The Galaxy Nexus has just been showcased, and it's very competitive with any other smartphone on the market right, including the recently launched iPhone 4S. There are some ways in which the Galaxy Nexus is better, and others where the iPhone 4S might be better hardware wise, but ultimately I think Android 4.0 leaves iOS 5 way behind, and that's the Galaxy Nexus' biggest differentiation.
Let's take a look at the specs first:
Galaxy Nexus Specs
- Processor: OMAP 4460 dual core 1.2 Ghz chip
- Display: 4.65â€³ HD Super AMOLED
- Resolution: 1280—720 (316 PPI)
- Storage: 16/32 GB
- RAM: 1 GB
- Cameras: 5 MP camera, zero-shutter lag, 1.3 MP front camera
- Video: 1080p recording
- Body: solid plastic
- Battery: 1750 mAh
- Connectivity: 3G/LTE
- OS: Android 4.0
iPhone 4S Specs
- Processor: A5, dual core 800 Mhz
- Display: 3.5" IPS
- Resolution: 960x640 (329 PPI)
- Storage: 16/32/64 GB
- RAM: 512mb
- Cameras: 8 MP camera, VGA front-camera, 1080p video
- Video: 1080p recording
- Body: glass
- Battery: Unknown
- Connectivity: 3G
- OS: iOS 5
Both chips have a dual core Cortex A9 CPU, but the Galaxy Nexus is clocked 50% higher, at 1.2 Ghz compared to the Apple A5 which has only 800 Mhz per core. The CPU is the most important part of the chip because it's the thing that you need to power most of your tasks. So how fast your processor is determines how fast your apps will load and run. Browsing for example is very CPU dependent, and considering these ARM chips we have now are not exactly Intel Core i7, you'll need all the performance you can get to have them deliver a fast browsing experience.
The Galaxy Nexus uses an HD Super AMOLED display at a 1280x720 resolution. We finally have native HD resolution on our smartphones, which means you'll be playing HD videos on your smartphone as they were meant to be played. There is however one small downside. The display seems to be using the Pentile Matrix. The effect on the crispness of the display probably won't be very noticeable, but it does make us think what could've been if it had a true RGB matrix.
The iPhone 4S has an IPS display with a lower resolution of 960x640, but a slightly higher PPI of 329 PPI compared to the Galaxy Nexus 316 PPI. However, Steve Jobs himself said that you only need 300 PPI to make the pixels indistinguishable with the naked eye. So anything over that is a waste of GPU resources, which means more battery life will be wasted as it runs the higher resolution, with no extra benefit. The iPhone 4S screen is also only 3.5", which in this day and age seems a little too small. As long as the phone is pocketable, you'll want to take advantage of as much screen real estate as possible. More text fits on the screen, better movie and gaming experience, and so on.
The Galaxy Nexus has a 5 MP camera while the iPhone 4S has an 8MP one. You should know that higher MP doesn't automatically mean higher picture quality. If you've noticed that happening so far in most cases, it's because the manufacturers also worked to improve the image quality as well while increasing the MP count. But a higher MP is not very necessary, because whether you'll see the pictures on your phone, tablet or PC, the display resolution of those is still only a small fraction of the pictures' resolution. For example a full HD display still has only about 2 million pixels (MP).
Apple showed how the iPhone 4S camera is faster than the GS 2 camera by almost twice as much (1.1 seconds vs 2), but Galaxy Nexus completely demolishes that statistic, managing to taking pictures instantly, with its zero-shutter lag. Phones have historically been very slow at taking pictures, but Galaxy Nexus and Android 4.0 finally solve that problem. It's a very welcome feature.
The Galaxy Nexus body is more of an evolution of the Galaxy S II, which means its light, easy to grip, and perhaps most importantly, it's very hard to crack. In fact in a recent video running around on Youtube, we've seen a drop test for a GS II and an iPhone 4S and you can see how easily the iPhone 4S' glass body can be cracked. It's no wonder nobody even tried to copy the iPhone body. It's simply too weak to even withstand one drop. And it's not too surprising considering you have a phone made out of glass. Glass shatters no matter how strong it can be made.
As far as the OS goes, I think we can all agree that Android has pretty much always been more advanced the iOS, or at least since Froyo arrived. Seeing the plethora of features that are coming to Android 4.0, it makes me think that it's at least 2 years ahead of iOS now, maybe more. iOS has barely changed over the years, while Android has been evolving at an incredible pace. But besides all the great extra features, Android 4.0 finally has an extremely polished and consistent user interface, that "enchants" us. This is just the beginning of a new reinvented Android, and a new Google that is becoming increasingly more design oriented.