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If it is important to you to have the latest and greatest device in the world of mobile then the current clash vexing your brainpan should be whether to plump for an iPhone 4S or a Galaxy Nexus -- the most awesome Android or the irrepressible iPhone. This is no easy decision. You should weigh up all the differences before you splash that cash, or alternatively let us do the weighing for you and see which smartphone deserves your undivided attention.
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Both smartphones have the candy bar form factor with a dominant touch screen. The Galaxy Nexus features a sexy new design and the iPhone 4S is sporting a sexy old design. The tale of the tape reveals that the iPhone 4S measures 4.54 x 2.31 x 0.37 inches and weighs in at 4.94 oz while the svelte Galaxy Nexus measures 5.33 x 2.67 x 0.35 inches and weighs in at 4.76 oz.
The iPhone 4S has not been training hard enough -- it is fatter and heavier than the Galaxy Nexus. These are both beautifully designed smartphones with high build quality but the leaner Galaxy Nexus, with that unusual curved design that hugs your face, takes this round.
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The Retina display has been the king of the castle for a long time now but the Galaxy Nexus is ready to topple it and claim the top spot. The gorgeous display of the Galaxy Nexus is a whopping 4.65 inches compared to the 3.5 inch display on the iPhone 4S. Usually the iPhone 4S compensates with its awesome resolution of 640 x 960 pixels and 326 ppi. The pixel density remains unbeatable, but the difference this time around is negligible because the Galaxy Nexus has a resolution of 720 x 1280 pixels and 316 ppi.
The Super AMOLED on the Galaxy Nexus is simply awesome. Side by side there’s no discernible difference in picture quality, but the picture on the Nexus is much bigger. Round two has to go to the Galaxy Nexus.
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Speed and Storage
The dual-core processors in these devices suggest a win for the Galaxy Nexus because it has a 1.2 GHz model and the iPhone 4S has a 1 GHz model underclocked to 800 MHz. However, the GPU in the iPhone 4S is superior which allows it to throw up graphics that much faster. Despite the 1 GB RAM in the Galaxy Nexus, compared to the 512 MB of RAM in the iPhone 4S, benchmark tests suggest the iPhone 4S is unbeatably fast. Neither is a slouch, but the iPhone 4S gains its first slight advantage.
When it comes to storage you’ve got a choice of 16 GB, 32 GB or 64 GB models of the iPhone 4S. Each jump costs you an extra $100 and there’s no microSD card support. The Galaxy Nexus comes in 16 GB or 32 GB varieties and it doesn’t support removable storage either.
The iPhone 4S fights back to take the third round.
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The Galaxy Nexus has a 5 MP rear facing camera and a 1.3 MP front facing camera. The main camera can also capture 1080p high definition video at 30 FPS.
Both manufacturers are claiming speedier performance than ever before, but we need to see some real results to judge the cameras fairly and you’d have to say the 5 MP main camera on the Galaxy Nexus is a disappointment. The iPhone 4S is probably going to be the better option if photography is an important factor for you when choosing a smartphone.
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OS, Network and Features
Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich has served up some tasty new features but then so has iOS 5. You really need to try Android and iOS to decide which is for you. Do you want slick performance and loads of high quality premium apps and games in the golden gated community of Apple’s iOS? Or would you prefer all the customization you can handle and plenty of free content on the open plains of Google’s Android?
The Galaxy Nexus can run on the 4G LTE network which is much faster than the HSPA+ network supported by the iPhone 4S.
In terms of other features the Galaxy Nexus also offers NFC (for mobile payments and more) and an FM radio, which the iPhone 4S lacks. Truthfully they are both feature-packed.
The Galaxy Nexus takes this round.
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The iPhone 4S has a Li-Po 1432 mAh battery and the Galaxy Nexus has a Li-Ion 1750 mAh battery. The Galaxy Nexus has a bigger battery, but then it has a much bigger screen to power so that doesn’t really decide the argument.
Usually the iPhone outperforms its Android enemies in the battery life arena, but since the launch of iOS 5 there have been a lot of complaints that the OS is killing the battery fast. Of course Apple will probably release an update. This is another area where we’ll need to wait and see some real life results with the two compared.
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We can’t be certain on the price just yet, but the Galaxy Nexus will probably be cheaper than the iPhone 4S. In the UK the Galaxy Nexus is on Amazon SIM-free for £519.99, the iPhone 4S is £599.00. Interestingly, the UK Apple Store website is offering the iPhone 4S for £499 right now. That’s the 16 GB versions of both. You are likely to find the same difference in the U.S. Of course most people will buy them with subsidized contract deals and once again it’s likely the iPhone 4S will be a little more expensive.
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So Which One Should I Buy?
You shouldn’t be spending this much money without getting a hands on look at the phones. Try them out in a store, even if you do end up getting a better price online and ordering there. According to our competition here the Galaxy Nexus wins three rounds to the iPhone 4S’s two rounds, with two rounds declared a tie. So the short answer is – you should buy a Galaxy Nexus.