Goal: Spec and usability comparison.
Motivation: As these are the two phones I am considering on the Verizon network, the comparison I’m going to perform myself might be useful to others.
It appears as though all the cards are on the table for both the Nexus Prime from Samsung and the HTC Rezound phones, both set to hit verizon in november. (Rezound on the 14th and the Nexus after thansgiving, according to current info.)
Relevant hardware specs:
* 8MP F/2.2 rear camera with Dual LED flash and 2MP front facing camera. Back camera capable of 1080p video, “action burst”, fast shutter speed, panorama mode, and “instant capture” mode.
* 1.5 gHz Dual Core, Qualcomm Adreno 220 GPU
* 1GB RAM
* Dimensions: 5.08 x 2.58 x 0.54 (129 x 65.5 x 13.65 mm)
(Unknown weight at time of posting, but proportionally to the dimensions compared with the Nexus, it will be less than 329g, or 6.67 oz) That might be a gross overestimate, but in any case, it has a larger volume than the Nexus prime.)
* 4.3″, 720p display, S-LCD
* 1620 mAh battery (removable)
* No NFC support
Samsung Galaxy Nexus:
* 5MP rear facing camera and a 1.3MP front facing camera. Rear camera capable of very fast shutter speed, 1080p video, and panorama mode.
1.2 gHz TI OMAP 4460, Imagination Technologies PowerVR SGX 540 GPU (overclocked to 384mhz)
* 1GB RAM
* Dimensions: 5.33 x 2.67 x 0.35 (135.5 x 67.94 x 8.94 mm)
* Weight: 4.76 oz (135 g)
* 4.65″ 720p display, Super AMOLED
* 1750 mAh battery (removable)
* NFC support
Omitted specs were similar or identical for the two phones, and I didn’t include the software in this analysis because in a few months modders or HTC itself will have updated the Rezound to Ice Cream Sandwich, so I only care about hardware.
Camera: (Rezound) Based on the few pictures taken with the Galaxy Nexus that are available online, it seems that the picture quality is either slightly disappointing, or that the camera is kind of hard for novice photographer to use and create good shots. (This is assuming that the pictures themselves were given a fair photography attempt and not simply posted to bash the Galaxy Nexus before it comes out.) Example: (http://9to5google.com/2011/10/11/googler-outs-nexus-prime-camera-taking-picture-of-apple-store/)
However, I feel that it is an error on Samsung’s part to let these rumors of sub-par camera quality fester in comparison to the iphone4S. I also feel that if their Nexus had any punch to its camera, that they would want to quickly “leak” some nicer shots taken with it in order to sway the growing negative opinion of their camera. Those two assumptions tell me that the Galaxy Nexus’ camera will most likely not be as good as either the Rezound or the iphone4S and will most likely not be an acceptable replacement for a point and shoot. On top of all of those image quality rumors, the 5MP number really puts a damper on hopes for using your phone to make potential posters from your camera shots. The image quality can probably be fixed up in post processing, but the low MP count might kill it for some poster lovers.
The Rezound on the other hand looks like it might be a fighter. With an F stop of 2.2, it beats out the f 2.4 of the iphone4. Also considering the powerful processor in the Rezound, it seems likely that it will have the potential to utilize some serious HDR and noise reduction post processing that might compete with the iphone4S. This will be something to keep an eye on.
UPDATE: Seems as though new reviews on the HTC Rezound’s camera don’t seem that great either. (http://www.phonearena.com/reviews/HTC-Rezound-Review_id2894/page/3)
I also managed to shoot a few pictures on a Rezound in the Verizon store. (So the subject of the image may not be that great.) In any case, they don’t look that spectacular.
Rezound HDR Image: (100% size)
Rezound non-HDR Image: (100% size)
Processor: (Irrelevant) For all practical purposes, the CPU and GPU between the two cameras isn’t as much of a consideration as most would think. No doubt that both phones will be silky smooth to the touch, despite the Nexus’ “2 year old GPU”. The GPU may be older, but it’s overclocked a significant amount. But if you’re worried about future applications that could take advantage of that extra processing power, I anticipate that a rooted, overclocked Rezound will beat out a rooted, overclocked Nexus Prime due to the higher base clock speeds of the Rezound. However, this isn’t a consideration from my standpoint as any foreseeable applications with either phone will be as smooth as we can detect with either phone.
Battery: (TIE) It’s good to see that android phones get the demand for a removable battery. I’m very disappointed that apple keeps deciding to screw their customers by making their battery non-removable. With a removable battery, you can always keep a spare at work or in your wallet so that battery life becomes less of a concern in phone choice. If you’re a heavy user, no current battery on the market will give you all day usage. A removable battery is a must, and luckily, both the Rezound and Nexus has it. In terms of capacity, the Nexus has an edge, but also uses a larger screen. The slight advantage in battery capacity the Nexus has is going to be negated by its larger screen.
