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Samsung Galaxy Nexus vs Samsung Galaxy S II

Posted: , by Ray S.

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Samsung Galaxy Nexus vs Samsung Galaxy S II
Introduction:

Let's face it – even after so many months on the market, it's safe to say that the Samsung Galaxy S II is still one of the hottest Android smartphones available. That said, we're now beginning to see that it's actually past its prime, considering some of its aspects like the WVGA screen, for example. On the other hand, the just launched Galaxy Nexus seems to be the perfect candidate to claim the title of being the most desired Android handset. Why? Well, the reasons are many – starting with the incredible HD Super AMOLED screen, and ending with the fantastic Ice Cream Sandwich software. With that in mind, it only makes sense for us to compare the two handsets here and now, and see if the Galaxy S II still has a chance to survive this fight, or rather, the new Nexus is here to smash all competition coming from the once glamorous S II.

Please note that in this comparison, we'll be looking at the international versions of the Galaxy Nexus and the Galaxy S II.


Design:

While both handsets are manufactured by Samsung, they have taken very different paths in terms of their appearance. On one hand we have the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, which is somewhat larger, compared to the S II, which is to be expected with its bigger screen. However, it's interesting to note that there's almost no difference in the width of the devices. The most important difference as far as dimensions go is in the height, as the Nexus is 0.4” higher (almost 1 cm). Finally, examining the thickness of these two phones is an interesting endeavor, as the Nexus is actually thinner in its upper part, and thicker in its lower part. Love it or hate it – such is the case with the Samsung design. Overall though, the Galaxy S II definitely feels like the more compact phone of the two.

Samsung Galaxy Nexus (left, bottom) and Samsung Galaxy S II (right, top) - Samsung Galaxy Nexus vs Samsung Galaxy S II
Samsung Galaxy Nexus (left, bottom) and Samsung Galaxy S II (right, top) - Samsung Galaxy Nexus vs Samsung Galaxy S II
Samsung Galaxy Nexus (left, bottom) and Samsung Galaxy S II (right, top) - Samsung Galaxy Nexus vs Samsung Galaxy S II

Samsung Galaxy Nexus (left, bottom) and Samsung Galaxy S II (right, top)


Sadly, neither the Galaxy Nexus, nor the Galaxy S II utilize any premium materials in their construction. Both are made from plastic, and have incredibly flimsy back covers. In our opinion, the Nexus has a slight edge here when it comes to build quality, but unfortunately, it's not able to separate itself much.

Right - The sides of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus (bottom) and Samsung Galaxy S II (top) - Samsung Galaxy Nexus vs Samsung Galaxy S II
Left - The sides of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus (bottom) and Samsung Galaxy S II (top) - Samsung Galaxy Nexus vs Samsung Galaxy S II
Top - The sides of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus (bottom) and Samsung Galaxy S II (top) - Samsung Galaxy Nexus vs Samsung Galaxy S II
Bottom - The sides of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus (bottom) and Samsung Galaxy S II (top) - Samsung Galaxy Nexus vs Samsung Galaxy S II

Right

Left

Top

Bottom

The sides of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus (bottom) and Samsung Galaxy S II (top)


The screen is one of the very strong points of the new Google phone, and it should come as no surprise that it's able to trump the Galaxy S II with ease in this respect. What makes the Nexus' display so good is its HD (720x1280 pixels) resolution, which allows it to have this spectacular 316 ppi pixel density, while the Galaxy S II simply can't compete with that, due to its significantly lower 218 ppi. In terms of color quality, both are using the Super AMOLED technology, which means you'll enjoy very jolly, saturated colors, as well as deep contrast levels. Of course, the Nexus' screen is a bit bigger at 4.65”, compared to the 4.3” panel of the S II. Currently, the benefit in this isn't very big, since most apps (like games, for example) aren't optimized to hide the on-screen navigational keys and use all of those 4.65 inches, but we guess that with time developers will take advantage of this.

