Nexus 4 vs Samsung Ativ S
Google's latest flagship Nexus 4, created by LG, takes on Samsung's Windows Phone 8-based Ativ S
How does Samsung’s Ativ S Windows Phone compare to the Nexus 4? We find out.
Samsung Ativ S - 137.2x70.5x8.7mm, 135g
Nexus 4 - 133.9x68.7x9.1mm, 139g
The Nexus 4 has been built for Google by LG but overall the appearance is very much in keeping with Google’s Nexus design style and it bears more than a passing resemblance to its immediate predecessor, the Galaxy Nexus, made by Samsung.
It broadly has the same shape, with similarly rounded corners, however, there are a few subtle differences.
The Nexus 4 appears to be slightly wider and shorter than the Galaxy Nexus and, sadly, doesn’t have the same curved profile along its length.
It also has a slightly recessed glass back panel with a raised surround on the outer edge, while the back panel itself has a weird looking ‘disco ball’ texture – there’s no getting round the fact that this last stylistic accent simply looks daft.
In terms of build quality, while LG’s designs can run the full remit from visually pleasing to the utterly ridiculous, generally the fit and finish is quite good.
Furthermore, Google’s Nexus devices seem to be consistently put together to a fairly high standard regardless of which manufacturer is chosen, suggesting the Android-maker has specific and unwavering demands when it comes to construction.
The Nexus 4 is bland to look at in our view, aside from the bling-tastic back panel which is simply unpleasant as it produces entirely the opposite effect to the rest of the chassis.
With the Samsung Ativ S we have to admit that we fell into the Korean manufacturer’s trap ahead of actual exposure to the device.
We previously believed it was made from aluminium, as reports and photos indicated this was the case. However, having seen the phone first hand we now know it’s actually made of plastic which has been specially made to look like brushed aluminium.
It is, in fact the same plastic used on the Galaxy S3 Android phone, but the similarities don’t end there.
The Ativ S is virtually a Galaxy S3 clone with a swapped out processor, Microsoft’s new Windows Phone 8 operating system loaded on, a fresh lick of metallic paint and a funky mesh grille added to the lower end of the back panel.
Despite disappointments about the materials, the build quality is still as sound as we’ve found on other Samsung devices – the Ativ S doesn’t feel flimsy in its construction it’s just that the plastic feels cheap.
With all that said, the visual design is actually pretty good. We were previously quite indifferent to the Galaxy S3’s shape but we do think the metallic colouration really helps things significantly and it’s a very appealing phone to look at.
It’s just not quite so hot when you pick it up, assuming you can keep a grip on the slippery plastic, that is.
Samsung’s device is the thinner of the two at 8.7mm to the Nexus 4’s 9.1mm, while the difference in weight is minimal: the Ativ S weighs 135g agains the Nexus 4’s 139g.
Where does that leave us then? Well, fairly uninspired all round actually. At a pinch we’d at least say the Samsung takes preference for being aesthetically pleasing even if it’s all something of a ruse.
Winner – Samsung Ativ S
Both companies traditionally excel at producing quality display technology and in each case these handsets are no exception.
Samsung’s Ativ S uses the same display as the Galaxy S3: it’s a huge 4.8-inch Super AMOLED capacitive multitouch screen with a 1280x720 pixel resolution and a pixel density of 306 pixels-per-inch (ppi).
The visual quality is very good here with a sharp picture, strong colours, contrast and brightness.
LG has a very similar offering for the Nexus 4. It’s ever-so-slightly smaller at 4.7-inches but a slightly higher resolution of 1280x768 pixels, though the pixel density isn’t that much higher, only 12ppi higher at 318ppi. Also, instead of being Super AMOLED it’s a ‘True HD’ IPS+ LCD.
We’d say these displays are on an even footing and both are very high up the tree when considering the market generally.
Winner – Draw
The Nexus 4 has options for either 8GB or 16GB of onboard storage and no MicroSD capability.
Against this, Samsung has equipped the Ativ S very well with options for 16GB or 32GB of internal space and a MicroSD slot for cards up to 32GB.
It’s an easy win for Samsung here.
Winner – Samsung Ativ S