iPhone 4S vs Galaxy Nexus: Which one should you get?

iPhone 4S vs Galaxy Nexus: Which one should you get?

Phil Nickinson from Android Central has put the iPhone 4S vs. Galaxy Nexus head-to-head in an epic comparison, complete with videos, pictures, uncanny insight, and everything else you'd expect from a Mobile Nations showdown.

The bottom line seems to be, if you want a bigger screen (4.65 inches), a removable battery, NFC, an LTE option (if Verizon actually releases the darn thing before iPhone 5 get announced next year!), and a more customizable, Google-centric system, go with the Samsung Galaxy Nexus.

If you want a smaller screen (3.5-inches), a better camera (huge 8mp, photon-friendly sensor), the Siri virtual assistant, the still overall better quality App Store apps and more robust iPhone accessory ecosystem, and the more user-friendly, Apple and iTunes-centric system, go with iPhone 4S.

If you're simply stunned and amazed that we have two such incredible devices on the market these days, with more on the way, then join the club. For more:

Source: Android Central

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, Review, The TV Show, Vector, ZEN & TECH, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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There are 69 comments. Add yours.

Jessica Ramos Edholm says:

iPhone 4s is better in my book. That Galaxy nexus is way too big to be a phone. If I want big screen, say for movies etc, I stick with my iPad. Now what I use my iPhone the most for (aside from talking and texting) is pictures. 4s's camera can't be beat! I no longer carry a point and shoot.

Carioca says:

In all fairness, the iPhone screen is dimmed down in the video so the Galaxy Nexus screen look much, much better.
I remember not so long ago when the mantra was that camera megapixels really didn't matter. I guess we will see a simmilar change of heart when Apple comes out with 4" screens.

Isheep says:

just did the comparison with my friends samsung gs2. I can honestly say they did not dim the screen.

Rjmjr72 says:

i did one in the store and it was dimmed down..isheep? really? that tired joke

Isheep says:

not meant as a joke. my friends say I am part of the Iheard, so I chose to embrace it instead of being offended. You should try it!

Isheep says:

How did you do it in the store when it hasn't been released yet?

Isheep says:

They are using an international version due to the phone not being released in the states. How did you get your hands on one?

Dl Betty says:

Why dim down the Iphone 4s to make the Samsung look better, that does not seem like a fair comparison.

Matt says:

Aamof, the gnex has a higher resolution screen than the IPAD. Not the IPhone. Dimmed yea right. Have u seen the two side by side?

cardfan says:

The only thing better than one iphone is family & friends with iphones. Bottom line with me is ecosystem. Not minor useless features like NFC, removable battery, etc. I'm not even sure i ever replaced a battery in my palm way back when. But it made for a creaky plasticy phone.
The easy choice is still iphone over Nexus if it's a contest.

Isheep says:

Depends on how you view your comments? We iphone users only have one choice we can possibly make. They have hundreds! We need to pressure apple into making more choices for us the consumer.

cardfan says:

What's that have to do with article? Iphone vs nexus.
Personally i don't care what "they" have a choice of. They have hundreds alright. Hundreds of crap devices that all basically look alike running different versions of android. You want apple to do that? Geez.. At least the Nexus is sort of pure google or as close as you can get to an android iphone.
Hopefully Apple continues to focus on one solid phone.

Dev says:

That will never happen. Apple has not been about choice since the days of the Mac II. Choice is a virtue, but not the only virtue.
Since those days, Apple has become an increasingly opinionated company -- save for a few minor issues like storage space, they do not provide different options for different customer types; Apple specifically rejects model flexibility in favor of maximizing the design along their own opinions. They focus their energies on building a single product according to how they alone think it should be. Then, they flatly tell potential customers "there is no choice -- this product is the best there is. Take it or leave it."
So far, customers have taken it. In droves.
Arrogant? Of course -- but for several years in a row, they have backed it up.

wormeyman says:

To be fair the iPhone has had some alarm issues during DST changes in the past, but yeah the volume bug is a little annoying i'm sure. I also switched from the Droid X to the iPhone!

Trend Ctc says:

like i said before, the android could have a frickin laser attached to it. I want a stable os, and thats the iPhone.

Trend Ctc says:

like i said before, the android could have a frickin laser attached to it. I want a stable os, and thats the iPhone.

