Google’s October 29th Android event was washed out by Hurricane Sandy, but the company still decided to press on anyway, unleashing a flurry of Nexus announcements earlier this week which included the launch of the heavily rumored Nexus 4. Unlike last year’s Nexus which hit the U.S. in December, the Nexus 4 will be coming stateside next month and it will be doing battle with several heavyweight devices including the Samsung Galaxy Note 2.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 is Samsung’s latest phablet and one of the most anticipated devices of the year. And while it boasts some advantages over the Nexus 4, which we detailed in our 6 Ways the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 Beats the Nexus 4, the Nexus 4 returns the favor in several areas.
Like the Galaxy Note 2, the Nexus 4 isn’t a perfect device. However, there are definitely some ways that it trumps the Galaxy Note 2, one of its top contenders. And just about all of them come outside of the scope of hardware.
The Nexus 4 and Galaxy Note 2 are both hardware beasts. Both feature exquisite HD displays, quad-core processors, and decent enough cameras. But where the Nexus 4 shines is where the Nexus devices have always shined, its software.
Let’s take a look at six ways the Nexus 4 beats the Samsung Galaxy Note 2.
One of the first things you’ll notice about the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 is its steep price tag, $299.99 on every carrier but T-Mobile which charges $370 on-contract for the device. And one of the first things you’ll notice about the Nexus 4 is its extremely cheap price tag, especially for the unlocked models.
T-Mobile will be offering up the Nexus 4 on its HSPA+ 42 network in November for $199.99 on-contract. That’s much cheaper than the Galaxy Note 2 on T-Mobile and much cheaper than the Galaxy Note 2 in general.
But where the Nexus 4 really shines is its off-contract pricing. Google has dipped extremely low this time around and for $299, customers can snag a 8GB Nexus 4 and for just $50 more, an unlocked 16GB Nexus 4.
That’s a bargain for those that don’t want to deal with contracts, don’t want to spend a lot of money, don’t care about 4G LTE, and are content using the HSPA+ networks of either T-Mobile of AT&T.
Price isn’t the only place that the Nexus 4 shines either. The Nexus 4 will, unlike most other smartphones including the Galaxy Note 2, will be coming with a pure vanilla version of Android 4.2 Jelly Bean. That means it will offer a pure Google experience, something that won’t be found on the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 which has Samsung’s TouchWiz fingerprints all over it.
If you want Android in its purest form, without any crapware from carriers, the Nexus is the only way to go for that. And as someone who owns a Samsung Galaxy Nexus, it would be hard to ever convince me to get a non-Vanilla Android smartphone again.
As it’s a Nexus device, the Nexus 4 will be getting quicker than normal updates courtesy of Google. The unlocked versions of the Nexus 4 will likely be among the first to receive major Android updates and will also be treated to quick bug fixes for any issues that may arise. It’s unclear how T-Mobile’s version will operate but we assume that it won’t pose the same kind of interference that Verizon did with the Galaxy Nexus.
Either way, the Nexus 4 for T-Mobile will also get its updates long before the Galaxy Note 2 gets its upgrade.
Speaking of the Galaxy Note 2, it, like many other Android phones in the U.S., will unfortunately be at the mercy of American carriers when it comes to upgrades. U.S. carriers are notoriously slow to get their phones updated with bug fix updates and major Android upgrades.
The Galaxy Note 2 also has the pleasure of being a unique device in that it features different software and a larger display than other devices. This means that its updates could take even longer to roll out. Just look at the original Samsung Galaxy Note which took forever to get Android 4.0 and is still without Android 4.1 Jelly Bean.
Those that want quick updates and lots of bug fixing will want to look at the Nexus 4.
Android 4.2 Out of Box
With the launch of the Nexus 4 came the anticipated announcement of Android 4.2, the latest version of Jelly Bean which looks to improve upon Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, the operating system that will be on the Samsung Galaxy Note 2.
The Nexus 4 will have Android 4.2 Jelly Bean and all of its features, which can be seen in the video below, when it arrives in November. That means users will have access to the new Photo Sphere, gesture enhanced keyboard, new Quick Settings, Daydream and a whole lot more.
Samsung Galaxy Note 2 owners, on the other hand, will likely be waiting well into 2013 before the software upgrade arrives. Samsung has not even said when Android 4.2 will hit any of its devices so its safe to assume that there will be a lengthy wait.
While the Samsung Galaxy Note 2’s display is great for watching content, it means that the device itself is absolutely enormous. Specifically, the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 is 151.1 x 80.5 x 9.4mm thin with a weight of 6.35 oz which is equal to 180 grams.
While fairly thin, that’s extremely large and heavy for a smartphone. Those that had issues gripping the original Galaxy Note with one hand will likely run into the same problem here with the Galaxy Note 2.
The Nexus 4 is smaller, thinner and lighter than the Galaxy Note 2 which means that it will be easier to hold and much easier to put into one’s pocket. The Nexus 4 is 133.9 x 68.7 x 9.1 mm thin and weighs just 139 grams.
Built-In Wireless Charging
Lastly, unlike the Samsung Galaxy Note 2, the Nexus 4 will come with built-in wireless charging, of the Qi standard. Google, at some point, will be releasing a Wireless Charging Orb companion for the Nexus 4 which will allow the Nexus 4 to wirelessly charge while it sits in Daydream mode and shows off photos from one’s Gallery or news from Google Currents.
And it will so without the use of any sort of cords, or third-party attachments.
Users should also be able to purchase a wireless charger like the Energizer Wireless charger to use with the Nexus 4.