Galaxy Nexus (Nexus Prime) vs iPhone 4S: Impending Superphone Armageddon [Updated]

by: Elmer MontejoOctober 5, 2011

[ Update 2011-10-05: Apple has just officially announced what everyone was hoping to be the iPhone 5 as the iPhone 4S.  And, we now have official details about the iPhone 4S’s specs. This post, first published on August 12, has been updated to reflect new information not just about the iPhone 4S but also of the Nexus Prime, whose official specs still remain unconfirmed and unannounced. ]

The tech world does not have any definitive word yet regarding the specifics of Google’s upcoming Nexus Prime (also rumored to be named Nexus 3, Nexus Plus, Samsung DROID Prime, or Samsung Galaxy Nexus).

On the other hand, what everyone was expecting to be the Apple iPhone 5 packed with new features that could potentially leave Android superphones in the dust turned out to be the iPhone 4S, which disappointed critics and heartbroken (and expectant) Apple fans quickly dismissed as just a rehash of last year’s iPhone 4 with slightly bumped up features.

Both phones, undoubtedly, are powerful and to see the two launching within the same time window this year will be like seeing two Titans wrestling for lordship over the universe.

In this post, let’s take a look at what kind of epic battle these two smartphones will be fighting. Since the Nexus Prime specs we include here are based on current rumors and speculations, consider this a potential preview of an Armageddon-like fight scene that is likely to come.

Shape and Design

The information currently circulating the Web suggests that, in terms of overall design and shape,the Nexus Prime will introduce very few changes.  The recently launched iPhone 4S, on the other hand, will definitely not come with mind-staggering changes in shape or design–precisely because it’s just an upgraded iPhone 4.

These smartphones will still sport textured backplates and smooth, rounded corners.

First Hands on Pics of the Nexus Prime - and yes, the look to be legitimate

Knowing Apple, the iPhone 4S is splattered all over with Apple’s iconic signature. The iPhone 4S, like its ancestor (i.e., the iPhone 4), will generally be instantly recognized as a device out of Apple’s orchard–with no cosmetic updates to its face.

The previous iPhone 4 sports a glossy cover–front and back–thanks to Gorilla glass all over, with aluminum edging surrounding the phone.  The iPhone 4S will have exactly the same glossy packaging.  Earlier speculations hinted at the possibility of a return to the first iPhone’s original looks, but Apple has decided instead to carry on with the iPhone 4’s shape and design.

Apple iPhone 4S

Many of the more recent smartphones have become thinner than their predecessors–to the delight of many customers, and to the disgust of those who worry about thin battery life. Yet, we can safely speculate that the Nexus Prime will be significantly thinner.  The iPhone 4S, on the other hand, is still 9.3 mm thick, just like the iPhone 4.

The first, real-world, hands on leak of the Nexus Prime - 1280x720 Display confirmed!

As for size, the Nexus Prime will likely be larger than the earlier Nexus S, which had a 4.0-inch screen. Current rumors place the Nexus Prime’s screen size to be anywhere between 4.0 and 4.7 inches. The bigger screen size will obviously also make the Nexus Prime physically larger than both the Nexus S and the iPhons 4S. With Super AMOLED Plus technology rumored to grace the Nexus Prime’s capacitive touchscreen, the physically bigger screen size and a rumored pixel resolution of 1280×720 can only mean more visual pleasure for anyone wanting to enjoy the benefits of high-end technology.

In contrast, the iPhone 4S is stuck with the iPhone 4’s 3.5-inch touchscreen display.

Check out this hands on video, just leaked, of the upcoming Nexus Prime and Android’s latest – Ice Cream Sandwich:

There has been consistent clamor for buttonless superphones, and between the iPhone 4S and Nexus Prime, the latter is more likely to give in to that clamor. Critics say that the absence of a physical home button on the Nexus Prime can translate to maximum viewing space, while other critics say its absence may impact usability a little bit.

