LG Spectrum vs Samsung Galaxy Nexus

Being the new kid on the block, the LG Spectrum has a lot to prove if it stands any chance in trying to stay afloat amidst a sea crowded top-notch 4G LTE smartphones from Verizon.  Without hesitation, we’re pitting it against the most memorable smartphone of them all in recent memory, the Samsung Galaxy Nexus for Verizon, for the simple reason that it’s seemingly at the top of the list amongst all Android smartphones. Of course, they both come to the table packing some serious firepower under the hood to blow most devices out of the water, yet, there can only be a single device to rise from the ashes once the dust has settled.


Mainly due to its overall clean appearance, better build quality, and surprisingly smaller footprint, the Samsung Galaxy Nexus is by far the preferred choice when we look at their designs. Moreover, its plastic exterior seems substantially tougher than the frail feeling plastic shell of the LG Spectrum – plus, its textured hyper-skin backing provides for a much better feel and grip in the hand. In contrast, the glossy back plastic casing of the LG Spectrum is notorious for attracting nasty fingerprints, and it’s even more prone to scratching. Overall, the curvier Samsung Galaxy Nexus essentially outshines the boring design approach of the LG Spectrum.

Sporting 1.3-megapixel front cameras, they’re there for all our video chatting needs and inexplicable self-portrait shots, but it’s the Galaxy Nexus that relies on it for its face unlock feature.

Even though we’re able to easily feel them out on both smartphones, the volume rocker and dedicated power button on the Galaxy Nexus has the more prominent feel and response. Meanwhile, their microUSB ports also allow us to gain video-out functionality with the aid of an optional MHL adapter.

Turning our attention around their backsides, the Spectrum packs a higher count 8-megapixel auto-focus camera with LED flash, while the Galaxy Nexus sizes up with a 5-megapixel snapper with flash too.


So what’s nice about these two devices is that they both feature snazzy looking 720p displays. With the LG Spectrum, it’s a 4.5” True HD IPS TFT display that packs the higher pixel density of 329 ppi, whereas the Galaxy Nexus features a larger 4.65” Super AMOLED display with a pixel density of 316 ppi. Obviously, we can argue which of the two has the superior detail, but honestly, it doesn’t matter much because it’s nearly impossible to tell distinctively from a good distance away. However, when it comes to color production, the Spectrum boasts the more realistic looking colors, as opposed to the overly saturated,  but eye-catching  tones of the Galaxy Nexus. Overall, it’s a hard call because they’re both gorgeous in their own way.

LG Spectrum 360-degrees View:

Samsung GALAXY Nexus 360-degrees View:



1. u-suck-more

Posts: 529; Member since: Aug 26, 2011

the interface of the Spectrum is clunky and clustered? i dont think so. it must be because of tt ridiculously ugly wallpaper u used. it made the home screens look so bleh! change the wallpaper! Optimus UI 2.0 doesnt look clustered nor clunky

20. JunitoNH

Posts: 1946; Member since: Feb 15, 2012

Amen, I don't know what game you guys are playing, but the GN is defenitvely not the best of the bunch, even with the ICS. In short, I bought the GN and took that clunky pos back, now very happy with my purchase of the LGS.

2. droidnator

Posts: 93; Member since: Mar 10, 2011

Optimus UI 2.0 is actually quite beautiful and functional. I too disagree, you cannot call it clunky or clustered! Also I must say I disagree with the conclusion. Displaying a little bias, are we PA? I mean, the Nexus a clear winner? Despite both phones being on par so many times, and the Spectrum winning in some areas? I know you are doing what's expected of you and you are "courting" Google/Samsung/the flagship ICS device, but come on now, come clear. Yes both devices have strong and weak points, and yes, it is a matter of personal preference, but I would not be too hasty to announce a clear winner here! You said it yourselves - "Calling quality absolutely goes to the LG Spectrum", and a phone, regardless of being smart, should be a phone in the first place! And $100 cheaper, soon to get ICS... Personally I don't see ICS as such a huge advantage - Froyo interface is prettier to me, and more importantly - ICS doesn't have full backwards compatibility with apps yet! So how come it is such a big deal? Great review, but flawed conclusion!

