Tuesday, August 14, 2012

HTC One S vs. Galaxy Nexus


 I recently 'downgraded' my phone. Yes, you read that right, this early adopting geek dumped HTC's latest hotness for a 6 month old Galaxy Nexus. Why? The butter, baby (I'll explain). 
First off, I've always thought HTC made better phones than Samsung and the One S is more proof of this. It  is a much better phone and clearly beats the Galaxy Nexus in the following areas:
  • Camera: More Megapixels, MUCH faster response and the super-slow motion video capture is a fun feature. 
  • Faster Processor
  • Build Quality - The One S oozes quality. Fit and finish as well as it's sleek design make the Galaxy Nexus look like a hunk of cheap plastic. I personally think the One S of the nicest looking phones out there right now - yes even better that Apple's 4s, but I guess that's not saying much as the Iphone is at the end of it's design cycle. 
  • Better Antenna design, Cell, GPS and WiFi performance of the HTC beats the Samsung by a mile in this area - Both WiFi and GPS performance is spotty on this Samsung (and Samsungs I've had in the past) The Samsung routinely drops GPS signal if not placed high up on the dash of my truck whereas the HTC never skipped a beat when placed deep in my center console. 
 So those are some pretty significant pluses for the HTC so why the switch?
  • Pure Google: The Nexus Line always has the Vanilla Android OS the way Google intended without any goofy skins place in there by the manufacturers that in the past slowed things down and changed or broke some of the OS's basic functionality. 
  • Higher Resolution Screen - While it's not that noticeable to me on the phone, but on the occasion when I hook up to a monitor, keyboard and mouse the extra resolution does a better job of filling a 20" monitor.
  • NFC - not that I use this now, but it's something I'm looking forward to seeing what creative new ways devs will incorporate this tech into their apps - and I'll be able to play with it. 
  • Interchangeable battery - batteries never last forever - especially in Arizona - so having to send a phone back to the factory to replace a battery in a year is not something I want to deal with. Also, I like having a spare, fully charged battery to swap out in times when a charger isn't near by.  
  • Super Hackable - The Nexus line has typically been a developer platform and because of that they are super easy to unlock, root, and load alternate ROMs. And since there is no manufacturer skin to modify or Carrier testing to perform, they are the first inline to get the latest OS releases. In fact, I updated my phone to Jelly Bean using a posted OTA image even before it was put on Google's servers. 
  • Super Dev support: Being a development platform, Nexus phones have always had a lot of support from the ROM community which really extends the life of the phone. Heck I think the Nexus One I passed down to by Son had a stable version of ICS on it much faster than any OTA update for much more modern handsets. 
What about the butter? Oh yes - project butter - The bottom line reason I switched to the Galaxy Nexus was to get Google's latest Operating system, Jelly Bean which had extensive modifications to the UI framework. In my opinion, Google hit a home run with this one. The phone and it's UI are so much smoother and more responsive - making it feel faster than the HTC despite the Nexus' slower processor. My HTC would still have an occasional frame jitter during some scrolling activities - I haven't encountered any lapse while on the Galaxy Nexus - it pure butter baby!. 
Jelly Bean is supposed to be just incremental improvements on the major update that came with ICS but in my mind, it's more than that.  UI responsiveness was one of the last areas where IOS was still superior to Android. No matter how big of an Android fanboy you are, you have to admit IOS could always be counted on as providing a silky smooth user experience that wasn't matched by any device running Android. But with Jelly Bean, Google has erased this advantage and has finally delivered a polished, Mature OS...all for free.
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