Apple iPhone 4S vs. Samsung Galaxy S II vs. HTC Sensation: Smartphone comparison

How does the iPhone 4S stack up against the Samsung Galaxy S II and the HTC Sensation?

iPhone 4S vs. HTC Sensation vs. Samsung Galaxy S II: Display

The iPhone 4S has the same display as the iPhone 4. The 3.5in sized screen uses IPS technology and its 640x960 pixel resolution it has been described as a "retina" display, due to the human eye being unable to distinguish individual pixels. The iPhone 4S's screen has a pixel density of 330ppi — higher than both the Galaxy S II and the Sensation. Text is crisp and clear and images are sharp.

The Samsung Galaxy S II has a much larger 4.3in display compared to the iPhone 4S's 3.5in screen. It uses Super AMOLED Plus screen technology: a refinement of the original Samsung Galaxy S' Super AMOLED technology. The screen produces a clearer and brighter image than previous iterations of the technology, though it has a lower resolution (480x800) compared to both the iPhone 4S and the HTC Sensation.

The HTC Sensation has a 4.3in display but the big draw card here is its resolution. The Sensation's 540x960 pixel resolution makes it a quarter HD (qHD) screen. In general, the higher resolution the better, as it increases the pixels per inch on the display. That being said, the iPhone 4S still trumps the HTC Sensation when it comes to ppi: 330 compared to 256.

iPhone 4S vs. HTC Sensation vs. Samsung Galaxy S II: Software

The iPhone 4S runs Apple's latest iOS 5 operating system. It offers the same familiar swipeable home screen enhanced by folders, and the consistent Apple UI look and feel extending across all of the standard applications. If you have never used an iPhone before, you can expect a device that is easy to pick up and use, a well-populated App Store, and excellent multimedia capabilities. The latest iOS 5 version of Apple's platform also introduces iCloud, a cloud storage solution that automatically stores your content and makes it available on multiple devices including a Mac or PC. All iPhone users get 5GB of cloud storage for free but can upgrade to larger capacities for an extra cost: 10GB for $21 per year, 20GB for $42 per year or 50GB for $105 per year.

Both the Samsung Galaxy S II and the HTC Sensation run the latest 2.3 version of Google's Android operating system, otherwise known as "Gingerbread". Version 2.3 of Android equips the Galaxy S II and the Sensation with a revamped keyboard, better copy and paste, improved power management, and a slicker user interface compared to previous versions of Google's mobile platform. Of more importance, however, is the UI overlay that Samsung and HTC have applied over the top of the regular Android interface: it's a bid to distinguish their devices from the wealth of Android masses.

HTC Sensation

The HTC Sensation includes the latest version of HTC's Sense UI overlay, which includes customisable lock screens, 3D transitions between screens, and an improved weather app.

The Galaxy S II gets Samsung's TouchWiz 4.0 UI overlay. Samsung-exclusive features include Social Hub, which groups social networks like Facebook and Twitter, Readers Hub, which stores your downloaded eBooks, Game Hub, which is a portal for compatible games and Music Hub, a streaming music service that will officially launch in Australia later this week.

The HTC Sensation comes with the latest version of HTC's Sense UI overlay. Unique features include a customisable lock screen, 3D transitions between home screens, an improved weather app with more vibrant animations and a soon to be launched video-on-demand service called 'HTC Watch'.

iPhone 4S vs. HTC Sensation vs. Samsung Galaxy S II: Camera

The iPhone 4S has an upgraded camera. It jumps from 5-megapixels to 8-megapixels and now has a backlight illuminated CMOS sensor that claims better performance in low light situations. The 4S camera can record 1080p video (up from 720p on the iPhone 4) and also has a new image signal processor for image stabilisation and face recognition. Apple was keen to point out its speed: the company says the camera app takes 1.1 seconds to be ready for a photo and then just half a second between successive photos.

The Samsung Galaxy S II and the HTC Sensation also have 8-megapixel cameras. Both have geo-tagging, touch focus, face and smile detection, and image stabilisation, but the Sensation has a dual-LED flash compared to the Galaxy S II's single LED, and also boasts a feature called instant capture. According to HTC, the instant capture feature eliminates shutter lag; the moment you press the button is the same moment the photo is captured. While it's not exactly instant per se, the Sensation is pretty quick to snap a photo.

iPhone 4S vs. HTC Sensation vs. Samsung Galaxy S II: Internals

The iPhone 4S is powered by a 1GHz Apple A5 dual core processor and 1GB of RAM. It also has a dual-core graphics processor to speed up gaming. According to Apple, the dual core CPU combined with the dual-core GPU makes graphics performance up to seven times faster than the iPhone 4. Though these specifications are an improvement over previous iPhone models, they only bring the iPhone 4S in-line with Android competitors, rather than push it ahead. One positive is the addition of a 64GB model iPhone 4S, along with the standard 16GB and 32GB models.

