Even with the continually-emerging Google Android craze Apple has essentially dominated the smartphone industry. Until Google’s release of Android 4.0 (otherwise known as Ice Cream Sandwich), that is. The most recent Android devices closely rival Apple’s newest version of the iPhone (the 4S) and some are even consistently beating out the iPhone 4S overall in reviews conducted by renowned technology critics. Want to know how the Samsung Galaxy Nexus holds up against the Apple iPhone 4S? Read on for a comprehensive comparison of these two super gadgets.
Galaxy Nexus Aesthetics and Feel
At first glance both phones are pretty equally matched when it comes to their sleek designs and large crystal clear displays. The iPhone 4S has a 3.5-inch screen in an encasing made entirely of metal and glass. It is attractive, no doubt, but if it gets dropped… you can imagine the aftermath. Weighing in at 140 grams it is by no means heavy, but it is a little boxy compared to some other smartphone models and can feel awkward in a pocket.
The Galaxy Nexus’ impressive 4.65-inch screen is quite a selling point for this device. It has a textured plastic backing that does not feel all that sturdy, but overall this phone has a better chance of surviving an accidental tumble to the floor or ground. This is a fairly large device in comparison to others on the market, but its curved edges, thin design, and 135-gram weight make it both comfortable to hold and fit into a pocket nicely.
Browsing and Multimedia
Browsing on the iPhone 4S is a decent experience. The display is great for images, text, and video playback. The screen does feel significantly smaller than that of the Nexus, particularly when watching video. The 8MP rear-facing camera does far outshine the Nexus’ 5MP camera, although it just on par with everything else that is out currently. Why they chose not to go ahead and improve that aspect is a inscrutable. As far as multimedia goes, it is hard to compete with iTunes, still the largest provider of media content, including apps.
The larger screen on the Nexus makes navigation in the web browser even easier. There is an instant upload to YouTube feature for videos. The 1.3MP front-facing camera is slightly better than the 1MP (at best) front-facing camera on the iPhone. The Nexus also has a lot more editing features for still images and a pretty cool panorama feature, but the poor quality this late in the game leaves much to be desired. Like the iPhone, the Nexus is also capable of Bluetooth connectivity, face detection and touch-to-focus camera functions, mobile hotspot tethering, and 1080p video capture and playback.
Call Quality and General Performance
The Galaxy Nexus vs. iPhone 4S call quality depends largely on what carrier you have and your location. In general, customer satisfaction is pretty high concerning call quality on the iPhone 4S. The 4S runs Apple’s latest operating system version, iOS 5 with the Apple A5 processor. The processor speed is only 1GHz, but it performs impressively with a slightly better download speed than the Nexus. You can get about eight hours of normal use on a fully charged battery.
Originally the first device built for Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich), the Galaxy Nexus is now 4.1-ready (Jelly Bean). The Nexus has a 1.2GHz dual-core processor with a slightly better upload speed than the 4S. So, speed is a bit of a toss-up between these two phones. The battery life brings this phone’s ratings down a bit, getting around five hours or less out of a fully charged battery with normal usage.
Galaxy Nexus vs. iPhone 4S Screen and Display
The iPhone has a LED screen with a 960 by 640 resolution. The specs look to be behind those of the Nexus (which we will get to in a moment), but Apple’s Retina display (which claims to have a high enough pixel density such that pixelation is undetectable by the human eye from a typical viewing distance) is unmatched. It also has an ambient light sensor that automatically adjusts the screen brightness depending on the amount of light in the room, a multi-touch sensitive screen, and a proximity sensor.
The Galaxy Nexus has a super AMOLED screen rocking a 1280 by 720 resolution. It may not have claim to Apple’s Retina trademark, but it is more than satisfyingly bright and clear. In addition to an ambient light sensor, multi-touch screen, and proximity sensor, the Nexus also has 3D capability for applicable apps, games, and video.
The iPhone has always boasted a fairly intuitive interface and the 4S is setup just like its predecessors. Some like that they already feel right at home with it; others are bored with the same ol’ same ol’ and would like to see a bit of a change, so that is just a matter of preference. With the iPhone 4S, though, Apple has addressed some of the downfalls users have complained about in previous models. For example, they added quick access to the camera from a locked position, made the drop-down notification area customizable, and the Siri natural language voice-activated personal assistant is accessible with just a single click (although it is not nearly as fluent in everyday speech as Apple will have you believe).
The Nexus takes a little more time to learn the ins and outs of its layout, but it is ultimately much more customizable than the iPhone. Widgets are great for personalizing every page of your home screen in a way that Apple has yet to even come close to providing. The Nexus also provides quick access to the camera (just move the slider to the left to unlock straight to the camera rather than to the right which unlocks to the home screen). One fantastic addition to the Nexus that has been practically nonexistent in other Android devices is the super easy screenshot function.
Photos by opopododo (top), Chris_Samuel (middle), Robert Bejil Photography (bottom), Creative Commons Attribution