Galaxy Nexus vs. iPhone 4S: Smartphone comparison

Which is the better smartphone? Samsung's Galaxy Nexus or the Apple iPhone 4S?

Samsung Galaxy Nexus vs. Apple iPhone 4S: Fight!

Samsung Galaxy Nexus vs. Apple iPhone 4S: Fight!

The Samsung Galaxy Nexus is the first smartphone to run the latest version of Google's Android platform, 4.0 or "Ice Cream Sandwich". It boasts a strikingly large 4.65in Super AMOLED HD screen and has a distinctive teardrop design. Naturally, its going to be compared to the popular Apple iPhone 4S. So, how does it stack up?

Where can you buy the Galaxy Nexus?
A first look at the Galaxy Nexus
A word on the Galaxy Nexus: Battery life

The Galaxy Nexus has a bigger screen, a camera that claims to have zero shutter lag and runs Google's most advanced version of Android yet. Is it enough to compete with the iPhone 4S? Let's take a closer look.

Galaxy Nexus vs. iPhone 4S: Specifications

FeatureSamsung Galaxy Nexus Apple iPhone 4S Verdict
Operating system Google Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) Apple iOS 5 Draw
Display size 4.65in 3.5in Galaxy Nexus
Display technology Capacitive Super AMOLED HD Capacitive LED-backlit IPS Draw
Display resolution 720x1280 640x960 Galaxy Nexus
Pixel density 316 ppi 330 ppi iPhone 4S
Multitouch Yes Yes Yes
Front camera 1.3-megapixels VGA Galaxy Nexus
Rear camera 5 megapixels w/single-LED flash 8 megapixels w/single-LED flash iPhone 4S
Camera features Autofocus, touch focus, geotagging, face detection, zero shutter lag Autofocus, touch focus, geotagging, face detection, video stabilisation Draw
Video recording 1080p HD @ 30fps 1080p HD @ 30fps Draw
FM radio No No Draw
GPS Yes, with Google Maps navigation Yes Galaxy Nexus
Internal memory 16GB or 32GB 16GB, 32GB or 64GB iPhone 4S
Expandable memory None None Draw
Dimensions 135.5 x 67.9 x 8.9 mm 115.2 x 58.6 x 9.3 mm iPhone 4S
Weight 135g 140g Galaxy Nexus
Application Store Google Android Market Apple App Store iPhone 4S
Processor Cortex A9 dual-core (1.2GHz) Apple A5 dual-core (800MHz) Draw
RAM 1GB 512MB Galaxy Nexus
Australian 3G networks HSDPA 850/900/2100 HSDPA 850/900/2100 Draw
Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n 802.11b/g/n Draw
Bluetooth 3.0 with A2DP 4.0 with A2DP Draw
HDMI-out No (Yes with MHL adapter) No (Yes with Apple Digital AV adapter) Draw
Quoted battery life Up to 8 hrs 20 min Up to 8 hrs Galaxy Nexus
Battery -capacity 1750 mAh 1420 mAh Galaxy Nexus
Adobe Flash support Yes (After Adobe update) No Galaxy Nexus
Carriers Unknown Telstra, Optus, Vodafone Unknown

Galaxy Nexus vs. iPhone 4S: Display

The Galaxy Nexus has a strikingly large 4.65in Super AMOLED HD display — one of the biggest screens currently available on the market. The HD points to a high definition resolution of 1280x720; we can tell you that the Galaxy Nexus displays an ultra sharp and crisp image. The screen is bright, vivid and clear and text is crisp and smooth with minimal visible aberrations. The large size of the screen makes the Galaxy Nexus great for video playback but the best benefit of the screen is the experience it creates when reading and Web browsing. Our only complaint is that the automatic brightness setting is often erratic.

The iPhone 4S on the other hand has the same 3.5in sized display as the iPhone 4 it replaced. It looks TINY alongside the Galaxy Nexus but remains one of the best screens on any phone we've reviewed. The iPhone 4S display uses IPS technology and its 640x960 pixel resolution 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 — slightly higher than the 316ppi of the Galaxy Nexus.

