Thursday, November 8, 2012

iPhone 5 vs LG Nexus 4, The Battle Of The Flagships

iPhone 5 vs Nexus 4

Many of you probably heard that Google unveiled the LG Nexus 4 flagship smartphone a couple of days ago, even though Hurricane Sandy made them postpone the launch event scheduled for October 29th. Apple’s iPhone 5 is one of the best selling smartphone of the moment and since the LG Nexus 4 is now “officially official” it’s time for the iPhone 5 vs LG Nexus 4 showdown.

Many of the established tech publications are saying that the LG Nexus 4 is indeed the real iPhone 5 killer, but are they right, or they are just begging for attention? For this particular reason we though that the iPhone 5 vs LG Nexus 4 battle would be able to put an end to all your questions.

Apple announced the iPhone 5 in September, to replace the iPhone 4S, a popular smartphone that managed to sell millions of units. Since each new Apple product somehow manages to outsell its predecessor, the iPhone 5 was also a sales hit, becoming world’s fastest selling smartphone with 5 million units shipped in the first weekend prior to the launch.

On the other hand, LG Nexus 4 is not yet available for purchase, as Google has set the release date for November 13th. The Nexus 4 comes to replace Galaxy Nexus, a smartphone manufactured by Samsung.

Nexus 4 is the first Google dev phone maunfactured by LG. The first Nexus phone, Nexus One was made by HTC and released in January 2010. Samsung took up the slack for the next two Google smartphones: Nexus S (December 2010), then Galaxy Nexus, unveiled in October 2011, synchronized with the Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich announcement.

Google and Apple are currently the biggest players on the smartphone markets, and the creators of the most important platforms underpinning today’s smartphones, Android and iOS, respectively. Since the iPhone 5 and the LG Nexus 4 are the flagship smartphones of the two aforementioned companies, both will set the standards on the smartphone segment.

But enough with the chitchat and let’s begin the iPhone 5 vs LG Nexus 4 battle. The winner will be decided based on 8 factors: Dimensions, Design, Display, Memory, Connectivity, Camera, Processor, Operating System, and Price.

I will start the iPhone 5 vs Nexus 4 battle by comparing the size of the two flagship smartphones.

The iPhone 5 measures 123.8 x 58.6 x 7.6 mm. It is taller than its last two predecessors the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S, but it keeps the same width. The Apple smartphone is the thinnest iPhone so far, being one of the thinnest smartphones currently on the market, with a profile of only 7.6 mm. Back in September when iPhone 5 was officially announced, Apple’s marketing head, Phil Schiller said that it’s “world’s most thinnest smartphone,” but it seems he had forgotten about Motorola’s RAZR and a couple of more devices, with Oppo Finder leading the pack with only 6.65mm at its thinnest point and 7.1 mm at its thickest.

On the other hand the LG Nexus 4 is considerably bigger than the iPhone 5, measuring 133.9 x 68.7 x 9.1 mm. Nexus 4 is also thickest than most of its competitors, including iPhone 5, Samsung Galaxy S3 and HTC One X. Google’s smartphone is larger mostly because it has to accommodate a bigger display and a bigger battery, but we’ll get there, as well.

Apple claims that it decided not to change the width of their smartphones, because this is the ideal size for controlling it with one hand. I guess many of you have used 4+ inch smartphones and noticed that they can be controlled with just one hand, well, unless you don’t have the hands of a baby.

The iPhone 5 weighs in 112 grams, being 27 grams lighter than the Nexus 4 (139 grams). For this particular reason, and because it’s thinner than the Android-powered device, the point allocated for Dimensions goes to the iPhone 5.

Well, this is a tough one. Because “de gustibus non est disputandum” some of you would appreciate iPhone 5?s classy design, while others would choose the LG Nexus 4 for its buttonless front panel.

The Cupertino-based company decided it’s not the time yet to alter the design language introduced in 2010 by the iPhone 4. Still, the company’s design team chose to make the iPhone 5 taller, and, of course, slimmer, in order to align to the current trend in the smartphone business of making thinner devices.

