reason for getting Apple’s approval for an App is so that everyone and their dog can’t just make an app, give it a great description and sell it for $5 without the purchaser having any idea that they were just lying to them. The reason I like the App Store so much better is because I know that if the App says it does something, Apple has approved it, and I can be assured that is DOES what it says it does…in the Android Market, there is no such quality control…now, don’t think that I assume all apps in the Market to be of ill-quality, I just mean there’s no assurance like there is in the App Store. So, in conclusion, if you’re looking for a phone that gives you quality apps that do what you want EVERY time, go with the iPhone…if you’re looking for a phone that gives you the highest selection of apps and you don’t really care to do your ‘guessing and checking’ with your purchases, get either, because as I have never actually used a Vibrant, I’m sure it’s a great phone with tons of features, and the iPhone is obviously a great phone as well, you know, being sold out world wide and all…so all in all, it’s really the users decision because there’s no right choice.

      Like

      • Anonymous

        I guess I need to correct myself, it appears, after much investigation, that the Android Market does NOT have more apps than the Apple App Store, as of November 2010, statistics show that over 160,000 apps are available for download on the Android Market, as opposed to over 300,000 on the App Store. My apologies, and in this case, I would have to say go for the iPhone, if your decision is purely based on Apps, due to their previously mentioned higher quality control for their apps, especially their paid apps, not to mention there are more than I thought there were! But Sabina is correct in saying that there may be some apps on Android that you can’t get from the App Store, but obviously the opposite is true as well! Do your research I guess!

        Like

      • Sam

        If we were talking about 100,000 apps versus 100, that might make a difference. But, when you’re into the hundreds of thousands of apps for either phone, there isn’t an issue. As long as you can get Plants vs. Zombies for both, you’re laughing :)

        Like

  19. adam

    for all of the people that like the vibrant(verizon’s galaxy s), I think that you are all getting short changed with that model of the Galaxy S. I have Sprint’s model of the Galaxy S and it has: a flash for the camera, dual cameras for video chating, a real keyboard, speak to text, and more stuff I have forgotten. Many of my friends have iPhones, 3 and 4. I have use them a lot and really I have no interest in conforming to the apple way of things but every app that I have used on an iPhone, I have found in the android market or one just like it with a different name, and all of them have been free (the one that really hooked me on the iPhone was Angry birds, and I now have that on my Galaxy) I am yet to buy an app. The other thing that the sprint one has is 4G. its not out everywhere yet, but it is ridiculously fast. its too bad that there are different versions of phones between companies.

    The best thing I can say to anybody about buying a new phone, is use the trial time and if you don’t like the phone….BRING IT BACK! I was just talking to a friend about her blackberry that she got in july and was really disappointed with it and I asked her why she didn’t take it back. She just shrugged her shoulders and used up her upgrade eligibility for 2 yrs.

    Good luck fellow shoppers. Remember this there are more than just 2 phone carriers and 2 phone so go shop and get something you like not just what other people say is good!

    Like

    • Mike

      Thanks for the comment about 4G being incredibly fast. TMobile is coming out with the G2 next month (on my birthday!), and a rep from TMobile told me I should consider that phone as well as the Galaxy S. 4G won’t be available on TMobile when it comes out, but when 4G is ready, the G2 will switch right over to it…hearing its “incredibly fast” might make that extra data plan charge worth it.

      Like your friend, I’m coming up on my upgrade window and I’m tired of the slowness of the iPhone 3 and am hoping a new phone will solve that and some of the other (minor) gripes I have with iPhone.

      “Incredibly fast”…that’s exciting. :)

      Mike

      Like

    • Michael Marian

      Yup I agree. But I have the Vibrant from Bell Canada but using it on Rogers/Fido. It has video calling with a front camera but does not have a flash. Glad to be out of Apple’s ecosystem and in Google’s Android. The future is as bright as the super amoled screen!

      Like

  20. Mike

    I still have the iPhone 3, but am THIS CLOSE to getting the Galaxy S through TMobile. I’ve had an unlocked and jailbroken iPhone for about two years now and while its served well, there is the REQUIRED $30/month data plan that I’ve not had to have on my unlocked iPhone. I exist quite well (most of the time) connecting through WiFi at work and at home on my iPhone…and I’ve got (like most) a hefty investment ($0.99 at a time) in my apps library on my iPhone.

    Still, the Galaxy S is so very alluring. To help me decide I Googled and found this article and you touched on all of the topics with which I was most concerned (GREAT JOB!).

    I don’t know that I’m 100% decided yet, but I do feel FAR better informed and I truly appreciate that. Thank you.

    Mike

    Like

    • Michael Marian

      I too moved from iPhone 3G to Samsung Vibrant. At first I thought I made a mistake. But after 2 or 3 days i adjusted to the new way of doing things and am really happy! I found a fix for all my songs. Just burn them to CD but using TuneClone. It fakes a CD burner and passes all the IDE info. That was a huge relief. And I could keep buying from iTunes if I wanted and then just do a quick burn to TuneClone.

