iPhone 5 vs Nexus 4 vs Galaxy S3: Who’s Da Boss?

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The Samsung Galaxy S3, the iPhone 5 and the LG Nexus 4 are on a lot of Christmas lists this year, but which one deserves the place at the top of the tree?

Samsung Galaxy S3 vs LG Nexus 4 vs iPhone 5

The Samsung Galaxy S3 came out in May and is 2012’s best-seller. The iPhone 5 followed in September, and the LG Nexus 4 came out last month. The LG Nexus 4 has a 1.5Ghz Qualcomm quad-core processor, the iPhone 5 has a 1.2GHz A6 dual-core and the Samsung Galaxy S3 has an Exynos quad-core chip (although the US version is 1.5GHz and dual-core). The iPhone 5 chip is the slowest of the three, but it’s twice as fast as the iPhone 4S. The LG Nexus 4 is the fastest (on paper) as it has four cores and 2GB of RAM versus the S3 which has either 1GB RAM and a quad-cored, or 2GB RAM but a dual-core. So the winner here is the LG Nexus 4, mind you on paper at least.

The LG Nexus 4 has a 4.7” True HD IPS Plus display, with 318ppi and 1,280x768p resolution. The Samsung Galaxy S3 has a 4.8” Super AMOLED 1,280×720, 306ppi screen. The iPhone 5 has the smallest – 4” – and it’s IPS with a 306ppi and a 1,136x640p resolution. These are brilliant displays, and people will chose different phones according to what they need most from a screen. IPS performs well in bright light, AMOLED is vibrant and deep. As IPS is more realistic and does better in bright light, it’s usually preferred, so the LG Nexus 4, with its biggest IPS screen, wins.

The LG Nexus comes in just 8 or 16GB versions, and there’s no SD card. The Samsung Galaxy S3 has 16, 32 and 64GB models, and there’s SD support up to a further 64GB. The iPhone 5 has the same internal storage options as the S3, but there’s no SD, which means it’s the runner up to the winning Samsung Galaxy S3.

The LG Nexus 4 has an 8MP camera that has an LED flash, autofocus and is capable of 1,080p films. There’s also a 1.3MP front camera. The Samsung Galaxy S3 also has an 8MP rear camera, and a 1.9MP front snapper. Its rear camera has LED flash and autofocus. The iPhone 5 also has an 8MP rear camera with autofocus and LED flash, as well as a 1.2MP camera up front. Each has its pros and cons – the S3 can do simultaneous still and films, the LG Nexus 4 has Android’s PhotoSphere, and the iPhone 5 is nigh-on unbeatable in low light conditions. Although you’ll pick the camera you need the most, the iPhone 5 is the objective winner given that its BSI sensor is unbeatable.

Of course operating system is a big factor. The LG Nexus 4 has Jelly Bean 4.2, the Samsung Galaxy S3 has Jelly Bean 4.1, and the iPhone 5 is on iOS 6. If you want streamlined and nifty, you’ll go for iOS 6. If you want customisation and lots of room, then you’ll want Android. Both the LG Nexus 4 and the Samsung Galaxy S3 have Android, but with the Nexus you won’t be left waiting for updates. Given that in the end iOS or Android is a matter of personal preference, this is a draw.

The 2,100mAh battery in the LG Nexus 4 should give around 15 hours of talk, and the iPhone 5 and the Samsung Galaxy S3 should give around eight. A recent test by AnandTech however had the iPhone 5 in first place, followed by the Samsung Galaxy S3 and in last place the LG Nexus 4.

The LG Nexus 4 is 133.9mm x 68.7mm x 9.1mm and weighs 129g, the Samsung Galaxy S3 is 136.6mmx70.6mmx8.6mm and 133g. The iPhone 5 is a teeny 112g and 123.8mmx58.6mmx7.6mm, so it’s the smallest of the three. When it comes to design and looks, the iPhone 5 and the LG Nexus are equally beautiful, but as the iPhone 5 is smaller and thinner as well, it takes the lead.

The LG Nexus 4 starts out at $299 for the 8GB version and $349 for the 16GB. Remember that this is only from the Google Play Store, though. On average, the Samsung Galaxy S3 off contract starts at $550, and an off-contract iPhone 5 starts at $650, so the LG Nexus 4 is the definite winner.

The Samsung Galaxy S3 and the LG Nexus 4 have NFC, unlike the iPhone 5, but the iPhone 5 and the Samsung Galaxy S3 have LTE when the Nexus 4 doesn’t. So if you want both LTE and NFC, you’ll need the Samsung Galaxy S3, which also makes it the winner.

Conclusion: The iPhone 5 is the most user-friendly device and the LG Nexus 4 is the best value for money. The Samsung Galaxy S3 is still the best all-rounder with its panoply of features and median 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.