The Samsung Galaxy S3 and HTC One X are without a doubt the most powerful smartphones officially announced this year. Blowing away other devices in benchmark tests, if you were due for an upgrade then these two Android Ice Cream Sandwich phones would appear to be the logical choice. That is in fact true but there is also one other Android 4.0 phone that you need to keep in mind when making this selection – the Samsung Galaxy Nexus
Despite not packing hardware as powerful as the HTC One X or Samsung Galaxy S3, it has some strong merits. Let’s explore them.
Samsung Galaxy Nexus vs Samsung Galaxy S3
Starting off with availability, the Samsung Galaxy S3 is available right now while the Galaxy S3 release date is still open to speculation. Samsung has stated that the Galaxy S3 will only arrive here in the US sometime in the summer which may be too late for those of you who have a Verizon unlimited data plan. As Verizon announced last week, anyone unlimited data plan holders upgrading their phone this summer to any of their new 4G LTE phones would automatically be migrated to tiered data plans. The only way around it is to pay the unsubsidized price. So if you’re looking to keep your unlimited data plan and are due for an upgrade, now would be a good time to jump on the Verizon Samsung Galaxy Nexus. And if you’re only due in a few months, the Google Play Store is offering the Galaxy Nexus for only $399 unlocked. This is a great deal given that even Verizon sells their new 4G LTE phones from $299 on contract.
Aside from prices and perfect timing, the Samsung Galaxy Nexus has a better exterior design (in my opinion) and guaranteed to get the Android 5.0 Jellybean update (S3 may get it as well but could be months away just like how the US S2 models have yet to get 4.0 seven months on).
Samsung Galaxy Nexus vs HTC One X
Moving on to the HTC One X, there are also a couple of reasons why some folks may choose the Samsung Galaxy Nexus over it. It was recently reported that the AT&T HTC One X / Sprint HTC EVO 4G LTE was banned from being imported into the US by Customs. What didn’t get as widely reported was the tweaks HTC had done to just the US models in order to avoid the ban. According to The Verge, HTC has gone ahead and omitted a certain feature in Android 4.0 from the US HTC One X in order to be compliant with US Customs. They had to drop the ‘Complete Action Using’ popup screen which has been standard on most phones since before Android 2.3. Not only was this standard Android feature reportedly removed but HTC has also acknowledged that they had tweaked the multi-tasking capabilities of the One X in order to make it more battery efficient. What they essentially did was make the closing of windows more aggressive and this has caused concern for power users who are finding background apps shut down by the time they got back to it. HTC calls it a ‘feature’ and not a bug despite other Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich devices like the Samsung Galaxy Nexus not having this problem.
Being a tech journalist, I maybe more bias than the next guy when it comes to wanting the full Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich experience, as well as assurance that I will get the next update in a timely fashion. With Google I/O set to kick off next month and buzz around a possible Android 5.0 Jellybean announcement at the event, the Galaxy Nexus is starting to sound tempting again despite the more powerful hardware options out on the market.