In just a few short weeks, Google will put two new Nexus smartphone on shelves, tempting consumers who may have been interested in the Nexus 4, HTC One, or Samsung Galaxy S4. The device’s which are for the moment called HTC One Nexus or HTC One Google Edition and Samsung Galaxy S4 Nexus or Samsung Galaxy Google Edition, are extremely enticing smartphones and should be on the shopping lists of consumers in the market for a new handset.
At Google I/O in May, Google announced a new Nexus smartphone though, it probably wasn’t the Nexus smartphone that many expected. Instead of a new Nexus 4 or a Nexus 5, Google’s Hugo Barra took the stage and announced a brand new Samsung Galaxy S4, a Galaxy S4 Nexus with the capabilities of Google’s Nexus smartphones.
That means that it will be coming with an unlocked bootloader, quick updates directly from Google and of course, vanilla Android software just like the Nexus 4 and the Nexus 7. That means for many, the Galaxy S4 Nexus is going to be the best of both worlds. Samsung’s Galaxy S4 hardware complete with 1080p display, quad-core processor, 13MP camera, plastic design combined with vanilla Android software.
The Galaxy S4 Nexus will be arriving on the Google Play Store on June 26th but it won’t be alone. No, it will be joined by another Nexus device that Google announced just a short time ago.
Rumors suggested that HTC could be coming out with its own Nexus version of the HTC One Nexus. Initially, it denied the existence of such a device, but ultimately, Google and HTC announced an HTC One Google Edition or HTC One Nexus that will not only be joining the Galaxy S4 Nexus but the regular HTC One on shelves in June.
Suffice to say, both device are attractive options and consumers are likely debating between purchasing the two. Here, we take a close look at the most important things to know about the upcoming battle between the Samsung Galaxy S4 Nexus and the upcoming HTC One Nexus.
Even With Difference, Prices Are Steep
Maybe the most important things to know about the Samsung Galaxy S4 Nexus and the HTC One Nexus is that they will not be seeing the same discount that the Nexus 4 sees from Google. Indeed, they will be unlocked and available on the networks of AT&T and T-Mobile but they won’t come with the same type of discounted price.
Instead of a $299 or $350 price tag, the HTC One Nexus will check in with a $599 price tag while the Samsung Galaxy S4 Nexus will come with a massive $650 price tag. These are not ideal, but they are no surprising.
The Nexus 4 is in a league of its own, there are truly no other high-end phones that can come close to its price. The iPhone 5 unlocked, for example, is $650. Google also likely wanted to keep that discounted price as a feature of its yearly Nexus phones now that it has introduced other “Nexus” style devices.
So know this, consumer. These prices, while not cheap, aren’t surprising. They also aren’t likely to see any discounts through Google so don’t go expecting a price drop soon after launch.
Both Are U.S. Only, For Now
Unfortunately, both of these devices are going to be U.S. only when they arrive in the Google Play Store. That means that only those who have access to the U.S. version of the Google Play Store will be able to buy them. At least at the start.
Google left open the possibility of a Samsung Galaxy S4 Nexus coming to other regions of the world and HTC told us that while the HTC One Nexus will start as a U.S. exclusive, the device has the “potential to expand to other markets in the future.” That doesn’t necessarily guarantee a launch in other Google Play Stores however.
The device will likely need to prove itself a winner before Google and HTC decide to release it elsewhere. Same goes for the Galaxy S4. With their pricing, the devices may be a tough sell and thus, may never see the light of day abroad.
Metal vs. Plastic
One of the biggest differences that consumers should know about is the difference between their designs. Sure, the HTC One Nexus may be a little cheaper than the Samsung Galaxy S4 Nexus, but there is a good reason for that.
When it comes to the designs of these phones, there are going to be some trade-offs. First, the HTC One. It comes with an elegant full metal design that features zero gaps and the same texture throughout. It’s a marvel and a smartphone design that not only HTC, but consumers can be proud of. However, because of that design, there are some limitations, limitations that will extend to the Nexus version.
For one, the back is non-removable. That means that replacing the battery isn’t going to be easy and installing an extended battery is going to be a near impossible feat. That also means wireless charging is likely out of the picture. What’s more is that the unibody design means that there is no microSD card slot on board which means it won’t come with expandable storage.
The Samsung Galaxy S4 Nexus on the other hand will likely have a removable back, microSD card slot for expanded storage and the ability to wirelessly charge thanks to a wireless charging kit from Samsung. Yet, its design isn’t nearly as sleek as the HTC One’s.
Instead of metal, consumers will run into a plastic design that is nicer than the Galaxy S3′s plastic but still, plastic. Not the end of the world but for many, build quality is king. Same goes for expanded storage and a removable back.
Storage Won’t Be a Problem
Something else to know about these two devices is that they likely won’t encounter the same storage issues as their brethren, the regular Samsung Galaxy S4 and the HTC One. As owners of these devices have learned, storage is hard to come by thanks to the space being eaten up out of the box. In the case of the Samsung Galaxy S4 16GB, about 45% of the storage is taken. In the case of the HTC One 32GB, the smallest model, about 25GB is available right off the bat.
Problem is, the Galaxy S4 microSD card is all but useless thanks to not supporting all file types and in the case of the HTC One, it doesn’t even have a microSD card slot. This is what makes AT&T’s exclusive on the 64GB HTC One model so frustrating and what likely prompted Verizon to conclude that it needed a 32GB Galaxy S4.
Because the HTC One Nexus and the Samsung Galaxy S4 Nexus aren’t running user interfaces over Android, we don’t anticipate this being an issue with these devices. Yes, there will be storage eaten up at the start but it won’t be nearly as drastic as the 7-9GB of space that’s chewed up right from the start on the other devices.
Like any phone, these devices will come with some trade-offs that consumers simply need to be aware of when they start seriously looking into a purchase. The first of these, of course, is that they won’t work with Sprint and Verizon which means that users will be stuck with AT&T and T-Mobile, both of which have 4G LTE networks that are smaller than Verizon’s. The Nexus 4 doesn’t work with Sprint or Verizon either but the Samsung Galaxy Nexus does and it’s still available to purchase.
The regular models are available on AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon while the Galaxy S4 is available on U.S. Cellular as well. That kind of choice unfortunately does not come with these devices.
Second, the software. Since these devices will come with vanilla Android, they won’t come with the software from Samsung or HTC on board. That means no Dual Camera mode, smart features and more on the Galaxy S4 Nexus. And that means no BlinkFeed or Zoe on the HTC One. These are glaring and they may be pause for concern. HTC has said that it may make vanilla Android available to owners of the regular HTC One though it hasn’t finalized those plans.