In this article I will attempt to compare the three most exciting new smart phones which are currently available on the South African market for consumers. The phones which I will be comparing are the Apple iPhone 5, RIM Blackberry Bold 9930 and the Samsung Galaxy S3.

Apple iPhone 5 Review

iphone5Users can expect a few new updates on the phone itself. The phone now includes good quality 4G internet speed and Google Maps is available for the unit.

The Size And The Weight – How thin can you go?

To start of, Apple managed to cut of a remarkable 1.4mm of the thickness of the phone when compared to the previous model. This might sound like nothing, but when compared next to one another, you can see the obvious differences. They have even managed to shake of some of the phone’s weight. Some way or another they shook of 28g from the new model, now only weighing in at a remarkable 112g. When you pick the phone up you will think that it should have been heavier. They have also replaced the all-glass rear cover with a nice and stylish looking aluminium cover.

Taking A Closer Look At The Screen

One of the most important reasons for the change of the size of the phone is because of the bigger screen. The iPhone 5 has a 4in screen with an aspect ratio of 16:9. The screen is the same width as its previous model but is slightly taller. This means that you can fit more lines of icons, calendar appointments and emails on your screen. The screen resolution has also been improved. The users can now enjoy better colours and brightness qualities.

Better Processor

The iPhone is fitted with the new Apple A6 processor. It is 22% smaller than the previous processor and is a lot faster. The phone is a bit snappier than the previous model. You can see the changes when opening different applications, opening images and the rendering of videos.

The Operating System

It is nice to know that Apple have at last developed a new operating system for their devices. The iPhone 5 comes with the new iOS 6; this operating system is also available for the older iPhone models and iPads as a free software upgrade.

It is sad to say, but an attempt from Apple to improve their map application has failed tremendously. Some say that they have gone a step back in the attempt to improve from the previous one. Not to worry, Google has come to the rescue. Google Maps has developed an application for the iPhone now. It is extremely easy to use and very accurate. It even has a turn-by-turn voice assistant to help you navigate through the streets.

Tell SIRI What To Do

They have managed to make a few improvements to SIRI, especially with the response time. You are now able to update your Facebook and twitter statuses etc. They have also added extra’s like Passbook, but it will take a while before we can use this in South Africa, due to limitations in our infrastructure.

Even Smaller SIM Card

We have seen with the launch of the iPhone 4 that they have introduced the micro SIM. Now with the launch of the new iPhone 5 they have introduced an even smaller Nano SIM. You have to request for a new SIM at the store of the service provider. Another change with the new phone is that you have to slot the SIM at the side of the phone.

4G And Wireless Capabilities

Apple has made big improvements on the wireless capabilities of the phone. They have equipped the phone with 802.11 dual band. This means that the phone will be able to connect to 2.4GHz and 5GHz networks. The only thing is that you will need a dual router.

The iPhone 5 is also the first iPhone with 4G capabilities. In the UK have they found download speeds of up to 24MBit/s and upload speeds of up to 18MBit/s. We can now easily compare the iPhone internet speed to the speed of your broadband internet speed at home.

Better Pictures And Videos

Apple had to redesign the lens and the sensor of the device due to the thinner casing of the phone. The camera, like the iPhone 4, is still an 8 mega pixel camera. There are little differences in quality between the two models. Apple still manages to have the best smart phone cameras. Users can still enjoy vibrant colour pictures. A new feature with the iPhone 5 is the panoramic capabilities. You can take panoramic shots by just panning your camera from one side to the other. This works very well and is an exciting new feature on the device. Videos are shot at 1080p at 30 frames per second, giving you smooth detailed videos.

Taking A Look At The Battery

Apple has claimed that the iPhone 5 battery gives you the same performance as the previous model. This is very good, because the screen is bigger than the previous model. When you use the phone normally then you should get up to 12 hours on the device.

To Conclude

Apple has proven itself again, like they always tend to do. It is put together very well and is very user friendly. The only draw back that I can think of is the maps on the phone and the price you pay for the device. We will have to see how the Apple iPhone compare to its rivals.

Price: R7949 +

Samsung Galaxy S3 review

galaxys3The verdict is that the Samsung Galaxy S3 is thus one of the ultimate Android operated smart phones. It now also supports 4G connectivity and comes with many improvements and updates as from the earlier Galaxy S2.

It is clear that we can now compare the device to the Apple iPhone 5 due to the fact that they have updated the wireless chip to be able to support the new 4G internet connections. The Galaxy S3 was Samsung’s big launch product of 2012. The phone now also comes with 2 gigs RAM instead of the earlier 1 gig RAM. You can either option for the stylish titanium finish, or the classic white Galaxy cover. It is also fitted with the new Android 4.1 Jelly Bean operating system. In the UK they have seen download speeds of up to 26 Mbits/s and upload speeds of up to 16 Mbits/s. The device’s speed can easily be compared to some of the fastest home broadband connections.

Fast Internet

The phone allows users to browse through web pages at a rapid speed. You can expect the same speeds as an ADSL line on a wi-fi connection. You should know that we can’t compare the phone’s speed yet to the connection speed of a broadband connection. You will find that the phone is perfect for social media, emails and browsing. If you decide to use it for video streaming etc, then you will see that the phone tends to eat through your data account.

Fast Processing

The Samsung Galaxy S3 is equipped with a quad-core 1.4 GHz processor with 2gig RAM onboard. You will see that the 2 gig RAM will allow you to open and close applications a little bit faster, but nothing to right home about. The upgrade to 2 gigs RAM thus makes small differences.

The Battery

Some say that the battery life on the new Galaxy S3 is slightly worse than the previous model. Tests have shown that the video playback time on the new one is about 40 minutes less than the older version. This can be the cause of the new operating system or the new chip which they have installed.