Isheep says:

how many times is this going to have to be said, megapixels do not matter the sensor is more important in the camera.

jaswanth.koppu says:

even though apple stands on top ..it has a good sensor chip to get more light and it has 5 lens..and it has video stabilization ..apple rocksss...

Ariefocalifo says:

just out of curiosity, is the iphone 4s camera sensor better then the galaxy

Isheep says:

We all know the Iphone is going to get a bigger screen. I know i wish the 4s would have had one. So anyone saying bigger screens are worse will be running to get the new bigger screen iphone.

Noel Hibbard says:

I prefer the smaller screen with smaller footprint myself. But yes, I will most likely get the iPhone 5 when it comes out because I am sure there will be more changes then just screen size. I personally am not opposed to a larger screen, I am opposed to a larger foot print. But it is hard to have one's cake and eat it too. When the 4S came out I was actually relieved to see that the foot print stayed the same.
But I have to agree, there will be those that bash larger screens just because their beloved iPhone doesn't have one but the day it does they will be bragging about how they also have a big screen.

blue5ft3 says:

Rumor mills, lets just wait and see....

Dev says:

If you primarily value system-level customization (e.g. Swype), widgets and homescreen flexibility, or the best integration with Google services, get an Android phone.
If you primarily value a smoothly running OS, simplicity, or the broadest choice of high quality apps or accessories, get an iPhone.
Some will choose door A, some door B.
And, of course, some will create their own door C by jailbreaking their iphones :)

Oxirane says:

And don't forget door D, root your android! :)
And in Android's defense, since Froyo I've seen just as little lag on my Android phone (Galaxy S 1) as anyone's iPhone 4. I'm currently using the latest OS (Ice Cream Sandwich) and I'd say this is finally on par with Apple's level of polish and stability. As to apps, I don't think Android is missing anything anymore.
Basically, if you're on the fence, at least mess around with the display unit of some mid to high range Android phone before heading to the i-section next time you get a new phone.

Isheep says:

I will say what most are thinking. Android at this moment is cutting edge with much more choice. All this bashing needs to end! Can you just imagine if all these companies worked together the tech we the consumer would have available to us. By the way, iphone 4s user who is thinking (considering) swithching to Android. I refuse to show allegiance to any tech company. Best product at the moment gets my money. Thank u for reading my personal public service annoucement. HEE HEE

Isheep says:

didn't know my shorts were in a bunch. if you can't take constructive criticism do not post!

rprather says:

Phil loves to hate on Apple products. I will grant that the screen on the Galaxy Nexus is large and beautiful, but that's pretty much where my love affair ends. I would like to point out the lack of folders in use on the iPhone 4S from the video. Phil seemed to be pointing that out as if it's a feature the Nexus has over the iPhone. It is not. Also, I have heard a number of Android fanboys admitting that perhaps the Nexus screen is too large! I think probably 4" is the sweet spot and I do want Apple to put a larger screen and LTE on the next iPhone. So, neither is perfect but I absolutely love my iPhone 4s and wouldn't trade it for a cheap feeling plastic Nexus. I love how Phil gets one last jab in there at the iPhone being "cold and metallic"... Keep on hatin', Phil!

Hoosiercub says:

Just like Rene loves to hate on Android.
Fact of the matter is, Google is progressing in the mobile space with Android. Apple really isn't. They've done nothing game changing in a few years with the iPhone even though their marketing team would have you believe otherwise.
Buy the device that best works for you and give to f**ks about what some asshat has to say about it on the internet.
Lastly, the Nexus' screen in reality isn't a whole lot bigger than the 4.3" phones that we have right now. You make it seem like its going to be gargantuan, when frankly it really isn't as the space that was typically occupied by capacitive buttons is now screen.

Bky20855 says:

Already switched from Blackbarry to a 4S. Im happy with it.

btc5472 says:

I have the galaxy nexus, and i compared it with the 4S first hand. My nexus of course had better colors and deeper blacks but the nexus didnt have as good whites. The iphone 4s screen was also brighter. But i prefer my nexus because of the Incredible deep blacks and amazing contrast and colors. If u like brightness then go for the iphone. AMOLED screens on the nexus are also easier to see in the sun. Despite the iphone being brighter

Noel Hibbard says:

I am really confused about 4G. Is it really all it is cracked up to be? So what, you can brag with speed tests but in reality, does it really matter? I have my iPhone 4S on WiFi most of the day on a 32Mb/6Mb network and it loads webpages just as fast on 3G as it does on WiFi. I can see 4G being nice for tethering but that is the only useful application I can think of. All you get is bragging rights on speed tests and bragging rights for who can drain their battery the fastest. Also, in this video they say the bigger screen is lower res and then go on to say it has more real estate. You can't put more on the screen without more pixels. Yeah, stuff will be bigger which is a nice thing. But a 4.65in screen causes the phone to be a tank. To each their own as far as OS and screen size goes. But the whole 4G argument is lame.

