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Samsung Galaxy Nexus vs Samsung Galaxy S II

Posted: , by Ray S.

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Right now, software is the most important differentiating factor for these two handsets. As you know, the Galaxy Nexus is running on the newest Android software – Ice Cream Sandwich – whereas the Galaxy S II is still loaded with Gingerbread. Now, Samsung has promised an official ICS update for the Galaxy S II, but of course, no exact date is given yet, and current expectations gravitate towards an early 2012 timing frame (which doesn't mean much either). For users who can't wait to experience the Ice Cream Sandwich goodness, however, the update for the Galaxy S II can't come soon enough.

Samsung 
Galaxy Nexus is running on Ice Cream Sandwich - Samsung Galaxy Nexus vs Samsung Galaxy S II
Samsung 
Galaxy Nexus is running on Ice Cream Sandwich - Samsung Galaxy Nexus vs Samsung Galaxy S II
Samsung 
Galaxy Nexus is running on Ice Cream Sandwich - Samsung Galaxy Nexus vs Samsung Galaxy S II
Samsung 
Galaxy Nexus is running on Ice Cream Sandwich - Samsung Galaxy Nexus vs Samsung Galaxy S II

Samsung Galaxy Nexus is running on Ice Cream Sandwich


The Samsung Galaxy S II is loaded with Gingerbread - Samsung Galaxy Nexus vs Samsung Galaxy S II
The Samsung Galaxy S II is loaded with Gingerbread - Samsung Galaxy Nexus vs Samsung Galaxy S II
The Samsung Galaxy S II is loaded with Gingerbread - Samsung Galaxy Nexus vs Samsung Galaxy S II
The Samsung Galaxy S II is loaded with Gingerbread - Samsung Galaxy Nexus vs Samsung Galaxy S II

The Samsung Galaxy S II is loaded with Gingerbread


This is pretty unfortunate for the S II, because there's a world of difference when you compare ICS and Gingerbread side by side. In terms of visual presentation, pretty much the whole OS has been redesigned in ICS, so that it looks much more appealing and eye-catchy. Of course, the S II is using Samsung's TouchWiz UI on top of Android, but that specific UI has never been much of a looker too, so the Galaxy Nexus easily takes the lead in this department. Not only does the Nexus' software look way better, it's also more streamlined and approachable, which is a big plus.


Messaging:

So, we made it clear that ICS on the Galaxy Nexus is more beautiful and better structured than Gingerbread on the Galaxy S II, but what about the actual functionality of these systems? Make no mistake, the Galaxy Nexus is better in this respect as well. For example, typing on its on-screen QWERTY keyboards is more convenient due to the screen's larger size, and the redesigned layout. The mail applications have also been updated with new features, while even the calendar app has been improved thanks to the addition of pinch-zooming in week view. Googe has touched every single app and menu in Android 4, and the result is a cleaner, and at the same time richer user experience.

The on-screen QWERTY keyboard of the Samsung 
Galaxy Nexus - Samsung Galaxy Nexus vs Samsung Galaxy S II
The on-screen QWERTY keyboard of the Samsung 
Galaxy Nexus - Samsung Galaxy Nexus vs Samsung Galaxy S II

The on-screen QWERTY keyboard of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus


The on-screen QWERTY keyboard of the Samsung 
Galaxy S II - Samsung Galaxy Nexus vs Samsung Galaxy S II
The on-screen QWERTY keyboard of the Samsung 
Galaxy S II - Samsung Galaxy Nexus vs Samsung Galaxy S II

The on-screen QWERTY keyboard of the Samsung Galaxy S II



Internet:

If you thought that the SGS II delivers an exceptional browsing experience, you should think again, as the browser in the Nexus is faster and smoother in every aspect of its operation. Here, however, we notice an area where the S II actually gains the upper hand – Flash. The same way the S II is to get ICS later, the Galaxy Nexus is currently deprived of the Flash Player plug-in, which is still heavily utilized by the web. Of course, this situation will change (hopefully soon), since Adobe will optimize Flash Player for ICS, but for now, there are places on the web, where only the Galaxy S II can go to.

The ICS web browser on the Samsung Galaxy Nexus - Samsung Galaxy Nexus vs Samsung Galaxy S II
The ICS web browser on the Samsung Galaxy Nexus - Samsung Galaxy Nexus vs Samsung Galaxy S II
The ICS web browser on the Samsung Galaxy Nexus - Samsung Galaxy Nexus vs Samsung Galaxy S II
The ICS web browser on the Samsung Galaxy Nexus - Samsung Galaxy Nexus vs Samsung Galaxy S II

The ICS web browser on the Samsung Galaxy Nexus


Surfing the web with the Samsung Galaxy S II - Samsung Galaxy Nexus vs Samsung Galaxy S II
Surfing the web with the Samsung Galaxy S II - Samsung Galaxy Nexus vs Samsung Galaxy S II
Surfing the web with the Samsung Galaxy S II - Samsung Galaxy Nexus vs Samsung Galaxy S II
Surfing the web with the Samsung Galaxy S II - Samsung Galaxy Nexus vs Samsung Galaxy S II

Surfing the web with the Samsung Galaxy S II


When it comes to radio connectivity, both are pretty equal, due to their HSPA+ radios with go as high as 21.1 Mbit/s on the downlink and 14.4 Mbit/s on the uplink for the Nexus, and 5.76 for the S II. However, when the Galaxy Nexus hits Verizon, it will do so sporting a speedy LTE radio inside. On the other hand, the Galaxy S II Skyrocket on AT&T has LTE right now, but of course, the carrier's 4G network is still in its infancy.


