Samsung and Apple are the two most profitable smartphone companies in the world. Together, they make practically 100% of all profits in mobile computing.
Right now the two giants each have a flagship device: The iPhone 5S and Samsung Galaxy S4. The Galaxy S4 is due for an update pretty soon, but it can still hold its own in many respects. In fact, there are a ton of things it can do that the iPhone 5S, the darling of the high-end smartphone industry, can’t do.
It has a built-in infrared blaster that can be used as a universal remote to control your TV. (The IR blaster is that little black dot at the top of the phone.) The phone also has a special app that pulls in data from your cable or satellite provider and can suggest shows you may like to watch.
The Galaxy S4 is one of the only devices that can sync with Samsung's new smart watch, the Galaxy Gear.
It has a near field communication (NFC) chip that lets your phone talk to other devices with NFC. This means you can use your phone to make mobile payments, swap content like photos between phones just by tapping them together, or pair your phone with a stereo with a tap.
You can add extra storage to your Galaxy S4 if you insert a standard Micro SD card. They're pretty cheap too. You can add an extra 32 GB of storage for about $US20.
It has a replaceable battery, which is a major benefit for some people. No smartphone has a perfect battery, so it's nice to have the option to replace it if you're running low on power.
It can play full 1080p HD video, something the iPhone and many other top-tier smartphones still can't do.
You can play games, share photos, and stream the same song with other Galaxy S4 phones wirelessly using an app called Group Play. The app connects you to other phones over a Wi-Fi connection. The iPhone 5S only lets you swap basic stuff like photos, links, and contact information.
Its camera app has a lot of neat tricks. For example, you can automatically erase a blurry figure from the background or make your own animated GIFs. The iPhone 5S camera just has slow-motion video and some Instagram-like filters.
A feature called Smart Stay keeps your Galaxy S4's display lit while you're looking at it. It can detect your eyes using the front-facing camera. This is a very useful feature because it can prevent your screen from going dark while you're reading something.
It uses a standard micro USB plug to charge and sync with your computer. These plugs are much easier to find than Apple's special Lightning port on the iPhone 5S.
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