In the latest addition to its popular Nexus series, Google has given LG the chance to bolster its handset reputation by manufacturing the Nexus 4, which hit shelves for the first time this week. Incredibly, the search giant’s Play store exhausted its initial stock of the device in just half an hour on the first day of release, so to see what all the fuss is about we’ve pitted the Nexus 4 against the daddy of the smartphone arena, the Samsung Galaxy Note 2. Read on to put the specifications into context and see if the jumbo Note can justify its considerably higher price tag.
Size & Weight
The Nexus 4 measures 133.9 x 68.7 x 9.1mm, but like nearly all handsets it will look dwarfish next to the huge Note 2. Samsung’s model measures 151.1 x 80.5 x 9.4mm, making you far more aware of its pocket-presence than the Nexus 4. At 180g it's also 41g heavier than LG’s phone, a gap that could easily have been larger given the size of the Note, so credit must go to Samsung for keeping such a large device fairly light.
With a giant 5.5in screen, the Note 2 of course plays heavily on the visual element, but the Nexus 4’s 4.7in display is still large in anyone’s book and provides a worthy platform for your video and browsing needs. The latter’s resolution may also appear marginally sharper to the ultra-trained eye, with its 1,280 x 768 pixels and density of 320 PPI, going against the Note’s 1280 x 720 pixels and 267 PPI. The HD Super AMOLED Plus technology used on the Note’s face has been heralded for its quality, but the IPS LCD screen sported on the Nexus 4 provides worthy competition.
Storage & Memory
Whereas the new Nexus 4 only comes in 8GB and 16GB versions with no microSD card slot for additional storage, the Note 2 ships in 16GB, 32GB and even 64GB editions, with a slot available for even more capacity. Both handsets come with 2GB RAM but if you want to push the boat out, the Note 2 range offers far more room to dump your music, photos and other files.
Powerful quad-cores face-off in the processor department, though the Note 2’s Exynos 4412 clocks in at 1.6GHz – a touch faster than the 1.5GHz recorded by the Nexus 4’s Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro.
We’re dealing with the crème-de-la-crème of the Android family here, but by virtue of being the newest release, the Nexus 4 shades the software duel with the updated 4.2 Jelly Bean trumping the Note 2’s 4.1 OS. Rumours suggest Samsung’s flagship will be getting the upgrade in the first quarter of next year, however.
An 8-megapixel camera recording video at 1080p adorns the rear of each device, but the Note’s 1.9-megapixel front-facing cam is a little superior to the Nexus 4’s 1.3-megapixel unit, which may be a swaying factor for those who value their video calling.
The Note 2’s whopping 3,100mAh battery provides up to 16 hours of talk time (on 3G rather than 4G), whereas the Nexus 4’s 2,100mAh battery reportedly manages up to 10 hours.
Data-hungry punters will be salivating at the thought of 4G LTE via EE’s new network on the Galaxy Note 2 – an experience Riyad Emeran recently enjoyed. For a high-spec device, the lack of 4G connectivity on the Nexus 4 is perhaps a little disappointing and the Note on EE will certainly offer more when it comes to downloading, streaming and browsing.
The Note 2 is a premium device and probably the most capable handset on the market. Its pricing reflects that, at £468 from Amazon for the 16GB model SIM-free. The Nexus 4 was always likely to cost a fair chunk less, but its £239 (8GB version) price tag really does look reasonable in light of its strong spec sheet.
The Galaxy Note 2 is almost peerless in its features and user experience, thanks to that glorious 5.5in display (which includes handwriting technology and a host of other nifty capabilities to be unlocked with a tap of your stylus), a powerful processor, a huge battery, and 4G LTE connectivity. The Nexus 4 cannot quite keep up, but this should not detract from a very strong list of specs that are supported by encouraging reviews of its performance.
It may be inferior to the Note 2, but is it £200 inferior? Probably not. Google and LG could really shake up the smartphone market with such a competitively priced device, and those looking for a high-end phone with a low-end price seem to be in luck. If, however, you are lucky enough to be unconstrained by budgetary concerns, then you are getting one of the best phones on the market by shelling out the extra cash on the Galaxy Note 2.
Galaxy Note 2
1,280 x 768 pixels
1280 x 720 pixels
HD Super AMOLED Plus
Processor and battery
Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro
Samsung Exynos 4412
Claimed talk time
Up to 10 hours (3G)
Up to 16 hours (3G)
Storage and memory
8 / 16GB
16 / 32 / 64GB
Yes, up to 32GB
133.9 x 68.7 x 9.1 mm
151 x 80.5 x 9.4mm
Android 4.2 Jelly Bean
Android 4.1 Jelly Bean
From £239 (8GB, Google Play)
From £468 (16GB, Amazon)