Richard Pandy says:

Yes - it is all it is hyped up to be. All those high quality images people take and want to upload for all their friends to see make it to the internet much quicker. I don't work in an office, I am always in the field and having 4G versus 3G is a HUGe difference.

Anton Frost says:

I didn't bother waiting. I got the iPhone 4S and haven't looked back since. No battery life issues. No Siri problems. No lag. No memory leak. Awesome user experience. Google lost my attention with Gingerbread. It doesn't matter what wiz bang hardware they use if the user experience isn't happening. Maybe it's better with ICS but I have simply lost interest in the Android Platform at this point.

blue5ft3 says:

The same here, I am so very happy with the Iphone4s, all features, and I don't have any battery problems either, it lasts me two days or more on standby and with use, I had purchased a backup battery that I don't need. Rumor mills blah.

anon says:

Maybe the question should be: In a year and a half which phone will have the better software? Answer: iPhone.

Cameron Schubert says:

Part of the appeal in having a Nexus device is there's no wait for the the latest and greatest version of Android. Unlike all the other Android phones, It gets updated straight from the source.
if your comment was more about the differences between iOS and Android, then i would say its a matter of opinion which will have "better software" in a year.

Sim says:

Not unless Apple releases a proper OS without so many software limitations, I do not see where the 'better' is coming from.

Hisham Al-Abri says:

I bet that's what you tell yourself at night to go to sleep.
(Bigger isn't always better, but if the A5 can run at 1GHz it will scream)
you're first saying that more clock speed isn't better, but you'd prefer your A5 to run faster and that will be better??? and again you'll prefer having faster download speeds??? dude!

Richard Pandy says:

Dude - the ppi difference is like 20, you aren't going to notice that.

dmackdaddy says:

Lame review on the video. Obviously the Fandroid like the Nexus better. But more importantly it is like comparing a Chevy Suburban SUV to a BMW sports car. Not a very fair comparison and you can barely hear that the iPhone 4S camera is better than the Nexus by 3 megapixl.
And even though the screen is smaller on the iphone 4 and 4s the quality is better. Go to the full version of the nytimes.com on both and tell me which phone lets you read the stories without having to zoom in on them. Text and pics are way clearer on the 4 and 4S. Bigger isnt always better. Thing of it as buying a 55" 720P TV vs a 50" 1080P TV. 55" in bigger but the 50" has better resolution.

Grant says:

19" computer monitors used to be cool until 20", 22", 24", etc came out. These phones are more like computers - not like tv's. Bigger screens means more real estate = more productivity/efficiency.

Matt says:

You are mistaken. Read specs. Have u seen the two side by side?

Btc5472 says:

The Nexus has more features and cooler ones. Face detection, customization, its had voice dictation for years, battery manager, data manager, turn by turn navigation that talks to u....ect. The i phone has Siri which is a little better then googles voice program because siri can learn your family and ask it to create events and whatnot. iPhone has location awareness events. iPhone has a better video card. But the Galaxy Nexus has a video card that can handle ALL apps, just a little lower frame rate. which isnt so bad.Nexus is faster and has 4g and a MUCH bigger and better screen. Super AMOLED beats all. iPhone has more memory Galaxy nexus has removable battery. The Galaxy nexus has NFC and iPHone doesnt. I think the good things on the nexus outweighs the good things on the iphone. Some People might just hate google OS and that is ok and understandable. But Google is the one with more freedom and better features and Faster and cooler and all that.

blue5ft3 says:

I honestly don't like the AMOLED/spelling display, as I read in some reviews, its just too bright? garish? I don't know I don't like any phones with that display, nothing against Samsung or Google.