Camera:

The 5MP camera is considered to be among the Nexus' few weaknesses. In our testing, side by side with the 8MP one of the S II, we actually found that both handsets have almost equal potential to take great photos outdoors.

Color reproduction is an interesting aspect of these snappers, because we actually can't say which handset handles it better. In some images, the Galaxy Nexus manages to produce the more natural looking colors, while in others, it's the Galaxy S II which steps up and takes the lead with better overall color presentation, but the difference usually isn't significant.

Samsung 
Galaxy Nexus - Samsung Galaxy S IIOutdoor samples - Samsung Galaxy Nexus vs Samsung Galaxy S II
Samsung 
Galaxy Nexus - Samsung Galaxy S IIOutdoor samples - Samsung Galaxy Nexus vs Samsung Galaxy S II
Samsung 
Galaxy Nexus - Samsung Galaxy S IIOutdoor samples - Samsung Galaxy Nexus vs Samsung Galaxy S II
Samsung 
Galaxy Nexus - Samsung Galaxy S IIOutdoor samples - Samsung Galaxy Nexus vs Samsung Galaxy S II

Samsung Galaxy Nexus

Samsung Galaxy S II - Samsung Galaxy S IIOutdoor samples - Samsung Galaxy Nexus vs Samsung Galaxy S II
Samsung Galaxy S II - Samsung Galaxy S IIOutdoor samples - Samsung Galaxy Nexus vs Samsung Galaxy S II
Samsung Galaxy S II - Samsung Galaxy S IIOutdoor samples - Samsung Galaxy Nexus vs Samsung Galaxy S II
Samsung Galaxy S II - Samsung Galaxy S IIOutdoor samples - Samsung Galaxy Nexus vs Samsung Galaxy S II

Samsung Galaxy S II

Samsung 
Galaxy Nexus - Samsung Galaxy S IIOutdoor samples - Samsung Galaxy Nexus vs Samsung Galaxy S II
Samsung 
Galaxy Nexus - Samsung Galaxy S IIOutdoor samples - Samsung Galaxy Nexus vs Samsung Galaxy S II
Samsung 
Galaxy Nexus - Samsung Galaxy S IIOutdoor samples - Samsung Galaxy Nexus vs Samsung Galaxy S II

Samsung Galaxy Nexus

Samsung Galaxy S IIOutdoor samples - Samsung Galaxy Nexus vs Samsung Galaxy S II
Samsung Galaxy S IIOutdoor samples - Samsung Galaxy Nexus vs Samsung Galaxy S II
Samsung Galaxy S IIOutdoor samples - Samsung Galaxy Nexus vs Samsung Galaxy S II

Samsung Galaxy S II
Outdoor samples


When it comes to details, it turns out the handsets perform identically – neither is able to capture more than the other. Exposure is handled almost equally good on both, but here we can safely say that the Nexus wins by a small margin.

As a whole, indoor photo quality is better with the Galaxy S II. It manages to capture more detail, and less noise. In lower-lit conditions, the images coming from the Nexus' sensor are somewhat terrifying, due to nasty color alterations and very weak LED flash. On the other hand, the LED of the Galaxy S II shows its superiority by skillfully illuminating the scene.

Strong - Samsung 
Galaxy Nexus - Samsung Galaxy S II
Indoor samples - Samsung Galaxy Nexus vs Samsung Galaxy S II
Medium - Samsung 
Galaxy Nexus - Samsung Galaxy S II
Indoor samples - Samsung Galaxy Nexus vs Samsung Galaxy S II
Low light - Samsung 
Galaxy Nexus - Samsung Galaxy S II
Indoor samples - Samsung Galaxy Nexus vs Samsung Galaxy S II
Darkness - Samsung 
Galaxy Nexus - Samsung Galaxy S II
Indoor samples - Samsung Galaxy Nexus vs Samsung Galaxy S II

Strong

Medium

Low light

Darkness

Samsung Galaxy Nexus

Samsung Galaxy S II
Indoor samples - Samsung Galaxy Nexus vs Samsung Galaxy S II
Samsung Galaxy S II
Indoor samples - Samsung Galaxy Nexus vs Samsung Galaxy S II
Samsung Galaxy S II
Indoor samples - Samsung Galaxy Nexus vs Samsung Galaxy S II
Samsung Galaxy S II
Indoor samples - Samsung Galaxy Nexus vs Samsung Galaxy S II

Samsung Galaxy S II
Indoor samples


Both devices record 1080p video, but we've already said in our Galaxy Nexus review that the handset is incapable of producing decent footage. It just lacks any fine detail and appears very jerky. On top of this, it doesn't live up to today's standards of being perfectly smooth. Performing noticeably better, the Galaxy S II shows that it's still one very competent camcorder, with much clearer details and more stable image overall.

Samsung Galaxy Nexus Sample Video:



Samsung Galaxy S II Sample Video:



Samsung Galaxy Nexus Indoor Sample Video:



Samsung Galaxy S II Indoor Sample Video:





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

1. ledbetterp3 (Posts: 467; 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: 6330; 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: 467; 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: 4362; 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: 435; 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: 6330; Member since: 31 Mar 2010)


2 excellent phones!

posted on 01 Dec 2011, 09:36 5

4. hunted (Posts: 403; 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: 8; 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: 1438; 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: 3075; 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: 3075; 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: 380; 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: 467; 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: 408; 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: 922; 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: 3075; 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: 3075; 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: 1438; 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: 706; 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

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