The 316 ppi of the Galaxy Nexus compared to the 218 ppi of the Galaxy S II - Samsung Galaxy Nexus vs Samsung Galaxy S II
The 316 ppi of the Galaxy Nexus compared to the 218 ppi of the Galaxy S II - Samsung Galaxy Nexus vs Samsung Galaxy S II
Samsung Galaxy Nexus - The 316 ppi of the Galaxy Nexus compared to the 218 ppi of the Galaxy S II - Samsung Galaxy Nexus vs Samsung Galaxy S II
Samsung Galaxy S II - The 316 ppi of the Galaxy Nexus compared to the 218 ppi of the Galaxy S II - Samsung Galaxy Nexus vs Samsung Galaxy S II

Samsung Galaxy Nexus

Samsung Galaxy S II

The 316 ppi of the Galaxy Nexus compared to the 218 ppi of the Galaxy S II



Samsung Galaxy Nexus 360-degrees View:



Samsung Galaxy S II 360-degrees View:



83 Comments
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posted on 01 Dec 2011, 09:30 10

1. ledbetterp3 (Posts: 466; Member since: 31 Aug 2011)


Also, there is stock android vs. touchwiz, I definetely prefer stock.

posted on 01 Dec 2011, 09:32 5

3. networkdood (Posts: 6267; Member since: 31 Mar 2010)


TW has been improving - but, for a lot us, the UI is no big deal and not a deal breaker as it can be changed.

posted on 01 Dec 2011, 09:39 8

5. ledbetterp3 (Posts: 466; Member since: 31 Aug 2011)


But phones are rated based on the UI they come with, not everyone wants to root their phone, or knows what a launcher is. Anyways, that was another thing to throw in the battle, I know the UI itself is not going to win anything.

posted on 01 Dec 2011, 10:44 6

15. roldefol (Posts: 2859; Member since: 28 Jan 2011)


Amen. It's great that Cyanogen ports quickly to the Galaxy lines, but I'm never going to root my phone. TW may have improved functionally, but looking purely at the visuals, it's still too iOS-ish for my taste. So it was always down to Sense or stock ICS for me, because at least they have a unique look and feel.

posted on 01 Dec 2011, 15:55 2

57. wakingup (Posts: 51; Member since: 13 Aug 2011)


Totally agreed. Never gunna root ma phone. But contrary to you guys, I actually go long lengths for a good looking UI. And the ICS UI seems so good. But sadly, Im running 2.2.1 and cant afford an upgrade, so I just got to sit this one out...

posted on 01 Dec 2011, 11:33

21. sorcio46 (Posts: 395; Member since: 27 Jul 2011)


Me too, even if i have a SGS :)

posted on 25 Dec 2011, 01:25

80. moosa.mahsoom (Posts: 22; Member since: 19 Nov 2011)


galaxy s2 has support for more video and audio codecs. a strong plus for me. s2 has microsd card slot.(i will be swapping my friends cards many times). touchwiz has a lot of features. it has become better in the latest iteration. but, lacks eye candy. needs more transitions.

posted on 01 Dec 2011, 09:31 4

2. networkdood (Posts: 6267; Member since: 31 Mar 2010)


2 excellent phones!

posted on 01 Dec 2011, 09:36 5

4. hunted (Posts: 324; Member since: 21 Sep 2011)


i like the original SGS2 design than they designed for US

posted on 01 Dec 2011, 09:42 8

6. lex700 (Posts: 1; Member since: 01 Dec 2011)


Faster Processor???

Erm...Exynos vs TI OMAP 4460 both featuring two A9 cores clocked at 1.2ghz

The main difference is the GPU which is the Mali-400mp for the Exynos and the SGX540 for the OMAP (and as I have been led to believe the Mali has the upper hand here)

So how do you come to the faster processor conclusion for the G Nexus then?

From reading this article it seems that apart from the screen (which still uses the horrible old pentile matrix) the only advantage the G Nexus holds is the software, which the GS2 will end up getting anyway.

posted on 01 Dec 2011, 10:31 3

13. kshell1 (Posts: 1143; Member since: 05 Oct 2011)


the exynos is better if you OC it ;) also the only reason the G nexus is faster is because of ics has hardware acceleration. i oc'd my gs2 and got 7500 on antutu benchmark and completely crushed the nexus

posted on 01 Dec 2011, 11:46 6

23. ph00ny (Posts: 597; Member since: 26 May 2011)


Since i own both Galaxy SII and Galaxy Note, I'm going to have to disagree with you on the pentile issue. Note's screen is much sharper than the SII. It's a non-issue blown out of proportion due to the first SGS experience.

