The Apple iPhone vs Google Nexus One

App store

We know, this one isn't really a contest – where Apple has just had the three billionth app downloaded from its App Store, Google's Android Market is limping terribly behind.

Apps from companies like TomTom, Johnson&Johnson and EA all show companies are serious about the iPhone as a serious bit of money making kit, where Google's top app is arguable Spotify.

But, think of it this way – Apple has a much more regimented way of letting applications into its store, where Google is much more flexible. And the sheer volume in the App Store means it's getting harder to be heard among the noise.

iPhone v nexus one

So it could be that Google's Android Market might be a more attractive platform for creative developers – although not for a while yet.

Winner: Apple iPhone


It's clear that neither of these phones are really camera-centric – the iPhone has only just got a 3.2MP camera, and you feel Apple was rather begrudging about upgrading it that much.

Google's Nexus One by contrast has a 5MP snapper with LED flash – as well as a good variety of picture taking modes.

Both offer a decent video recorder on board as well, so any off-the-cuff footage you want to take is going to be more than adequate.

iPhone v nexus one

But it's a case of the lesser of two evils here – HTC's (the designer of the Nexus One) cameras on its phones have never been that good, but the iPhone's is just a smidge poorer in terms of picture quality.

Winner: Google Nexus One


You may have heard of iTunes. You may have even seen it. Heck, you might even USE the application. And it's a great piece of software, something Apple realised when it made the iPhone fully compatible with it.

This means that you can download a song from iTunes and have it straight on there on connection. Not only that, but Coverflow and general ease of media use make the iPhone package a strong one when it comes to watching a movie or listening to your favourite songs – there's even a cool shake to shuffle mode with the new firmware.

iPhone v nexus one

Google's Android, and therefore the Nexus One, is not in the same league – it has a perfectly serviceable (separate) audio and video player, but it's very basic, with big buttons for play and stop, and it's all drag and drop here when connected to a PC.

You could argue that Spotify makes it a lot better, with offline playlists and the like... no, wait, the iPhone has that as well.

Winner: Apple iPhone


What about chatting on both the phones? What's the best way of getting your message across? Well, thankfully (although not for this test) both offer a wide variety of methods.

This means that you can easily use SMS or webmail on both, and thanks to upgrades to firmware in both phones, push Exchange and MMS is now available too.

The on-screen keyboard (no physical keys here, remember) on both phones is excellent – we're tempted to lean towards the eerie prediction offered by the Nexus One when spelling a word wrong, but it's really a matter of preference.

iPhone v nexus one

Google has made text to speech ubiquitous on the Nexus One, but it's only 70 per cent accurate in our eyes, and we feel a bit stupid speaking a text message. That's what phone calls are for.

Winner: Draw


Now we're getting somewhere. Both phones are offered online, but the iPhone can also be picked up in stores as well.

But the price difference is startling. For the iPhone, you can spend anywhere from £349 up to £549 (for the 32GB option) where Google's is just £329 (on dollar conversion), with an upgrade to a 32GB microSD card costing around £65.

Winner: Google Nexus One


If we're looking at this scientifically, the Google Nexus One is the clear winner. Better specs, larger screen, newer phone –it sounds pretty good.

But you try arguing with the sales of the iPhone so far, or ask yourself which phone your Mum would prefer – it's Apple's baby every time, thanks to it being so darn simple to use.

iPhone v nexus one

So for us, the winner here is the Nexus One – it's got an open source OS, has better hardware and more freedom for customisation.

iPhone v nexus one

But the winner in terms of sales is still going to be the iPhone – it might be an inferior device, but Steve Jobs won't care when he's driving his gold car around the money pit hidden deep in Cupertino.

Gareth Beavis
Formerly Global Editor in Chief

Gareth has been part of the consumer technology world in a career spanning three decades. He started life as a staff writer on the fledgling TechRadar, and has grown with the site (primarily as phones, tablets and wearables editor) until becoming Global Editor in Chief in 2018. Gareth has written over 4,000 articles for TechRadar, has contributed expert insight to a number of other publications, chaired panels on zeitgeist technologies, presented at the Gadget Show Live as well as representing the brand on TV and radio for multiple channels including Sky, BBC, ITV and Al-Jazeera. Passionate about fitness, he can bore anyone rigid about stress management, sleep tracking, heart rate variance as well as bemoaning something about the latest iPhone, Galaxy or OLED TV.