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 4SHTC Sensation XEMotorola Atrix 2
SIM Free Cost£519.99£581.76£429.95£299.99
Cost with contract£59.00£169.00FreeFree
Resale valuen/an/an/an/a
New battery cost£19.99£62.44
Bluetooth MP3sYesNo!YesYes
Alternative OSesYesNoYesYes
Copy files without softwareYesNoYesYes
Replaceable batteryYesNoYesYes
Non-Market AppsYesNoYesYes
SD Card SupportNoNoYesYes
Standard SIM CardsYesNoYesYes
Cost of games£1.22£2.07£1.22£1.22
Sat NavFreeNoFreeFree
Roll-back to older versionsYesNoYesYes
Known flaws (unfixed)Volume issue (fixed – Android 4.0.1 OTA)IOS5 battery life issuen/an/a
Major updatesGuaranteed 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/an/a
Weight125g (150g CDMA)140g151g147g
Thickness8.9mm (9.5mm CDMA)9.3mm11.3mm10mm
Screen Resolution720×1280640×960540×960540×960
Screen Size4.65″3.5″4.3″4.3″
Screen pixel density316ppi330ppi256ppi256ppi
Storage16Gb (32Gb available)16Gb (32Gb and 64Gb available)4Gb8Gb
Memory (RAM)1Gb512Mb768Mb1Gb
CPU1.2GHz Cortex-A9~800MHz Cortex-A91.5GHz MSM82601.0GHz Cortex-A9
GPUPowerVR SGX540PowerVR SGX543MP2Adreno 220PowerVR SGX540
Standby Time270h (150h CDMA)200h310h382h
Talk Time17h (12h CDMA)14h9h9h
Streaming MediaDLNAAirPlay (proprietary)DLNADLNA
Max data speed21MBps14.4MBps14.4MBps21MBps
WirelessA B G NB G N33
Video chat3G, 4G, WiFiWiFi3G, 4G, WiFi3G, 4G, WiFi
Front Camera1.3Mpx0.3Mpx0.3Mpx0.3Mpx
Video Recording1080p301080p301080p301080p24
Shutter lag00.1
HDR PhotosApp £1.24IncludedApp £1.24App £1.24
Voice FunctionsYes – Google Voice / MajelYes – SiriYesYes
FM RadioNoNoYesYes
Video OutputMHL (HDMI adaptor £8)Proprietary (HDMI adaptor £30)MHLHDMI
SAR0.30 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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