Even if you haven’t been reading the newspapers regularly, chances are you would have seen Apple and Samsung’s massive ad campaigns for their smartphones.

While Apple’s campaign focuses more on the two generations-old iPhone 4 with attractive EMI schemes and cash-back offers, Samsung has been advertising heavily for the Galaxy Grand, which was announced in January and has been a hot seller ever since. Under Apple’s offer, even the iPhone 4S and 5 are covered, however, the better cash-back deal is for the iPhone 4 in comparison with the newer smartphones.

Given a choice and the budget flexibility, the question staring many potential smartphone buyers in the face is, which offer to snap up. Yes, we know the comparison is, on the face of it, unfair, because while the Galaxy Grand is a few months old, the iPhone 4 is about to turn three soon. But the iPhone 4 still has a great fan following and even despite its age is not all that outdated. The Galaxy Grand, while new, isn't exactly the best device out there in terms of specs, with plenty of alternatives in its price range.

However, the timing of the ad campaigns coupled with great sales of both handsets has thrown up the question of which one makes more sense. Both companies’ cash-back offers run till the 30th of April and there’s no cap date on the EMI schemes. So these last few days of April are a great opportunity to refresh your phone.

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Both phones have a cash-back offer on till April 30

Let’s start with the iPhone 4, which is perhaps not as fresh in the consumers’ minds. The iPhone 4 was a major product for Apple from a design point of view. It introduced the famous glass back and eschewed the curved back for the sleeker back panel. Overall, the phone looks solidly built and at the time, it was leagues ahead of any other smartphone’s design.

In terms of the specs, the iPhone 4 doesn’t show its age. Buyers will get a 3.5-inch display with a 640 x 960 resolution, which translates to a pixel density of 330 PPI, which Apple has dubbed Retina display. In terms of performance, the iPhone 4 is powered by the Apple A4 chip, which is a 1GHz Cortex-A8 processor and there’s a PowerVR SGX535 GPU in tow. While the processing power might seem lacking, one has to understand that Apple’s software is fully optimised to run on the hardware and as such, performance issues will likely be non-existent. The iPhone 4 even got the latest official update, iOS 6.1.3, which puts it on par with the iPhone 4S and 5 in terms of the software experience, to a large extent. The only area where we feel the iPhone 4 could fare badly in comparison to the Galaxy Grand is the camera. The 5-megapixel camera on the iPhone 4 took great pictures, but ultimately it is a two-year-old module. Moreover, it can only shoot videos up to 720p.

iPhone 4 has a smaller display and a higher resolution

iPhone 4 has a smaller display and a higher resolution

In comparison to the iPhone 4, the Galaxy Grand’s design is a totally different beast. It is by no means a flagship device but Samsung's  flagship during the iPhone 4's time, the Galaxy S2 is not all that different from the Galaxy Grand.

The glossy plastic finish, the removable back cover and the exaggerated curves of the device are the polar opposites of their counterpart in the iPhone 4. But where the iPhone 4 only has a 3.5-inch display, buyers of the Grand will get a generous 5-inch display. Not everything is great, though. The iPhone still trumps the Galaxy Grand’s WVGA resolution. In terms of processor and software experience, the Grand benefits from the inclusion of Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean, while the dual-core Broadcom 1.2GHz processor is more than enough to run the smoothest version of Android. In the camera department, the Grand has a slight edge thanks to the 8-megapixel camera and the ability to shoot full HD videos.

Both have been hot sellers in the market. The Grand has been selling like hot cakes, and we have also reliably learnt that the iPhone 4 stock in the market has dried up and more stock is incoming. We were told that distributors, resellers and even grey market stock of the phone has depleted. Clearly, the bait of an iPhone for as low as under Rs 20,000 after the cash-back scheme has hooked many fish. But Samsung’s Galaxy Grand has a slight edge considering its similar price, the larger display, the newer camera and the faster processor. The only areas where we would give the battle to the iPhone 4 are the design and the screen resolution. There’s also the factor that not everyone might like a 5-inch display on their smartphone and for them the iPhone 4 is a compact alternative.

The Galaxy Grand has a large 5-inch display

The Galaxy Grand has a large 5-inch display

When it comes to apps and games, these days, iOS and Android are roughly on par, with most new apps launching on both platforms. But Android does offer customisation options which set it apart from iOS and this has been a huge factor in the success of the platform.

There’s one more aspect at play here. The Galaxy Grand, owing to its 2013 heritage, could benefit from future updates of Android. However, since the iPhone 4 was launched in 2010 and there’s an iPhone 5S on its way later this year, Apple might choose to or could be forced to (due to hardware limitations) retire the iPhone 4 from the update list when iOS 7 rolls out.

The price difference post cash-back discounts is not that high. The iPhone 4 will be available for 19,500 with the maximum cash-back of Rs 7,000, while the Galaxy Grand comes to around 17,000 after accounting for the cash-back offer. So the debate ultimately boils down to which will be a more future-proof phone. This is where the age of the iPhone 4 could be a disadvantage.

Given all these factors, we think it would be wiser to go for the Samsung Galaxy Grand as opposed to an iPhone 4. It is the more recent phone and ultimately, barring the design and build quality, we think it is the more worthy option.

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