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Google Nexus 4 vs Samsung Galaxy S3 LTE: Specs comparison

In a bid to ramp up its hardware position, Google has updated its line-up of Nexus-branded devices, putting forth a pair of tablets and a smartphone built by manufacturing partners Asus, Samsung and LG with the new Nexus 4. The Nexus 4 smartphone is set to take on offerings from the likes of market leaders Samsung and Apple. And if initial demand is anything to go by, the device, which sold out less than 30 minutes after being made available on the Google Play store, is sure to be a blockbuster.

Accordingly, we measured it up against Samsung’s best-selling, former flagship Galaxy S3 handset to see how the specs compare. Keep reading to see whether LG's first Nexus device can shake up the smartphone market.

Size & Weight

The Nexus 4 measures 133.9 x 68.7 x 9.1mm, making it slightly smaller than the Galaxy S3’s 137 x 71 x 9mm. Customers with a keen eye will notice that the Google handset is a touch thicker - to the tune of 0.1mm - than the S3. Despite having a smaller form factor, however, the Nexus 4 weighs in at 139g, slightly heftier than the S3’s 131g.


Google and LG appear to have taken a cue from the market, delivering an IPS LCD screen that boasts a massive 4.7in diagonal - only a fraction smaller than the S3’s infamous 4.8in Super AMOLED display. It may have a smaller screen, but the Nexus 4 wins in the resolution department - its 1,280 x 768 pixel resolution means it has a pixel density of 320ppi, compared to the S3’s 1,280 x 720 pixels and 306ppi.

Storage & Memory

The Nexus 4 offers up a decent amount of storage and memory, with 8GB or16GB of onboard space and 2GB of RAM, respectively. But the Galaxy S3 wins hands-down here - it ships with 16GB of storage and 2GB of memory, but Samsung has tricked it out with a microSD slot that means it can be extended by up to 64GB to hold a whole lot more media.

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Both handsets have powerful quad-core processors, with the Nexus 4 packing Qualcomm’s ubiquitous Snapdragon S4 Pro processor and the S3 powered by an unconfirmed variant of Samsung’s Exynos system-on-chip.


While many smartphone comparisons come down to the platform they run on, there is not much of an operating system battle to be had here. Unsurprisingly, the Nexus 4 runs Google’s latest version of Android - 4.2 Jelly Bean. The Galaxy S3, meanwhile, was recently bestowed with an update to 4.1. That means it is only slightly behind the Nexus 4, which boasts 4.2 features including Gesture Typing, live turn-by-turn navigation, and the new Photo Sphere app. Admittedly, some users might find the Nexus 4’s stripped-down version of the OS to be a more pleasant experience than that of the S3.


Both handsets sport a rear camera shooting at 8MP, so they can each capture Instagram-ready images. But the Nexus 4 loses out, albeit by a negligible amount, when it comes to its front-facing camera, which rings in at a 1.3MP compared to the Galaxy S3’s 1.9MP. Video-wise, both shoot high-definition video at a resolution of 1080p.

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The Nexus 4 and the S3 both have a 2,100mAh battery, promising up to 10 hours of battery life. However, each will consume power differently; the S3’s slightly larger screen and more powerful connectivity options mean it’s likely to have a shorter battery life, though that will vary from user to user.


The Nexus 4 offers all of the standard connectivity options - 3G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and even NFC support. But the Galaxy S3 wins out slightly in this department, with the recent addition of LTE connectivity via EE’s 4G spectrum - a feature that is sure to please those users who need high-speed data on the go.


Google has priced the Nexus 4 at the low-end of the spectrum, beginning at £239 for the 8GB version and £279 for the 16GB. The S3, meanwhile, costs more than twice as much, at £600 SIM-free or for £29.99 on a two-year, £46-per-month contract with EE (opens in new tab). While many customers are happy to swallow that price, comparing it to the Nexus 4's affordability makes it appear rather unreasonable.

For a closer look, check out our review of the Google Nexus 4 (opens in new tab).

Nexus 4 Galaxy S3 LTE
Screen size 4.7in 4.8in
Resolution 1,280 x 768 pixels 1,280 x 720 pixels
Pixel density 320ppi 306ppi
Processor and battery
Family Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro Samsung Exynos 4412
Cores Quad-core Quad-core
Clock speed 1.5GHz 1.5GHz
Battery 2100 mAh 2100 mAh
Claimed 3G talk time Up to 10 hours Up to 10 hours
Storage and memory
Internal storage 8 / 16GB 16GB
microSD No Yes (Up to 64GB)
Megapixels 8MP 8MP
Video 1080p 1080p
Front-facing camera 1.3MP 1.9MP
Network 3G 4G LTE
Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n 802.11a/b/g/n
NFC Yes Yes
Bluetooth Yes Yes
Size 133.9 x 68.7 x 9.1mm 137 x 71 x 9mm
Weight 139g 131g
Operating System Android 4.2 Jelly Bean Android 4.1 Jelly Bean
Price From £239 (8GB) From £36/month; £600 sim-free
UK Availability Available now Available now

Paul has worked as an archivist, editor and journalist, and has a PhD in the cultural and literary significance of ruins. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, The BBC, The Atlantic, National Geographic, and Discover Magazine, and he was previously Staff Writer and Journalist at ITProPortal.