iPhone 5 vs Galaxy S3 vs Nexus 4: A Mexican Standoff

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The Samsung Galaxy S3 came out last May and became the year’s best-selling phone. The iPhone 5 was out in September, followed by the LG Nexus 4 in November. So which is the best of the trio?

iPhone 5 vs Galaxy S3 vs Nexus 4: threeway battle

The LG Nexus 4 has a 1.5GHz quad-core Qualcomm chip, the iPhone 5 has a dual-core A6 1.2GHz chip and the Galaxy S3 has a quad-core Exynos chip (the US version has a dual-core). So the iPhone has the slowest chip, but it’s still twice as fast as the iPhone 4S. The LG Nexus has the best of both worlds – 2GB of RAM and four cores, whereas you get either two cores and 2GB of RAM or four cores and 1GB of RAM with the Galaxy S3. The LG Nexus 4 takes the prize.

The LG Nexus 4 has Jelly Bean 4.2 and the Galaxy S3 has 4.1. The iPhone 5 of course comes with iOS 6, so if you want a streamlined OS, this is the ideal choice. If you’re after customisation, you’ll want Android. The LG Nexus 4 and the GS3 are both Androids, but the Nexus 4 will be faster for updates, so might be the better choice. Ultimately, though, OS is a deeply personal decision, so you can’t really do anything but declare a draw between the LG Nexus 4 and the iPhone 5.

The LG Nexus 4 comes in 8GB and 16GB versions, but there’s no SD support. The Galaxy S3 comes in 16GB, 32GB and 64GB versions with SD support for up to 64GB. The iPhone 5 has 16GB, 32GB and 64GB versions but lacks SD. The Samsung Galaxy S3 is the clear winner.

The LG Nexus 4 has a 4.7” True HD IPS Plus display with a resolution of 1,280x768p resolution and 318ppi. The iPhone 5 has a 4” IPS display with a resolution of 1,136x640p, and the Samsung Galaxy S3 has a 4.8” Super AMOLED display with a 1,280x720p resolution. These are three great screens, and people will decide according to preference. IPS displays are more realistic colour-wise, whereas Super AMOLED screens can often look oversaturated. As the LG Neuxs 4 has a big IPS screen, it wins here.

You should get up to 15 hours of talk with the LG Nexus 4, as it has a big 2,100mAh battery. The Galaxy S3 and the iPhone 5 both give around eight hours. AnandTech tested the three devices and put the iPhone 5 in the lead however, with the Galaxy S3 second and the Nexus 4 last.

Weight-wise, the LG Nexus 4 weighs 129g and measures 133.9mmx68.7mmx9.1mm. The Galaxy S3 is 133g and 136.6×70.6mmx8.6mm. The iPhone 5 is just 112g and 123.8mmx58.6×7.6mm. The iPhone 5 wins in the looks stakes, although the LG Nexus 4 is a close second. The iPhone 5’s smaller stature nudges it ahead.

The Samsung Galaxy S3 and the LG Nexus 4 have NFC support, and the Galaxy S3 and the iPhone 5 have LTE. If you want both facilities, you’ll have to choose the Galaxy S3.
The LG Nexus 4 has an 8MP rear camera with LED flash, 1080 video and autofocus. There’s a 1.3MP front camera. The Galaxy S3 also has an 8MP rear camera with autofocus and LED flash, but there’s a 1.9MP front camera. The Apple iPhone 5 has an 8MP rear camera with a 1.2MP front camera. Each camera has its upsides and downsides. The Nexus 4 has Photosphere, the iPhone 5 is amazing in low light and the Samsung Galaxy S3 can take simultaneous vids and stills. Objectively speaking, though, the iPhone 5’s BSI sensor walks all over the other two.

Bottom line: The iPhone 5 is the easiest of the three to use, and also the best-looking. The LG Nexus 4 is the cheapest, and its brilliant hardware makes it the best value for money. But it is the Samsung Galaxy S3 that is the best all-rounder, with loads of features and facilities, allied to a decent middle-of-the-road price tag.

Alex customizes his cars and smartphones like its going out of fashion. Jumping between Korean and American, not only does Alex provide in-depth reviews but he usually hangs on to the models for some “real world testing” weeks at a time.