The iPhone 4S, meanwhile, has retained the iPhone 4’s iconic physical home button. The thought of Apple’s removal of the physical home button on the iPhone 4S has earned the frown and scorn of a lot of Apple fans; thus, Apple presumably decided to leave the home button unmoved and untouched.

Processing Power

In terms of processing power, the battle scene has leveled up from single-core to dual-core processors, with quad-core processors looming on the horizon.  So, we are pretty sure both the Nexus Prime and the iPhone 4S will run on dual-cores.

Apple's A5 processor chip

The Nexus Prime’s rumored processor suggests to-die-for power and speed. A rumored candidate is the dual-core Texas Instruments OMAP 4470, with clock speeds reaching as high as 1.8 GHz. Even if the Nexus Prime’s processor ran at 1.5 GHz, which is also likely, as other rumors claim, it wouldn’t be so bad at all.  Another rumored candidate, the dual-core Texas Instruments OMAP 4460, is not as powerful as the OMAP 4470, but still a great choice for the Nexus Prime.

The iPhone 4S, on the other hand, has inherited the iPad 2’s processor technology: a dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 processor (Apple A5 chipset–designed by Apple, manufactured by–guess who?–Samsung), with 1.0 GHz clock speed, and a dual-core PowerVR SGX543MP2 graphics processing unit.

Earlier rumors raised everyone’s hopes so high, with hints of a quad-core-powered Nexus Prime, courtesy of NVIDIA Tegra 3. But, that seems unlikely because the Tegra 3’s debut has been reportedly pushed back to next year–at least for smartphones.

The iPhone 4S carries 512 MB of DDR2 RAM.  The Nexus Prime, in contrast, will crawl a bit if it runs on its rumored processor with only the same amount of RAM as the iPhone 4S.  So, it is likely–and speculations have been strongly suggesting so–that the Nexus Prime will have more RAM, probably at least 1.0 GB.

For storage, the iPhone 4S provides the same internal storage options as did the iPhone 4–both a 16-GB model and a 32-GB model.  A third option–a 64-GB model–has also been officially announced.  In the case of the Nexus Prime, the standard built-in storage capacity will most likely start at 32 GB, although a 64-GB option is possible, too.

The iPhone 5 could possibly look like this

Many folks thought or were hoping that the iPhone 4S would introduce support for microSD card storage expansion.  Apple decided against it.  The iPhone 4 never had it.  The iPhone 4S will never have it.  The Nexus Prime, however, has greater likelihood of providing up to 32 GB more external storage space through microSD card expansion.

Operating System

Here’s where the catfight between the Nexus Prime and iPhone 4S boils up further.

Beauty and power in one: the Google Nexus S

Google’s Nexus Prime will launch with a deliciously named version of its mobile OS: Android 2.4/4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, reportedly coming out of the freezer in as early as October this year. The iPhone 4S, on the other hand, will be running iOS 5, the extensively revamped version of Apple’s operating system.

Undoubtedly, both operating systems are stable, robust, and powerful. But, depending on your personal persuasions, your ideologies, your level of fanboyism, your intended purpose for your smartphone, your techiness/geek level, and the superiority of your intelligence (or utter lack thereof), one operating system will definitely win your heart over the other. (As an aside, in the case of Android Authority, we find Android to be the better operating system–but of course!–and if saying that discloses our superior intelligence, then so be it. *grin*)

Android Authority’s captain, Darcy LaCouvee, argues that there are at least 5 compelling reasons why Android trounces iOS 5. Heck, Android seems to fare better on smartphones than the current version, iOS 4.

The Nexus Prime with first real world shots of Ice Cream Sandwich

All that does not mean iOS 5 is completely useless. It does have nifty features, too–about 200 “new” features and “innovations” such as a new Notifications Centre (which Android has had for some time), a BlackBerry-inspired messaging service called iMessage, an updated Mail app, a purportedly faster Safari Web browser, a Reading List, a Newsstand app, over-the-air software updates, and voice command functionality just like Google Voice Actions.

Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) on the Nexus Prime, on the other hand, promises not just a “unification” of the best features of Android 2.3 Gingerbread (for smartphones) and Android 3.x Honeycomb (for tablets). When ICS comes out, there will only be one–and only one–Android version for both smartphones and tablets.

Among the promised features coming with ICS are an entirely new user interface based on Honeycomb’s interface, support for USB peripherals (e.g., mouse, keyboard, etc.), a new app launcher, menus for multitasking and app switching, resizable widgets, and tabbed browsing. Facial recognition and face tracking are also reportedly supported.

Ice Cream Sandwich will also be beating its forebears (Gingerbread and Honeycomb) with at least a 180% increase in performance, according to credible sources. It is not yet clear whether the performance boost refers to overall performance, graphics processing, or browser performance. It is possible that the combination of state-of-the-art hardware provides such gains. Regardless, you can expect Ice Cream Sandwich to be the fastest, most delicious dessert/snack straight out of Google’s kitchen.


The upcoming battle between the Nexus Prime and the iPhone 4S is going to be epic. Although it is hard to pit the two upcoming devices against each other on the basis of rumored specs (i.e., in the case of the Nexus Prime), we can already predict a certainty: the fight is going to be really gory and gruesome, and may not even produce a real winner–except for the consumer, who will be the chief beneficiary of strong and healthy competition.

[poll id=”42″]

  • Ramjane

    You are an asshole.

    • Anonymous

      Here, put this in your mouth…

  • Rickerbox

    Nexus Prime is going to OWN the iPhone and make iSlaves weep with jealousy

  • Galaxy

    what about the S2

  • Sharafskater

    iphone5 will be different than this because apple will make iphone5 a revalutionary smartphone,it will be a totally cooler than all the mobiles we have seen so far!!

    • Postal Jim

      Uh….not a chance. Apple will drag their feet and give their flock a few little tidbits every year, and only once a year. They have the cult drinking apple flavored koolaid, and the will be content with a bone thrown here and there. Speeds may pick up, borrow some things from android to try and compete, but in the end, they will NOT revamp their successful business plan of slow and steady upgrades. Unfortunate, but most likely the way it will continue to go. I hope they come out swinging and just blow a hole in their glass ceiling, but not thinking it will happen.

      • DroidPrime

        I agree. Based on what we have seen from Apple so far, other than the first iPhone, this latest model will be behind, or riding, the curve of new smartphone features. Apple has a knack for passing off old technology as “new”. Android has a lot of really incredible things rolling out all the time with OTA updates keeping them ahead of the curve at all times. By the time the next iPhone comes out once a year the other model is so far behind it is a wonder anyone would ever want to buy one. The screen is still tiny, even 4.0 inches is rather small by today’s standards. Most phones now have 4.3″ and then next batch of high end phones seem to be leaning toward 4.5″-5.0″ and up. Apple will once again be behind the curve by about 2 years now…. This new iPhone wont be anything THAT amazing that would ever make me give up my Android experience. The iPhone is also, to me, just a big app launcher. The phone itself isn’t capable of that much until you download a million apps to make it do cool things. Android on the other hand has a lot of those features built right into it out of the box for a much more seamless experience. Until iOS starts making their own widgets and a much more customizable UI I will not be impressed by anything they put out and the phone is mostly useless to me.

    • Alekzander

      What?????? Apple has become nothing. Their phones are all EXACTLY the same. Android actually does this thing called innovation

  • Anonymous

    I’ve read umpteen of these “upcoming Nexus Prime versus iPhone 5” blurbs, and I’m constantly amazed at how virtually NONE of them mention one of the most important qualities of ANY phone – battery life. Seriously, I do not care if these things have a freaking 3.5gHz quad-core chipset, if you’re only getting 4-6 hours out of one charge then it’s USELESS as a phone. For those of us who need 10-12 hours off of a single charge, who move around all day and aren’t sat at a desk with our phone on the charger, this is a DEALBREAKER! Yet with all the excitement about developments in processors, graphics chips, display resolution, device thinness and OS, there is a startling lack of discussion about advancements in battery technology. They should put ALL of these developments on hold until they have developed a battery which is small enough to fit in a thin handset and provide more than enough juice for everyone’s needs. There are thousands of us Blackberry users who would LOVE to stray from the fold and enter the exciting world of iPhone and Android, but until we get anything close to the 24hrs+ of heavy Blackberry use out of those phones, it’s a definite no-no.

