Google recently introduced the latest in its Nexus family of phones, and in the process, it has entered a new power player into the Android ecosystem. But how does the new Nexus 4 stack up against one of the current kings of the category? We take a closer look at the Nexus 4 and the Galaxy S3 to see who deserves your love and hard-earned money.
|Storage||16GB, 32GB options
MicroSD card slot
|8GB, 16GB options|
Dual-carriage HSPA (42Mbps)
Dual-carriage HSPA (42Mbps)
This is the true battle ground for these two devices. Samsung's flagship is available on all Australian networks for about AU$60 per month on a two-year plan. You can also buy it outright; the prices here vary greatly, depending on where the stock comes from. Australian stock sells for about AU$700 in electronics retailers, while parallel import stock can be had for as a low as AU$479 from online stores.
Even with this wild variance in price, the Nexus 4 will still be cheaper when bought through the Google Play store. The 8GB model is AU$349 and the 16GB will sell for AU$399. If the telcos decide to sell the Nexus 4, this pricing should translate into plans of well under AU$50 a month, perhaps even as low as AU$30.
Like for like, there are many aspects about these phones that are similar; from screen size to the quad-core processors in each and the capabilities of the Android platform. Storage is significantly different, though, and it will be a deciding factor for many choosing a new phone, we think.
Samsung's approach to storage is pretty standard. You can choose either 16GB or 32GB models, plus, there is a micro-SD card slot under the battery cover, where this base storage can be expanded.
Google, on the other hand, is pushing an all online approach, hoping that its Nexus customers won't mind the scant storage options in the Nexus 4 because of the numerous cloud options that can complement the internal storage in your phone. Pictures and documents can be stored on Dropbox, for example, music can be streamed and movies temporarily rented over Google Play Movies.
We like Google's dream for an online utopia, but the fact of the matter is, phones with higher and more flexible local storage options still tend to sell better, and this may be one major area that continues to have people clamouring for GS3s.
Stock Android vs. TouchWiz UI
In some ways, this is a purists debate, but there is a significant difference in how you will be using these phones because of Samsung's custom UI layer, known as TouchWiz. Both phones have most of the same capabilities, thanks to the Android platform, but Samsung's take on the Android look and feel is busier than the stock Android UI. This may not sound like a good thing, but the extra complexity also equals improved functionality in some cases. Samsung, for example, includes quick settings in its pull-down notification panel, and fast home screen switching with a row of buttons across the bottom of the screen. These tweaks are definitely welcome once you get to know how to use them.
On the other hand, the Nexus 4 comes with the latest version of Android, and will continue to be updated as soon as Google completes new versions of the software — provided you buy your phone directly from Google, itself. This helps to future proof your phone in a way that no other manufacturer can match at this time.
And the winner is...
Based on the information we have in front of us, the Nexus 4 is ahead by a nose, though this could change after we have a chance to actually review the phone. The Galaxy S3 is a superb smartphone, but Samsung can't compete on price with Google, and when these phones are so similar, the significant premium you will pay for a GS3 has to be factored in.