January 5 2010|01.19 PM UTC

Tony Adam

Nexus One vs iPhone, Droid, and Palm Pre: Total Cost of Ownership

Category: WirelessTags: , , , , , , ,


Today is Nexus One launch day and we decided in typical BillShrink fashion, we would take a look at the overall total cost of ownership of the Nexus One vs iPhone along with the Droid and Palm Pre. This is the first time that any phone has been available for purchase unlocked and available for purchase at a discounted rate with a T-Mobile contract.

Find the best cell phone plan for your Google Nexus One

Find the best cell phone plan for your Apple iPhone 4

As the smartphone wars continue to heat up the Nexus One is entering a marketplace that is currently dominated by the iPhone 3GS along with the gaining popularity of Motorola Droid.

So, here is what you’ve been waiting for, our total cost of ownerships comparison of the Nexus One up against the rest!

Editor’s note: Nexus One price is currently $179 with contract or $529 unlocked, with the choice of a T-Mobile or AT&T optimized version. The price comparison graphics below have now been updated.

(click image to enlarge)

Nexus One vs iPhone

Use BillShrink to find and Compare Cell Phone Plans that fit your needs!

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Check out previous graphics comparing:
Droid vs. iPhone vs. Palm Pre vs. MyTouch 3G
Android G1 vs. iPhone 3GS vs. Palm Pre

Editor’s Note: We’re continually updating this graphic to make it as accurate as possible. We welcome comments and clarification, particularly in regards to plan pricing and features (e.g. whether or not data plans are really unlimited or just claims to be unlimited). In our ongoing total cost of smartphone ownership posts, we’ll continue to include minimum and unlimited pricing plans so you can have an even better understanding of the price difference between carriers and smartphones.

Lastly, we do know that there’s a 32 GB version of the iPhone, the 16 GB version was chosen as its more comparable in retail price point to the other smartphones.

Thanks for all the feedback!

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{ 184 comments… read them below or add one }

Thomas Rye January 20, 2010 at 12:56 pm

I modified the list and added the HTC Hero

http://www.thomasrye.com/2010/01/iphone-gphone-nexus-one-hero-android-palm-pre/

In case anyone wanted to see a more comprehensive chart like I was looking for.

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Willie Lewis January 20, 2010 at 1:51 pm

1. The Pre is 10 times a better phone than the HTC Hero. It is the feature Sprint phone.

2. WebOS is a better user interface then the ancient IPhoneOS. ( Iphone users keep ur fingers crossed for TRUE multitasking on the IphoneOS 4.0 update.) lol

3. Anyone else tired of the flood of andriodOS phones that are as poorly made as WinMo phones?

the best phone for your buy and period: Palm Pre or the Plus but when WebOS 1.4 is released in feb will it matter which carrier you purchase the phone? NO. Great phone.

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White Lotus January 21, 2010 at 9:29 am

Anyone who criticizes T-Mobile for spotty coverage needs to understand that there’s a host of factors that go into your ability to get a clear signal. Sadly enough, not all phones are created equal. You might get spotty reception and it might not even be T-Mobile, it could a cheap phone, but many people do not understand this and think that it’s T-Mobile’s fault and rip them.

Also, just because YOU can’t get good reception on T-Mobile, that doesn’t mean that 90% of everyone else can get good reception. It’s not our fault you live out in the boonies, or live behind that hill that gets blocked off from the local cell tower, or live inside a bunker with thick walls.

You gotta do your homework and look at reviews of how T-Mobile performs in your local area. For me, T-Mobile is ok, I get pretty good reception, it works, and it’s good enough for me.

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T-Mobile Customer August 5, 2010 at 1:19 pm

@White Lotus
You must be one of those T-Mobile customer/tech support to be posting “It’s not our fault you live out in the boonies”. I live in Los Angeles and still could not get decent reception on T-Mobile when I’m inside a building. Everytime I called T-Mobile, I get those 7-Eleven employee with thick Indian accent that make me want to jump through the phone and choke the living $hit out of them. Fix the damm problem and stop making excuses!!!!