    • Anonymous

      Your absolutely right functionality is important. In that case why wait for this device when already proven devices exist whose battery life has been already judged. If what this says is true then switch a proven phones os with icecream sandwich for a rumored 180% faster experience. I haven’t heard of any new innovations in batteries. So assume that newer techs and OS are more energy efficient. Powerful processors suck a lot of juice so yeah we will definitely see faster processors but don’t expect much out of battery life as of now

    • 360NikonD300

      Fingerpick, Android has figured it out! Did you know how easy it is to replace the battery in Android phones? The batteries are small and cheap. I keep a couple of extra ones in my wallet. I can watch movies on cross continental flights, cruise all day at 4G speeds on my HTC Thunderbolt (not known for its battery life!), send emails and texts galore and talk all day. I also photograph constantly on my digital camera. I don’t expect the battery to last all day. I always carry extras. I haven’t heard one person complain about their digital camera battery not lasting all day.

      We all want our phones to do more. The solution is simple, replaceable batteries. Android has figured that out from day one. What’s Apple thinking? Style over useability?

      • The need to carry additional batteries is absurd. Sure, it’s nice to have a removable battery when your battery has lived through its lifecycle, but to think I’d actually carry extras with me is ridiculous.

        Cheap? Yeah, I saw some no named battery for 8 dollars, but for a legit battery you’re shelling out 30-50 dollars. Oh, and didn’t one Android manufacturer (ahem HTC) have issues in the past with non name brand batteries? Yes, they did.

        To think the iPhone is less usable because of the encased battery is stupid. Is it inconvenient? Potentially. Besides, there are a buttload of third party chargers, and even very function charging cases, that will charge your phone or add to its internal battery.

        Bad argument Nikon. Bad.

    • Hhhtyyt

      turning off data on my thunderbolt increased my battery life 75%. just a fyi for battery life issues with android users

  • Dan

    Really the OMAP4 – 4470? Thats an awesome rumor, but its not scheduled to come in til next year.
    If it is so, then Nexus Prime will have a dual core GPU. One dedicated 2D of course.

    EXCITING!!!! Going to scream in my corner!

  • Anonymous

    I must admit, android has came a long ways. All there innovations that they brought that apple is barely implementing in iOS 5 are way cool. I must say this though. Everyone I know that has/had and android phone either got an android phone because there carrier didn’t have the iPhone (sprint and t-mobile), it was a cheaper alternative, or have already switched to an iPhone and or waiting for the 5. Only my friend at work is keeping his TB. As an iPhone 3GS user, seeing all of this around me, it really makes it hard for me to test out an android phone for myself. I would really like to barrow an att android phone for a month to get the full experience but unless the opportunity comes up, I’m going to stick with iOS. Maybe I’ll become inticed When ICS comes out. We will see

    • Postal Jim

      Is English your second language or did your 3rd grade son type this for you (Hoping he is the Bugs Bunny fan and not you). Judging by your displayed intelligence, stick with your iPhones. Have had iPhones since inception. Loved them. Never dreamed of leaving….until. Got a Samsung Infuse for $49 from Targert. Took a week to get into it, but now I LOVE android. Sad thing, I found out how much I could do with it too late. After about 3 days, I put it on ebay. Sold for $370. Now with 2 upgrades coming before the end of the year, getting a GS2 and then most likey a Nexus Prime, or hold out for the GS3 rumored for spring. Android takes effort and intelligence. Qualities most iOS users don’t possess.