The iPhone 5 also is taller because it now has to accommodate a 4-inch display, the first change in terms of screen size since the debut of the first-gen iPhone, back in 2007. Since most of iPhone’s Android rivals were packing 4.5+ inch displays, Apple had to make a move, as the other smartphones were outmatching their devices when it came to web browsing, gaming and video playback experience.

On the other hand, the LG Nexus 4 is a reminiscent of its predecessor, the Galaxy Nexus, but the flagship Google phone manufactured by the South Korea-based company is a bit thicker than the GNex, sticking to the same rectangular design with rounded corners and a notification LED on the bottom end.

So far, one of the major selling points of the iPhone devices were the materials, but it seems that Google has learned that the customers have a preference for premium materials, therefore the Nexus 4 comes with Gorilla Glass coating on the back. What was iPhone’s ace up the sleeve in the competition against the Android devices, now the design materials are on par, and those who loved iPhone 4?s and iPhone 4S’ Gorilla Glass-protected back, will definitely enjoy LG Nexus 4?s design and building quality.

Because both the Apple terminal and the new Google flagship come with great designs and high quality materials, the iPhone 5 vs LG Nexus 4 design fight ends as a tie.

As I mentioned above, the iPhone 5 comes with a 4-inch touch panel. The display uses LED-backlit IPS TFT technology, also known as Retina Display, it has a resolution of 640 x 1136 pixels and a pixel density of 326 ppi. The 4-inch display is defended against scratches by Gorilla Glass and it has an oleophobic coating to protect it against fingerprints.

Apple claims that the iPhone 5 borrows iPhone 4S’ with because this is the ideal size to allow the user to operate the device with one hand. In fact, the iPhone 5 kept the same with as its predecessor in order to give less troubles to the app developers. As you probably noticed the iPhone 5, iPhone 4, and iPhone 4S share the same width resolution, 640 pixels. The iOS apps are not so flexible as the ones in Android, therefore each time a new resolution shows up in the ecosystem, the developers will have to optimize their apps for the new display. That’s why some of the applications in App Store are not now displayed in “full screen” on the new iPhone 5, leaving to black borders on the top and bottom ends.

The LG Nexus 4 packs a 4.7-inch True HD IPS Plus display with HD resolution (768 x 1280 pixels) and 318 ppi. The Nexus 4 borrows the touch panel form the LG Optimus G, a display that received a lot of positive reviews from the established tech publications. There are some voices saying that 4.7 inches are too much for a display, as the device requires two hands to operate. Well, I have good news for you. LG Nexus 4?s 4.7-inch display doesn’t feel that big while messing around with the operating system. Since the terminal doesn’t come with capacitive or physical buttons, the Android-specific buttons are displayed the screen, making it feel like a 4.5-ish display.

Since the LG Nexus 4 comes with a bigger display than the iPhone 5, the web browsing, video playback and gaming experiences are richer on the Google device. The Android-powered smartphone also beats the Apple terminal when it comes to display resolution, therefore the iPhone 5 vs LG Nexus 4 display battle is won by the Google dev phone. +1 Nexus 4.

The iPhone 5 vs LG Nexus 4 battle continues with the memory aspects of the two devices. After a shallow view at the technical specifications, you may say that this battle will also end as tie. Nope.

The LG Nexus 4 comes with 2 GB of RAM, while Apple’s iPhone 5 has only 1 GB of RAM. The Android smartphone wins here. But the iOS doesn’t require that much RAM, so fitting more than 1 GB was unjustified for the iPhone 5.

The LG Nexus 4 comes with only 8 or 16 GB of internal storage, while iPhone 5 comes with three internal storage options from 16 GB to 64 GB. Neither of the two smartphones come with microSD support, therefore on the Nexus 4 you will be stuck on at most 16 GB of storage. Considering that some of the games in Play Store have a size of 1+ GB, 8 GB of storage are not enough. 16 GB are decent, but some of the customers may want more.

