Apple iPhone 3GS and HTC Nexus One: side by side
Comparing two opposing platforms can be difficult based on the ideas and foundations of what each one aims to accomplish. For Apple, simplicity overtakes raw graphical eye candy to provide users a seamless experience that doesn’t sacrifice performance. Just taking a peek into its medley of simple icons in the main menu, you can gather from the start that it may look a bit dated nowadays – but it’s the smooth and responsive feel when navigating through the main menu that continues to shine. The Apple iPhone OS moves away from the file menu driven interface that’s been engrained in the minds of computer users out there. We can’t express enough about how simple and easy it is for just about anyone to jump right in and get acquainted to the platform. Two years and there is still no one yet to dethrone the iPhone when it comes to on-screen QWERTY keyboards – they really have it nailed to a tooth to this day with no clear threat on the horizon. Although Apple has an iron fist when it comes to the way applications are developed for the platform, they always fall back on following some of the foundations that make the iPhone stand out – and that’s simplicity and performance. The introduction of the App Store placed the iPhone on another level all the while building up their dominance in a new market. The App Store itself is the one-stop shop for all your needs; hence the popular slogan of “there’s an app for that”.
With the Nexus One flaunting Android 2.1, it brings along a new level of personalization that we really haven’t seen to date. The live wallpapers are a clear stand out contender that enchants people into wanting to know more about the handset. Thanks to its lightning quick 1GHz Snapdragon processor, it takes Android to the next level by surrounding the user with its slick looking interface – easily trumping the outdated look of the iPhone OS. You’ve got plenty of graphical gems to point out from the 3D looking rolodex-like main menu to its interactivity with the live wallpapers. Google is always expanding Android and you can see it with its speech-to-text capability, which works pretty well and we find it useful. Even though its on-screen QWERTY keyboard runs faster with no lag, thanks to the Snapdragon processor, it still needs some tweaking to really overtake the dominance that the iPhone showcases. There’s no doubt that personalization plays a key factor in what makes Android so unique – no two devices look exactly the same. With Android seemingly always pushing the boundaries of hardware, the Nexus One ultimately packages everything required to exemplify its presentation thanks to the graphical prowess it exudes.
From its inception, there are some fundamental applications on the iPhone that have set the bar in terms of presentation to this day. That’s why the iPod integration is one of the key driving forces that make people go out to purchase one. Still to this day, cover flow on the iPhone is considered by many in the industry as the premier music interface that everyone needs to live up to. Again we see the experience shining without sacrificing on performance – you’re able to swipe through albums without any noticeable slowdown. When it comes to taking photos, we do like how the iPhone is able to focus in on specific areas by tapping somewhere on the screen, but its lack of options can hinder the quality. Its 3-megapixel camera is impressive when compared to others in its class, but clearly falls short in quality over what’s seen on the Nexus One. Watching videos is an enjoyable experience on the crisp display of the iPhone, but the Nexus One is obviously more detailed in every aspect – still the experience should be no different other than the inability to play videos at higher resolutions. Just like taking photos, the iPhone is limited to its hardware and does not match the updated ensemble that the Nexus One packs; still it does really well for being usable for almost any circumstance. If hardware limitations weren’t holding the iPhone back, it could really give the Nexus One a run for its money in the multimedia department. Despite its shortcomings, it still clearly sets the bar in terms of music playback by offering the best interface for your music.
Little has been changed in terms of multimedia capabilities on the HTC Nexus One, when comparing it to other Android handsets. From the onset, we do prefer the updated 3D Gallery interface that’s used to check out your videos and photos. Aside from that one glaring new offering with the Nexus One, it remains faithful to the Google experience – meaning there is little to separate it from previous incarnations. For taking photos and videos, the Nexus One has a definitive advantage thanks to its hardware – colors are lusher in photos while the detail in shooting videos is exceptional. The AMOLED display is by far one of the glaring features that stand out among its long list – it’s extremely bright and highly detailed. Now when it comes to playing music on the Nexus One, its presentation is a bit short – the music player is just like what you see on any other handset; even feature phones. There’s no visual equalizer within the music player, except when you set one of the live wallpapers to it. We would’ve liked to see the same interface seen with the Gallery app be integrated with the music player to rival cover flow on the iPhone; especially when the hardware is more than capable of doing it. Android 2.1 has done a magnificent job in certain aspects of the phone, but we’re still wondering why the presentation isn’t pushed to its limits.
1. Geezay (Posts: 3; Member since: 27 Nov 2009)
Seriously? When are you ever going to have the balls to actually call a winner on one of these showdowns of yours which seem to be getting pointless really? "Ultimately, consumers will look at the choices they are given with each device and choose among themselves blah blah blah..." Come on!