Both the Samsung Galaxy S II and the HTC Sensation stack up very well to the iPhone 4S when it comes to grunt. The Galaxy S II is powered by a 1.2GHz ARM Cortex A9 dual-core processor, has 1GB of RAM and 16GB of internal memory, along with a microSD card slot for extra storage. The HTC Sensation is powered by a 1.2GHz dual-core Snapdragon processor, has slightly less 768MB of RAM and comes with a microSD card slot for extra storage. A real downside to the Sensation is its paltry 1GB of internal memory.

iPhone 4S vs. HTC Sensation vs. Samsung Galaxy S II: Other features

The Apple iPhone 4S doesn't come with a HDMI-out port, but an optional Apple Digital AV Adapter ($45) can mirror whatever is on your iPhone 4S screen to a high definition TV. It's a similar story for both the Samsung Galaxy S II and the HTC Sensation: both smartphones come with a new connection technology called Mobile High-definition Link (MHL). The on-board MHL technology uses the standard micro-USB port on each device for outputting 1080p HD video and audio via HDMI. You'll need to purchase an optional microUSB to HDMI MHL connector to enable this feature, but the beauty of MHL means it can also be used with a USB adapter, meaning both the HTC Sensation and the Samsung Galaxy S II can utilise USB on-the-go functionality like the Nokia N8.

iPhone 4S The iPhone 4S comes with a software feature called Siri voice control, described by Apple as an "intelligent assistant".

The iPhone 4S comes with an exclusive software feature called Siri voice control. It's a voice assistant that lets you talk to perform tasks, such as asking for the weather forecast, getting driving or walking directions through Google Maps, making a calendar appointment or setting your alarm. It will originally be a beta release, but Apple says the software will improve as it learns your voice. In good news for Aussies, Siri will work with Australian English in addition to US and UK English. We can only hope its better than most voice recognition software at understanding our accent, as this is often the failing of most voice operated features.

Another point worth noting is the fact that the iPhone 4S is a world phone, meaning it will work across both 3G and CDMA networks. There are no longer any CDMA networks in Australia, but for those who frequently travel to the US, the iPhone 4S' status as a "world phone" will definitely come in handy.

The Samsung Galaxy S II is a quad-band HSDPA phone, so it will work across all Australian 3G networks including Telstra's Next G network. The HTC Sensation on the other hand is only a dual-band 850/2100 phone: it will work on Telstra's Next G network, along with the standard Optus and Vodafone 3G networks in Australia. However, it won't tap into Vodafone or Optus' new 3G networks, which run on the 900MHz 3G spectrum.

What do you think about the iPhone 4S, the Samsung Galaxy S II and the HTC Sensation? Tell us in the comments below!

Tags Apple iPhone 4Shtc sensationApplemobile phonessmartphonessamsung galaxy s iiiPhone 4S

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Ross Catanzariti

Ross Catanzariti

PC World




The iphone4s is a disappointment, just a small upgrade to the 4, same size and no 4g.
Samsung Galaxy SII is the phone to get, best one out there.
HTC what?



It should be noted that the Samsung also has voice recognition where you can send texts, write memos, call people, send emails, set alarms, go to webpages ,facebook and twitter updates etc...
Im really tired of people acting like Apple are the first to come up with everything. Voice recognition has been around for years!

Samsung and HTC are giving Apple a run for their money and apple are scared, hense the constant suing.



Yeah,sure Samsung does have voice recognition but show me anyone who uses it!
It's pretty useless,the new Apple version is a whole new proposition and as for suing because Apple is scared-get real,it's because Samsung copies everything Apple does including the packaging.Just open your eyes and not your mouth until you're better informed.
Samsung is a good company and should be more original with their phones and more courts around the world are agreeing hence the bans on Samsung products.

Gary is a tool


Don't cry Gary, it's a phone.....



@Gary, yeah Samsung copies Apple, Apple copies everything!
Siri? I won't be surprised if forums will be flooded with complains....mark my word..



Gary I use the voice recognition all the time, so much more convenient. Works excellent as well, my S II is fantastic

rob b


information on the iphone 4s is incorrect. its a 800mhz dual core a5 chip with only 512 of ddr2 ram to preserve its amazing battery life. please correct this

Edgar Sanchez


I don't care... I can't imagine just a few hours without my iphone. I think it is the best phone in the market. it has everything we need.



rob b is correct about the chip speed, also check this link.. it show's how the chip crushes all competition.

Jack Moss


John covered my point. Simply put the iPhone 4s is the fasting phone on the market except for 4g and that's a misnomer. It simply blows the Samsung away - period. No matter what the droid OS, it sucks. It's buggy, bloated, prone to crashing and data loss. As a county IT professional I service both iphone 4s, and all flavors of droid.



