Nexus 4 vs. iPhone 5

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How does Google's latest flagship Nexus phone compare to the iPhone 5?

How does Google's latest flagship Nexus phone compare to the iPhone 5?. View gallery (11 images)

Google is going straight for Apple's throat. In addition to announcing its first direct iPad competitor, the Nexus 10, it's also set to release a new high-end smartphone, the Nexus 4. How does Google's (and LG's) latest flagship compare to the iPhone 5? Let's take a look …


In every dimension, the Nexus 4 is larger than the iPhone 5. Thinness – long one of Apple's hallmarks – is a big advantage for its handset.


The weight of the Nexus 4 corresponds to its size, as it's significantly heavier than the feather-light iPhone 5.


Both handsets have high-end resolutions, but the Nexus 4's 4.7-inch display offers more real estate. Whether that's an advantage or overkill may depend on your taste.


On paper, the Nexus 4 looks like the favorite. But performance can go beyond cores and gigahertz, and Apple's A6 is a benchmark record-breaking beast. The bottom line: both chips are top-notch, and neither is likely to be pushed to the limit by many currently-available apps.


The Nexus 4 packs 2 GB of RAM, double the 1 GB found in the iPhone 5.


Google and LG pinched pennies here to keep the Nexus 4's off-contract price low. US$299 gets you 8 GB of storage, and $349 boosts that to 16 GB. Considering that the iPhone 5 only costs $100 less on-contract, you may find the freedom that the Nexus 4 offers to be appealing.


Here's the other area where Google and LG skimped: the Nexus 4 lacks LTE. Though Google is promoting the phone's use of HSPA+ (often marketed as "4G"), you don't get the blazing-fast speeds of "true 4G."


On paper, this looks like a clear advantage for the Nexus 4. Like everything else here, though, take it with a few grains of salt. Many factors influence battery life, and the iPhone 5 should easily last a full day for most users.


These specs are looking similar: two 8-megapixel rear shooters, with the Nexus 4 having a slightly-higher number for the front-facing camera.


Both smartphones have distinctive designs, with particularly attractive backsides. The iPhone 5's anodized aluminum has a striking look, while the Nexus 4 sports a unique bedazzled appearance.

The Nexus 4 is one of the first mainstream smartphones to ship with wireless charging capabilities. Though you'll need to purchase a separate mat or dock, the device is compatible with the Qi wireless charging standard.

Google is taking another stab at bypassing wireless carrier subsidies, selling the Nexus 4 online and off-contract. That didn't work out too well for the Nexus One, but that was almost three years ago. With Google Play established as a premiere marketplace for apps, music, and other media, the time may be ripe for Google to prove that, when it comes to selling high-end smartphones, the carriers can be circumvented.

Summing up

Is the Nexus 4 an iPhone 5 killer? Of course not. No rival smartphone is going to "kill" the iPhone; it will sell in bunches regardless. The Nexus 4 can, however, serve as the new cream of the Android crop. Despite its lack of LTE, its specs are top-of-the-line, and it's priced competitively. Its off-contract pricing could also grant you a freedom not typically associated with owning a smartphone.

No matter which phone you prefer, this holiday season is shaping up to be a great time to shop for a new gadget. Specs can be illuminating, but they're only part of the equation. Getting your hands on the devices in a store is still the best way to know which works best for you.

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