marko111 says:

i dont consider myself a fanboy (seriously) and i would buy what i considered to be the best phone for me whatever the model. but come on, i like the iphone because it looks and feels quality.
"the biggest difference in feel is......... plastic! the nexus is a samsung phone and feels like a samsung phone ie plasticky not cold and metallic like the iphone"
WTF???. thats my decision made right there. why would i want something that feels plasticky? (read cheap and nasty).
folders? oh yeah i believe the iphone can do that too.
at the end of the day its each to his/her own. but i know where my choice lies right now, and where i see it lying for the foreseeable future.

marko111 says:

i dont consider myself a fanboy (seriously) and i would buy what i considered to be the best phone for me whatever the model. but come on, i like the iphone because it looks and feels quality.
"the biggest difference in feel is......... plastic! the nexus is a samsung phone and feels like a samsung phone ie plasticky not cold and metallic like the iphone"
WTF???. thats my decision made right there. why would i want something that feels plasticky? (read cheap and nasty).
folders? oh yeah i believe the iphone can do that too.
at the end of the day its each to his/her own. but i know where my choice lies right now, and where i see it lying for the foreseeable future.

dmackdaddy says:

Also, the iPhone 4S's A5 1Ghz Dual Core processors, which are throttled to 800Mhz to conserve battery and cuz they are not really needed that high, are coming up as faster than all of the 1.2Ghz dual cores that these Androids use. Again, bigger isnt always better.
Imagine if there was a way to let the A5's run at 1Ghz on a Jailbreak mod!? It would scream! I'm also getting 6Mbps using AT&T in my 4S. Sure, 14-20Mbps would be nice but seeing how I am in an office all day using WIFI and then at night WIFI at home, I can live with the 6Mbps for now. LTE iPhone 5 will be sick!

Matt says:

I am running gnex at 1.8. No prob. Noobs.

numetheus says:

Whoever told you that a bigger megapixel rating as a sole mark of image quality lied to you; and lied to you in a big way. My old Olympus 1.3MP digital camera takes far better pictures than the 8MP camera on my Inspire 4G. A megapixel is 1 million pixels ... period. An 8MP camera will store 8 million pixels in an image. That is 3 million pixels more than a 5MP camera. It has absolutely NOTHING to do with image quality. A mobile phone camera sensor that does poor in low light will produce grain can lack of detail. I don't care how many pixels you use to make up a grainy blocky image. It is still a grainy blocky image.
Now, between two camera sensors that are similar, a higher megapixel surely does make a better image. An 8MP Olympus is far better than my 1.3MP camera, but an 8MP HTC Cameraphone camera is not comparable to it. iPhone 4S has a far better camera quality wise than my Inspire 4G at the same megapixel rating. If the exact same camera was 12MP, my iPhone 4S would still take better images.

EagleyeSmith says:

I'm sorry, I cannot do an Android phone ... I was playing around w/one tonight. ... Pain in the butt to say the least and all I wanted to do was send a txt message. Maybe it was the software version or maybe I'm just dumb (I know it's not the latter) ... It was dumb, all I wanted to do was send a txt message from the phone app ... But beyond that, just the navigation wasn't very intuitive. Once I finally got around to sending, I thought it was dumb that I had to hit the "Menu" button to send the txt ... Really, mmmkay. Why not have a send button on the screen ... But again, whateves

ZakRulz says:

what the hell kind of phone was it? I've never send an android phone that doesn't have a send button for text. The send button right next to where the message is you are typing is.

EagleyeSmith says:

To be honest, I don't know. I would guess an Evo. The phone was rather large as well, and I'm sure that isn't any pertinent information. (given the fact that most android phones are larger phones) But I even asked the owner ... "How do I send this message?" and they told me to press the menu button and that had several options and "send" was one of them.

Jauhari says:

iPhone won in Ecosystem that I really like much more...

blue5ft3 says:

I didn't think so when I tried it, my first Samsung literally caught on fire, flames ,and I'm on oxygen. I took the black blob back and did look at the new Samsung but went with the Iphone4s which to me was so much better I'm verrry happy and new to Apple and Mac just these past few months, while writing here from my super Imac, it rocks!