I don't know how PA got the idea that ti OMAP 4460 is quicker when TI OMAP 4430 isn't quicker than exynos

posted on 01 Dec 2011, 11:53

25. kshell1 (Posts: 1143; Member since: 05 Oct 2011)


the exynos shall be the master of dual-core until the next exynos quad-core releases :) saving up $ for the summer/fall of 2012 when the monster known as the sgs3 releases ;D

posted on 08 Dec 2011, 16:10

79. RamyAbdelbadea (Posts: 17; Member since: 07 Nov 2011)


so you own galaxy SII and Galaxy Note .. can you tell us the better screen ??
in images , videos , web , ... etc

posted on 01 Dec 2011, 12:09 1

32. HTCiscool (Posts: 449; Member since: 16 Jul 2011)


In terms of I/O, the 4460 is definitely faster than the Exynos, but the Mali-400 crushes the SGX540 here.

posted on 01 Dec 2011, 13:00 4

39. bucky (Posts: 1384; Member since: 30 Sep 2009)


thats absolutely ridiculous to say dude. The Exynos absolutely creams it in every test.

posted on 01 Dec 2011, 14:15 3

51. kidtronic (Posts: 13; Member since: 29 Nov 2011)


The tests (benchmarks) that aren't even remotely optimized for the ICS software? I'd expect so. I think performance is a better test of speed, wouldn't you agree?

posted on 01 Dec 2011, 14:33 1

52. bucky (Posts: 1384; Member since: 30 Sep 2009)


The lag I have been seeing on the nexus tells me enough, youre right.

posted on 01 Dec 2011, 16:11

59. Dark4o90 (Posts: 205; Member since: 20 Feb 2011)


soo what do you mean?? Both have cortex a9 1.2ghz the difference is in the GPU of the SoC and if Mali is quicker then Exynos is the best

posted on 01 Dec 2011, 17:00 2

61. Ray.S (Posts: 256; Member since: 19 Jul 2011)


Thanks for your comments, guys, we removed the part about the "faster processor" of the Nexus.

posted on 01 Dec 2011, 21:45 1

66. ledbetterp3 (Posts: 466; Member since: 31 Aug 2011)


It's because the TI OMAP was optimized for ICS resulting in a smooth experience with the galaxy nexus, not exactly a faster processor, but possibly works better with the nexus than the exynos does with the gsII.Idk though, because I don't own the nexus, but that's probably what they mean. And as for with the pentile matrix, I think I still prefer the nexus screen, I think it's sharper and still has AMOLED colors.

posted on 01 Dec 2011, 09:45 7

7. anirudhshirsat97 (Posts: 386; Member since: 24 May 2011)


If s2 had a hd samoled screen it would have blown the nexus away in jiff...

posted on 01 Dec 2011, 10:04

9. seylan (Posts: 20; Member since: 01 Dec 2011)


Not really, only by the camera...

posted on 01 Dec 2011, 10:05 3

10. McLTE (Posts: 688; Member since: 18 Oct 2011)


And if it had LTE.. and... and..

But the SGS2 doesn't.

posted on 01 Dec 2011, 10:11 3

11. bucky (Posts: 1384; Member since: 30 Sep 2009)


Sgs2-camera, sd slot, processor, gpu, ffc, no pentile, massive dev support, gpu accelorated browser, cheaper

Nexus-720p screen(in 4.65" and pentile), first to update...thats it.