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John Davis January 22, 2010 at 2:15 pm

Interesting analysis, but I suspect many Nexus One owners have service plans with T-Mobile from those days when real deals were available. My plan is 1,500 minutes, unlimited data and 400 text messages per month for $64.98. So, your mileage may vary.

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john January 26, 2010 at 10:30 pm

Its unbelievable to me that we (americans) find that $2500.00 for a phone plan is acceptable. I know that I am cheap, but I also don’t spend a lot of time on my phone. I would like the WIFI features on this N1 phone because they will also be free on whatever wifi I can find at home or abroad. But I buy minutes on my current TM phone. I figure that over the past several years I spend on average about $150.00 on minutes per year and the price of a phone every now and again. No, I dont talk on it constantly or text either, but it does its job. And even if I used it twice or three times as much I am no where near other folks plan prices.

Yes, I want the phone, and will buy it when the price comes down a bit, then I will slide my sim card into it and use it.

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TJC January 28, 2010 at 1:53 pm

I have had my Palm pre since it came out and No ERRORs Ever! All updates are on it and i am viewing 1269 apps at the moment. I can use my MP3, Text messaging, watch youtube and send pictures to my friends in Bangkok at the same time, and i do this everyday while still twittering Bob and Jillian. So your problems with the Palm Pre is somewere between the phone and behind the user (YOU if you don’t get the pun). But, everything deserves a chance and i get my Nexus one in 2 weeks, i hope it beats my Iphone (owning the iphone is getting Very Expensive, be easier if i carry a mini laptop).

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SoulezzThoughtz January 29, 2010 at 3:51 pm

It does not ONLY work for T-Mobile… they are the ones giving the discount. It works for Verizon as well as AT&T but if on AT&T it’ll only work on EDGE! I’ll test it on Verizon

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wordfool January 31, 2010 at 10:10 pm

The US version of the iPhone 3G/3Gs is not available factory unlocked, so I’m not sure where you got that $599 price. I hunted and hunted and finally discovered that it’s simply not possible to buy the US model factory unlocked, period. The old 2G model was offered unlocked, but not the 3G (AFAIK… someone let me know if you can get a legit US model unlocked, not an import).

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Garry Masters February 2, 2010 at 4:31 am

Family Plan Totals tell a differnt story.

The least costly Everything plans show T-Mobile and Sprint as close- BUT details show Sprint as best- why…..
1) when going over 2 people on T-Mobile you have to add $30/mo PP AND add an Android/Blacberry/whatever data plan for another $25/mo- THATS $55/mo for lines 3-5 VS ONLY $20 at Sprint!
2) Sprint allows you to apply corporate or Affinity discounts (ok, so only some people can take advantage of these) wheras on T-Mobiles lower price plan compared- you cannot
3) When comparing the lower price T-Mobile plan you must buy your own phone undiscounted ($399-$529 for anything decent) wheras the Sprint plan includes discounted phones at only $99 to $199 for comparable smartphones.- GRANTED, the lower cost plan that requires undiscounted phones does not require a 2 yr contract- but who evaluates price for a term less than 2 yrs anyway? (like you are going to buy a Nexus One or any other T-Mobile only 3g band phone and move to AT&T next month where you could only get 2G with that phone- sure)

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xylenz February 2, 2010 at 6:50 pm

You dont have to have only one device! Get an iPod Touch and a slim dumb phone like the razr for text/voice. Best of both worlds. No data plan needed. I promise, there is room in your pocket for both.

Besides, the apple devices are the only ones that you can multi-track record quick ideas on. End of story for musicians.

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Xylenz February 3, 2010 at 5:38 pm

You cot the Verizon plan wrong. Look here (https://www.verizonwireless.com/b2c/splash/plansingleline.jsp?lid=//global//plans//individual). It says that the minimal plan for talk & text is $70. But that only covers talk and text. The palm phones REQUIRE a $30 data plan! Notice the fine print note “All 3G Smartphones require a data feature of $29.99 or higher, or a data plan.” That brings the minimum cost up to $100 for a TCO of $2550, the most expensive of the phones!

Always read the fine print.

