questionswhich would you choose: the samsung galaxy s4 or…

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Personally, I'd go with the Nexus version, if it was available on my carrier. The lack of bloat makes a world of difference. I am currently on a Nexus S, and the phone I had before this was the MyTouch3g. When I ran the stock firmware on it, it was so much slower than when I ran a vanilla rom on it.

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I own the Nexus 4, best phone I've ever had.

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I'll add another vote for the nexus. I am on a galaxy nexus and love it.I think I'll always want the pure android experience now

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Vanilla Android is far and away better than any carrier/manufacturer skinned version.
Go for the Nexus version.
I've got a Nexus 4 myself.
Check out some prepaid carriers as well. You can get phone service for way cheaper in the long run if you buy a phone up front and then do the cheaper prepay plans.

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@stryker4526: Thanks. I was looking at Ptel or their new subsidiary Givmobile because they have Unlimited plans for $40 & $50 a month. They throttle back the data speeds after a certain amount of use, 250Mb and 2gb respectively. They use the t mobile network, which covers my address pretty well.

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Another vote for the unlocked version. If you can afford the initial price, and can get get by with one of the MVNOs in your area, go for it. I have an iPhone 4S, and a recently bought Nexus4. I really like the Nexus4, and clearly getting the Samsung and carrier BS out of the way is a superior experience. Even more importantly, you can count of Google keeping your Nexus version up to date with the latest version of Android, probably for as long as the hardware can keep up. As soon as I get done with this post I'm taking the SIM out of my iPhone and put it in the Nexus4

If you get the subsidized carrier version, you get it, well, whenever the hell Samsung figures out how to get it to work with TouchWiz, and then the carrier "tests" it. That normally takes months, if ever.

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You can (sort of) have both. If the bootloader is unlocked (which I believe is a WIP right now), you can simply flash a stock Android ROM on the phone and get the subsidized price. Also, since the phones are identical except for the ROM and bootloader (Nexus phones are required to have easy unlocks), then you won't have to worry about buggy ROM ports.

Edit: I guess the bootloader lock has already been released:
http://rootzwiki.com/news/_/articles/general/att-and-verizon-galaxy-s4-bootloader-bypassed-with-new-tool-called-loki-r1825

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@princeendo: If you go that route and get a "subsidized" phone, you're really just going to end up paying $2000 for an $800 phone over the life of the contract you get locked into.
Not worth it.

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@stryker4526: Maybe not for you, but for someone like me who only has access to 4G speeds via Verizon, it is definitely worth it to not have to buy the "developer version" that existed for my Galaxy S3.

Obviously, working with a major carrier was not a huge problem for this person, or it wouldn't have been suggested.

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I've got an unlocked Nexus 4. It. Is. Awesome. That's all.

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If you do not mind a large phone look at the Samsung Note 2. Best phone I have ever had and it is super easy to see and hit the buttons for texting.

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@bigfrank: Believe me I considered it, but the galaxy S4 is newer and has a screen that is almost as large. If they had a phone with the same capabilities and screen size I would be all over it.

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I thought that most of the advances in the S4 were software-based. Will the eye tracking and gesture control be in the version without the "bloatware"?

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@scmtim: I don't think so, which is one of the reasons I'm conflicted. I figure given time a background running app will be developed to do the same thing, but who knows.