How is the nexus a better phone?

posted on 01 Dec 2011, 15:25 1

56. kidtronic (Posts: 13; Member since: 29 Nov 2011)


Pentile is only bad when it's noticeable. And at such a high resolution, it really isn't. The screen is much better on the Galaxy Nexus, given the sharpness and clarity. If you don't think the Nexus will have massive dev support, you're sorely mistaken (it's a developer device). The processor may be better on the Sgs2 but the performance really isn't, if for no other reason because the version of Android that it runs was built upon and optimized for it, so that's a moot point. The Nexus browser outperforms the Sgs2 browser. There's no cartoonish touchwiz on the Nexus, which is a huge plus for many. It wil get updates directly from Google, as opposed to waiting for carriers to push it out which has been an issue in the past (at least in the U.S.). The Galaxy Nexus also takes the edge (slightly) in build quality, sporting a (slightly) more premium feel and metal internals for enhanced durability.

Obviously, as with any phone, it comes down to what you value more. But the Galaxy Nexus is an overall better phone. It may not be a compelling enough option for some to upgrade from the less-than-a-year-old Sgs2 but that's understandable. If I bought a phone less than a year ago, there's no way I would be rushing out to buy a new phone unless it crushed it in every conceivable way. The Galaxy S 3 will probably be a huge upgrade from the S2, and incremental update from the Galaxy Nexus.

posted on 01 Dec 2011, 15:55 2

58. bucky (Posts: 1384; Member since: 30 Sep 2009)


you can type out a 15 page response but the simple fact is the sgs2 is better, period. build is the same if anything, less quality on the galaxy nexus. Processor is slower and its shows in micro stuttering on home screen and browser, gpu is slower and it will show with more advance games (same gpu as the Nexus S lol), screen may be 720p but it doesnt look better than the SGS2 because of pentile, dev support will probably be great IF its released on more than Verizon etc etc.

I have had this phone in my hand and let me tell you, as much as I wanted to buy it, it just wasnt better.

posted on 01 Dec 2011, 11:46 1

24. ph00ny (Posts: 597; Member since: 26 May 2011)


I thought they announced the SGSII HD LTE in korea like month ago

posted on 01 Dec 2011, 11:54 1

26. kshell1 (Posts: 1143; Member since: 05 Oct 2011)


they did but the sgs2 hd LTE uses a snapdragon over the exynos due to LTE incompatibility with the exynos. snapdragon sucks compared to exynos

posted on 01 Dec 2011, 10:03 2

8. bloodline (Posts: 691; Member since: 01 Dec 2011)


I have a galaxy s2 and a nexus and I have decided to keep the nexus purley because of ICS.

You forgot about memory, expandable memory for the s2 is a big plus in my opinion.

other than that i do think the nexus is a better and agree the s2 camera is much better

posted on 01 Dec 2011, 10:15 1

12. ZEUS.the.thunder.god (unregistered)


good review

posted on 01 Dec 2011, 10:40 2

14. imkyle (Posts: 982; Member since: 18 Nov 2010)


Galaxy S II has the Exynos processor which outshines TI OMAP's 1.2 dual core processor. Screen resolution doesn't mean anything unless you have a quick and stable processor :)

posted on 01 Dec 2011, 12:20 2

35. HTCiscool (Posts: 449; Member since: 16 Jul 2011)


The CPU doesn't, the GPU does

posted on 01 Dec 2011, 12:54 2

38. bucky (Posts: 1384; Member since: 30 Sep 2009)


no, the cpu is much better in the sgs2

posted on 01 Dec 2011, 13:01 2

40. kshell1 (Posts: 1143; Member since: 05 Oct 2011)


yes,yes it is bucky :D the sgs2 is a monster compared to all others

posted on 01 Dec 2011, 13:45 3

45. sgogeta4 (Posts: 392; Member since: 02 Feb 2011)


Except in real life situations, you won't notice a difference.

posted on 01 Dec 2011, 13:50 5

47. remixfa (Posts: 13903; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


i love when people say that. except you can tell a difference. what real life? the real life where exynos runs buttery smooth.. or real life when your playing a game and exynos runs 20fps higher? which one wont you notice the difference in? :)

posted on 01 Dec 2011, 11:01 4

16. remyrz (Posts: 188; Member since: 28 Oct 2010)


