5 Ways the Galaxy Nexus Beats the iPhone 4S

Google is almost ready to show off the company’s new crown jewel in the battle against the iPhone 4S, the Galaxy Nexus.

The Samsung Galaxy Nexus represents some of the best competition to the iPhone 4S, and will challenge consumers to make a choice when they walk into Verizon, to get their next phone. Here is a closer look at how the Galaxy Nexus compares to the iPhone 4S, and why you might want to make your next phone a Nexus.

While many of the Verizon customers who snap it up may not know this, the Nexus name might be the most important thing this phone has going for it. Google has been known to deliver fast updates to the Nexus smartphones, almost as to the degree that Apple delivers regular and speedy iOS  updates to the iPhone and iPad. Other Android devices may not get updates until weeks before a new major update arrives on Nexus devices.

We are still waiting on a Galaxy Nexus release date in the U.S., which might be coming after November 17th, but until you can go hands on, here are several reasons the Galaxy Nexus deserves your attention.

Looks and Build

While the iPhone is often held up as a standard of beautiful phone design, the Galaxy Nexus brings an attractive outer-shell that doesn’t need to be covered up with a case to prevent the back from shattering after a tumble.

Galaxy Nexus

Galaxy Nexus - Good Looks, No Case Needed

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I spent last week sitting in an Apple store, and was surprised by the number of busted iPhones that came in during the hour I waited. While all of my Android devices go case-less, you’ll only see the back of my iPhone when I am putting it in a different case, lest it end up like this busted iPhone 4. At least with the Galaxy Nexus you only have one side to worry about breaking.

If you’ve have been known to drop your phone from time to time and loathe cases, the Nexus has a point here.

Display

The Samsung Galaxy Nexus has a massive 4.65″ sAMOLED HD display that may be too big for some, but you cannot argue with the beauty of Samsung’s displays. The Galaxy Nexus display has a higher resolution than the iPhone 4S, which means you can see more on the display at one time for web browsing, email checking and more. The device has a slight curve to fit to your face when you make a call.

Galaxy Nexus Display

The Galaxy Nexus Display is Curved with a 720P Resolution.

If you are looking for a larger display, that packs in a high resolution you should take a closer look at the Galaxy Nexus.

4G LTE

4G LTEIf you hate waiting for your phone to download apps, videos, web pages and load up YouTube videos, the 4G LTE speeds achieved by the Galaxy Nexus on Verizon will blow you away. As you can see in our iPhone 4S vs. 4G LTE speedtest, the iPhone can’t keep up. While AT&T’s iPhone 4S comes close in some markets, it is miles behind in many others.

4G LTE is also the perfect companion to using your phone as a mobile hotspot, delivering speeds that typically exceed your home internet connection while you are on the go. Verizon 4G LTE covers 186 million people, and is planning two more roll outs this year.

If you need fast speeds for browsing, streaming and using your phone as a mobile hotspot, you can’t beat 4G LTE.

Google Experience

For customers who can’t live without access to their Google services like Gmail and Google Voice, Android handsets still deliver the best experience. You can use all of these Google services on the iPhone 4S, but it is a disjointed experience that is frustrating after using Android.

The Galaxy Nexus has Android 4.0, the newest version, which bundles in a better Gmail app that shows you more of your message, allows swiping between messages and offline search — in addition to the already great Priority Inbox support and ability to star posts. Gmail is rumored to be coming to the iPhone soon, but you shouldn’t buy a phone on promised features.

Google Voice on Android allows you to flip a switch and it handles all your calls, on the iPhone, you’ll need to head to a dedicated app, or add extra phone numbers.

If you are a heavy Google user, there are a number of advantages to getting the Galaxy Nexus.

Extras

Galaxy Nexus Face Unlock

Unlock the Nexus With Your Face

In addition to these major selling points, the Galaxy Nexus has a number of extra features that help it beat the iPhone 4S for many consumers. The one that will get the most use is Google Navigation. Unlike the iPhone 4S, your Galaxy Nexus ships with free turn by turn spoken directions, that require a pricey app purchase on the iPhone.

Next up is Face Unlock, which uses facial recognition to unlock your phone. No more swiping through your passcode when you want to get right to your phone, just hold it up to your face and — unlocked.

There is also NFC technology, which allows you to Beam stuff to other Android devices, unlock new features in Google Maps and more. We expect to see the announcement of some form of Google Wallet or NFC payment support as well, but if that’s your major buying point, hold off for the official word.

These extras may push you over the edge.

Should I Buy the iPhone 4S or the Galaxy Nexus?

Ultimately, buying a smartphone is a very personal decision. If you are comparing the iPhone 4S and the Galaxy Nexus, I think you are looking at two of the best phones to consider. Both have put a lot of attention into the camera, design and software, which makes the decision more difficult than in year’s past.

You can read our iPhone 4S review to get our full opinion on Apple’s latest smartphone, and stay tuned for a Galaxy Nexus review as soon as the U.S. release date hits.

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Stay tuned for more Galaxy Nexus news and a look at  where the iPhone 4S beats the Galaxy Nexus.

