The Google Nexus S Squares Off Against the iPhone 4

When Google’s last “iPhone killer,” the Nexus One, fell flat on its face, many predicted that Google would get out of the hardware game and focus on developing Android for handsets made by other companies. However, the king of search is back with an impressive attempt to revive the Nexus line.

Below we’ll answer the one question iPhone owners really want to know: How does the new Nexus S stack up against the iPhone 4? Does it blow away our beloved Apple device or will it be pale in comparison? Let’s take a look!


The Google Nexus S Website

Physical Size

We’ll start with the factor that’s perhaps the most superficial in deciding whether or not anyone will like it: the dimensions. Google lists the dimensions of the Nexus S at 63.0 mm wide, 123.9 mm high and 10.88 mm deep. For those of you boggled by the metric system, that’s approximately 2.4 inches wide by 4.8 inches high by 0.42 inches deep.

Now, let’s compare sizes to see who wins! Apple lists the iPhone’s width at 2.31 inches (58.6 mm), the height at 4.5 inches (115.2 mm), the and the depth at 0.37 inch (9.3 mm).

Obviously, the phones are very close and it comes down to mere millimeters of difference. And then there’s the question of who wins. Is smaller always better? Or perhaps it’s the weight that counts? The Nexus S weighs in at 4.5 ounces and the iPhone is 4.8 ounces.

Ultimately, neither really has bragging rights in this category. For what it’s worth, the Nexus S is both a little bigger and a little lighter than the iPhone 4.


The Nexus Runs a clean clean version of Gingerbread

Storage, RAM and CPU

Now for the good stuff. How do these two contenders compare in the technology that makes a difference? Let’s start off with the processor.

Processor comparisons are tricky if you’re not really familiar with the chips. Ultimately, they both have a 1GHz processor, Google with the A8 Hummingbird and Apple with the A4. Here’s a comparison of Samsung’s Humminbird vs. Apple’s A4.

Next up is built-in storage. Both the Nexus S and the iPhone have a 16GB version but the iPhone does one better with the 32GB version. Whether or not you actually need 32GB is up to you, but it’s definitely nice to have the option on the table.

Finally, let’s have a look at the RAM. Again, the two are evenly matched with both coming in at 512MB. Nothing to see here folks, move along.

Obviously, the Nexus S specs aren’t exactly arbitrary but have been pegged to be extremely comparable to the iPhone. If you’re yawning at this point, get ready, we’ll dig deeper and point out the differences next.


It's definitely a sharp looking device

The Big Differences

As you can see, the two phones are turning out to be just about the same with tech specs. Let’s get all the other similarities on table quickly shall we? Both start at $199 for 32GB, both have a primary 5MP camera with flash in addition to a front-facing camera and both have Bluetooth, WiFi and GPS.

Fear not however, for with this mound of identical features comes a few notable differences. For starters, Apple boasts 7 hours of battery talk time while Google only claims 6 (PC World says 6.7 for the Nexus S). Far more interesting however are the screens. The Nexus S wins the screen size battle (assuming suddenly that bigger is better) with a 4″ 480 by 800 pixel AMOLED display but the iPhone 4’s 3.5″ retina display is still kicking butt and taking names with resolution at 640 by 960 pixels. Translation: The iPhone still has the most beautiful display you’ll find on a phone.

If at this point you’re ready to run out and tell your Google pals how your iPhone is still better than anything they can dish out, you might want to make sure you have all your facts straight. They’ll likely pull two arguably big cards that will leave you defenseless.

The first is Flash. Just about every device on the planet runs it but the iPhone, including the Nexus S. I’m personally not a Flash fan (quite the opposite) but I am getting sick of Apple deciding which websites I should and shouldn’t visit instead of supporting everything and leaving the choice to me.

Finally, and this one is big for me, the Nexus S can serve as a Wi-Fi hotspot. Why can’t the iPhone do this? I imagine it’s not really Apple but AT&T being stubborn on this matter but regardless, it really sucks that all the other kids get cool hotspots in their phones and we don’t!

Will The Nexus S Follow the Nexus One?

Now that you’ve seen the specs, let us know what you think of the Nexus S. We know you’re not going to throw your iPhone in the trash to rush out and get one, but we are interested in hearing your thoughts on whether or not it will succeed where the Nexus One failed.

Google is abandoning its online-only distribution strategy and pushing the phone out to a Best Buy near you. Perhaps that will be enough to convince consumers to pick one up? Or maybe Google really should “pull a Sega” and get out of the hardware game. Tell us in the comments.