:) im so happy with my international gs2.. and waiting for ICS.. with that ill match up or blow the nexus.. im sure of it :).. as said by many users up there

posted on 01 Dec 2011, 11:57

29. kshell1 (Posts: 1143; Member since: 05 Oct 2011)


if you want ICS early root your phone and flash cwm recovery. im currently waiting on either a miui ics rom or cyanogen or however you spell it

posted on 01 Dec 2011, 11:06

17. terabyteRouser (Posts: 416; Member since: 18 Oct 2011)


Why aren\'t there any comparison benchmarks?

posted on 01 Dec 2011, 11:56

28. bucky (Posts: 1384; Member since: 30 Sep 2009)


Nexus gets creamed in those.

posted on 01 Dec 2011, 11:58

30. kshell1 (Posts: 1143; Member since: 05 Oct 2011)


thats exactly why they didnt post any. i OC'd my sgs2 and it got around 7500 on antutu and 4500 on quadrant

posted on 01 Dec 2011, 13:04 1

41. Ray.S (Posts: 256; Member since: 19 Jul 2011)


Most benchmark applications aren't optimized for ICS yet, so it would be unfair to compare the handsets based on benchmark results right now. We can post results, but they won't represent the actual performance of the Nexus, potentially giving the wrong impression to readers that the phone is slow. This is something we don't want to do.

posted on 01 Dec 2011, 13:23 2

44. bucky (Posts: 1384; Member since: 30 Sep 2009)


i get what u r saying but anandtech gave a pretty good idea optimized or not. and even when they are, i can still see people complaining about the pixels blah blah blah! Not saying u r but the exynos is a better cpu.

posted on 01 Dec 2011, 11:07 4

18. remixfa (Posts: 13903; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


basically everthing the SGS2 got dinged for was Gingerbread related, other than the screen. The screen isnt that big of a deal, they are both top of the line screens and its already been proven you can take the SGS2's screen and make it 720p.

When they are both on ICS, it wont even be a contest. They just compared a dual core optimized phone against a non dual core optimized phone and it barely squeaked ahead. When the Exynos gets DCO, its going to blow the nexus away and have the bigger camera to boot.

Either or, you dont lose.. its ferrari vs lamborghini..

posted on 01 Dec 2011, 12:20

34. HTCiscool (Posts: 449; Member since: 16 Jul 2011)


Thats fighting talk Remix, but I do agree, the Nexus pricing needs to settle down and its camera looks average on paper, but how do you make an SGSll's screen 720p?

posted on 01 Dec 2011, 13:52 1

48. remixfa (Posts: 13903; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


there is actually an app that does it. Youtube it. the screen is capable of the higher resolution, its just not set to it for some odd reason.
The exynos is the strongest dual core chip on the market. So all thing being even with the OS, the exynos will always outshine the omap. 100% of the reason the nexus outshines gingerbread is because ICS is that much better. I cant wait for official ICS upgrades. :)

posted on 01 Dec 2011, 17:45

63. vette21man (Posts: 351; Member since: 06 Apr 2011)


Um, no. You can't cheat physics. There may be an app that SCALES a 720p picture onto the SGSII's WVGA (480x800) display, but it does not physically have 720x1280 pixels. So icons and text will probably look a little smaller, but the picture will NOT look as clear as the Nexus.....guaranteed.

That's like saying I can display a 1080p Blu-Ray on my 720p display. It doesn't make my display 1080p, it's still 720p; the picture is just scaled to fit my 720p display.

That's like taking a picture of a polaroid photo with a DSLR. You're only as clear as your source.

posted on 01 Dec 2011, 20:43 1

65. remixfa (Posts: 13903; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


yo, im just going by what the app said it did. They said it was real 720p. i didnt count individual pixels myself so im just referencing. :)


the SGS2 uses an RGB matrix, not pentile which by definition has a higher pixel density. The nexus's screen isnt that much bigger than the hercules/skyrocket (4.65 vs 4.5). Just because the resolution is only set to 800x600, doesnt mean its not actually capable of higher and is just set low for performance. Thats like saying just because your monitor comes presetup on 1280x1024 that its not capable of 1600x1050

posted on 02 Dec 2011, 11:03 2

70. vette21man (Posts: 351; Member since: 06 Apr 2011)


I realize we're getting off topic, but I wouldn't even say that RGB has a HIGHER pixel density than pentile.........I would say the opposite: pentile has a lower pixel density (~1/3 less).

