There are 2 upcoming next-gen phones that will offer the the iPhone 5 incredible competition product-wise, especially if the “iPhone 5” will be just an upgraded iPhone 4. Those phones are the Android Ice-Cream Sandwich powered Nexus Prime (which might actually be split in 2 versions: a global one called Galaxy Nexus, and a Verizon one called Droid Prime), and HTC’s latest superphone, the HTC Vigor. Let’s see what they are all about so you can decide what best fits you.

Let’s start with the easy part – the specs – and then we see how each stand up against each other.

Nexus Prime

  • Processor: OMAP 4460 dual core 1.5 Ghz chip (70% chance) / Exynos dual core 1.5 Ghz (30% chance)
  • Display: 4.65″ Super AMOLED HD
  • Resolution: 1280×720 (316 PPI)
  • Storage: 16 GB
  • RAM: 1 GB
  • Cameras: 8MP rear-camera (earlier rumors also stated 5 MP with advanced sensors), and 1.3 MP front-camera
  • Video: 1080p recording
  • Body: full metal chassis
  • Battery: 2000 mAh
  • Connectivity: 3G/LTE
  • Android: Ice-Cream Sandwich 2.4/4.0

HTC Vigor

  • Processor: Qualcomm dual core 1.5 Ghz with Adreno 220 GPU
  • Display: 4.3″ S-LCD
  • Resolution: 1280×720 (342 PPI)
  • Storage: 16 GB
  • RAM: 1 GB
  • Cameras: 8MP rear-camera, dual-led flash, 1.3 MP front-camera
  • Video: 1080p@30fps, stereo sound recording
  • Body: metal+plastic (like most HTC phones today)
  • Battery: Unknown
  • Connectivity: 3G/LTE
  • Android: Gingerbread 2.3 + Sense 3.5

Nexus Prime Key Advantages

They are both very powerful phones, but each of them has some key advantages over the other, although Nexus Prime’s latest stock version of Android, Ice-Cream Sandwich, may overwhelm many of the HTC Vigor’s advantages. That’s key advantage number #1. Simply put, if you want the latest Android version right now then you have to get the Nexus Prime. To many people that would mean a lot more than having slightly more powerful specs, or even a better display.

A Samsung Super AMOLED Panel on the original Galaxy S on the left compared with an iPhone 4's SLCD, the same technology in the HTC Vigor

Speaking of the display, if you like saturated colors and very deep blacks, then there’s no other way to go than Super AMOLED, and Nexus Prime once again has you covered.  It’s a great display overall, but it’s especially wonderful for watching movies or videos on it. It feels like watching a movie on a plasma TV, if not better, though of course it’s a much smaller screen.

Another key advantage of the Nexus Prime would be Samsung’s overclocked Exynos chip at 1.5 Ghz per core, and 50% faster GPU (which has already been shown to be up to twice as fast as any other smartphone out there in many different tests). If you like playing all the latest and greatest 3D games on your phone, then this GPU is a must if you also want to be future-proofed. But the Vigor’s GPU performance should be more than enough for the latest games, too, just not as future-proof.

Brand new leak of the Nexus Prime, confirming 320PPI, and 720P display

But, unfortunately, there’s a pretty big chance that the new Exynos won’t come to the Nexus Prime. That means it will have the OMAP 4460 instead, which a dual core 1.5 Ghz Cortex A9 CPU and an overclocked PowerVR SGX540 GPU. Don’t confuse this GPU with the same one found in the original Galaxy S. Yes, it’s the same chip, but this version in the OMAP 4460 should be about twice as fast as the original PowerVR SGX540. That would put it about on the same level with the Adreno 220, so then Nexus Prime wouldn’t have this advantage over the Vigor, because it’s a wash.

However, I believe, performance wise, the CPU of the OMAP 4460 should be a little faster than the one in HTC Vigor. They are at the same clock, but Cortex A9 is fully out of order, which the Qualcomm one is not. Will this difference be noticeable in real world use? Probably not.

HTC Vigor Key Advantages

It will have Android 2.3, which is a one year old OS, but it will get the latest version of HTC Sense (3.5). If you’re a fan of the HTC Sense skin, and many are, and you want to take advantage of HTC Sense’ latest features and widgets, then you can probably live with waiting another 2-3 months until you get the Android Ice-Cream OS on your HTC Vigor.

One other key advantage over the Nexus Prime would be the recent addition to HTC’s phones of Beats audio profile and Beats headsets. If you like listening to music a lot, especially music with a lot of bass beats, then you’ll want the highest quality sound and bass in your phone, so the HTC Vigor would be an obvious choice here.

The Nexus Prime will have a 4.65″ display. Unless Google got rid of the physical buttons in Ice-Cream Sandwich, and implemented them like in Honeycomb, which would make the phone more like a 4.3″ one in size, then you’re going to end up with a pretty large phone – probably too large. Some of you may prefer that, while others will want to stick with the tried and true 4.3″ display phone, like the HTC Vigor.

One other (small) advantage is that you get the same resolution, but higher PPI (about 10%). I don’t think PPI count is relevant after the 300 PPI mark, and what I’m most happy about is that we get to have “HD phones” (and hopefully they stop here with the resolution increase).

After considering the advantages of each, which one will you be getting?

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