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Galaxy S3, iPhone 5 Or Nexus 4: Hey Santa, Can I Have…

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The Samsung Galaxy S3, iPhone 5 and the LG Nexus 4 are on many people’s wishlists this Christmas, but which one deserves the gold star?

Samsung Galaxy S3 vs LG Nexus 4 vs iPhone 5

The Samsung Galaxy S3 launched in May and is the best selling phone of the year. The iPhone 5 came out in September, with the Nexus 4 coming out just a week ago. The Nexus 4 has a 1.5GHz Qualcomm quad-core chip, the Samsung Galaxy S3 has a quad-core Exynos chip (although it’s dual-core with a 1.5GHz chip in the US version). The iPhone 5 has a 1.2GHz A6 dual-core chip, which is slower than the other two, but twice as fast as the 4S’ A5. The Nexus 4 is in the lead, on paper at least, with more cores and more RAM – 2GB.

The LG Nexus 4 has a 4.7” True HD IPS Plus screen, with a 1,280×768 resolution, and 318ppi. The Samsung Galaxy S3 has a 4.8” Super AMOLED 1,280×720 306ppi screen. The iPhone 5  screen has a 4” IPS, 1,136×640, 306ppi display. All great displays, and everyone will have a winner, depending on what they need in a display. IPS is great in direct sunlight, AMOLED gives vibrant colours and intense blacks. Generally IPS display are prefered given their realistic color reproduction. So the LG Nexus is both big and uses IPS tech, so it wins.

The LG Nexus 4 has just 8 or 16GB of storage, and has no SD card. The Samsung Galaxy S3 has 16, 32 and 64GB options, as well as SD support for another 64GB. The iPhone 5 has the same storage options as the S3, but as it doesn’t have SD, it falls into second place behind the Samsung Galaxy S3.

The LG Nexus 4 has an 8MP camera with LED flash, autofocus and 1,080p films. It also has a 1.3MP camera. The Samsung Galaxy S3 has an 8MP rear camera too, as well as a 1.9MP front camera. The rear camera has LED flash and autofocus. The iPhone 5 also has an 8MP rear camera with LED flash, autofocus and a 1.2MP front offering. Each camera has its good points – the Samsung Galaxy S3 can take simultaneous stills and films, the Nexus 4 has Android 4.2’s PhotoSphere, and the iPhone 5 is almost unbeatable in dim light. The winner is the camera that serves your needs best, but hardware-wise, the iPhone 5 takes the medal.

The OS is a vital consideration – the LG Nexus 4 has Jelly Bean 4.2, the Samsung Galaxy S3 has Jelly Bean now (ish) and the iPhone 5 has iOS 6. It depends on what you want – a streamlined OS means you’ll want iOS 6. Widgets and tinkering points to Android. Both the Samsung Galaxy S3 and the LG Nexus 4 have Android, but you’ll get timely updates with the Nexus 4.

The LG Nexus 4 and its 2,100mAh battery promises around 15 hours of talk time. The iPhone 5 and the S3 both give around eight hours. A recent test done by AnandTech put the iPhone 5 in the lead, though, with the Nexus 4 and the Samsung Galaxy S3 in joint second place.

The Samsung Galaxy S3 is 136.6mmx70.6mmx8.6mm and weighs 133g, whereas the LG Nexus 4 is 133.9mm x 68.7mm x 9.1mm and 139g. The iPhone 5 is a mere 123.8mmx58.6mmx7.6mm and 112g, so it’s the smallest and lightest of the trio.

Design-wise, the LG Nexus 4 and the iPhone 5 are as stunning as each other, but as the iPhone 5 is lighter and thinner it nudges ahead.

Price-wise, the LG Nexus 4 starts at $299 for the 8GB model and $349 for the 16GB version. This is only from the Google Play Store, though. The average unlocked Samsung Galaxy S3 starts at $500 and an unlocked iPhone 5 starts at $650. The LG is an obvious winner.

You should also remember that the LG Nexus 4 and the Samsung Galaxy S3 have NFC, whereas the iPhone 5 doesn’t. The Samsung Galaxy S3 and the iPhone 5 have LTE, but the Nexus doesn’t. So if you want both, you need the Samsung Galaxy S3.

Bottom line: The iPhone 5 corners the user-friendly schtick, but the LG Nexus 4 is the best value for money. The Samsung Galaxy S3 is the all-rounder, with loads of widgets and a medium price.

Mike is the man who reviews gadgets that aren’t mainstream or products that can’t exactly be classified as consumer electronics e.g. portable talking toilets. It’s always interesting to read about the crazy products we have here in Asia that just don’t get as much publicity as they warrant.