0HTC Desire Android LogoSamsung Galaxy Nexus Prime v Apple Iphone 4S

With the recent release of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus Prime and the Apple Iphone 4S, I thought I’d do a quick comparison of the 2 devices.  I’ve also included data and specs for 2 other high-end recent smartphones, the HTC Sensation XE and the Motorola Atrix 2.

Galaxy Nexus (GSM Region) Iphone 4S HTC Sensation XE Motorola Atrix 2
SIM Free Cost £519.99 £581.76 £429.95 £299.99
Cost with contract £59.00 £169.00 Free Free
Resale value n/a n/a n/a n/a
New battery cost £19.99 £62.44
Bluetooth MP3s Yes No! Yes Yes
Alternative OSes Yes No Yes Yes
Copy files without software Yes No Yes Yes
Replaceable battery Yes No Yes Yes
Non-Market Apps Yes No Yes Yes
SD Card Support No No Yes Yes
Standard SIM Cards Yes No Yes Yes
Cost of games £1.22 £2.07 £1.22 £1.22
Sat Nav Free No Free Free
Roll-back to older versions Yes No Yes Yes
Known flaws (unfixed) Volume issue (fixed – Android 4.0.1 OTA) IOS5 battery life issue n/a n/a
Major updates Guaranteed full updates for 18 months minimum, history implies premium devices get at least 2 major updates feature complete, with the option for longer term updates via 3rd party releases. Likely to get several generations of updates but with almost all new features missing. Once official support is gone there are very few options due to lack of OSS community. n/a n/a
Weight 125g (150g CDMA) 140g 151g 147g
Thickness 8.9mm (9.5mm CDMA) 9.3mm 11.3mm 10mm
Screen Resolution 720×1280 640×960 540×960 540×960
Screen Size 4.65″ 3.5″ 4.3″ 4.3″
Screen pixel density 316ppi 330ppi 256ppi 256ppi
Storage 16Gb (32Gb available) 16Gb (32Gb and 64Gb available) 4Gb 8Gb
Memory (RAM) 1Gb 512Mb 768Mb 1Gb
CPU 1.2GHz Cortex-A9 ~800MHz Cortex-A9 1.5GHz MSM8260 1.0GHz Cortex-A9
GPU PowerVR SGX540 PowerVR SGX543MP2 Adreno 220 PowerVR SGX540
Standby Time 270h (150h CDMA) 200h 310h 382h
Talk Time 17h (12h CDMA) 14h 9h 9h
Streaming Media DLNA AirPlay (proprietary) DLNA DLNA
Max data speed 21MBps 14.4MBps 14.4MBps 21MBps
Bluetooth 3 4 3 3
Wireless A B G N B G N 3 3
NFC Yes No No No
A-GPS Yes Yes Yes Ye
Video chat 3G, 4G, WiFi WiFi 3G, 4G, WiFi 3G, 4G, WiFi
Camera 5Mpx 8Mpx 8Mpx 8Mpx
Front Camera 1.3Mpx 0.3Mpx 0.3Mpx 0.3Mpx
Video Recording 1080p30 1080p30 1080p30 1080p24
Shutter lag 0 0.1
HDR Photos App £1.24 Included App £1.24 App £1.24
Java Yes No Yes Yes
Flash Yes No Yes Yes
Voice Functions Yes – Google Voice / Majel Yes – Siri Yes Yes
FM Radio No No Yes Yes
Video Output MHL (HDMI adaptor £8) Proprietary (HDMI adaptor £30) MHL HDMI
SAR 0.30 W/kg (0.63 W/kg CDMA) 0.99 W/kg

Final Score: Galaxy Nexus 33 – 4 Iphone 4S.  9 draws.

Some of the contests were really too close to matter in which case I’ve scored a draw (e.g. pixel density). The spec comparisons are largely meaningless of course as it’s the responsiveness of the phone that matters, not the clock speed of its CPU.  However it’s not easy to quantify “responsiveness”, and any conclusion is bound to be called biased by fanboi, so I’ve included the specs.  The Galaxy won standard SIM card support because the Iphone only supports mini sim cards, and altho a normal sim card can be cut to fit most users will shy away from doing this (and it prevents you putting the SIM back into a normal phone).  The HDR photos was a draw because although the Iphone includes it, apps for android can do the job for a negligible impact on the overall cost comparison. Voice support was a draw for 3 reasons: 1 – although I concede Siri is a bit slicker than current Android offerings, voice support isn’t actually very widely used, 2 – android will very soon have a superior equivalent to Siri which ties all the existing google voice functions together with google’s huge wealth of mined data, and 3 – voice support before Siri was always superior on android but no-one ever bothered to give any credit for it then and I don’t believe features should only be given credit after Apple have included them.  Obviously some things are more important than others, but overall, it isn’t difficult to conclude that the Galaxy is technically superior, is likely to receive better support, has longer battery life, has a much lower SAR, and is a bit cheaper.  Unless your house is already full of Apple-only hardware the Galaxy Nexus is going to “talk” to more of your existing hardware without fuss too (e.g. Video Calls to Windows PCs, Cheaper Video output to your HD TV, joining Wireless-A networks, Sending files from your old phone via Bluetooth, or streaming media via DLNA).  The Iphone takes better quality photos, is a better (if more costly) platform for gaming, and will satisfy those people who people who need to have “the” most fashionable item – for everything else the Galaxy Nexus is the comprehensive winner.

Updated 17-Dec-2011.

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