Apple iPhone 5 vs. Google Nexus 4 – Review

by Jerry D on December 24, 2012

Is the Apple iPhone 5 better than the Google Nexus 4? And how can we tell? We could give the first phone the Dread Pirate Roberts, the second a six-fingered swordsman, and watch them compete for the attention of a Princess Bride. Or we could let the specs decide over 10 tech rounds? As much as I like a good swordfight…

XXXX versus graphic Apple iPhone 5 vs. Google Nexus 4   Review XXXX

Round #1 – Connectivity

The spec sheet of the lovely iPhone 5 lists 3G/HSDPA/CDMA2000 1xEV-DO, 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 with A2DP as the core connectivity options. Data downloads will zip over 4G (if your network supports it). The Nexus 4, meanwhile, has NFC, 3G/HSDPA, Bluetooth 4.0 with A2DP and 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi in its own connectivity package. It doesn’t have any 4G connectivity as standard.

Score: +1 to both phones (1-1)

Round #2 – Size & Weight

As far as pocketability is concerned, here’s how the two phones measure up. The iPhone 5 measures 123.8 x 58.6 x 7.6mm, while the superb Nexus 4 is 133.9 x 68.7 x 9.1mm in comparison. The Nexus 4 is the taller of the two phones by 10.1mm. Tipping the scales at 139g, the Nexus 4 is also weightier than its opponent. The iPhone 5 weighs 112g.

Score: +1 to iPhone 5 (2-1)

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Round #3 – Cameras

Apple has built an 8.0 Megapixel lens into the iPhone 5 together with features such as autofocus, LED flash, touch focus, geo-tagging, face detection, panorama mode, HDR and 1080p video recording. It also features a second, front-facing camera with a resolution of 1.2 Megapixels.

The Google Nexus 4 matches its opponent with a 8.0 Megapixel camera of its own, as well as autofocus, LED flash, geo-tagging, touch focus, face detection and 1080p video recording. A second 1.3MP camera on the front can be used for video calling.

Score: +1 to both phones (3-2)

Round #4 – Screen/keyboard

The design of Apple’s iPhone 5 features a 4.0-inch touch-sensitive Retina screen, with a great resolution of 640 by 1136 pixels. The pixels per inch (PPI) measurement here is a stellar 326.0.

Measuring 4.7 inches, the Nexus 4′s touch-sensitive True HD IPS screen is considerably bigger. Its 768 x 1280 pixel resolution is also an improvement on the iPhone 5′s resolution. But, compared to its rival, the pixels per inch (PPI) rating of this screen is actually slightly lower – an excellent 317.66.

Score: +1 to Nexus 4 (3-3)

Round #5 – Processor

The spec sheets show that the Apple iPhone 5 has been constructed around a dual core Apple A6 chip, clocked at 1.2GHz. The Nexus 4 has a faster, quad core Qualcomm APQ8064 Snapdragon 1.5GHz processor.

Score: +1 to Nexus 4 (3-4)

Round #6 – Software

The iPhone 5 showcased the new iOS 6, complete with Apple’s initially disastrous Maps application. The Nexus 4 is a Google phone and it uses the latest pure version of Android, version 4.2 (Jelly Bean).

Score: +1 to both phones (4-5)

Round #7 – Applications

Does the iOS software on the iPhone 5 win the app-war? Taking the raw numbers into account, Apple’s App Store beats Google Play by 700000 apps to 675000. So the Nexus 4 gets beaten by the iPhone 5 in this round.

Score: +1 to iPhone 5 (5-5)

Round #8 – Storage

Next round: storage. The iPhone 5 is available with 16, 32 or 64GB storage options. While the Google Nexus 4 rocks up with a spec sheet that lists 8 or 16GB variants. Without an expansion slot on the iPhone 5, 64GB is the maximum amount of storage available if you opt for the top-end model. Google also didn’t build an expansion slot into the Nexus 4 either, so 8 or 16GB is all you get.

Score: +1 to iPhone 5 (6-5)

Round #9 – Battery life

With a full charge, Apple’s spec sheet lists 8.0 hours of talktime for its phone, compared to 15.0 hours for the Google Nexus 4. As for standby time, the phones can last for 225 hours and 390 hours respectively. The Nexus 4 steals the round, bringing the scores level.

Score: +1 to Nexus 4 (6-6)

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Note: The Standby time specification is an industry standard that is only intended to allow comparison of different mobile phones under the same circumstances. Power consumption in a standby state is strongly dependent on factors including: network, settings, location, movement, signal strength and cell traffic.

Round #10 – Extras

The iPhone 5 also includes GPS/A-GPS, an accelerometer, digital compass, Wi-Fi hotspot functionality, a gyroscope and Siri digital voice assistant. In comparison, the Nexus 4 features GPS/A-GPS, NFC, an accelerometer, gyroscope, digital compass, barometer, DLNA, Wi-Fi Hotspot feature and a TV-out.

Score: +1 to both phones (7-7)

BPF Verdict: It’s a tie.

Ooh, close. By the end of this fight, both phones are still standing and the scores are tied at 7-7. There was a moment when the Google Nexus 4 looked to be running away with it. But the iPhone 5 has a strong set of specs that, while not an earth-shattering advance over the iPhone 4S, keep Apple at the forefront of smartphone design. Of course, there’s a lot of love for the Nexus 4 online and rightly so. It runs a pure version of Jelly Bean and will be one of the easiest Android phones to upgrade.

See if these two phones make our Top 20 Best Smartphones list…

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