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Samsung Galaxy Nexus Vs. HTC's Upstart

Sprint begins selling the Samsung Galaxy Nexus April 22, but here are 5 reasons you may want to wait for the HTC EVO 4G LTE.
Sprint announced Monday that it will finally sell the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, starting April 22. The smartphone will cost Sprint customers $199.99 with a new contract, though Google is offering an additional $50 in incentives via Google Wallet credits. This is all very good news for Sprint customers.

The Galaxy Nexus is the first smartphone to ship with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich on board. It went on sale globally in November (yeah, five months ago) and went on sale through Verizon Wireless in December (yeah, four months ago). Between the lower sale price and $50 in Google Wallet credits, the Sprint version of the Galaxy Nexus is effectively half the out-of-pocket cost of Verizon's version, which sells for $299.99.

Why is Sprint offering the Galaxy Nexus now? It had to. First, Verizon probably had a 90-day exclusivity agreement with Samsung, giving it dibs on the device for at least three months. Second, it makes no sense for Sprint to launch an LTE 4G smartphone months and months before it had an LTE 4G network. According to Sprint, its LTE network is scheduled to launch in just six markets by the middle of the year.

So, are you going to jump up and order Sprint's Galaxy Nexus? I'd wait a bit, if I were you, for one big reason: the HTC EVO 4G LTE is a better buy for a number of reasons.

[ Or, you could just wait a bit longer on a new phone. See Samsung's Next Galaxy: 3 Possibilities. ]

Here are some comparison points.

-- Both phones run Android 4.0. The Galaxy Nexus uses a stock build, while the EVO 4G LTE adds HTC's Sense 4.0 user experience. I'd call the software experience more or less even, and it depends on user preferences as to which is truly better.

-- Both also have 4.7-inch 1280 x 720p HD displays, though the Gnex uses AMOLED and the EVO uses an LCD. Both devices are nearly identical in size, though the EVO is 0.43 ounces lighter and just a hair thinner.

-- The Gnex has an older 1.2-GHz TI OMAP4460 powerplant inside, whereas the EVO has a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 dual-core 1.5-GHz processor. The S4 includes the LTE components, which help to increase efficiency. Qualcomm's chip, in this case, is far superior to the TI one.

-- The Gnex's camera rates 5 megapixels--and it kind of stinks. Nearly every review of the Gnex lambasted the phone's poor camera, which produces mixed results. The EVO, on the other hand, has an excellent camera. It's aided by a separate processor, which speeds up the picture-taking powers of the device. It also has 8 megapixels. Both devices capture 1080p HD video.

-- If you use price as the main decision factor, the at-the-register price for both phones is $199.99. Sure, Google is tossing in $50 worth of credits to further entice users to pick the Galaxy Nexus, but I think the HTC EVO 4G LTE warrants the higher (final) price. It's a better device in most respects.

The one thing we don't know about the EVO is the exact launch date. Sprint is launching the device closer to when its LTE network officially goes live. That may be several more months.

Bottom line, if you need a new Android smartphone this weekend, then the Galaxy Nexus is a fine choice. If you can hold out a bit longer, do yourself a favor and wait for the EVO 4G LTE.

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Sara Peters, Editor-in-Chief, InformationWeek / Network Computing
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Sara Peters, Editor-in-Chief, InformationWeek / Network Computing
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