The Samsung Galaxy S4 has been one of the most highly anticipated smartphones of the year, but with specs not too different from those on its predecessor, the Galaxy S III, the latest flagship has left some die-hard Samsung lovers a tad deflated.

Enter Google and its stock Android version of the Galaxy S4, announced at Google’s annual I/O developer conference in San Francisco on 15 May. The ‘Nexus’ S4 is set to hit the US market on 26 June at a price of $649.

But how does this pure Android Galaxy S4 stack up against the original?

Google’s version features the latest Android Jelly Bean 4.2.2 operating system and, the firm has shunned Samsung’s TouchWiz user interface. The stock Android version is more customisable, having been stripped of Samsung apps such as S Health, Smart Stay and S Voice.

The original Galaxy S4 has been criticised for the amount of memory used up by Samsung’s TouchWiz software, which has left users with less internal space for personal use. Google’s omission of the TouchWiz interface should free up a great deal more storage space on the Nexus device.

Google has also said that the pure Android software will ensure its version of the S4 will receive timely OS updates on a faster schedule than the original Galaxy S4.

Speaking at the I/O conference, Hugo Barra, Android Product Management vice president, said: “Google’s take on Android feels really awesome on the Galaxy S4.”

Software differences aside, the Google S4 still has identical specs to the original, which include:

  • 5-inch full HD Super AMOLED display
  • 1.9 GHz quad-core processor
  • 13-megapixel camera
  • 2-megapixel front-facing camera
  • 1080p video recording
  • 2600mAh battery
  • 2GB RAM
  • 4G LTE support
  • Although it is desirable to have a handset with vanilla Android out of the box, the added extras of the original Galaxy S4 did give Samsung’s latest flagship a certain edge with the device reaching 10 million sales in its first month, breaking previous sales records.

    Some of the features on the original Galaxy S4 include Air Gesture, which allows users to control certain features with only a swipe of the hand, and Smart Pause, which uses eye-tracking technology to pause videos should the user look away from the screen.

    This comparison battle however, may not be something to worry about as it is unclear whether Google’s version of the Galaxy S4 will be making its way to the UK market, or if the stock Android handset will stay a US-only launch.

    Whether you’re an S4 fan that enjoys using Samsung’s tailor-made apps, or love the idea of a pure Android smartphone to tinker with, the choice of a no-frills device could become a viable option for handsets in the future.

    This guest post was written by Stefanie Keeling of Phones 4u – the home of great mobile phone contracts and deals.