The iPhone 4S is one of the best smartphones of the year, and for the first time it is going up against an incredibly capable phone — the Galaxy Nexus.
The iPhone 4S didn’t bring a radical design change, but thanks to many improvements in hardware, a new version of iOS and a thriving ecosystem, the iPhone 4S is better than the Galaxy Nexus in a number of ways.
Read: iPhone 4S Review
The iPhone 4S has issues, but it is still better than the Galaxy Nexus in a number of ways.
Yesterday I shared 10 Reasons the Galaxy Nexus is better than the iPhone 4S, and today, you get to see the flipside.
As many of you pointed out, some of these reasons center around software. That’s because software and hardware need to gel together perfectly to deliver a great experience.
I’m lucky enough to use both of these devices on a daily basis, which allows me to share where each is better, but in the end your best phone will be the one that fits your pocket, your usage and your hand the best.
As I mentioned in our review of the iPhone 4S, Siri is a major new feature on the iPhone 4S. While Siri is not perfect, the service is way ahead of Android Voice control options. Any phone can call a contact with your voice, but Siri does much more.
My favorite use of Siri is for simple tasks that would normally require several taps and precious time. Setting alarms, reminders or appointments with Siri is much easier than doing so with your fingers and the actual apps.
Couple this with the fact that Siri handles most naturally spoken request with ease and you have a clear winner. I do wish Siri had more small town locations in the database, but the number of tasks I can reliably use Siri for more than makes up for this shortcoming.
While the Android market has come a long way in the last year, I still find myself drawn to apps on the iPhone more than on the Galaxy Nexus.
When it comes to games, there are many more games I want to play on the iPhone 4S, like Anomaly Warzone Earth HD, Bike Baron, Infinity Blade II and others, than on the Galaxy Nexus. It’s also great to be able to bring these apps to the iPad as well. Sure, you can do this with some Android apps, but there is still not an Android tablet I would want to own.
On the iPhone, I also don’t have to worry about losing access to Hulu just because the company doesn’t like that I can watch shows on an HD display.
Add in the fact that most iPhone apps look nicer and have more intuitive interfaces than on the Galaxy Nexus and it is point to the iPhone 4S and Apple.
Screen, Size and Pocketability
Do I love the large HD widescreen display on the Galaxy Nexus? Absolutely, but the iPhone 4S also has a beautiful screen that has its own better features.
While the Galaxy Nexus display looks nice, when you set it next to the iPhone 4S, you can see that the iPhone 4S has whiter whites and does much better when displaying text thanks to the pixel packed Retina Display.
The 3.5″ screen size is a major plus for some users, like Tobias Buckell and Warner Crocker. I still prefer a larger screen, but love the pocketability of the iPhone 4S, which is directly related to the size of the iPhone 4S’ display.
The iPhone has an easy win here. Built with metal and glass that come together to form an extremely solid body that feels great to hold in the hand, the iPhone 4S has an amazing build quality.
The Galaxy Nexus may look nice and feel good for plastic, but it is still plastic, and plastic just can’t compete here.
iPhone 4S battery life is great for most users, unlike the Galaxy Nexus. The Nexus has decent battery life under the right conditions, but thanks to the 4G LTE battery life has trouble keeping up with that of the iPhone 4S.
I am consistently able to get through a full day of use on the iPhone 4S without recharging, something that isn’t always guaranteed with the Galaxy Nexus. While the Nexus battery life is getting better, I do enjoy not having to think about battery life while carrying the iPhone 4S.
For very heavy usage days, like at CES or while traveling, I still pack a battery case for the iPhone, but it isn’t always with me like a spare Galaxy Nexus battery is.
iOS 5, AirPlay and Compatibility
Android 4.0 is a major leap forward for Android, and it is very snappy and great to use on the Galaxy Nexus, but iOS 5 still has a host of features that work better and provide a better user experience.
PhotoStream is a central part of iOS 5 that moves the pictures you take on your iPhone to all your mobile devices and your computers. You can use Picasa on the Galaxy Nexus, but again, Apple’s solution works better.
iOS also brings AirPlay to the iPhone 4S, allowing you to stream video and mirror your iPhone to your big screen with an Apple TV. The Galaxy Nexus has WiFi Direct, which does some of the same things in theory, but you’ll need to find a DLNA capable TV and figure out how to set it all up.
Also, as I mentioned, you can use the iPhone 4S apps on the iPad and you can use the iPhone to control an Apple TV. This compatibility between devices is a big win, and until Android has a thriving ecosystem and a better tablet selection an area where it will lose out to the iPhone.
When it comes to cameras, the iPhone 4S is still a winner. The large sensor and superior low light performance on the iPhone 4S combine with faster access to the camera to beat the Galaxy Nexus. You can see a sample photo taken with the iPhone 4S camera below.
The Galaxy Nexus allows you to swipe left to launch the camera, but it takes much longer to get to the actual camera. This delay is enough that those of you trying to take pictures of a small child or a pet will miss your shot.
The inclusion of PhotoStream and simpler editing controls on the iPhone give it another leg up on the Galaxy Nexus.
Unlike the Galaxy Nexus, you can get the iPhone 4S on multiple carriers. This is great news for a number of reasons.
First, you can choose the network that works best where you work, live and travel. While Verizon has a great network, there are still a number of places where Sprint or AT&T work better.
Second, If you already have unlimited data with AT&T, you may not want to switch to Verizon where there is no more unlimited data available.
Finally, the ability to purchase plans that fit your needs, or opt for the unlimited plan on Sprint is a nice touch.
We may see a Galaxy Nexus on AT&T, but that’s just a rumor.
Surprisingly, Apple beats Samsung on price. The entry-level iPhone is $100 cheaper than the Galaxy Nexus.
Sure, the Galaxy Nexus has 32GB of storage and the iPhone 4S only has 16GB, but many users don’t need the extra storage, and the prospect of saving $100 is a big deal for many users.
When you add in all the other reasons the iPhone 4S is better than the Galaxy Nexus, a lower price is icing on the cake.
Cases, Accessories and Docks
When you buy an iPhone 4S, not only do you get the above features, but you also get access to thousands of accessories.
From cases to speakers, the iPhone 4S has many times more accessories than the Galaxy Nexus. This isn’t just because the iPhone 4S works with iPhone 4 accessories.
In addition to the wide variety of cases, docks and accessories, there is also built-in support for the iPhone in many vehicles — connecting your iPhone to the steering wheel and in dash entertainment system controls.
Even if the Galaxy Nexus takes off in 2012, it won’t enjoy the broad range of third-party accessories as the iPhone 4S.
The iPhone 4S isn’t perfect by a longshot, but it does offer an incredible user experience that even the best competition, like the Galaxy Nexus, has trouble competing with.
Before you go off calling me an Apple fanboy, be sure to read 10 reasons the Galaxy Nexus is better than the iPhone 4S. Each of these phones handles certain tasks better than the other, and will be a better fit for different users.
For now, I still take both phones with me on a daily basis, but sooner or later I will settle on one device as my primary phone. The iPhone 4S was out in the lead, but the many Android 4.0 improvements and Galaxy Nexus performance is helping the android camp.