Weight / Dimensions: (Galaxy Nexus) The Nexus has the advantage of being rather thin, but also having a larger screen. It’s definitely possible for a large 4.65″ screen to still look and feel small and thin though. For example, if I take a look at my current phone, which is a fairly small OG droid and I imagine the screen extending out to the edges and the static buttons at the bottom replaced with more screen real estate, I can gain about an inch or more of screen space without changing the size of my phone. (Making it in the 4+ inch category) The weight probably wont’ be a consideration since most phones these days are being made with lighter materials (ie. The Galaxy SII almost feels like a toy to me). Between these two phones, the Rezound is “fatter” than the Nexus. This may or may not be an issue depending on the size of your pockets. The Nexus is significantly thinner in terms of percentage (8.94mm Nexus vs 13.64mm Rezound).
Screen: (Rezound) The main difference between the two, other than the 4.3″ screen of the Rezound vs the 4.65″ screen of the Nexus is that the technology between the two is different. Nexus uses Super AMOLED technology whereas the Rezound uses S-LCD. This may be a point of contention as many other reviews have subjective opinions about which has the better image quality. From what I gather, it seems that the super AMOLED screens have better color and contrast, but at least by specs, the S-LCD technology “should” use less energy and produce a better image in higher light situations. For all practical purposes, unless you’re going to be using this phone’s screen in constant comparison to another phone, you’re not going to notice that much of a difference in color quality. However, if the claims for battery life and direct light viewing turn out to hold true for S-LCD, then I could have to say that the Rezound wins in screen technology, although the Nexus wins if you just need a larger screen, perhaps if you want to use your phone as a reading device as well. However, keep in mind that the gained screen real estate comes at the cost of the static buttons on the nexus prime. If you’re using a app that requires the navigation buttons, then you won’t see this larger screen since they need that space for software buttons. This might even add to reducing the effective battery life of the device in some situations.
Connectivity: (Tie) Both use LTE, have a barometer to aid in GPS locks, and both are on Verizon.
NFC: (Nexus) Near field communication may be a deal breaker for some, but I still see it as an emerging technology. Few places have readers that can accommodate payment with it, and I’m not sure I would trust it before it has had some time in the mainstream. I’d give it at least a year or two. (Which will put me at the end of a 2-year contract and back into phone upgrade mode). Even though the Nexus has an NFC reader, I don’t see that as too important of a property at this point in time.
Conclusion at this point in time:
When I look for a phone, I want something that is smooth to use, something that I can use to read and browse easily in potentially direct sunlight, I want a camera that will give me good quality images so that I can replace the need for a separate point and shoot camera, and I need something that can, of course, make phone calls.
UPDATE Jan 2012: After owning the Galaxy Nexus for 3 weeks, I decided to return it and wait for a Tegra 3 phone. There were just too many problems… perhaps those of you who got the Rezound are much happier with it. However, with the Tegra 3 quad core phones “only” a month or two away, I’d say that at this point, it’s worth it to wait it out and not get either of these phones. (Here’s my analysis of why the Galaxy Nexus is worth returning: http://www.brainlings.com/2012/01/hi-why-i-returned-my-verizon-galaxy-nexus/)
UPDATE Dec 2011: It seems as though the camera on the HTC Rezound actually isn’t that great. (http://www.phonearena.com/reviews/HTC-Rezound-Review_id2894/page/3) Definitely not able to compete with the iphone and probably won’t be good enough to replace a point and shoot for anyone wanting decent quality pictures on the fly. This camera let down combined with the rather thick body (especially if you want to add a case to it), makes me lean towards the Nexus Prime. All else on the two phones seem about the same, the processors are both very fast and probably won’t show any significant difference in use, the screens have the same resolution, although the Nexus has some space used for the on screen buttons, the batteries are going to give equivalent up time based on the capacity and screen size. At this point, I think the main advantage is that the Nexus will have a larger developer community behind it and will most likely be getting updates sooner.
At this point, I believe the HTC Rezound wins. It’s camera appears to be superior and may even give the iPhone a run for its money, according to specs. The extra screen size of the Nexus may not be as useful as you’d hope due to the removal of static hardware buttons. The only potential downside is that the Rezound is significantly thicker than the Nexus (It’s a mm or so thicker than the original droid according to specs, probably not noticable), which might be a consideration for people with tight pockets. I also fear that all the glamour and advertising about “beats” and the interesting color scheme of the Rezound may have added unnecessarily to its cost. The NFC capability on the Nexus is a plus over the Rezound, but I believe the technology won’t be so useful for another couple of years, and at that point we’re ready to upgrade our phones again. Seeing as both the Rezound and Nexus will be priced initially the same, I’m leaning towards the Rezound at this point in time.