Galaxy Nexus

Verdict: The iPhone 4S' screen remains one of the best ever produced on a mobile device, but we have to award the win here to the Galaxy Nexus. Not only does it dwarf the iPhone in size, its also the best screen we've ever seen on any Android phone. Text is crisp and clear making reading and Web browsing a delightful experience, while the size of the screen doesn't make handling the phone an awkward experience.

Next page: Design, software, camera and more

Tags Galaxy NexusApple iPhone 4SSamsung Galaxy Nexusiosmobile phonesAndroidsmartphonesAndroid 4.0iOS 5Ice Cream SandwichiPhone 4S

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Ross Catanzariti

Ross Catanzariti

PC World

35 Comments

maikai.guy

1

Apple store wins over Android Market? Really? Maybe last year. Isn't that a preference rather than a reality at this point?

Processors are a draw? The A5 is not a more advanced processor than an A9... and with the Nexus being clocked a full 50% faster... winner = Galaxy Nexus

user

2

what about durability? if I have a two year contract, which will hold up better in the long run...

Dianne

3

Please, please tell me that this was written to be a parody of spec-based comparison reviews.

Geoff

4

Good comparison Ross. Pretty close call by the look of it. It seems the main differentiators are the size & user focus. Apple makes it easy, Android makes it powerful. I believe the Nexus GSM variant has a pentaband hspa+21 radio & the iPhone has quadband hspa 14. Not much difference really.

Ross Catanzariti

5

@maikai.guy: I still believe iOS apps are generally more polished than Android Apps, though you're right, it will more often than not come down to user preference.

@user: I believe both will hold up great. iPhone 4S build may prove to be a little better, but despite being plastic the Galaxy Nexus definitely feels durable.

@Geoff: Thanks, definitely a very close call. Good point on the HSDPA, I should probably add that in even if its a minor point.

Bob

6

The Nexus is a Penta phone not a quad phone. However it doesn't support CDMA. It also support faster download speeds than iphone.

JB

7

How do you ding the Nexus for dimensions and declare it the winner for screen size? Of course it's going to be longer and wider... for the exact reasons that you gave it 'the win' on screen size. Yet, it's slimmer than the 4S.

Horse

8

Ross, How good is Undinese!!

Juju

9

@Ross Catanzariti
You did not answer maikai.guy's question about A5 vs. A9 comparison.

Smakdown

10

The A5 SoC has the latest GPU I believe. Which leads the market. The GN is clocked higher, but I dont we would see much of a difference

Andy

11

The iPhones processor isnt even close to the g-nex's. The iphones is underclocked to 800mhz, which is exactly what my OG droid is set to.

Smakdown

12

You do know this is a dual core processor, right? Im not saying one is better than the other (Except the GPU), but I bet the speed would be Indistinguishable between the two during daily use. I just want the thing to be released!!!!

Alex

13

All of you talking about the Nexus Processor blowing away the Iphone 4s are on crack. Yes, it is clocked higher, but in real world use what's going to be most noticeable is your battery draining because of the higher clock speed. There's a reason apple only clocks their process at 800 mhz, because they know it's more than sufficient to handle anything you want to do, and won't drain your battery as much. About the only benchmark the G-nex wins is in the browser benchmarks, and that is primarily due to the higher clock speed. So do I want website to load 1-2 seconds faster, or do I want my battery to last all day? I'm taking battery every time. And the A5 vs A9 comparison makes no sense. The A5 is a SoC that contains ARM cortex A9's in it.

