Nexus 4 vs. Galaxy S3


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  1. Crell

    Crell Active Member

    Yeah, this is one of those threads again. I need some buying advice, largely just to bounce thoughts off of people.

    I'm looking to replace my Samsung Vibrant (Galaxy S for T-Mobile). I've been waiting to see what came out of Google this fall, and the Nexus 4 seems to be it. I'm not completely sold on it, however, largely for reasons that are now well-known around these parts.

    I was hoping for something with a keyboard and a screen that's not large enough to qualify as a tablet. However, it seems The Powers That Be have decided that high end phones aren't high-end if they aren't too big to fit in your pocket and lack physical buttons. I am not happy about either development but I've resigned myself to that fact.

    I'm on T-Mobile, and there's really only 2 good high-end phones they offer right now: Nexus 4 and Samsung Galaxy S3, which AFAIK are not all that far off from each other.

    To the Nexus 4's favor:

    • Both are too big, but as above I've accepted that I'm not going to find a high-end Android phone under 4.5". The N4 is slightly better in that regard, though.
    • I was really burned by the utterly horrific GPS antenna on the Samsung Vibrant. I haven't heard of the S3 manages to avoid sucking in the same way.
    • N4 has the nexus mojo and upgrade potential vs. Samsung, who, after the Galaxy S upgrade debacle, I don't expect to ever speak to again after the sale. (Other S3 owners, is that true?)
    • N4 has stock Android, although I understand newer TouchWiz versions suck less than old ones. Can I at least get stock PIM apps? (The PIMs on my Vibrant are godawful.)
    • N4 doesn't have LTE, blah blah I'm on T-Mobile, so HSPA+ is what I need anyway. :)
    • N4 is brand new, while the S3 is more than half a year old. Which shouldn't be a big deal, but you know how quickly phones move in this market.
    To the S3's favor:

    • It is a flagship device, so if it were anyone but Samsung I'd expect it to get lots of support. (Anyone with an S3 have experiences to offer? Mostly I'm interested in clean OS upgrades...)
    • It's been out a bit, and I've not heard of any serious kinks. Unlike the Nexus 4 which seems to be having a lot of growing pains out of the gate, based on the news postings here. This is one of my biggest worries.
    • It's actually possible to get right now. :)
    • Storage: N4 maxes at 16 GB, S3 at 64 GB + microSD. Of course, I've not filled my 12 GB Vibrant yet, but I'm still wary of limited expandability.
    • The non-removable battery of the N4 makes me worried, not for replacement purposes but because I've had to "battery reset" my Vibrant a bit too often; I don't know how to recover from a hard crash other than that.
    • Let's be honest, SAMOLED's just damned pretty on screen.
    • Mini-SIM on the N4 may make it more difficult when I travel, as I travel overseas once or twice a year these days and sometimes prefer to get a local SIM. Those are usually standard-sized SIMs.


    I think otherwise the two are largely comparable in terms of guts. (Both quad core, both NFC, etc.)



    S3 owners: How is battery life like?


    My main uses are GPS, web browsing (I'm a web developer), Twitter/email, ebooks, and games. My heaviest use is at tech conferences, where I tend to pound the network connection rather hard, making my Vibrant's battery curl up in a little ball.

    Anything else I'm missing? Any other wisdom or experience to share?


    Help me spend money! :)

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  2. annebrooks64

    annebrooks64 Well-Known Member

    You seem to have it pretty much covered there but I will tell you the s3 uses a micro sim and not the old standard sized one. At the moment I'm using a note 2 but also have an s3 which I can honestly say I've had absolutely no issues with at all. I've been in 2 minds about trading it for a nexus 4 but with all of its issues and the fact that I think Google made a mistake letting LG build it I'm going to keep the s3.
    Of course that's just my personal opinion.
  3. Crell

    Crell Active Member

    Ah, so it's a new micro-SIM either way? Drat. I guess that's a wash then.

    I'm still torn. I love the concept of Nexus, and the device certainly looks sexier than the S3, but the execution seems just shy of awesome. :-(

    Anyone else have experience to offer?
  4. chrlswltrs

    chrlswltrs Well-Known Member

    I have had the Nexus 4 since the day it went on sale at T-Mobile. My daughter has the GSIII. Yes, touchwiz is still just as bad. I haven't used her phone much other than just setting some things up on it, but I don't want to use it either. The difference in software is just pathetic.

    I haven't had any problems in 1 1/2 weeks on my Nexus 4 (other than a couple apps take a little while to get updated to work on the new software, but that has always been the case with a Nexus)

    I paid $200 for my Nexus, and her phone was free. If I had to choose again today for the same prices I would make the same choice. The Nexus has better software, better processor, more RAM, faster updates, etc.