Summing up, because the RAM amount doesn’t count as the two smartphones run on different platforms, the limited internal storage options of the LG Nexus 4 allowed the iPhone 5 to get one point in the iPhone 5 vs LG Nexus 4 memory battle.

The iPhone 5 features Bluetooth, WiFi a/b/g/n, dual-band, WiFi hotspot, plus 3G and 4G LTE. The 4G LTE support is a major selling point, especially on the North American market, the one that generates huge sales for the Cupertino-based phone maker. An annoying connectivity feature of the iPhone 5 is the new Lightning dock connector that is not compatible with the older accessories. Fortunately, Apple has also outed a adapter for the Lightning dock, but the sad news is that the price of the adapter was set at $30.

The LG Nexus 4 comes with all the connectivity features worthy of a high-end smartphone, WiFi in all standards, WiFi direct, WiFi hotspot, Bluetooth and microUSB, the latter one coming in handy when you have to recharge your battery, as you can use any microUSB compatible charger, which is used by most of the smartphone manufactures.

Nexus 4 also comes with NFC support, but this technology is not so widespread. You can do some funny stuff with the NFC tags, use it for phone payments and share files with other NFC compatible devices, but once again there are not many terminals out there supporting this technology. The Android 4.2-powered smartphone comes with 3G support with download speeds of up to 42 Mbps.

Because the Apple flagship smartphone comes with LTE the iOS-powered terminal wins the iPhone 5 vs LG Nexus 4 connectivity showdown. Another win for iPhone 5.

The iPhone 5 boasts the same 8 megapixel iSight camera that was introduced on the iPhone 4S, but the guys at Apple have made some improvements here and there. The iSight camera comes with an improved BSI sensor and the real life tests have shown that the iPhone 5 does a pretty good job in low light conditions. The 8 megapixel unit fitted on the Apple flagship smartphone comes with LED flash, autofocus, touch focus, geo-tagging, face detection, HDR, and the ability to take stills while recording HD videos.

In iOS 6 Apple has introduced the panorama feature, and now you can take several pictures and “glue” them together into a single, larger one. iPhone 5 is also capable of recording full HD videos at 30fps, while the front-facing 1.2 megapixel camera can handle HD Facetime calls.

The LG Nexus 4 sports an 8 megapixel camera with autofocus, LED flash and support for full HD video recording at 30fps. The front-facing camera is a 1.3 megapixel unit with of HD video recording support. But by far the most impressive feature of LG Nexus 4?s camera is the Photo Sphere, which made its debut in Android 4.2 Jelly Bean. The Photo Sphere allows you to take 360 degree panoramic photos, then the software will transform them into a “photo sphere.” Google has basically used the Street View technology and incorporated it into the smartphones underpinned by its operating system.

The Photo Sphere feature is a premiere for the smartphone business, and since the other aspects of the two cameras are mostly similar, the iPhone 5 vs LG Nexus 4 camera award goes to the Android-powered smartphone.

Before Apple officially unveiled the new iPhone 5, most of the tech publications were suggesting that the new smartphone will be underpinned by the A5X processor on the iPad 3.

This theory was backed up by the company’s previous product launches. The iPhone 4 came with the single-core Apple A4 processor from the first iPad, the iPhone 4S had iPad 2?s A5 SoC, therefore the iPhone 5 was expected to sport the dual-core A5X processor from iPad 3.

Apple though that the dual-core A5X CPU from the iPad 3 is not good enough to compete against the more powerful rivals on the market. The Cupertino-based company has created a brand new SoC, based on a dual-core 1.2 GHz processor developed on ARMv7 architecture. The CPU developed by Apple is borrowing construction elements both from the Cortex A9 and Cortex A15 and the benchmark tests have shown that it can even outmatch some of the quad-core processors currently on the market.

The iPhone 5?s CPU is helped by a triple-core PowerVR SGX 543MP3 GPU with amazing performances in GLBenchmarks.