Comments

  1. Michael Anderson says

    I think one *major* thing you are missing is that the word ‘Nexus’ for Android pretty much means ‘vertical integration’.  You get ‘pure Android’ that Samsung didn’t infect with Take-a-Wiz, you will get updates and support longer than ANY 2011 (and almost all 2012) devices, and ‘fragmentation protection’- it is almost ensured to be high on the ‘compatibility testing’ list of any software released in the next year.

    That part of things makes it a virtual no-brainer if you are thinking of a new Android phone.

  2. Bigmouth says

    Google blew it by not releasing the Nexus on multiple carriers in the U.S. I’m already past it and anticipating the Galaxy Note.

    • Chris Delia says

      The Nexus and Note are apples and oranges my friend. And the Nexus will be released on multiple carries btw.

  3. Anonymous says

    I’m getting this phone… but in display, the iPhone 4S has a higher ppi than the Nexus.  Nevertheless, you can’t tell without a microscope, and I’d much rather have the larger screen.

    • Anonymous says

      But the iPhone has a lower contrast ratio, which is why the HD Super Amoled is so crisp.

      • Michael Anderson says

        You would be incorrect – Retina has TRUE 326ppi, whereas the Nexus has ‘simulated’ 315ppi.  But due to the pentile (subpixel sharing) technology the ‘true’ resolution is more like 220ppi.

        Still a great screen, but let’s keep things real ;)

        • Salanmon says

           Nexus has 1280 x 720 pixels  on a 4.65″ it doesn’t need to simulated a higher ppi it’s physically there
          and iPhone’s Retina Display is already higher than it needs to be, both will visually have the same sharpness

      • Michael Anderson says

        @pants-on-fire and @Salanmon:

        I am quite happy with my crappy resolution Droid Pro… so I am not honestly concerned. But my point is not about what you can see or detect with or without microscope, but what is technical reality. You can be sure if the Nexus had a higher PPI that people (perhaps even you ) would be getting all frothed up about a major technical victory or whatever …

        So please stick to facts – yes, the iPod screen is higher resolution. No, it really doesn’t matter.

        • Michael Anderson says

          UtilityBelt – if you actually took 5 seconds to do a bit of research instead of just automatically spewing mindless anti-Apple nonsense, you would discover that the 3.5″ screen is not an accident but rather the result of haptic research.  Rather than aiming at a niche, Apple took a ‘works for most people’ approach and found that for the majority of people, a 3.5″ screen means TRUE one-handed capability on the entire screen.  Whereas with a 4.3″ screen you suddenly have 50% of the screen unreachable.

        • Someonewhoknowsshit says

          Iphone 4s RESOLUTION is 600×940 which is lower than 720×1280 this is the clear proof of how effective apple marketing is that their users think they have something when they dont. If encapsuled a 320×640 display in half an inch having a ppi nearly 500 what screen has the higher resolution?

  4. Everbrave says

    The most important criterion for me to decide on a smart phone is how it integrates in my work-flow.
    I have an Apple environment (2 iMac, 2 MacBook Air, 1 MacBook Pro, iPad and iPad 2). So, for me, the iPhone (3G, 4 and 4S) is an obvious choice. It really depends on how one uses the device. If I add the App store, then it is almost certain that I will stay with the iPhone for years to come.
    The feature-to-feature, let alone HW, comparison isn’t the way this type of devices are to be compared today.

    • Justin Giersdorf says

      That’s exactly why I won’t use Apple products.  I don’t want to be strong armed into having to use their devices.  Google is available across the board on many different platforms and the Android software doesn’t require to use specific computers/tablets/phones.  Apple makes great products.  But they aren’t nearly what people try to make them out to be.  They are second to none in promoting their products though.  They create a sense of paranoia when they release a product.  It’s impressive.  As is their customer service.

    • Jack O'Neill says

      what you pay in the appstore, we get a lot for free with android, like music, television, movies and apps. guess if you enjoy giving apple money for stuff you could be getting free, se la vi.

      Biggest reason apple doesn’t want flash on its devices is because people would not be buying apple’s music, tv, movies and other stuff when they could get it free elsewhere 

      • Sms says

        You’re stupid. The app store has many of the same free apps as android. I had a d2 and went for the i4s and its a decision I do not regret. 1) I don’t have 300 fucking dollars on a phone where google will make something better two months later whereas with apple I can go one year and enjoy my phone without worrying about having something better come out. 2) I use to have a itouch and had many apps that android market did not have. In not a fanboy and Experiencing android was awesome. I loved it but most of their free apps on the market are crapware

        • Sms says

          (cont) and pointless and the market didn’t have much of the apps I had back on iOS. Look at Motorola. First the droid bionic which has been out for a month and already they have the droid raZr coming out which is better than the bionic. And you say we’re throwing our money at apple?

  5. pants-on-fire says

    I got 4 ipods, and an 2 ipacs. An imac and an icrack, an ismack, 3 ibex and 2 aye-aye an iPhone and an ispy.