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bitzur February 5, 2010 at 1:56 pm

Waiting for iPhone with Verizon or some one else than ATT.

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iandouglas February 8, 2010 at 10:58 pm

It’d be nice to update this for the new “all you can eat” plan prices that Verizon and AT&T have released in the last few weeks, plus mention the early termination fees for each carrier.

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Levi February 10, 2010 at 4:17 am

Verizon now has new unlimited plan prices. I’m looking at getting the Droid and the Talk and Text portion of the plan is 90 and the data plan is 30, bringing the total to 120 for the “Unlimited”. Also for the “Minimum” (450 mins, unlimited messaging) it’s 60 for talk and messaging and the same 30 for data brining the total to 90, not 99. That makes the TCOS to 2880 and 2160. And for AT&T, the plan prices are exactly the same as Verizon.

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swiz February 11, 2010 at 8:47 am

I’m curious how the Nexus One will hold up to abuse…I have had great luck with RIM phones, and very poor luck with Moto phones. I cannot get behind anything Palm…reminds me of the PDA days.

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Android Mom February 12, 2010 at 3:22 pm

I actually dropped my Nexus One several times the first week. Really, really hard on one of them. At first it seemed fine. Then the speaker seemed to have static. Then several weeks later the speaker stopped working. Determined it was a loose wire. The Nexus One case held up good though! I have a long history of dropping phones! I cracked the glass of my 1st Gen iPhone the 1st month I had it too. Go figure!

Here’s I video I made, 5 Reasons the Nexus One is Better Than the iPhone: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ekCvyKPYwiU

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Mathias February 18, 2010 at 10:05 am

Holy Fuck. I thought I was getting screwed, seeing the unlocked Nexus One at $529 in the US when it is around $1000 here in Denmark – but limited data plans here (in DK) are around 15-40 $/mo for 1-10 GB, so that’s $1500 cost of ownership over 24 months for me. Never mind the fact that carriers are limited by Danish law to 6 month contracts, and the total cost of ownership over 6 months must be displayed in every phone commercial.

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Patrick February 18, 2010 at 10:20 am

($20/mo x 24mo) + ($250 – 235) = $495!

That’s my 2-yr TCO for the “often-overlooked” yet amazing, HTC Touch Pro 2 on Sprint…

- The explanation -
First off the $20/mo is an employee disc rate including:

- 3000 min (M2M & 7pm N/W)
- Unlimited Text
- Unlimited 3G Data

*Note: We used to get a $20 app download credit every month which made the plan unbelievable, but Sprint discontinued that a few months back :(

Touch Pro 2 Cost: $250
Samsung S30 Cost: Free (2yr Upg)

Sold the S30 on the bay for $235 and bought a brand new Touch Pro 2 for $250. Never been happier :)

Now that’s shrinkin some bills! YMMV

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Frankie Fuchs February 19, 2010 at 8:51 am

Just checked ATT’s website, the iphone minimum plan is $79/month (with no texting plan). Also, the Nexus one voice and data is $79.99/month, but they also force you to buy a $10/month texting plan (no other options and you cannot remove it). So it’s $89.99/month. OUCH! If I could get 2 Nexus Ones for $120-130/month, I would, right now. Thought I would only need like 100 minutes per phone per month. Voice is minimally needed.

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Justin February 20, 2010 at 1:35 pm

You should put in the Palm Pre Plus since it was introduced….. it’s more suitable like you said with the iPhone.

16GB memory and 512MB RAM

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Omar February 22, 2010 at 10:02 am

Im not sure about all this but I have been thinking about getting a nexus…. Cant you just buy the phone at full price and if your on a family plan just pay another $10 for unlimited internet?

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Brandon March 3, 2010 at 5:54 am

The Palm Pre now has video capabilities with editing.

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Anonymous March 5, 2010 at 12:20 pm

When the Nexus One comes out for Verizon in the Spring then it will be worth it.

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hailey March 7, 2010 at 2:40 am

hey..how much would the N1 cost if you already have a one year contract with t-moblie?????

