Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Google Nexus 4 versus the Samsung Galaxy S III

In the Android world, the phone to beat is the Samsung Galaxy S III. The measure of how good the new Google Nexus 4 is, really depends on how well is compares with Samsung's flagship.

Display. The Nexus 4 has a 4.7-inch HD IPS Plus LCD screen with a WXGA (768 x 1280) resolution. The Galaxy S III uses a 4.8-inch Super AMOLED screen with a HD (720 x 1280) resolution on a PenTile matrix. The Nexus 4 screen is sharp and bright. The Super AMOLED screen has nice contrast and is a bit bigger. They both look fine to me.

Winner: Draw

Power. Behind the display, the Google Nexus 4 uses a Qualcomm APQ 8064 Snapdragon S4 Pro chipset with a quad core Krait, which is what I like to call a "second generation" quad core processor. The Nexus 4 also has the new generation Adreno 320 GPU.  Backing up the CPU and the GPU is 2 GB of RAM. The Samsung Galaxy S III uses a quad core processor  based on the older ARM Cortex-A9 processor cores, has Mali-400 graphics and 1 GB of RAM. 

The Google Nexus 4 is undoubtably the more powerful of the two. Looking at benchmarks will show a rather different picture. The Nexus 4 either performs exceptionally well, or exceptionally bad. This really is more an issue of the Android Jelly Bean operating system not being optimized yet for the new Qualcomm APQ 8064 Snapdragon S4 Pro chipset. Still in the AnTuTu benchmark, the Nexus 4 is 25% faster than the Samsung Galaxy S III

In the real world, both are fast enough but the Google Nexus 4 is running next years chipset, while the Samsung is running what used to be the top of the line.

Winner: Nexus 4

Endurance. Battery life. Well I will let the comparison speak for itself:

Talk time

  • LG Optimus G - 15 hours 30 minutes
  • Google Nexus 4 - 14 hours 17 minutes
  • Galaxy S III (JB) -  10 hours 15 minutes

Web browsing

  • Galaxy S III (JB) -  6 hours 27 minutes
  • LG Optimus G - 5 hours 15 minutes
  • Google Nexus 4 - 4 hours 34 minutes

Video playback

  • Galaxy S III (JB) -  9 hours 27 minutes
  • LG Optimus G - 7 hours 16 minutes
  • Google Nexus 4 - 4 hours 55 minutes 
Source: GSM Arena

The Google Nexus 4 has better talk time, but given these are smartphones, screen on time really matters more, and the Galaxy S III really winds that round. I included the LG Optimus G in the comparison. The Optimus G is the Nexus 4's sister phone, both made by LG and running similar hardware. The main difference is that The Optimus G runs on Ice Cream Sandwich. The Optimus G performance would seem to show that Android Jelly Bean optimized yet for the new Qualcomm APQ 8064 Snapdragon S4 Pro chipset, and the Nexus 4 battery life should improve with a operating system update.  But even when a updated operating system arrives, the Samsung Galaxy S III will best the Nexus 4 in battery life. 

As the phones get older, the Samsung Galaxy S III's battery can be easily replaced giving it a new lease on life. The Google Nexus 4 has a build in battery.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy S III

Camera.  Okay, I wont waste your time here. The Samsung Galaxy S III has the best camera in the Android world, and the Google Nexus 4 has a decent 8 MP shooter. Only the Apple iPhone 5 really rivals the Galaxy S III camera among the locally available phones. You can compare shots using GSM Arena's photo compare tool.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy S III

Storage. Again, little to compare here. The Google Nexus 4 has 16 GB of internal storage. The Samsung Galaxy S III 16 GB of internal storage expandable via a MicroSD Card slot.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy S III

Software updates. The Samsung Galaxy S III is likely to be updated with the next versions of Android which will be released in 2013. The Google Nexus 4 will be supported well into 2014. That is what makes a Nexus phone and Nexus phone after all.

Winner: Nexus 4

Price. The lowest price I could find for the Samsung Galaxy S III, with an official warranty is Php27,700. The Google Nexus 4 is available for Php22,240. That is a 5K difference in price.

Winner: Nexus 4

Verdict. There are other areas to compare. I selected those which I find most important, so other users may have other considerations. The Google Nexus 4 gives you more power but less battery life. Over time new apps and games may make the Google Nexus 4 the more compelling choice. For now, the Samsung Galaxy S III will allow you to run your apps and games longer. The user replaceable battery is will make it easier to keep the  the Samsung Galaxy S III running well longer. The Samsung Galaxy S III has a better camera. 

On the other hand the Nexus 4 will get software updates faster, and is significantly cheaper. 

So which is best depends on the user. If your on a budget. Pick up the Nexus 4, it is a very good value for money option. For the money, you will not likely regret your purchase. If you are a techie who wants to always have the latest version of the Android operating system, get the Nexus 4.

If budget is not an issue, the Samsung Galaxy S III will serve you better. More time in between recharges and it will give you nicer pictures to upload to Facebook. Once the 16 GB of internal storage feels cramp, you can alway pop in a 16, 32 or 64 GB Micro SDCard.

Ultimately, both are good choices for the asking price, with the Google Nexus 4 offering great value and the Samsung Galaxy S III offering enough more to justify it higher price tag.

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