      Like

  21. Justin

    Both are great phones, as my friends have iphones4 and I have the Galaxy S. You mentioned a battery problem with the Galaxy S, it is no longer a problem as Samsung has provided a new firmware update that gives the galaxy a few days of juice. As for apps right now apple has more, but android is getting bigger by the second and with every cell phone company jumping onboard they should surpass apple this fall in apps. But either way, both are great phones and anyone would be happy with either. Me? I love my samsung.

    Like

    • Michael Marian

      Also, as I’ve made the switch from iPhone to the Galaxy S Vibrant it confirms for me that I only really need a dozen apps and who cares if one has thousands more or not. I get the ones I really need and want and I’m very good. Especially that Google is behind it, I’m really pleased. Thanks for the info on the firmware cause the juice burn rate was concerning.

      Like

  22. Randy

    I want to get the Galaxy S but am wondering if it will be able to connect to my mac at home? This is the only thing that is stopping me right now, if it cant or will make it harder for me to sinc with my music and video folders or get updates then I will go with the iphone 4.

    Like

    • Simon Cohen

      Hey Randy, even though there is no Mac version of the Kies software (at least none that I can find), you should still be able to connect the phone and access many of its features. There are also great 3rd party apps like DoubleTwist: http://www.doubletwist.com/ which can recognize a variety of devices and duplicates much of the functionality found in iTunes.

      Like

    • Simon Cohen

      I’ve been using the Torch as my only mobile device now for about 2 weeks. I’ll be updating this post with my thoughts very soon!

      Like

      • Steve

        Hey Simon,
        It’s been about a month now since you posted that you had a BB Torch. Have you had a chance to report on the comparison between that and the Vibrant “S” yet? If not, have you any idea when you might be posting that?

        Thanks for some great articles, and to your followers here too. They seem to give informative opinions as opposed to just biased comments.

        Keep up the good work!

        Like

  23. Izzythecubemaster

    I have the vibrant, and i use it frequently and sometimes i can even go 2 1/2 days with the battery not running out. On the other hand, my co-worker has a iPhone 4 and every time he lets me try it out, it always seems to have a red battery icon.

    Also the Vibrant’s Super AMOLED screen makes it so that when it is displaying a black pixel, it simply turns that pixel off. It just may be that because i have a pure black background, that it is saving loads of battery for me.

    Like

  24. Dianica

    My major complaint on the Vibrant is the lack of a cut/paste function. I read somewhere about a download program available, but anybody have success with this? It’s a real drag, and in addition to being pretty imbedded in the mac eco-system, it’s making me wish I chose the the iphone 4 instead. The face to face skype is great as I have an international significant other, and I have yet to download and watch tv shows and movies (other than avatar, ha) on my vibrant.

    Like

    • Simon Cohen

      You should be able to copy/paste on the Vibrant, but the procedure is a little clunkier than on the iPhone. Simply tap anywhere in a chunk of text and hold your finger there for a second instead of tapping. It brings up a menu of choices including “select text”. You can then select the text you want and repeat the long hold again to get the copy/paste option.

      Like

  25. Dennis

    Well, I took the plunge and bought the Samsung Captivate through AT&T last week. So far, I’m really impressed with this phone. I never owned an iPhone so I can’t say which is better. What I can tell you is call quality is very good, even over BT devices; the screen is excellent; menus and apps are intuitive. The Galaxy S phone works fast and there are plenty of apps available with more on the way. To sync up the phone, I exported my MS Outlook contacts as a .csv file and imported those into my Gmail acct. I use the Google calendar sync app for Outlook to keep the two in tune. I’m looking forward to the Android 2.2 update for flash support. So far, I’m very impressed and this is the best smartphone I owned by far.

    Like

  26. Dave

    Hi
    Iam about to go buy the Samsung Galaxy S-Vibrant Android phoe but have a big concern on whether it will work with my 2008 ford edge sync. I have been told by others that it is not compatible and would have to use a bluetooth head set and not go through my ford system??? Also i am told it wont download the contacts? I have trie contacting Samsuung as well as Fod but cannot get answers. Are you able to answer this or direct me to where I can get answers.
    Thanks Dave

    Like

  27. Greg

    i have had the Vibrant for about 1 month and love, switched from BB i loaded the app called advanced task killer and now my battery last almost 2 days i love this phone!!!

    Like

  28. BrianKnatchbull

    Love the samsung.

    But, how do you get your corporate email to come up on it? How do you set this up?

    Like

    • Simon Cohen

      You’ll need your IT folks to enable your Exchange account with ActiveSync. Once they do that, you should be able to add your outlook account on the device the same way you would add a POP, Gmail or other account. One caveat: Most companies push a security policy on to the device that forces you to use a passcode lock. It’s a minor inconvenience, but something to consider nonetheless.