  • Tom Hermans

    fell flat on its face hahahahahaha…

    the iPhone can’t compete with neither a model of the htc desire’s or the nexus’s.. but keep telling yourself ifairytales..

    • Filippus Johansson

      Haha weird that iPhone sales better than any other HTC, Samsung or Nexus phone then, it can compete, because it naturally feels more rapid when you play around in the OS. Stop being so cocky telling other what is best, sure Google has a very good phone here, but this phone alone will never affect the iPhone sale! Because the normal user that buy these phones, don’t care about ghz or ram, they look at the apps and the os itself… and then iPhone is the winner

      • Brandlax

        iPhone is all time best!

      • Tim

        Go look some market share numbers, androids market share is bigger than apples…
        I must admit, Apple is not able anymore to compete. And please stop saying. It’s an iphone, so it’s better, go back to your Apple church

      • by the numbers

        Just a few facts. 1) the iPhone is a great device but it is limited by the business model of apple. 2) outside of the apple name the iPhone is no better than the other smart phones and actually lags behind a number of android’s in several respects. 3) Most importantly, before you go quoting app store numbers remember that Apple includes all apps ever made for it. In many cases these a one time or short use apps. They are fluff. The core apps that everyone wants to use exist in both stores!!! I will concede that someone needs to centralize and standardize the Android stores, for security and convenience purposes, but the app store argument doesn’t work to decide between the two phones.

        Also the navigation and map abilities of android phones put the iPhones to shame.

  • fxkill

    Shhhhhh— You had me at ‘flash’.

  • CJ Dayrit

    If i can only have both iphone 4 and the nexus….

  • iPhaze

    Well, let’s just be honest here. Andriod Phandriods will foam at the mouth at this and probably queue in their drones (..pun intended!) to get this.

    But the iPhone will remain the most desirable, most coveted, most stylish phone available for the foreseeable future.
    Put it this way- until ‘real’ hardcore iPhone fans find a phone made by Google (or has Android on it) that can GENUINELY make them want to ditch Apple (and their loyalty) I don’t think it’s possible to say that iPhone ‘killer’ actually exist.

    That day, I’m pleased to say, is not today.

    iPhone FTW. Again.

  • Vasilis

    I wouldn’t buy any other phone than one with iOS, so iPhone is one way for me.It isn’t just the specs of the phone it is the software that is amazing…..

  • Sebastiaan Swinkels

    The iPhone in my opinion has a couple of things that make it really stand out from any other smartphone.

    First of all there’s this little thing called compatibility. Because there’s such a limited number of different iOS devices developers can spend less time on making their software compatible with as many smartphones as possible and instead spend that time on making their software the best it can be.

    Then there’s the AppStore. Android has an appstore equivalent, at least that’s what google thinks. Googles “Market” however doesn’t even have 1/10th of the number of apps available in the AppStore.

    Friends of mine have so far all ditched their android phones in favor of the iPhone. The iPhone just does what it’s supposed to do in the most intuitive way possible. Heck i’ve seen 1 year old kids that understand the basic GUI.

    Don’t even get me started on Symbian or Windows Phone. Especially the manufacturers of the latter one seem to have the idea that throwing a bunch of icons and words on a screen in a seemingly random order and then randomly magnifying parts of it, makes for a good GUI. Sure it looks different and it’ll probably catch your eye in the store too…. but for all the wrong reasons.

  • ken

    From the sound of these comments, most of you may have never actually extensively used an Android device.

    300,000+ apps vs 100,000+ apps is irrelevant. The core apps that are actually useful and used frequently, both Apple’s App Store and Google’s market fill nicely. Personally, I’d probably install at most, 30 apps but of course, it depends on the person. One of the real differences is that Android phones have widgets you can download in the market (which are quite handy).

    Using sales figures to tout a phone being better than another is not really a good argument. Are you saying Windows is better than Mac because Windows has a 90% market share?

    In any case, I’ve used the iPhone for 1.5 years and tried out the iPhone4 for a couple of weeks (which 1/3 of is built by Samsung and the screen built by LG).

    All the power to you if you stuck with iPhone. I jumped to Android because I can customize the way it works, the way it looks, right out of the box without any hacking.

    It’s also nice to be able to download any song you want to your phone with mp3 apps in the Market and to be able to plug your Android phone to your computer and have it show up just like a USB key without any additional software to transfer songs to and from your phone.


  • rk

    Not to mention, FREE Turn by Turn Navigation with street view on Android phones. (Android 2.2 and above support voice controlled turn by turn navigation).