11. dustinjc (Posts: 5; Member since: 17 May 2009)
Ok honestly shut up, if they said the iPhone won they would have a bunch of iPhone haters crying there eyes about about how the nexus one is better and if they said the Nexus was better they would have all the iPhone lovers crying about how the iPhone is better. Plus it's just opinion you ignorant ... They leave it to you to decide who the winner is.
2. Phullofphil (Posts: 801; Member since: 10 Feb 2009)
i was just gonna say that. I have said it before and it has still never changed. It was a waste of reading. I get better info just reading the review on each of them
3. SamTime (Posts: 253; Member since: 07 Nov 2009)
"With Android seemingly always pushing the boundaries of hardware, the Nexus One ultimately packages everything required to exemplify its presentation thanks to the graphical prowess it exudes." I love Android but Android has had ONE phone so far that has pushed the boundaries of hardware: the Nexus One. Don't throw out hyperbole that isn't true. The Motorola DROID is a great phone with great hardware but I don't think it pushes the boundary at all. That TI OMAP 3430 has already been used in the Palm Pre which btw, is cocked 50mhz higher. Yes, I do realize that the Samsung Moment has an 800mhz processor and the Acer Liquid has a snapdragon downclocked to 700-800mhz (I can't remember exactly) or so, but do those phones really FEEL like they pushed the boundaries of hardware? Did they innovate in any way aside from the processor? I don't think so...
4. Jakewolford (Posts: 1; Member since: 26 Jan 2010)
I guess it's all just a matter of perspective. The Moment and Liquid aren't necessarily high-end devices in what we used to classify them. They are bringing the market down, using high end technology (WVGA, OLED, fast processors, capacitive multitouch) and yet are affordable. So no, the technology itself isn't new, but bringing it to the market is what's considered as "pushing the boundaries". I'm sure years ago they had a 1 GHz processor, but no one in the middle class could afford to put one into a phone; it wasn't realistic. Now we have an AMOLED Samsung phone that isn't even targeting the 'top' market. I would consider that to be pushing the boundaries of hardware. Again, all a matter of perspective.
6. illallowit (Posts: 20; Member since: 10 Dec 2009)
"Although AT&T’s network may seem like a better candidate when it comes to coverage nationwide,..." At least until the Nexus is available on VZW...
9. Russki (Posts: 45; Member since: 26 Dec 2009)
Yeah dude seriously? Im about to straight up * slap whoever wrote this review. This was obviously a biased article ( pro Iphone) At&t has a TERRIBLE network, and when the nexus one becomes available on Verizon there will be NO COMPARISON to who the clear winner in user exp will be. You CANT multi-itask on the ipoop err iphone, and heres the biggest difference. the big one... ready? here it comes... IPHONE DOES NOT HAVE FLASH ENABLED BROWSING. GG. apple fails
7. djmuzi (Posts: 18; Member since: 12 Oct 2009)
Very bad Cameras.... from a high-end smartphone you can expect a good camera.. thats why I don't have an iPhone and why I have to stick with my oldfashioned Nokia N86
8. djmuzi (Posts: 18; Member since: 12 Oct 2009)
Very bad Cameras.... from a high-end smartphone you can expect a good camera.. thats why I don't have an iPhone and why I have to stick with my oldfashioned Nokia N86
10. jeremymmoss (Posts: 1; Member since: 02 Feb 2010)
The I phone is old news, wait it isn't even news any more. Unless mac comes out with something that changes the way we look at the cell phone and PC market they are going to crash and burn, but with loads of cash for Mr. jobs to pocket at retirement. And what's up with the "I-Pad"? Mad TV had a spoof add for that years ago, it sounds like a feminine product. Dumbest product name ever, apple deserves any and all satire that the name sake receives. Come on apple step it up and show us something that we didn't see coming, and we all know that your MAC "geniuses" have the development skills to come up with something anything never seen before.
12. scorpio85 (Posts: 160; Member since: 16 Jan 2010)
From reading this, it seems as if they are quietly saying the Nexus One won. BUT, everyone knows how phonearena is and they dont like to dis the iphone or apple in anyway. Which I can understand because like others said on here, there would be angry apple fanboys and this site could potentially lose onlookers to the site.
13. narley (Posts: 357; Member since: 14 May 2009)
ha ha ha ha not having a removable battery is "simplicity"? you guys really need to stop doing these reviews, it just grows more overwhelmingly apparent how pathetically bias these reviews are. you could prob just stop doing these and type WE HEART IPHONE acrossed your entire page. And people will "argue" Nexus has a better screen.... ummm yes higher resolution means BETTER. you guys are idiots i swear to god.