      Like

  29. Stefan

    I’ve had my Galaxy for a month and a half and I wouldn’t trade it for an iphone 4, ever! Sure I have to charge the battery every second day, but that’s because I’m constantly using the phone.
    I love the gmail sync as I get emails on my phone before they show up in my email inbox.
    Somebody mentioned that the Galaxy lacks the ability to view the progression of a conversation. This isn’t true for text messages, as they all show up on one screen as little chat bubbles (a different colour for each person).
    Also, one thing that nobody has mentioned yet is the video call capabilities of each phone. The iPhone 4 can ONLY video call other iPhone 4s, while the Galaxy can video call any phone that does video calling.

    Like

    • Simon Cohen

      Hey Joel,
      Right now, I’m using a Blackberry Torch, and will keep this as my primary device until the end of Oct. At that time I think I’m going to switch to the iPhone permanently, but I will update this blog post with my thoughts on the Torch as well as why I’m ultimately going with the iPhone.

      Like

  30. Nikki B.

    Hey Simon,

    Just wanted to let you know that although the Vibrant doesn’t have a flash, it DOES have night mode. It uses natural and/ or artificial light to brighten the picture. Unless you want to take a picture in a room where there is absolutely no light whatsoever, then having a flash really doesn’t even matter. Personally for me, every phone I every had that had a flash, it was more helpful as a flashlight rather than for taking pictures. I love my Vibrant. I would never switch back to the overrated (and over priced) iPhone.

    Like

  31. soto

    I wanted to buy a Samsun galaxy but have been advised to acquire instead a iphone4 because I have already a Macbook and itseems that it would be easier to download applications, photos, music, etc….from a Mac.
    Is it really complicated to do the same between a samsung and an iphone???? what is your opinion? I have no idea of the difficulty i’ll meet with the samsung…it is so cheaper!!Please help me as I urgently need to have one. thanks

    Like

  32. MedicMatthew

    While you raise some really great points here I do have to point out one glaring issue that you left out in the discussion of iTunes vs. Kies.

    Kies allows you to tether to a laptop and use the Vibrant as a modem. That alone puts the Vibrant way ahead of the iPhone in terms of versatility.

    Like

    • Simon Cohen

      You’re right – Kies does offer a convenient tethering option, however the iPhone 4 also enables tethering so I’m not sure this is significant advantage.

      Like

  33. mouahmong

    Sync between the two are quite simple. Iphone is easy if you are accustomed to using itunes. The vibrant is simple because it is like hooking up a flash drive. It is all a matter of preference.

    Like

  34. Michael Marian

    During the first day or two I thought I made a big mistake leaving iPhone for the Vibrant as I have been using the iPhone daily for two years. Two more days later and I’m completely sold on the Vibrant. One key point missed in the review is that drop tests and screen scratch tests. The iPhone gets destroyed way easier. The iPhone cracked and stopped working while the Vibrant’s screen did not crack and was very resistant to scratches. Surprisingly the Vibrant is a tougher phone with a tougher screen than the iPhone. On the APPS side. Pocket Informant is in beta for Androids and many other types of Apps I need I can find. Though iTunes is great, Google makes me confident that stellar apps and innovative breakthroughs mean the Vibrant is going to bring great rewards in the next year and more. I believe I’m on the leading edge again but this time with Android and my new Samsung Galaxy S Vibrant. Unlocked by the way and running on Rogers/Fido network.

    Like

  35. The Beast

    Thanks for all the info. Now i will know what to pick. It will definiteley pickthe samsung vibrant. Note: i am only 11 years old.

    Like

  36. zachattak

    Hey folks, i got a question.
    I’m a person who listens to music almost 24/7
    And i was wondering about the sound qualities of these two devices.
    Well Ive had iphone 3g but I didn’t like the sound quality and lack of variety of eq it had. I mean, it wasn’t that bad but compared to those mp3 players that have bbe enhancement… It sucked! And ive never used galaxy phone so can anyone give me a word about the sound qualities they provide?

    Like

  37. Schedule

    You you could edit the blog title Samsung Galaxy S Vibrant vs. iPhone 4: A comparison | Sync Blog to more suited for your webpage you write. I enjoyed the blog post still.

    Like

  38. Laina

    I have never had a smart phone before, but I have t mobile already, and I was thinking about getting the samsung galaxy,but I have an iPod with all my music,but I would want to use my phone, do the songs cost just as much? Would I have to buy all 3 thousand songs again?