      • Anonymous

        So, after reading your comment and seeing how neutral my comment was, I noticed that you made your main point on putting down my English writing ability instead of pursuading me to go android. In fact, you did the exact opposite. At away to represent android. by the way, English is my second language.

        • Postal Jim

          I would’ve guessed third our fourth. Apple zombies will never be converted by an android users. They have to come to their senses on their own. Would never want to take someone away from their Apple cult. If you aren’t smart enough to figure it out on your own, then you’re not smart enough to use an android device anyway!

          • Anonymous

            I think it’s hilarious when android fan boys call iOS users “zombies” or “isheep.” The way you talk about apple seems like you are in a “cult” of your own my friend. Theres nothing wrong with it. I just find it amusing. So you stick with your ad port, and I’ll stick with a great apple device. Oh, and keep repeating “android is better than apple” for about 100 times before you go to sleep at night. Maybe it will come true.

      • Bnugga2k4

        Your a jackass Postal Jim.

      • JOE

        and Postal, you spelled Target wrong in the middle of your paragraph. so eat shit brah

        • Postal Jim

          Mine was OBVIOUSLY a type-o. Big difference compared to blatant lack of intelligence, BRAH !
          Sent from my Samsung Infuse 4G

        • Zerolxlx1


  • Keith

    I’m glad Apple decided to go with an a larger edge-to-edge screen (as the previous iPhone 4; which was too small). If Apple decides to only allow it on one or two carriers, I’m probably not going to switch carriers just to get it. Although if they do offer it on mine, I may decide to get it. Word on the street that it won’t have 4G support, but if it offers significant more battery life than the android counterparts, it might make up for that.

    • Sgatheart

      @ Keith…I heard it won’t have 4G support either. If it helps, I heard it’s coming out on Sprint this year.

  • Rythmyc

    I’ll sell my babies to get a Nexus Prime. iPhone will only be a tween popularity item once Android introduces and implements ICS. Enjoy the trend iPhone users, i’ll enjoy the technology.

  • Pathetic Art

    Your “Artist” took the Motorola Atrix and covered up the phsyical buttons with arrows. That is impressive..

  • Eric

    that artist’s rendition of the Nexus Prime looks an awful lot like the back of my moto Atrix.

    either way, if it really is samoled+ hd, i’m in.

  • Rvatury

    lol since im here (Android Authority) doesnt means i got an android phone,which i do got.

    Samsung Galaxy S 1 and Iphone 4,what i can tell is S1 is really comperd to iphone 4….and won him,not in everything but still.

    im enjoying the both worlds and i must say i use my iPhone 4 more then my galaxy S because of the APPS only.

    apple apps are slightly better,but its will be changed in the near future.

    overall,this Nexus Prime is going to be a hell of a device (still its being created by the most powerfull android company – SAMSUNG.)

    and with newest android update,this one will defenitly beat the iPhone 5 with not doubt.

    apple has nothing new to put in,exept the things android already had…long time ago.

    so guys,rethink! and Think Good! cause Android no metter what,ALWAYS AT THE TOP!

  • This is a joke there is no comparison with these 2 phones. Samsung’s Nexis prime is going to crush Apple since they decided to actually innovate instead of the same phone with a slight faster processor and sell it all over again for top dollar. Maybe apple should stop breaking into people’s homes and suing everyone an actually innovate. The all hail android

    • Anonymous

      Crush where exactly? In sales? Customer satisfaction? Oh that’s right, on screen size. Gotcha.

      • Lawrence_g01

        How about in customer satisfaction and in being able to do more that just look pretty. Tried the new iphone 4s and still can even launch website with flash = lame phone. I need a phone that I will actually be able to use for business.

        • c3ntaur

          Flash = a dying technology from the early 2000s…

          • mo_yi

            utter BS …. flash is all over the place
            u retarded fanboi

          • Anonymous

            flash is pointless. i never need flash on my iphone. huge battery and processing drainage. even microsoft ditched flash from the next version of IE. Flash = dead

          • Sdgfasd


          • Deathknight22

            You really don’t use flash on your iPhone? Oh wait… iPhone can’t use flash.