The LG Nexus 4 is underpinned by a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro (codenamed APQ8064) chipset based on four Krait cores clocked at 1.5 GHz and a powerful quad-core Adreno 320 GPU. The Snapdragon S4 pro is dubbed the most powerful processor currently on the market.

The amazing processing power of the Snapdragon S4 Pro chipset brings the point allocated for the iPhone 5 vs LG Nexus 4 processor battle to the smartphone co-developed by Google and LG making the score 3 – 3.

This category is sometimes decided exclusively on consumers’ preferences, but there are a lot more than this in the battle between iOS 6 and Android 4.2 Jelly Bean.

The iOS 6 continues the reliability and the simplicity introduced by the previous versions of the operating system developed by Apple. Many of the iOS enthusiasts claim that Apple’s mobile operating system is the supreme platform, while other think otherwise.

Apple is currently stuck to the same user interface and it is a known fact that the users get bored fast. iOS 6 didn’t bring new and important functions, and besides Facebook integration and the Panorama feature of the camera there wasn’t more to brag about. Apple also introduced its own mapping solution while ditching Google’s, a decision that caused a lot of troubles for the company, as the rioting fans were really upset by the reduced functionality of the iOS 6 Maps. Apple even posted an official statement on their website to apologize for the inconvenience.

On the other hand Google has changed a lot to their operating system. Android 4.2 is a minor update to Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and besides the expandable notifications and Project Butter of the previous version, the new software update introduces some new features and even a premiere for the smartphone world.

Android 4.2 Jelly Bean now comes with Quick Settings directly in the notifications area, allowing the user to quickly enable or disable features like WiFi, Bluetooth, or Mobile Date. Even though the toggles system is common for TouchWiz or custom ROMs like CM10 or AOKP, the Mountain View-based company decided it would improve the user experience if the Vanilla version would pack those, too.

Android 4.2 also introduces widgets in the lock screen, therefore you will not have to unlock your device to access certain functions of your smartphone. The Photo Sphere is a premiere for the smartphone world (see the Camera category), and it brings precious points for Android 4.2.

iOS 6 is popular for its stability and reliability, but Google has put in a great effort to catch up and Android 4.2 reduced this handicap. Moreover, the Android ecosystem is famous for its customization options and now there are voices saying that it is almost as stable as the iOS.

For these particular reasons and many other more you can find in this article, the iOS 6 vs Android 4.2 Jelly Bean battle is won by Google’s mobile OS, also bringing one more point for LG Nexus 4.

Many of us know that the price really matters when you choose a product, and the best example for this is the first-gen Amazon Kindle Fire, the $200 tablet, that quickly became the best selling Android tablet in less than a quarter. But let’s forget about the Kindle Fire and just concentrate on the iPhone 5 vs LG Nexus 4 price war. This will be an easy battle to decide.

The iPhone 5 prices are situated between $649 and $849, the 16 GB model being the cheapest one. The LG Nexus 4 has a starting price of only $300 for the 8 GB model, while the 16 GB version has a tag of $350, contract free. That’s almost twice cheaper than the equivalent iPhone 5, and sometimes I even wonder whether Google is selling them on profit.

Since the LG Nexus 4 brings the best price for what it has to offer this round is won by it with ease.

The iPhone 5 vs LG Nexus 4 battle has finally came to an end. We’ve ended up tie when it came to design, as both smartphones come with premium materials and great building quality.

The iPhone 5 won the Dimensions, Memory and Connectivity rounds, because it’s thinner, has more storage options, and because it is LTE-friendly, so 3 points for the Apple smartphone.

Since LG Nexus 4 has a bigger HD display, Photo Sphere, more processing power, the customizability provided by Android 4.2, and since it costs only $300, it won when it came to Display, Camera, Processor, Operating System and Price battles, scoring 5 precious points, enough to help it win the iPhone 5 vs LG Nexus 4 showdown.

But maybe I am wrong, and maybe I’ve got certain aspects wrong. For this and for sharing your thoughts I am inviting you to leave your comments in the section below.

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