The Nexus 4 may no longer be available on the Google Play Store but it’s still in the hands of many consumers, consumers who might be looking for something new in 2014. One device that will likely emerge on the radar is the new Samsung Galaxy S5, Samsung’s brand new Galaxy S that will land on April 11th in 150 countries.
Back in 2012, Google announced and released the Nexus 4, its fourth-generation Nexus smartphone. The device caused quite a stir at launch due to its lack of availability. LG and Google simply did not see the demand coming, demand that was caused in large part by its extremely cheap off-contract price.
The Nexus 4 featured some of the year’s best hardware, a solid design and the usual vanilla Android software. However, it also was extremely cheap, undercutting most unlocked smartphones. For example, the Nexus 4 unlocked was hundreds of dollars cheaper than Apple’s $650 16GB iPhone 5.
All good things come to an end though and the Nexus 4 was discontinued last September ahead of the Nexus 5’s launch in October. The arrival of the Nexus 5 doesn’t mean that the Nexus 4 isn’t still relevant. It certainly is, thanks to a solid user base and thanks to retailers like Amazon that still have it on shelves.
Current and prospective Nexus 4 owners weighing their options likely have seen the new. The Samsung Galaxy S5 is here to replace the Galaxy S4 and it will be touching down in only a few short weeks. As expected, the Galaxy S5 comes with a number of changes from the Galaxy S4 and on paper, it looks like it should challenge the likes of the iPhone 5s and HTC One.
While we can’t offer up an in-depth comparison between the Galaxy S5 and Nexus 4 just yet, we can touch on some of the key differences that current and prospective Nexus 4 owners will want to hone in on in the build up to the Samsung Galaxy S5’s release.
While the Nexus 4 design was different than the all-plastic Samsung Galaxy Nexus design, there are some that will argue that it wasn’t a huge improvement. The Nexus 4’s design uses plastic in the front and a combination of plastic and glass in the back. The glass is what turned some people off. It’s susceptible to damage and from our standpoint, requires a case for protection. That of course adds a little bulk and a little weight to a device that isn’t the lightest or thinnest on the market.
The Nexus 4 comes with a form factor that is 9.1mm thin and weighs 139 grams. It does not feature a removable back nor does it come with a microSD card slot for expanded storage. Users are stuck with the internal storage and the cloud.
Samsung’s new Galaxy S5 is also made of plastic. However, instead of a glass back, the Galaxy S5 design uses a unique perforated pattern on the back cover that Samsung says gives it a modern ‘glam’ look. We can confirm that it’s as stylish as the Nexus 4’s design and it’s almost certainly going to be more durable.
The Samsung Galaxy S5 does not feature glass so that’s a start. What it also features is a dust and water resistant design that the company borrowed from the Samsung Galaxy S4 Active. This makes the Galaxy S5 a rugged device and should make users feel comfortable bringing it into the elements. The Nexus 4 on the other hand, not so much.
It also comes with a microSD card slot for expanded storage and even a removable back cover so that users can install an extended battery for even more juice. And let’s not forget that Samsung has embedded a fingerprint reader inside of the Galaxy S5’s home button for added security and convenience. The Nexus 4 does not have one.
As for the dimensions, the Galaxy S5’s form factor is thinner than the Nexus 4’s, 8.1mm as opposed to 9.1mm thin, but it’s rugged frame is a little heavier and weighs 145 grams.
Nexus smartphones borrow from the best technology available and so it was not surprising to see the Nexus 4 arrive with a larger 720p capable display. The Nexus 4’s 4.7-inch display offers 768 x 1280 pixel resolution at 316 pixels per inch which provides solid looking movies, web and gamers. The thing is, display technology has gotten even better since it arrived in 2012 and the Galaxy S5’s display simply outclasses it.
The Samsung Galaxy S5’s display is a little bigger, 5.1-inches compared to the Nexus 4’s sub-5-inch display, and it also packs a bigger punch. Instead of a 720p capable display, the Galaxy S5 sports a screen with 1080 x 1920 pixel resolution at 432 pixels-per-inch. It’s on par with the Galaxy S4’s display which offers amazing looking content itself.
The added real estate and the resolution bump make the Galaxy S5’s display extremely attractive to those that do like to watch movies or TV shows on the go. It also appeals to those that love to play games.
We found the Nexus 4’s 8MP camera to be comparable to the 8MP camera found on the iPhone. No, not the iPhone 5s, the iPhone 5 from 2012. Like its display, the Nexus 4’s camera has seen better days. Camera technology is moving extremely fast and companies like Samsung are taking advantage.
The Nexus 4’s camera was good in its day but the Galaxy S5’s camera will be better. Not only does it feature a 16MP camera sensor which makes for higher resolution shots, the device comes with an extremely fast autofocus that allows users to focus in just 0.3 seconds. That’s something that the Nexus 4 simply does not have.
The Galaxy S5 also comes with advanced HDR which allows users to actually see the final image on screen before the shutter is hit. Again, something that the Nexus 4 camera does not offer.
One of the perks of any Nexus device is the vanilla Android software that comes on board. The Nexus 4 currently runs a pure Google version of Android 4.4.2 KitKat, Google’s latest Android update. For those that are unfamiliar with the lingo, that means that it runs a completely stock version of Android.
Another perk is that Nexus devices are always at the front of the line for Android updates. The Nexus 4, for instance, was one of the first to get Android 4.4 KitKat. This is something that just isn’t available for other devices because Google isn’t completely in charge.
The Galaxy S5’s software is different in all phases. It won’t be as quick to Android software updates and it also won’t be running a stock version of Android.
Samsung, like all Android manufacturers, uses a software UI to help differentiate its Galaxy devices from the competition. It also uses it to add its own unique spin on Android. Some love it, some hate it, but there is no denying that TouchWiz has some pretty impression features.
The Galaxy S5 delivers some new features, ones that will never official arrive for the Nexus 4. In the video below, we outline some of the big changes the Galaxy S5 delivers.
For instance, instead of a stock camera application, the Galaxy S5 comes with Samsung’s fully loaded camera application that blows the stock app out of the water. Samsung has also added new health-related features and has also introduced a brand new “Ultra Power Saving Mode” to the Galaxy S5 that will not only turn the display to black and white but will also turn off all unnecessary features in an effort to conserve battery life.
Carriers & Connectivity
As for the last key difference, well, we’ve cheated. We combined two related things together.
First, the Nexus 4 is only available on two major carriers in the United States. AT&T and T-Mobile are compatible with the Nexus 4 but Sprint and Verizon are not. On the other hand, the Galaxy S5 is confirmed for AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular, Verizon, and MetroPCS giving users a wider selection.
Finally, the Nexus 4 does not have 4G LTE. Instead, it relies on HSPA+ for connectivity. HSPA+ is fast but it’s simply not as fast as LTE. This is arguably the Nexus 4’s Achilles heel.
The Samsung Galaxy S5, like all flagship smartphones from 2014, will come with 4G LTE data speeds, speeds that are often comparable to speeds found on home Wi-Fi networks.