Jason says:

both screen size and LTE or lack of LTE are design choices. apple could have used any screen size for the iPhone but decided on a 3.5 inch screen for use ability. LTE while fast compromises battery life and the size of the phone. current LTE chips would have required apple to also build a huge screen phone to fit a larger battery and the extra chip needed for LTE. apple does not just throw technology into their products to look good on spec sheets

shizznit says:

i couldnt make up my mind on either galazy nexus or the 4S till reading all the reviews on android central, its so buggy. it might be an update fix but who wants something thats buggy out the box. but man that screen looks awesome. still cant make up my mind i have to wait to upgrade then ill make up my mind. till then ill keep watching the forums. 4S still looks pretty solid so i cant go wrong there.

yadan says:

I have just read all the comments and have found some interesting and informative, others not, and still others cryptic since I am not into the technical aspects of gadgets.
Having said this, I step back a bit and ask, why do MOST users REALLY upgrade to newer models? The answer, it seems, has very little to do with productivity, but rather three common phenomena: one-upmanship, keeping up with the Joneses and being IN. (I admit that I am also guilty of this.)
Let's face some hard facts: PDA/computer manufacturers rarely come up with anything truly revolutionary. They're obsessed chiefly with memory expansion, style,speed, visuals and screen size, because that's what most buyers go for. But these qualities have little or nothing to do with productivity, nor do they substantially change the way users work with them.
The introduction of the smartphone was one of the rare exceptions, since it enabled users to manage one device which performs the functions of several others. Unfortunately, there has been relatively very little meaningful progress in smartphone functionality since the first one was introduced.
Serious users who use a smartphone for business as well as entertainment are mainly concerned with user-friendliness and functional efficiency. But basic functions, such as scheduling (which many don't bother with) are still not only fairly primative, but have become more cumbersome and less attractive in succeeding models. True, phone and contact functions have improved, but the basic operation of these functions have not. I'm referring to voice recognition and command, which should have been developed to a very sophisticated level 5 or more years ago, but still remains a not much more than a gimmick.
As for user-friendliness, there has been an improvement with interfaces, but company support is pretty dreadful. I lack experience with Apple, since I've never owned any of their expensive devices, but too much experience with Google, having an Android device. Dealing with Google is like being lost in a maze with no exit; it is an experience that only diehard masochists would enjoy.
So, having gotten all this off my chest, I think my next purchase will be the iPhone 4S or even the iPhone 5 when it comes out, because it seems more user-friendly right out of the box, has a more developed voice command function and, very importantly, is not associated with Google!

jaswanth says:

iPhone is best in my opinion..
many users say that the bigger screen is better. But Apple released 3.5inch convenient screen for all the customers.
Google nexus screen is to big to carry and hold while answering a call.
I hope Apple will not release iPhone with more that 4 inch screen.

rotkiv3451 says:

How is stability? Do apps crash very often? I'm seriously considering switching to the Galaxy Nexus, but I'm afraid it isn't very stable.

Marcus R says:

I'm tired of the iPhone/4s to android phones. Its all a fact of personal choice/needs. Galaxy Nexus and Verizon Lte more than satisfies my wants and needs. iPhone 4/4s is a great phone just not for me. Real phone enthusiast don't care because of personal choice. iPhone users stay with apple if you like them. If not try a android phone & vise/versa.

Fred says:

I like toys. I am a man. For calls und textmessages I don't need an Iphone or Android-phone... But I like toys. Have I mentioned that before!? And when I want to play - what should I choose? An Iphone? Resisting quality I only use for max 2 years? A System which is the same boring sh.. every day? Or maybe an Android... Every day a new problem or bug. And I am able to solve these problems. I am allowed to have problems and to solve them. Nice. I am a man. Guys - when I want a stable Android - I have a stable Android. A boring Stock-ROM. Boring like an Iphone. But I want to play. Have I mentioned that before!? I love Apple for the past. But the future... Nobody knows :-) (Sorry for my poor English... it's not my "default" language...)

Stephen says:

I hate applefanboyz and fandroids. You are right dude. But do not say "Iphone" - say "IOS". Because you can run Android on an jailbreaked Iphone. Have fun!

mg61155 says:

I hav both phones 4s n nexus. 4s ppi is mre. N it's more better bt da screen get yellowish slowly. Like jaundice. Bt nexus s brilliant. No such freaking complains. Dats better. Da chic s urs!!!

mg61155 says:

I hav both da phones 4s n nexus. 4s ppi is mre. N it's more better bt da screen get yellowish slowly wit use Like jaundice. Bt nexus s brilliant. Da difference s n os. N nexus has No such freaking complains. Dats da best part. Da choice s urs!!! Thank you!!!