MIke

14

@Alex... What about all the complaints of poor battery life on the iphone 4s and the so-called fix? I wouldn't be so sure that that the iphone one-ups the nexus on battery life even with the lower clocked speed (Ross seems to agree Galaxy Nexus is even slightly better in his battery life comparison.) Clocked speed is really a mute point however; what really matters is how well the OS handles its tasks at hand. The clocked speed has an effect, but some of the posted benchmarks show the iphone loosing in browsing processing, yet winning in graphics processing- for example: http://www.tomsguide.com/us/Galaxy-Nexus-Benchmarks-iPhone-4S-Speed-Fastest-Phone,news-13257.html

We all know iphones, and IOS(x) have always been super responsive, with zero lag… they've had that part down pat. On the other hand- iphone has been catching up to Android in multi-tasking and notifications, where Android has been catching up to IOS with lag-free processing, and less buggy apps. They both have really started to equal out. It comes down to what you want in an OS's functionality as well as hardware, and the quality of it, where each has its strengths over the other. Beating to death the argument of which is better is never going to be a definitive answer, and the riff-raff between IOS and Android users is comical, yet more, and more so annoying. Why can't we just give these developers BOTH some love?

We live in a day of age when we hold a mini-super computer in our hands, and it's only going to get better. I guess arguing the word BETTER between the two will always keep competition strong, but at some point, I'm going to stop reading the comments, because I just can't take the bickering any longer, nor those who want to squash honest reviewers like Ross who are just trying to get useful information (not always 100% factual, but opinion matters as well…) to their readers. On the other hand some other reviewers are terribly one-sided.

Generally, it was a good review among the many out there… Thanks Ross.

Mike^2

15

I don't comment often, but I am 100% with the Mike above. The bickering is very annoying and there are too many fanboys on both sides. While i am an android user and dont really care to use an iOS device, I do believe thre are certain people for both. Power and customization = android, clean and ease of use= iOS . You should be able to choose the one that suites you best without being ridiculed by the other.

JoeUser

16

Dont see much mention of nfc. Have google wallet on my nexus S and it is too awesome. wallet is now on phone. NFC is the future and google was first. Please include this in future reviews. If apple were to put nfc in a phone, it would be mentioned in every review as some key feature... android does it and its hardly mentioned.

inexperienced

18

As my name states I am inexperienced in all of these new smart phones however I find myself wanting to keep up with technology so I set out to find a few things out. What stopped me dead in my tracks unfortunately, is that if anything happens to the iphone, it can only be repaired by apple, and one worse for me, is that if the battery goes on the iphone, it has to be sent back, and there goes my phone for who knows how long......anyway from someone who is inexperienced that is what has made the difference for me.......cheers all......

Ever

19

Definitively a victory for the Galaxy Nexus, buying that when is available on Verizon.

Fred

20

There was no mention of the quality of phone quality. After all that is the most important capability.

ANgel

21

All of you talking about the Nexus Processor blowing away the Iphone 4s are on crack. Yes, it is clocked higher, but in real world use what's going to be most noticeable is your battery draining because of the higher clock speed. There's a reason apple only clocks their process at 800 mhz, because they know it's more than sufficient to handle anything you want to do, and won't drain your battery as much. About the only benchmark the G-nex wins is in the browser benchmarks, and that is primarily due to the higher clock speed. So do I want website to load 1-2 seconds faster, or do I want my battery to last all day? I'm taking battery every time. And the A5 vs A9 comparison makes no sense. The A5 is a SoC that contains ARM cortex A9's in it.

actually that chip is two a8s

Jennifer

22

My friend just bought me the iphone 4... When talking on it it keeps cutting in and out to where they can't hear me most of the time. Does the iphone 4s do this? or should i go with the galaxy nexus?

Drew

23

How is the processor speed a draw? The Nexus is considerably faster than the 4S. Also, how are the markets in favor of the 4S? They both have their advantages, and should be a draw.

Drew

24

EDIT TO MY PREVIOUS COMMENT:
In addition, I really don't understand why Apple gets as much attention as they do. Android had a slide-down notification system for years. Now that Apple introduced it, it's suddenly a huge advancement in smart phones. The same goes with Siri. Voice commands? Really? So 2007. Yes, you can have a conversation with Siri. So Apple is telling us we really don't need friends anymore. Just our phones. I've owned the iPod Touch, and I thought it was the best thing since sliced bread. Then I got an Android phone, and sold my iPod Touch for $50. Haven't regretted it once.

ocybero

25

jennifer, it happens when vodafone is your carrier

AppleSux

26

You forgot to award points to the Galaxy Nexus because you never have to deal with Apple Tech Support.