Displays have had a RGB subpixel arrangement since color CRTs came out. It's only until recent that these pentile displays have come to market.

If a RGB display says its pixel density is 250ppi, then its 250ppi. If a pentile display says its pixel density is 250ppi.....compared to a 250ppi RGB display, it will appear much less crisp (~1/3 less sharp).

If anything, the app's maker is hallucinating. Can you name one advantage of setting your 1280x1024 monitor to 1600x1050? Everything would appear smaller and less crisp. There’s no advantage for video or photos either, as they are already dithered to reduce jagginess in pixels. This is why most graphics drivers are smart and by default limit you to the native resolution as the MAX resolution. Sure you can set it to a smaller 1024x768, but that is more for accessibility (making icons, text, etc larger).

posted on 01 Dec 2011, 11:07 2

19. jackhammeR (Posts: 1548; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)


I must admit. I don't like android but pure android looks so much better than touch wiz (candy iphone like layout).

posted on 01 Dec 2011, 11:22 2

20. TBrown123 (Posts: 6; Member since: 29 Nov 2011)


Sure the GS2 will be better once it gets ICS but I want ICS as soon as I can get it so Im going with the Nexus. I wont even notice the processor difference and I\'d rather take quicker photos with almost equal quality.

posted on 01 Dec 2011, 11:42

22. remyrz (Posts: 188; Member since: 28 Oct 2010)


i love my gs2... but you got that right

posted on 01 Dec 2011, 11:56 1

27. blackrose (Posts: 48; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)


GN wins because it has stock android imo

posted on 01 Dec 2011, 12:03

31. thepeartree (Posts: 3; Member since: 13 Nov 2011)


So... Since the author doesn't even MENTION the S II Skyrocket, we have to assume that he is either woefully unconnected to real news sources or has some kind of grudge against the Galaxy S line.

posted on 01 Dec 2011, 13:48 2

46. Ray.S (Posts: 256; Member since: 19 Jul 2011)


Please note that in the beginning of the article I've pointed out that I'll be comparing the international models of the handsets, not the Nexus vs the entire Galaxy S line. Plus, I have mentioned the Galaxy S II Skyrocket in the Internet section anyway.

posted on 01 Dec 2011, 13:53 5

50. remixfa (Posts: 13903; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


is this yet another fake attack/troll account? because you cant be serious

the skyrocket and hercules are not true SGS2 handsets. They use an over clocked and still underperforming crapdragon s3 chipset, not the exynos chipset.

posted on 01 Dec 2011, 15:05 5

55. taz89 (Posts: 2014; Member since: 03 May 2011)


agree if the phone does not have exynos then it is not a ''real'' gs2 device...the ones with the snapdragon processor gives the s2 a bad name.

posted on 01 Dec 2011, 12:17 3

33. HTCiscool (Posts: 449; Member since: 16 Jul 2011)


Ok Ok Ok... I shall settle this argument

Screen: They are both amazing, no winner here.

Design: Nexus, amazing sexy curved design!

Software: Can't people be patient enough to wait for Samsung to make the ICS, calm down.

Chippery: The Mali-400 completely destroys whatever is in the Nexus, but the 4460 is slightly ahead of the Exynos SoC in plain I/O

Personally, I'd pick the Nexus, because of its nicer design, latest OS and I really couldn't care less about the GPU since ICS has hardware acceleration!

Alternatives to both:

Motorola RAZR
Samsung Galaxy note
iPhone 4S (I'm just trying to be unbiased)

posted on 01 Dec 2011, 12:41 2

36. Tre-Nitty (Posts: 460; Member since: 16 Nov 2010)


Way to go pa. You started a war between android users. Its simple, if you want a stock android feel, go nexus, if you don't care and wanna save money, go sgs2.

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