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Jason March 11, 2010 at 10:06 pm

So every service provider has its own little smart phone :)
I prefer the droid of them all(Yes i have used them all.)
They are all pretty great with nice features and easy control.
My least favorite would be the palm pre.
I like the droid cause of my great verizon service and all the free apps :)

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Rainman March 13, 2010 at 7:50 am

Please add the Samsung Code on MetroPCS to your infographic:

It’s the keyboard driven Samsung Code ih-220 Windows Mobile 6.1 smartphone on MetroPCS. If you’re in their mobile coverage area, you can save the most of all compared to these smartphones. The cost of the phone is $249 without a contract, with a $90 mail-in rebate as of this writing.
The cost of the unlimited data and voice smartphone plan is a flat $50 per month, including taxes and fees.

Phone: Samsung Code (MetroPCS)
Storage Capacity: 94MB (expandable to 32GB)
Battery Life: 6 Hours talk, 300 hours standby
Camera: 2.0 megapixel + video recording
Wifi: No
GPS: Yes (+ turn by turn navigation)
Formats: .wma, .wmv, .3g2, .mp3, .mp4
App Store: Windows Mobile Marketplace (or freely download and install apps outside of the marketplace)
Number of Apps: 20,000
Multitasking: YES
Price: $249 (no contract required)
Unlimited Usage Plans: $50 unlimited voice, messaging and data, includes taxes and fees
Minimum Usage Plans: N/A
Unlimited Plan Total Cost: $1,449 (+ tax for the phone only)
Minimum Plan Total Cost: N/A

The total cost of ownership for the Samsung Code, Win

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Sman March 16, 2010 at 1:22 pm

I have to quibble with the phrase “This is the first time that any phone has been available for purchase unlocked.” Specifically the word *any*. GSM phones (including “smart” ones) have been and are still available unlocked, it is quite common in other parts of the world, and such phones are available for sale in the United States through Dell for example: http://search.dell.com/results.aspx?s=dhs&c=us&l=en&cs=19&k=Unlocked&cat=all&x=0&y=0

Otherwise nice article and comparison, but the opening sentence of the article is a bit over reaching.

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Sman March 16, 2010 at 1:50 pm

I’m either confused by the minimum usage column or it is wrong: if you have an unlocked GSM phone (such as the Nexus One) you can put it on prepaid (or no plan) and your minimum monthly usage can go as low as $0 if you want.

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Just Redabouttit March 20, 2010 at 10:23 am

The Nexus One that is compatible with 3G of AT&T is now available. As a note, I would probably have a line item as to Flash-compatibility of the phones as this is really a cost-of-ownership issue as so much of the items available for free are using Flash http://googlenexusoneboard.blogspot.com/2010/03/nexus-one-now-compatible-with-at-3g.html

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Federico Sacerdoti April 8, 2010 at 2:13 pm

Just got the Palm Pre Plus from Verizon two weeks ago. Fantastic. First and foremost, the network is good; calls are clear and data comes fast. The webkit-based browser is excellent, and the merging of contacts to a single one on the phone (with elements from different sources) is fairly well done. Ditto the Calendar. The multitasking “cards” based interface is very good, seems so natural I would expect other phoneOSs to rip it off soon. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, etc etc.

It now has 16GB of storage (the chart should be updated) and 512MB RAM. The screen real estate is functionally larger than Droid or iPhone as there never is an on-screen keyboard to compete with the content.

Would like a sturdier screen, I’ve scratched mine already. Needs vCal support, and ability to add invitees to calendar events; hopefully they will add then in the next webos release.

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SavannahGalaxyS July 16, 2010 at 4:22 am

Just found this chart while looking to see if I was getting a good deal or not. You can get $49.99 unlimited calling with $20 unlimited data with no contract with T-Mobile if you’ve been with them a while. Most of their representatives don’t know about it. You have to talk to the “loyalty” department. That $69.99 is as cheap as any of the plans you have listed, limited or unlimited.

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Kristofer Hollon February 22, 2011 at 6:26 pm

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a1858694 November 4, 2011 at 8:59 pm

I’ve said that least 1858694 times. The problem this like that is they are just too compilcated for the average bird, if you know what I mean

Reply

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