  • Jdte

    Fingerpick, thank you for ranting to them the importance of not just power but battery consumption, everything within a smartphone needs to work in harmony and fluent with every touch. I was once an android, but when I realized I only got less than a day of battery, I said to myself, androids only spit these phones every day for a reason, they don’t take pride in developing their phones, whereas apple does for a genuine year to present not just (horsepower) but exactly what the foundations of the system. That is what drives apple’s success. I trust and depend on My iPhone. We dont need to kill our apps to save on battery consumption. This is very comparable to my Dell, I can perhaps get a good 2 and a half hours on my fairly new xps studio, whereas my MacBook air reaches 7-8 hours. Apple has discovered the art of power saving, whereas android will never, they just want to overcrowd the smartphone market each month. Speed is nothing until backed up. And more than likely, that large Display you may be anticipating on this device will drain your battery even heavily. That’s my dislike with android. I can only hope I sheded light on this subject. :)

    • Lg256

      Liar. You have never owned an android phone.

  • Anonymous

    For me, I don’t care a lot about functions. I only use it make a call, social communication and email.

    I still with Apple due to its design look to have more elegant in every inch of it.

    I hate the bottom part of Nexus and camera zone, why can’t they make it all flat. I maybe buy one of those if it flat. Andriod OS is futuristic look but the phone itself look like old age samsung mobile which it is contrast.

  • Kevinmcquadeusa

    You guys are all retarded. The iphone is a piece of shit becauseits the only phone without 4G which is a HUGE deal. especially on verizom lte.

  • Fandroid

    ICS == Fail.

  • Cipher

    Oh c’mon AA, clear as the daylight that iPhone 4S has no match against the older GS2, how much more for the Prime?

  • Is this a Joke?

    U had to comapre it with… like… iPhone 5 or 5s :/

  • Anonymous

    Comparing iOS/iPhone versus Android is like comparing KIA to Mercedes. ( Obviously KIA being Android)..

    Kia is a nice car..fully loaded for a good has features that even Mercedes doesnt( standard I mean)…
    Kia also has market share over Mercedes..
    Kia is cheaper
    Kia has 4 wheels like the question is ..

    Does it mean Kia is better than Mercedes?
    By all means the answer is NO !!!
    So stop comparing iPhone and Android phones. It comes down to personal choice and affordability. Android phones are nice. But sometimes its not only about raw power..its also about user ..quality..
    No one says Androids are not nice.. but their quality needs some improvement. Its gonna take a lot to beat Apple..and Google is not there yet.

    • Buthomps87

      Might be the dumbest post I have read.

  • Tmaclives

    IBone users are a joke!! Android has literally obliterated every other competitor since the original Droid came out. Nexus Prime will wipe the floor with IPhone4s, and its going to be even worse next quarter when an even more powerful phone comes out. Give it up Apple, you lost the war when the Charge came out. BTW Samsung pretty much is your daddy ibone,

  • The major reason that Android phones are a heavier user of battery power is the fact that they are TRUE Multi-Tasking in operation, which Apple iPhone and iPad is not !! However each version of Android software is increasing the battery life of these phones and tablets. A good example is the new Asus Transformer Prime tablet, with longer battery life than the iPad 2 (up to 17 hours when connected to the keyboard !!) Try that on your Apple product with keyboard attached – Oh, sorry you cant do that with an iPad can you !! The next iPad will apparently be getting a higher resolution screen, like the iPhone, but it will be a heavier and thicker unit to do this ! So much for all the hype from Apple about being thinner and lighter, we never heard the end of this constant Apple story that this made their tablet far superior to all others, I am sure that story will be different when they launch the iPad 3, it somehow now will be of little importance as a feature. Samsung blew that argument away with the Dual Core thinner and lighter (even with a bigger and brighter display) than the iPhone and their tablet ! I am sure their lawyers are working hard again to tell more lies and spread more misinformation about Samsung’s products to courts around the world.