  6. Kevin N says

    Big one I’d add — Google Maps on Android has (excellent) voice-guided turn-bu-turn navigation. Not in iPhone. Instead you need a third-party paid app.

    • Michael Anderson says

      Definitely agree – that is a HUGE advantage. I was testing a WIndows Phone 7 HTC 7 Pro and used the built-in navigation compared to my Droid Pro and it would have sent me 30 minutes out of my way (on a 2 hour drive!).

    • Anonymous says

      Reason 2 I won’t leave android. VZ navigator sucks gorilla balls. And is sure as hell not worth 10 dollars a month or whatever it is they charge.

      • Michael Anderson says

        Of course, if you have a Verizon Android phone you HAVE VZNavigator … and speaking personally it tries to force it down my throat at every turn.  A friend with a VZW iPhone lacks the awesome Google Nav … but also doesn’t deal with VZ Navigator and other crapware loaded on Android phones.

  7. Donal says

    “you shouldn’t buy a phone on promised features.”
    Hypocritical, to say the least. This article states in the title that the Galaxy Nexus beats the iPhone 4S, but the Nexus isn’t even out yet.
    Apple doesn’t want flash on it’s devices because it’s a horrible technology for watching videos on. 5-10 mins of flash video causes my fans to kick into overdrive, and the onmly other thing that has that effect is running games!

    • Anonymous says

      your fans kick on into overdrive from flash video on your PC? lol. If thats the case, then the game you are playing must be checkers. 

      • Michael Anderson says

        Oh please, serious minded people don’t even debate that *at best* Flash could be described as ‘ a necessary evil’.  It is documented as one of the most security flawed pieces of web-based software out there, with demonstrated performance degradation as well.

        Not that I know what that has to do with anything … 

  8. DylanSten says

    The best thing about android is it freedom and adaptability. Android can play .avi .flv .mp3 .mp4 .aac .mov and pretty much any other media type (and Flash). I can download movies using torrents on my phone and watch them, without ever needing a PC. I can also plug in an android phone to any computer and copy music/movies/files like a flash drive, without itunes. Iphones must covert media to apples file type (massive pain in the ass). There is no comparison for me. Anyone who requires freedom and adaptability will choose the android platform.

  9. Anonymous says

    iPhone has the iCloud for saving your entire profile. What does Google offer that’s equivalent? Does it have remote wipe, app settings, contacts?

    • NorthDeer says

      Android has always been cloud-connected, letting users browse the web and
      sync photos, apps, games, email, and contacts — wherever they are and
      across all of their devices.

    • B Muns says

      5 gigs is nowhere near enough to save an entire profile.  That won’t even cover half of my music that is maintained on my phone.  Also, i can access these files from anyone’s computer (google music).  I’ve had a remote wipe capability on my phone since 2006 with an HTC Mogul (Windows Mobile 6).  Contacts have always been backed up to a remote server with android.  

        • Michael Anderson says

          The 5GB’s doesn’t include actual purchased music.  Well, purchased from iTunes.  If, like me, you buy loads from Amazon to save ~10% on everything, then it DOES count – but then you have it on your Amazon Music locker.  

  10. guest says

    i saw the speed test but i cant trust it because the iphone was only at 2 percent battery and the nexus was almost full battery 

    • Btc5472 says

      battery has nothing to do with anything. The iPhone sucks battery at until its dry. it doesnt slow internet speeds to save battery when the battery is low. Some droids turn off backround data to save battery when it gets low, but doesnt slow internet speeds. The nexus is just faster. The nexus has allot faster processor and it has 4g LTE. The iPhone doesnt. LTE is faster and that is a concrete fact. The nexus is better for speed, and just about everything else

    • Michael Anderson says

      Thing to remember – resolution is not just pixels, it is pixels per inch.  720×1280 is very different on a 4.65″ screen than a 10″ screen for example.  So as noted before the PPI are slightly higher on the iPhone 4S … not that anyone would notice in actual use.  As for whether having a nearly 5″ screen is a good thing … well, we know it is worse ergonomically and impossible to use for most people as a 1-handed device.  But again, that depends on person and usage.

  11. DesQEDo says

    Well, all those who are just talking about this phone – I’ve got one! It’s the best  thing since sliced bread and the iPhone 4S, that I also have, can’t touch it! I’ve got that free 50 GB from Box.net and will sync what Google doesn’t to that soon. It’s such a breath of fresh air and is a really Smart Phone. Android 4.0.1 does it and the learning curve is really not that steep, rather more logical. I love it! Oh, and the best case for this phone that is a bit slippery in the hand is from Buffalo. namely the iBuffalo
    BSMPSC04DTXX I already have, beats CaseMate’s Barely There that I also got hands down.
    So now, when the phone comes your way you know what to do: get it and that iBuffalo case.
    I’m so stoked! unbelievable…makes me smile when I see it or use it… Big it is, but not unwieldy.

  12. Djp5gfc says

    The Galaxy Nexus needs to be more robust. Broken screen on day one (screen not covered by warranty). Two weeks without the phone and $200 repair bill.

    And the screen is great to look at it, but it certainly is not a one-hand phone.

    I regret not going Apple.

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