    Like

  39. brennith

    I enjoy both the iphone and the samsung vibrant phones. The only reason i am leaning towards the samsung vibrant is because of the unlimited data plan cost less than owning a iphone. The bigger the screen the better, and the display awesome. While having the choice to add a memory card up to 32gb along with the 16 gb of storage space that comes equipped with the phone. Its a clear winner the samsung vibrant is a better option. Who cares about the iphone attenna issue it will most likely be fixed by the iphone 5th generation which is what im looking forward to. By then I will probably go with the iphone.

    Like

  40. Michael Marian

    I’ve now had my Samsung Galaxy S Vibrant for about 3 weeks after retiring my iPhone 3G. There was culture shock for a few days as I was just so used to the iPhone and it’s eco-system. It’s like I’ve been released from Apple prison. There as just so many more options outside of Apple. I am now using WinAmp as my music player after trying a few different players. Nice to know I have choices on how do do most things. Here’s a tip. You can play music while recording video and the music get’s recorded too as background music. Very cool. Most good apps made for the iPhone are being made for Android so I don’t have to worry about that. When Steve Jobs talks about the tens of thousands of apps for the iPhone, so what. I can only use maybe 10 or 20 apps and my main routines are covered by about 9 apps: phone, clock, music, camera, calendar, to dos, messaging, contacts. So really 700,000 apps doesn’t really mean much to most people. In any case within a number of months the Android market for apps will simply explode and eventually eclipse Apple. But seriously I always search for the top 10 apps. Nobody has time to go through even a thousand apps. More important is the quality of the device. The Galaxy S has been shown to endure abuse better. It’s also a high quality phone with one of the best screens going.

    Like

  41. Jennifer

    I received my Vibrant last Friday. I was nervous about making the change, because I have been a Blackberry user for so long. After 1 evening of familiarizing myself with the Vibrant, I was hooked. The Swype input is great and I don’t have as much trouble with the on-screen keyboard as I did with the iPhone. The screen is beautiful, and I found all the same apps I was using on my blackberry in the Android Market, plus some new ones.

    The vibrant also has forthcoming ability to do voice over WiFi – (After the OS update that will happen later this month). Additionally, it will be possible to use the device as a hot spot and tether via WiFi (currently only possible by rooting the phone). Syncing to iTunes is also possible using a desktop app called iTunes Agent.

    I never thought any device could rip me away from my Blackberry, but the Samsung Vibrant has – for good.

    Like

  42. Kenn Sanchez

    I myself am new to the Android and Apple Market. I do not live in a 3G area, much less a 4G. I was looking at the Vibrant and the HTC G2. I am sold with the Vibrant just for the fact for the onboard memory. anyone else has any input between the two?

    Like

  43. logan

    good review. like my new 4. feels nicer, looks better, the reception is great for me. i love the facetime it helps me keep in touch with my partner and several clients who like to facetime. the processor is faster and it takes better pics and better video. love my new unlocked phones. simple to navigate around and emailing and texting isn’t too bad. my daughter and wife loves theirs for the facebook and games, also the aps are great for everyone. much better than my unlocked htc phones. the wifi and gps are great for my business and the fantasy football is easy to use. the speaker phone is loud and the touch screen is responsive. got my blackberry unlock codes and htc unlocking for free too for my wife and son. got our last couple 4′s at unlockthatphone.com 2 thumbs way up

    Like

  44. Mike

    Im just curious Logan, have you made phone calls on the s? Shot and recorded video/pictures with the S? Tried making video calls on the S? or tried the android app marke? I recall one review saying that the call quality on the s, was comparable to a landline phone

    Like

  45. Paul R

    Hey Simon, great article. Just wanted to put my two cents in there about the two systems. I use my phone for pretty much everything, including text, emails downloading crap, music and browsing. I had an iphone before couldnt think of anything else except how good it was other than the fact it was a tad bit slow. But after numerous people talking about the android and open source. I had to go and check it out for myself. And trust me on this one google has an edge on the whole mobile market and its coming on very quickly. I do invest in stocks and google is going to be a good one for the near future. The quality and expandability that samsung galaxy/android has is unmatchable by anyone. The apps are there and growing everyday. I have had my galaxy for about a month, not once have i had to reboot my phone because it freezed up on my not once i had a complaint about the operating system. For all you text junkies out there, welcome to swype. Give it until next year and you will see all touch phones will be equipped with it. Its absolutely stunning. I still love apple but i find it too branded within itself. I think its about time for some1 else to come on top and after looking around all over the net i can definately say samsung galaxy s and htc evo have the ability to do so now with the power of android! Never been soo excited about a phone/os but this is just the beginning.. email me who ever has questions regarding galaxy s will be happy to reply/help. prehill007@hotmail.com

    Like

  46. John woodley

    I had a Samsung Galaxy on the Sask tel network, I had a issue with service, others in my office have blackberries and do not have the issue, so I was wondering if anyone has reported an issue with the antenna, similar to Iphone 4 when it first came out? The signal strength was noticeably poorer than the blackberry I have now.

    Like