Smartphone buying guide: Nexus 4 versus iPhone 5
Ah, the never-ending battle: Android vs. iOS. For smartphone and mobile device owners, it’s a contentious topic with champions and fanatics on both sides, touting the benefits of their choice over their opponents’. For the rest of us, the simple question of what to buy is an ever-present one.
Take Apple’s latest smartphone, the iPhone 5, and Google’s, the Nexus 4. Both are big, powerful personal computing devices you carry in their pockets. So what’s the difference? Which is better?
That question comes down to a lot of personal preferences, but there are a number of points of comparison in which each phone comes out superior.
Specs, screens and scratch (as in money)
Running straight down the line, the iPhone 5 and the Nexus 4 are actually pretty comparable, and in most categories the Nexus 4 has the edge. This is one of the slickest smartphones on the network right now on any operating system. It has screen that’s seven-tenths of an inch bigger than the iPhone 5’s newly enlarged screen (4.7 inches versus 4 inches), it contains a faster processor (2 GHz versus 1.6 GHz) and it has more available RAM (2 GB versus 1 GB).
However, even though the numbers favor the Nexus 4, in practice the devices are pretty similar. The Nexus 4 is faster overall, but the iPhone 5 has the edge in things like web browsing, especially with its 4G LTE capabilities. Both handle games at pretty much the same frame rate, and they carry 8-megapixel cameras and have slick hardware builds. The point is, the Nexus 4 is objectively the better device, but if you get an iPhone 5, you probably won’t be disappointed.
One of the biggest differences between the two smartphones is price. The Nexus 4 wins out – you can get the 8GB Nexus 4 for $300 on Google’s Play Store, without a cellular contract. An 8GB iPhone, on the other hand, costs $600 without a contract. With a contract, however, the iPhone 5 starts at $200.
All about the apps
The real value of both the Nexus 4 and the iPhone 5 comes down to their app environments, however, and this is where Apple’s iTunes App Store has an advantage. While the Google Play store is growing, there are more apps on iTunes, and the latter tends to get the biggest apps first if they eventually appear on both ecosystems. It’s worth noting that Apple’s devices are closed to other apps, while Google’s can support Android apps bought from a number of different stores.
Regardless of which device you prefer, shopping around for prices can help keep them affordable. The best price for the Nexus 4 is from Google Play, but it’s also available (for a higher price) from Amazon. As for the iPhone, you can get it from lots of places: Apple, most notably, but also from Walmart and Best Buy, which offer 1.5 percent cash back and 2 percent cash back, respectively, as well as free shipping on many orders. Radio Shack offers 3 percent cash back, and AT&T offers as much as $50 cash back.
So if you’re new to the smartphone market, want to keep your budget low, and don’t mind waiting for it to be back in stock, the Google Nexus 4 might be your best bet.The iPhone 5 comes with a stronger app store experience and benefits of its own, at a higher price. It comes down to what elements matter most to you, and just how much you’re willing to shell out.
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