The Size

The Galaxy S3 is still a big smart phone. It has the same chassis as the earlier edition. We could not see any way on how they could have made the phone smaller without making the screen smaller. You only have a few millimetres on each side of the screen and about a centimetre at the top and the bottom. The handset is only 9 millimetres thin. It will still easily fit into your pockets of your pants or jacket.

The Touch Screen

The screen has a very high resolution, which makes it very easy to browse through websites. There is almost no need to zoom in on the page, and you don’t have to scroll from left to right. If you’ve got your hands on this device then there is not much need for a tablet.

Despite the fact that the phone is so slim, the problem that we have with a phone of this size, is that it is almost impossible to work with one hand. You will have to use both of your hands to be able to operate the device with comfort.

We are very happy with the screen of the Galaxy S3. If you look very very closely then you will see that the Apple iPhone 5 has a slightly better image on the screen, but this is really not something to worry about.

New And Extra Features

The guys from Samsung claims that this phone was strictly design for “human use”. They have improved on the motion and tap functions of the phone. You can zoom in and out of pictures by just tilting the device. There are a few applications which you can use the motion functionality of the phone.

Another new exciting feature is the Smart Stay feature. This uses the front camera to determent if you are looking at the camera, meaning that the screen won’t fade to black while you are reading a web page or anything which is loaded with a lot of reading content. The phone also has a similar voice command system as the one we find on the iPhones; they call it the Samsung S Voice Control. The only problem that I have found with this is that when you try to command a text message then the phone just mumbles un-understandable text on the screen, but for basic uses it works fairly well.

The Camera

The phone is also equipped with an 8 mega pixel camera and gives you plenty of different shooting modes. We can say that we have not seen anything better than this, especially when it comes to low-light shooting conditions. The only little problem that we have seen is that you sometimes press on the screen while lining up for a shot, due to the thin border around the screen. This is just something to get used to and remember when taking picture with your phone.


I would say that the Samsung Galaxy S3 is most definitely the best Android smart phone on the South African market. The processing of the phone is extremely fast and is complimented with a beautiful and vibrant screen.

Price: R5999 +

RIM BlackBerry Bold 9900

blackberry-bold-9900As we all know, BlackBerry phones are definitely one of the best concepts for business usage. Besides the fact that their phones are very good for business and for fun, they are the only company who has an encrypted instant messaging system, thus making it very safe for the sharing of confidential information. Police services are not even able to see and track what you are doing with your BlackBerry Messenger.

Research In Motion has really entered the commercial market with this model by implementing a full functional QWERTY keyboard combined with a snazzy touch screen interface. The device has truly made a fantastic attempt to be a jack of all trades, but unfortunately a master at none. This specific model is a very important model for the brand.

The BlackBerry Bold 9900 gives you the all too familiar classic BB look with the fully functional keyboard. With this snazzy new upgrade also comes the new BlackBerry Operating System 7 which is piloted with a fast 1.2GHz processor. The phone also comes with 8 gigabytes of onboard memory and a micro SD slot which can handle memory of up to 32GB.

The Bold 9900 is just like any other smart phone, and has evolved over the last few years. The screen is still a lot smaller than some of the other smart phones which are available but you have to remember that they have the full QWERTY keyboard on the device as well. I have found that with my big hands the phones sits very nice in the palm of my hand. They have managed to make the phone about 10g lighter than the iPhone 4. The physical look of the phone is also very nice, nicely rounded off curves which are complimented with a modern looking carbon fibre touch back panel. The phone is the perfect size for your shirt pocket or jean pocket.

The 2.8in screen offers a good 640 x 480 pixel rating, giving you a beautiful sharp image on your device. The touch screen has a very good response time with smooth scrolling capabilities. I have found it very easy to use, even with my big bulky hands. I have seen that they have improved a lot on the functionality on their track pad. The only thing that I have found is that one should be careful when scrolling up and down on the track pad. If you overshoot over the top with your thumb then you will touch the screen, and it will see it as a touch on the touch screen and have affect.

The new OS7 interface looks pretty much the same as the older versions, and if you are used to BB then you will have no hassles to operate the device, but for new BlackBerry users it will still take a few days to get used to.

Another factor which caught my attention was the poor browsing abilities. If you are used to the bigger screens of the other smart phones then you will find this as a small let down. You should constantly scroll down to read and view web pages. But we can understand why the screen is smaller than the other rivals. This is especially irritating when reading text loaded pages.

You have to know that your BlackBerry will never be an alternative for a compact digital camera. It is equipped with a 5MP sensor which can only take reasonable photos at day time. The low light shooting conditions is not something to even write about. The phone is shoots reasonable videos at 720p, giving you a semi-HD video quality.

I would say the BlackBerry has proven itself again to have one of the best messaging capabilities on the market. Your information is super secure and you can freely send confidential information to business partners etc.

I will conclude by saying that the RIM BlackBerry 9900 is a very good business phone for the adult. When it comes to entertainment then I will rather option for another option. I am not saying that the BlackBerry is only designed for the business professional, as the instant messaging is top notch and it does come with all the bells and whistles for good entertainment.

Price: R4749

The Verdict

WOW, what a tough comparison! As we can see from the above mentioned, all three of these phones are of excellent quality. Choosing one is definitely a tough choice for me, as it will come down to personal needs, flavour and choice. If I have had to choose, looking at the performance, specifications, looks and price, then I would option for the Apple iPhone 5. Despite the price, if you weigh down the pro’s and cons of the phone then the iPhone 5 is the one which I will go for. But as I have mentioned earlier, it comes down to personal choice. All three phones are of excellent quality.

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