14. Windsponge (Posts: 92; Member since: 01 Nov 2009)
I think this was a waste. I own a droid and I think the iphone interface is better looking .And There is no comparasion of app stores at least iphone apps dont mess your phone up. Nexus is not then phone they try to make it up to be...Google junk.If you find this offensive sorry but it is just my view.
15. daja62 (Posts: 1; Member since: 02 Mar 2010)
Am I missing something here in all these android comparisons against the iphone ? meaning one huge reason I switched to the android os /phone is the fact I can run multiple apps at once I run 4 apps at once most of the time and if I had to close each one and the open the other one aka iphone I would not use the phone data side anyways no where near as much . Once you have experinced running multiple apps all at the same time its like operating a pc versus what people will soon find about in thier new ipad one app at a time baby ! As far as the app stores go no question itunes is a clear winner (and should be since they have been building this for three years plus) But with 30,000 apps now available in the android store and many more being added weekly as well as most apps are being duplicated from the itunes store to android market sooner or later thats not going to be a issue . I run a gps app daily ,listen to streaming music and have a true weather map running all at the same time works fabulously try doing that with the iphone! For me this is huge some people it may not matter and thats fine then the iphone is your ticket but if you a variety of things running at the same time there is no other choice.
16. becazican (unregistered)
this is the first comment i agree on, yes the apple iphone was a great phone with a lousy network but its time has come and gone, i love my imac so i am a big apple supporter but they need to fix the battery on iphone , need to run more apps than one at a time , the call quality sucks on the iphone, apple needs to reinvent this phone and once again take over the lead spot, i am afraid google will trump apple this time.
17. okrummbein (Posts: 1; Member since: 16 Mar 2010)
A colleague and I got permission to buy smart phones for work, and we decided to get one iPhone 3GS and one Nexus. I opted for the Nexus because I like open products where one can change the battery, SIM card, etc. Here is what we found in our direct comparison: 1) The screen of the Nexus has a better resolution and very lively colors. However, it is significantly less bright than the iPhone! Setting both phones to max brightness, the iPhone screen is legible even in bright sunlight in snow, while you can't see a thing on the Nexus under those conditions. We made the direct comparison. In fact, I took the Nexus skiing and tried to take a picture. All I could see on the screen (at max brightness) is the reflection of my own face on the screen. 2) I found the call quality of the Nexus very good while my colleague is less happy with the voice quality of the iPhone. We did not do an objective comparison, however. 3) The touch screen on the Nexus is almost as good as the one on the iPhone, except when you tap close to the margin of the Nexus. The touch buttons on the bottom row of the Nexus, however, are quite unresponsive. I often had to tap them 3 times, which I found quite irritating. 4) A lot of the features on the Nexus do not work initially. Then one has to investigate, change some setting somewhere and finally it usually works, but not always. For example: a) You need to open a gmail account. A google account with a non-gmail email address does not work. It took me a while to figure out why my Google account did not work and now I have several Google accounts and it is not obvious how to delete or merge them. b) Two POP email addresses worked fine, but when I connected to an IMAP email address, the phone displayed "downloading messages" for about 24 hours before I could use the email address. It then worked. The iphone was immediately functional with the same address. c) There is an option on the Nexus to import contacts from the SIM card. After claiming to have imported the contacts, they were not in the contact list and I had to read them with an old phone and transfer them to the gmail account and then sync them from there, which worked fine. d) When you put the Nexus phone on the dock (a cool gadget), it is supposed to provide weather info and connect to a stereo. However, both of these did not work initially. I found the switch for the music, but not for the weather. I am sure there is a simple solution. But again it takes time to find all this. e) Connecting the Nexus to an open WiFi network was easy, but I did not manage to connect to our secure WiFi at work because it never allowed me to get to the server login on the browser. This was easy with the iPhone. 5) I have been a t-mobile customer for 5 years and am really amazed how completely disorganized they are. The web site is terrible. For example, I have repeatedly tried to "send text message" logged in to the t-mobile account, but it never allowed me to, neither from work nor from home (maybe because it does not work for prepaids but does not say so). The only reason I stay with them is because they have very cheap prepaid options which are good if one needs lots of phones for family members who do not call a lot. Anyway, the automatic activation with the link from Google failed and I spent the usual hour with t-mobile support to get the phone activated. Two days later the Nexus still said that I was not subscribed to a data plan. I am sure that t-mobile would have fixed this (in another 2 hour phone session). The iPhone on the other hand was activated and worked in 10 minutes. After 3 days I had enough of the Nexus, and HTC took it back, which I very much appreciate. T-mobile also allowed me to cancel the plan without problem. However, I had to tell them my full social security number because they could not locate my phone number, and they said that they could not give me a reference number for the cancellation because they do not have reference numbers. Customer service was very friendly and cooperative. So, at least one doesn't take a risk buying the Nexus...