    Also, with the battery reset. This isn't the first phone with a non removable battery, so of course there is a way to force a reboot... If you hold the power button for 10 seconds it forces a reboot the same as pulling the battery.

    I have a thread I started the day after I got mine with a review of a lot of different aspects of the N4, you should check it out in the N4 section.
    9to5cynic and Hadron like this.
  5. 9to5cynic

    9to5cynic Well-Known Member

    Hiding the quote for space reasons.... ;)

    I have an S3, and the battery is great. But you guys have nailed it with the software... I'm not thrilled on it. I had a Galaxy Nexus that I really enjoyed, but had to switch carriers and didn't want 2 years of a phone that was over a year old.... so I went with the S3. Now, you can root the S3 and install an AOSP rom on it, but it's not the same as getting a pure android device IMO.

    I'd say, at this point, the N4 is the winner for a couple of reasons, those being 1) new (better specs) and 2) AOSP/pure android.

    That being said, I haven't played with a N4 yet. ;)

    Good luck, and I'm sure you'll enjoy your device either way. :D
  6. chanchan05

    chanchan05 The Doctor Guide

    The only reason to get an S3 over the Nexus is if you absolutely NEED the extra offline storage. If not, get the N4.

    PS. No they aren't comparable in guts. The S3 uses a quad core Exynos chip with 4 A9 processors. The Nexus uses a quad core chip with 4 A15 processors. To put it in perspective the Exynos 5 on the Nexus 10 uses only dual A15s, but its as powerful benchmark wise as the quad A9s on the S3.
  7. xmr405o

    xmr405o Well-Known Member

    I'd go for the N4 as well but my only advice is to buy it outright. Forget a contract if the price of it without a contract isn't too much of a difference. Then you'll be truly free as a bird. A nexus device and no contract...perfect! :D
  8. chrlswltrs

    chrlswltrs Well-Known Member

    The offline storage is the only reason my daughter got the GSIII instead of the N4 because she downloads a ton of games to her phone. 16gb on her Nexus S was maxed out to the point she couldn't even update apps/games.

    Also the T-Mobile GSIII is only a dual core. Only the unlocked international one is quad core, which will probably cost double the price of the better Nexus 4.
  9. chanchan05

    chanchan05 The Doctor Guide


    The T-mobile GS3 has dual core A15 Kraits, so its as powerful as the international quad core and should cost the same.
  10. chrlswltrs

    chrlswltrs Well-Known Member

    Another comparison. Apparently Android Beam is not created equal on all phones.

    Today I took some pictures on my Nexus 4. I used NFC to Beam some pictures from my Nexus 4 to my wife's Nexus 4, everything went fine, she got the pictures no problem.

    Then I tried to Beam some pictures to my daughter's GSIII. I got an error message on my phone saying the target phone could not receive a file that large and my daughter never got the pictures.

    Makes me wonder what kind of restrictions Samsung has placed on Beam?? I haven't tried it with anything other than pictures yet, but it just goes to show that this is yet another area that Samsung has altered Android and not for the better.
  11. xmr405o

    xmr405o Well-Known Member

    I had the same issue when trying to beam videos to my N7 from my S3. I was able to beam it to the razr M without problems when the M was on ICS but now I it doesn't work on videos. Pictures are still fine. So I was thinking it was a JB vs ICS thing. But I figure your daughters S3 should be on JB so I'm not sure anymore.
  12. chrlswltrs

    chrlswltrs Well-Known Member

    I really don't know. I hate using my daughter's SIII for anything after using my Nexus. I haven't even looked at the software version on it.

    I just looked at T-Mobile's web site and it says 4.2 JB for the SIII, that just doesn't seem right. 4.2 has only been out a couple weeks, shouldn't it be 4.1?? :confused::confused:
  13. xmr405o

    xmr405o Well-Known Member

    Yeah I doubt it's 4.2 that would be too soon. My wife's Razr m is on 4.1 so I'm leaning towards more of a OS compatibility issue but I wouldn't rule out a software mod by Samsung causing problems.
  14. Crell

    Crell Active Member

    Well, based on discussion here and elsewhere I just ordered a Nexus 4 direct from Google. Not cheap. Hopefully it pays off. :) (I wonder if I can nudge T-Mobile to lower my plan cost since I'm out of contract period on my old phone...)
  15. chrlswltrs

    chrlswltrs Well-Known Member

    They should be able to. If you haven't changed plans recently, they have some new plans which are much lower priced. Mine has went down recently. Plus if you aren't on a value plan already when you switch your data cost goes down also. It only $20 an month for the truly unlimited 4G data on a value plan.
  16. You made a great choice considering how the Nexus 4 is selling like hotcakes at the moment.
  17. Wisenos

    Wisenos Well-Known Member

    haven't played yet with the nexus 4 but my SIII (dual core version) works just like a charm since day 1

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