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Which is Faster- iPhone 5S or Samsung Galaxy S4? #AskBrothaTech

Which Is Faster- iPhone 5S Or Samsung Galaxy S4 via BrothaTech.comSince I’m a Brotha that’s into technology (see where I get the name?), I often get tech-related questions via email and social media. So I’ve decided to start a new column on my blog entitled (you guessed it) #AskBrothaTech where I highlight some of the most common (or uncommon) questions as it relates to technology and the Digital Lifestyle.

Here is the latest from a question sent to me via Facebook:

“Hey BrothaTech,

I need to upgrade from my iPhone 4. It’s just too slow for me. I’m thinking about going back to an Android. Maybe the S4. Thoughts? I need speed more than anything.

Sincerely, Speed Demon”

(I added the Speed Demon part because reasons)

Ah yes, the age-old question I get asked the most. In my opinion, all of the flagship smartphones are so close in technical specs that just trying to eyeball which phone is the fastest is nearly impossible.

But since I know y’all ain’t trynna hear “it depends” I’m going to try and give you my honest, non-diplomatic, but non fan boy-ish answer. Smartphone speed is broken down into two factors out-of-the-box speed and how compatible a person is using one device over the other.

Out of the box

Like I said earlier, smartphones are so close spec-wise that a straight-up legit benchmark test can only reveal a “winner” and “loser” between an iPhone 5S and a flagship Android device like the Samsung Galaxy S4. Since I don’t have the time (and don’t get paid) to be messing around with benchmark test, I will say that from a “too many hands in the cookie jar” standpoint, an iPhone may just end up slightly faster than a GS4 out of the box.

From the conception to the assembly line to a consumer’s hands, Apple has been known to be a dictator. They control the hardware and software that goes on every device out of the box. Conversely, the Android OS (owned by Google), device manufacturer (in this case Samsung), and the wireless carrier all have a stake in what goes on the the device before you even open the box. As a result, all that extra stuff we techies affectionately call bloatware in theory can slows down the GS4…Unless you pay full price upfront for a Google Play edition GS4 straight from the source.


Here is where the “it depends” catch-all rears its ugly head, but is a valid point I must make. It doesn’t matter how fast the actual device is – It depends on your compatibility with the device and it’s ecosystem. For example, If you’re always using Google’s services (Gmail, Google Drive, Maps, Calendar, etc.) you will find that those services are integrated into and Android so smoothly, you may find that the GS4 faster than an iPhone 5S, even if those same services are available for iOS.

Same goes for iOS, if you’re knee deep in the Apple ecosystem (iTunes, iMessage, App Store, iLife, etc.) you will find that getting that content on an Android device takes extra steps that could slow down your productivity. As a result, you will feel more productive on an iPhone 5S over the GS4. In other words, your comfort and level of investment with each device/ecosystem should determine which device is “faster”.


Bloatware aside, which may or may not even be a deal breaker, In the end, you will have to decide what’s more important to you: device speed or device compatibility.

Before any of you crazy fan boys (that don’t even get paid by Apple or Google to be fan boys) hit my site with all your “exceptions to the rule”, keep in mind that everybody’s situation is different, so speed truly does “depend” on how you use a smartphone in the long run.

If you have any tech questions you want me to answer, be sure to hit up my Contact Page, or use the Hashtag #AskBrothaTech on Social Media when submitting questions.

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