  • rk

    Actually, if I’m not mistaken, all Android phones have native wifi hotspot (ver 2.1+, 2.2 and on). If it doesn’t, it’s likely disabled by the carrier.

  • Ray

    I have an Evo that makes my iPhone friends drool. Yes, the iPhone screen resolution is as yet unmatched in the industry. But really, on a screen that small, you can’t really make out much of a difference. Other than that, HTC Sense UI on Android can give iOS a run for its money any day. And Evo wins every other feature comparison you care to do. Except battery life. Sigh. Still waiting for that perfect phone.

  • i_speak_EVO

    In response to the IPHONE being the best because its “So Amazing” and It “Sells More”… What exactly is Amazing. I get tired of people using this adj., to describe how it “Scrolls” or how big the “App. Store” is. or how many “Pixles” the screen has oh, and how its “Size” is. None of this fits the most basic definition of “Amazing” I personally found it frustrating having to “scroll” within websites and pages because my little 3.5″ screen didn’t show enough without minimizing to a size I couldn’t read. Then came the 4.3″ screen size. And I don’t care which Manufacture offers this, the Size is better than any 3.5″ and it just so happens that when you put any IPhone next to the HTC-EVO and HD2, the overall size of the handsets are very close, HTC simply chose to use more of the space for screen and not Empty Black Space.

    Now for Sale figures, another area the IPhone is described as “Amazing”
    One Phone One Supplier… hmmm

    Android? I wonder. If there were only One place I could get android, Every Two Years, would it also be “Amazing”

  • Solcry

    Haha, well, I wouldn’t be too sure on the screen. For the record, I own a MacBook Pro (love my Macs) and a Droid, so I have a little bit of both.

    Anyways, with that said, my sister is a Google engineer so she brought back a Nexus S – and, I have to say, that is far and away the most gorgeous screen I’ve seen. Yes, the resolution is slightly smaller but the AMOLED display makes it so incredibly vibrant. Pretty much awesome to look at.

  • Amanda

    We threw our iphones in the trash….and thank god. Freedom to do whatever on our phones now instead of apple deciding

  • james

    I have both the iPhone 4 and the Nexus S.

    Firstly I have to say that I’m a fan of Apple when it comes to computers so I was expecting to fall in love with the iPhone 4. However, I was seriously disappointed when I got it. Yes its elegant but at the cost of being very limited! limited in every way! And as a phone it is mediocre.

    I had a lot of expectations for the app store too but again I was disappointed here, I prefer Google market place – more quality stuff in my opinion and a lot of it for free.
    Then there’s Google Navigation, seamless integration with gmail and other google applications, seriously customisable,… the list goes on!

    A lot of the iPhones success is down to Apple’s marketing – dont believe the hype!!

  • Fiss

    Picked up the Nexus S a month back and the thing still has me smiling daily.

    The hardware is very good, particularly the screen that I can read in broad daylight and use as a GPS navigator in the glaring sun in my car or on my motorcycle. Physically, it feels more organic and ‘real’ than an iPhone. It feels damn good in the hand, damn good in your pocket, and it’s really just a nice device to use, even without the aluminum backing that come with other phones, even other Androids. I would have liked it to be a metal case for durability, but so far I’ve had no issues with toughness or scratches/dents/etc. I’ll probably throw on a protective skin to be sure, but I’ve never felt is was fragile. Camera is good, video is great, and battery life is surprisingly consistent and solid. I’ve never had a day where I *had* to charge it up, not even when playing around with day long trips, GPS and roaming between networks.

    The comments about the navigation software being leaps and bounds beyond anything is true, (including dedicated GPS) and the integration within the phone’s other features, like the bluetooth audio, is so seamless I was blown away. The augmented reality abilities and Google Apps, of course, are also shining points.

    But of course, the real benefit is seeing Android VS iOS in all their respective glories with no HTC/LG/Samsung software in the way. Android really shines on this device…almost as if it was built for it (imagine that!). Even without a dual-core CPU or gobs of developer hacks, it’s slick, responsive, and tweak-easy.

    The real “iPhone Killer” isn’t going to be any one phone. It will be Google and others continuing to respect and listen to their customers instead of assuming they know what’s best and forcing that upon the people who are their bottom line. Unless Jobs realizes that the user is is more important than the platform, Apple will continue to see their market share and profits eaten by others, one happy customer at a time. No amount of shiny aluminum will stop that.

  • unlock iPhone 4S

    I have used Nexus S but it was far form perfect but recently I got my Galaxy Nexus and I can say that I am impressed about this device. It not just looks stunning it also has huge screen and latest Android OS finally looks like real alternative to Apple’s iOS

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