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September 24th 2013 10:51 pm

so, just not sure what pushes this up from the 96 score of the iPhone 5.

if it's merely the faster processor and improved camera, then shouldn't the next version of each phone grow by 1 point at each gen? shouldn't the galaxy s4 have scored a 93?

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The Galaxy S4's improvements were largely on the software front, while the 5s, though keeping the same body, made hardware changes in key areas -- the camera and processor, as you've highlighted above.

Additionally, scores take into account not just critic averages, but the product's position in the marketplace. Part of our score was influenced by the presence of the 5c, just as our score for the Galaxy S4 was influenced by the presence of the HTC One.

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There's a lot more to it than a faster processor and improved camera.
  • The A7, which is faster processor (and first 64-bit processor for mobile phones that offers a huge performance boost).
  • Improved camera (better sensor, better lens, image stabilization, super awesome slow-motion mode, burst mode at 10 fps)
  • Improved flash that uses dual LEDs to create warmer and more accurate colors in low light situations.
  • Dedicated motion co-processor: This can track movement in XYZ directions without using the more power hungry A7. This could replace things like the Fitbit and it will also be potentially useful for things like indoor mapping and directions.
  • TouchID fingerprint sensor for improved security
The package on the outside may not have changed, but the internals did change. And for the better!
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Scores aren't programatic like you seem to be implying; they're experiential and going to be based on the scorer's view of how the device stacks up in the current market.
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