The " by Samsung," and Samsung's flagship smartphone running the version of Android, is finally available on Verizon's network. It uses 's 4G LTEnetwork, in places where that exists, and has the NFC chip needed for apps like Google Wallet. And as a Nexus series smartphone, it's guaranteed software updates (and their new features) for much longer than other Android devices.
But 's flagship phone, the iPhone 4S, is already on Verizon. Which one are smartphone buyers going to pick this holiday season? Here's what they have to choose between:
Speed and performance
Android "superphones" tend to have top of the line specs, and the Galaxy Nexus is no exception. It's packing a 1.2 GHz dual-core processor, 1 GB of RAM, and 32 GB of flash memory, plus the ability to record 1080p HD video. And its 4G LTE connectivity will make streaming video through Hulu and Netflix faster than on an iPhone, in areas which have 4G networks.
Apple doesn't publish much info on the iPhone 4S' internals, but the $299 model (which costs the same as a Galaxy Nexus from Verizon's store) has the same 32 GB of flash memory, while a $199 model with 16 GB is also available. It can also record 1080p video, and while the Galaxy Nexus wasn't around to be compared to at the time it beat every Android phone in a series of benchmarks. The only category it loses in is connection speed, because it lacks LTE.
Size and battery life
The iPhone 4S' screen is 3.5 inches across, which -- according to "superhero" Dustin Curtis -- is just the right size to reach nearly all of it with your thumb. It's also a Retina Display, which is Apple's trademarked name for its high-resolution screen, with pixels so fine that they can't be discerned by the unaided eye.
The Galaxy Nexus has an enormous 4.65 inch screen, with a greater resolution than the iPhone's (it can play 720p HD video) but not a Retina Display. Part of the reason it's so large, though, is because of the huge batteries needed to power its 4G radio. Even with those, superphones often have poor battery life, but reviews like CNet's show that the Galaxy Nexus' battery life is at least comparable to the iPhone 4S'.
Apps and overall experience
The iPhone still leads the way with its App Store, beating all Android phones in quantity as well as quality. As Flurry's analytics show, one major reason is because iOS app developers tend to make more money.
Google's apps tend to have newer versions on Android, though. And reviewers like Joshua Topolsky of The Verge overwhelmingly agree that the Ice Cream Sandwich experience is in many ways comparable to iOS', which has historically been seen as more refined than Android's.