Pat

27

Jennifer iPhone 4S are worst then iPhone 4 had a samsung galaxy for a bit great phone I can't tell u how bad iphone4s are

TuscanCowboy

28

I am literally confused. I just want to know which one os a better deal for my money. My girlfriend has the new IPhone, and I've tried it out and it's very easy to use. Plus I can get it with a new contract very cheap, if not free. But I think I'd like the Galaxy. I don't know the cost of it though, and I get worried about how long it will last. Apple seems to have such incredible quality. While these comments were somewhat helpful, they mostly just addressed specs, and not price. Not to mention, the bickering is just useless. Ford...Chevy...Ford...pointless! Wouldn't somebody buy a hot, fast car that costs less and performs almost the same as another hot, fast car?

Asitejust

29

Theres more FREE apps in the android store than the ISTORE. I would go an android any day over an apple. Superior navigation vs the apple navigation which is reliant on hardware buttons.

Tony

30

DON'T BE FOOLED WITH ANDROID/SAMSUNG PRODUCT AND SAVE YOUR MONEY

GOOGLE PROVIDE NO SUPPORT ON ITS PRODUCT AND THE SAME GOES TO SAMSUNG.

The following is a list of faults with your Android Software on the Samsung Galaxy Nexus I have encountered to date and others as well such as my friends and also if you do your research on the internet:

• Volume is very low. The latest ICS update 4.0.2 does not fix this issue.
• Accelerometer pulls to the left. It is not aligned.
• Android email native app does not support S/MIME. Customers need to purchase a third party app such as Touchdown in order to connect to their Exchange Servers ($20.00 gone). Google/Samsung advertise that we canconnect to corporate emails EASILY. Actually at times we can’t at all. http://www.google.com/nexus/# As the native mail app does not support S/MIME I really don’t understand how they can advertise that we can connect to corporate emails easily. My guestimate would be approximately 80% of companies are unable to connect or if not more.
• Android on occasions reboots for no known reason. Even during a call whilst the phone rings.
• Multi touch does not work properly.
• Screen sometimes does not rotate with ease.
• Phone’s battery life is atrocious
• Poor 3G connectivity and in some cases no internet connection at all while in the middle of the city with a mobile tower above me.

GOOGLE AND SAMSUNG YOU ARE PATHETIC. THEY SHOULD BE SUED AND PROVIDE FULL REFUNDS TO ITS CUSTOMERS.

Blergan

31

apple devices are made to be simple. people jailbreak their iphones when really the should just buy an android..... what apple does it does perfectly, it doesn't stuff anything up instead it just doesn't release those features. Android on the other hand allow you to customise your phone exactly how you want it. People buy apple for its ease of use and simplicity, people buy android so that they can get flash support and so they can fully customise their phones. I use apple products (iphone 4 and macbook pro) and love them both. I probably will only buy apple products for the rest of my life but thats just me.
In reality the galaxy nexus wins because of the amount of features offered + the amount of customisation allowed. the apple app store still beats the android market though and apple support is still the best of any company i know of. Just think though, if apple made the galaxy nexus then that would be the perfect phone!

No one important

32

People jailbreak ther iphones cuz you can get both the features of third party apps and simplicity of apple software. Compared to the Apple appstore, Google's play store is just too unorganised. And plus, you can't really purchase movies and tv shows or download podcasts. It also doesn't show what you're searching for and instead shows a whole lot of other apps that have nothing to do with the one you've searched for. Maybe google offers more free apps, but seeing as the apps cost only a few dollars, the app store is a definite win.

roflmao

33

your all a bunch of idiots lol shut the #'@{ up

pokepal101

34

Internals is a DRAW? You crazy?
More RAM and better processor is definitely better than more storage...

LAURA

35

what about the SAR count on each...very important to health both the regular and the body SAR please compare that, thanks so much

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