Jack Moss, "iPhone 4s is the fasted phone" yet the HTC Sensation is not on the graph displayed on the website John posted.

Maybe there is a reason for this?



I have both the iphone 4s and the s2 , i leave my 4s at home all the time, take it to the beach and stuff, the s2 is way too valuable

Ron G.


I had the BlackBerry for years, got my first iphone the 4s and love it. Taken a bit to get use to the operation of it. I seem to learn something new everyday. I got the 64 GB and everyone says why? I say why not...LOL would have bought 128 GB if it was available.



I want someone to tell me quite bluntly to make a choice out of iphone 4s and Galaxy Sii as I would like to know which one captures a picture faster. Also, I like the feature of sending a message to your phone when it is lost in transit. Does the iphones 4s have this feature?



Galaxy s2 is superb phone,but in terms of pixel density,and processing power it is way behind ip4s
on a paper it has only 512mb ram 0.8 dualcore? Correct! but in benchmarks it shows much better results than samsung
just google iphone 4s benchmarks. you'll see that it has twice as good graphics thanks to the best smartphone gpu on market and so on... it beats galaxy in every category so androidfags,please stop trolling ;)

John Woodruff


The Samsung Galaxy S2 looks and feels wonderful, so much so I replaced my iPhone3. WRONG! Samsung it turns out, have had a manufacturing/design fault with their S2 that they have been informed about by a large number of unfortunate buyers like me, but which the refuse to acknowledge. Just Google samsung galaxy s2 echo problem and find vast pages of people with the same problem. It only happens when you put it in a cover and it only happens to some phones not others, but it makes the phone unusable as a phone so BE WARNED THAT SAMSUNG DON'T WANT TO KNOW ABOUT IT SO DONT BUY ONE!

Muhammad ali


Can you please tell me which one is better. I want games on a smartphone so which one will suit me better?



your all just a bunch of dicks with nothing better to do than bury your heads in a phone 24/7. iphone is just a trend/fad or a label such as billabong....apparently if you dont have an iphone your not cool! grow up there just phones!

reality check for reality


I am cool with my iPhone 4 & without, I own both and each does what they say they do. I like the available docks & players for iPhone, but like the easier use and connectivity to any PC of Galaxy S II. My iphone freezes for no reason, my Galaxy S II doesn't respond when the day is very hot around 30c & above. If you really want to find out which is best ask the people who own one, and ask them about the feature/s you are wondering about...

@ reality... "grow up there just phones" There-is a word used to indicate where something is & cannot be used in a sentence like the one above; They're-is an abbreviation of they are, this is what you wanted to say ;) right.

They're (see how it works) not just phones anymore. Mine are music players, cameras, shopping lists, Gps', Calendars, Weather reporters... etc As well as a phone.

mc hammer


@jack moss dude the s2 has been proven time and time again to be WAY faster than the 4s get your facts straight dude

reality check for reality


Why did you leave out your? I think you should have schooled him on that as well.The proper word is you're.



" Galaxy s2 is superb phone,but in terms of pixel density,and processing power it is way behind ip4s on a paper it has only 512mb ram 0.8 dualcore? Correct! but in benchmarks it shows much better results than samsung"

Really. "in reality iphone is faster". Benchmarks. is that how you satisfy your ego? Can't you see the difference between 1.2 that can be overclocked to 1.5 and 0.8. Exactly how can 512mb ram be better than 1 gb.

Try opening 10 tabs in dolfin browser and 10 in opera mobile and then see if you can play angry birds simultaneously without any glitch on your iphone.

Seriously face time. Video call has been since the time of Nokia n95. That was the time when phones had keys.



Iphone is definitely a status symbol . I use a diamond ring instead. much more effective.



I phone 4S the best ...... Other phones kindly f... off okay .. Best phone in the world nice one from apple i phone 4S .. I love it . If you don't haven i phone life is bad lol



Life is worse without a diamond ring. You know most people when they buy the costly i phone and say they like it, its mostly cognitive dissonance.



Samsung galaxy s2 is the absolute greatest! I have used my sister's iphone4...Complete rubbish, ugly and not user-friendly at all...Even talking on the phone if my cheek touches it it will mute...Scratches, fingerprints and dated look...Samsung is fantastic and I loooove the swype function! No competition in my mind whatsoever! Samsung all the way (:



Sumsung all the way



i have both. galaxy is much better im to scared ill drop the iphone and break the crap screen dropped one from waist high and cracked the screen i put a high amp battery in the galaxy lasts so much longer

Gary is a poo


Yep. Galaxy s2 wins. so yea.



Wow, I have a web site too but I can't write at the same time as you do. Good stuff.

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