Samsung Nexus S or HTC Panache for use on Mobilicity

Here is a a feature by feature write-up comparing the Samsung Nexus S with the HTC Panache for use on the Mobilicity network. I currently own the Panache.

They are both mid-range Android devices that cost <$300 with current pricing. The HTC Panache is $299 new but $210 refurbished, while the Samsung Nexus S is $299 new and $250 refurbished.

Specifications (GSM Arena Links)

Samsung Nexus S

T-Mobile myTouch4G (HTC Panache)

The HTC Panache is a variant of the T-Mobile myTouch4G.

Feature comparison

CPU: 

The Nexus S uses the Samsung S5PC110A01 1GHz Cortex A8 Hummingbird Processor (source iFixIt). The HTC Panache uses the Qualcomm Snapgraon MSM8255 1GHz Cortex A8 Snapdragon processor.  Both perform almost identically at stock configuration in terms.

The S5PC110A01 needs 1.4v at stock configuration, versus a 1.2v configuration for the MSM8255. In stock configuration, this does not really mean much. But the MSM8255 has better overclocking headroom compared to the S5PC110A01. The S5PC110A01 ships in an alternate 1.2GHz configuration in the Samsung Infuse4G at the same 1.4v, while the MSM8255 ships in an alternate 1.5GHz configuration in the HTC Flyer at 1.25v.

The typical end-user CPU overclock frequency for the Nexus S is 1.3GHz compared to the 1.7GHz for the myTouch4G.

Winner: HTC Panache

RAM: 

The Nexus S has an advertised 512MB of RAM, which works out to almost 350MB of system usable RAM after CPU and baseband allocations.

The HTC Panache has an advertised 768MB of RAM, which works out to almost 600MB of system usable RAM after CPU and baseband allocations.

Both are more than sufficient for stellar performance on Android 2.3 configurations.

Winner: HTC Panache

Internal memory

Both devices allow for about 1GB of user data storage for applications and application data. The Nexus S contains a non-expandable 16GB partition for file storage, while the HTC Panache ships with a microSD card slot supporting up to 32GB cards (8GB included with new models, none with refurbished devices).

Winner: Tie

Display
Aside from the inferior Sharp LCD panel it ships with, the chipset is arguably better than what is in the Nexus S. This is a clear win for the Nexus S, which has the AMOLED display.

Winner: Samsung Nexus S

GPU: 
The PowerVR SGX540 in the Nexus S has performed consistently better than the Adreno 205 in various benchmark suites, but since I am not big on games, this was not important to me. The main reasoning is that developers will likely optimize their games for the Adreno 205 platform when targeting for the ‘Nexus S generation’ of devices, since it is also a very popular platform. The Hummingbird platform has seen use in Samsung branded devices, while MSM8255 used by Sony Xperia as well as HTC.

Winner: Samsung Nexus S

Camera
Both devices offer a auto-focusing 5MP camera supporting 720p video recording as well as LED flash.

Winner: Tie

Touch input

Both devices use capacitive touchscreens. The Nexus S supports up to 5 fingers versus the 4 fingers on the Panache.

This means that the Nexus S support for 5 fingers actually gives it a hardware permission not available on the Panache, namely:

android.hardware.multitouch.jazzhand

However, I am not aware of many applications that take advantage of this. This still makes the Nexus S have something that the Panache doesn’t have.

Winner: Samsung Nexus S

Hardware buttons
The HTC Panache uses physical buttons for the Home/Back/Search/Menu keys, while the Nexus S has capacitive keys. Both devices also have hardware power buttons and volume toggles. The HTC has a dual-action camera button on the side. The Nexus S did have a well-documented voice search bug, which does not seem to be an issue anymore with recent software updates. Ultimately, button configuration comes down to a matter of personal preference.
Winner: Tie
Other considerations
If upgradability is a main consideration, the Nexus S is natively upgrable to Android 4.0. It also has NFC, meaning that you could use it with Google Wallet.
Third-party development is stronger on the Nexus S than it is on the Panache. The HTC Panache ships with a locked bootloader that requires more complicated workarounds to obtain root and other functionality that may be of interest.
The only upside for the Panache is that it with HTC Sense, which does have better out-of-the-box experience than the stock Android 2.3 and is arguably even better than Android 4.0 on the Nexus S.
The Nexus S also has better trade value than the relatively unknown HTC Panache.
Winner: Samsung Nexus S
Last updated: March 21 2012
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