Smartphone showdown: Galaxy Nexus versus iPhone 4S

The next iOS versus Android fight begins

Smartphone showdown: Galaxy Nexus versus iPhone 4S

It's the clash of the big-name smartphones this autumn, as Apple's recently launched iPhone 4S takes on Samsung's upcoming Galaxy Nexus.

Both look pretty tasty, but they also come with rather eye-watering price tags. What if you grab the wrong one? You'll be stuck with it for 24 excruciating months. Disaster.

Never fear - Pocket Gamer has devoted the past few days to comparing and contrasting these two devices, ranging from how the innards shape up to the kind of user experience you can expect.

But let's be honest: you probably clicked on this link so that you could make sure we say your favourite is the winner, and then proceed to berate us in the comments if we didn't, right?

Either way, here's how the two devices look side by side, inside and out.

Hardware specs

Let's look at raw specs first - which is the beefier, meatier, more powerful piece of hardware?

Samsung's Galaxy Nexus houses a dual-core 1.2GHz processor, while the iPhone 4S lags slightly behind with a dual-core A5 1GHz chip that is (allegedly) underclocked to 800 MHz.

The Android blower also take homes the prize in the memory stakes, rocking 1GB of RAM. That's double the iPhone 4S's on-board stock of RAM.

The iPhone 4S does come up trumps where storage space is concerned, however, as it's available in 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB flavours, while the Galaxy Nexus's capacity maxes out at 32GB.


The Galaxy Nexus flaunts an impressive 4.65-inch Super AMOLED display, with an eye-popping 1280x720 resolution and a whopping 100000:1 contrast ratio - the highest on any mobile device to date.

In comparison, the much-vaunted Retina display on the iPhone 4S measures 3.5 inches, has a 1.5:1 aspect ratio, a 960x640 resolution, and a measly 800:1 contrast ratio.

In conclusion, the Galaxy Nexus's screen wipes the floor with the iPhone 4S in terms of size and contrast ratio, though the latter's Retina display still possesses the highest pixel density (326 dpi) on the market.


The camera specs are where the iPhone 4S begins to shine when placed side by side with Samsung's killer smartphone.

The iPhone 4S crams an 8-megapixel backside illuminated sensor still camera and a 1080p HD video recorder that can shoot at 30 frames per second into its white or black chassis.

It also features a 0.9-megapixel camera on the front of the device. Not great, but, then again, who really uses the front camera that often?

The Galaxy Nexus is stared down by the 4S in the photo-shooting department, given that it houses a mere 5-megapixel rear-facing camera - although its 1.3-megapixel front-facing snapper is a quick two fingers up at the 4S.

iOS 5 vs Ice Cream Sandwich

Of course, the hardware is only part of the battle. Each of these two smartphone powerhouses runs a brand-new OS, with iOS 5 released on October 12th and Ice Cream Sandwich (4.0) set to debut on the Galaxy Nexus in November.

Android's Ice Cream Sandwich delivers plenty of new features, many of which aim to match iOS for ease of navigation. Multitasking is much improved here, with the 'Recent Apps' button displaying a list of thumbnails to show other apps you have running.

Folders are also introduced in Android 4.0 - again, à la Apple's iOS. So far, so iOS, but then there are plenty of elements in Ice Cream Sandwich unique to the platform, too.

Android Beam embraces a new technology called Near Field Communication to allow Android devices in close proximity to easily connect with each other, while new virtual buttons replace the physical buttons at the bottom of the screen.

You'll also be able to unlock your Android handset using facial recognition, pull up browser tabs while using the Android internet browser, and finally get rid of all those crappy pre-installed apps that Android devices never allow you to delete.

So, what does iOS 5 have to offer than can beat all this? Apple has also borrowed a number of ideas from other mobile OSs, while introducing a few nifty features of its own.

Notifications can now be viewed by pulling down a panel from the top - a bit like dragging the top panel down on an Android device. And like on Android, you can also view your latest updates via the Lock screen.

A new Messages app lets you communicate with other iPhone and iPad users for free over wi-fi and 3G, in much the same style as BlackBerry Messenger.

Both of these new OSs have their plus points, but some may be more important to you than others. Make sure you know which you like the sound of the most before putting cash down.