3. Jericho unregistered

Biased review. You know lg is gonna get ice cream sandwich. I know commenters are gonna disagree because lg optimus black got its updated in end 2011. But the same was with xperia x10. But now sony updates it on time. And by the way i see lg as the winner i love optimus UI and its gonna get ics and it has a better camera better fps better better calling quality. And you say samsung wins the apple of android. Thats why i always read gsmarena reviews they have more in depth details and test charts. See what i did i recommended gsmarena over phonearena just like you recommended galaxy nexus over lg spectrum. Lg can lose thier sales. And samsung can gain sales. Stop advertising.

4. kshell1

Posts: 1143; Member since: Oct 05, 2011

personally i say ips wins over super amo. all because the ips is brighter&crisper my brothers marquee (black) has a wvga ips 4" and looks 5 times better than my evo designs 4" super lcd qHD and better than my sgs2 4.5" display superamo+

5. bucky

Posts: 3794; Member since: Sep 30, 2009

Am I the only one that thinks the galaxy nexus is very overhyped? Homescreen swiping lag, gallery lag, terrible camera, terrible video recording, reception, call quality and battery life!!! How is that a good phone again??

9. rayman173

Posts: 61; Member since: Nov 21, 2011

only b/c of ICS and its not even that great

6. Guest_star

Posts: 231; Member since: Dec 30, 2011

Wow, is samsung paying you guys to glorify their devices??? I really think that LG is great and it will continue to grow to more serious mobile device maker(talking about software) as far as screens go I'd go with IPS over SuperAMOLED any day of the month...ops I already did :)

7. theo14461 unregistered

With or without ICS, the LG would be my choice. After owning the Nexus since launch, I have to say, it's not that great. Laggy keyboard, and buttons, horrifyingly pixilated contact photos, during voice calls, out of focus pictures, doesn't get my vote as a flagship device, sorry.

8. downphoenix

Posts: 3165; Member since: Jun 19, 2010

this read like a paid advertisement for the Galaxy Nexus. I would say the Spectrum woudl be the better purchase, as its $100 cheaper, better call quality and signal, camera samples seem to look better IMO, and ICS can be added later, bad call quality rarely can be fixed with software updates.

19. firelightx

Posts: 71; Member since: Oct 13, 2011

Heck, I would buy the Nex over the Spec any day of the week, but I still agree with you 100% For me the deciding factor is going with the phone that is designed for the future of android. But that's all the Nex has in it's corner. In my eyes that's enough, but this article didn't even really touch on it (except to go "Well, it has 4.0, so what else needs to be said?" lazy, lazy, lazy...)

10. mobileuser

Posts: 66; Member since: Dec 23, 2011

Also with now so many reported problem regarding constantly random reboot, I dont think the galaxy nexus can be regarded as the best phone anymore. I am surprised that PA hides this issue during this comparison where it has been wide spread problem for the ICS 4.0 outside and still give the Galaxy nexus such a high praise.

11. harimura

Posts: 10; Member since: Jun 14, 2011

I find the power button and volume rocker on my Galaxy Nexus a bit too prominent. It's very easy to unintentionally push them.

12. Nathan

Posts: 85; Member since: Jul 14, 2011

The Spectrum by LG has what I would consider a "fun" or "playful" UI which is actually useful and intuitive which may lead some to look at it as "cheap" or clunky compared to the Stock 4.0's clean experience so I understand where he's coming from but not everyone wants that futuristic look so its mostly his personal preference, so no need to get worked up, its his review after all. :)

13. SantinoPeru

Posts: 1; Member since: Feb 01, 2012

The Galaxy Nexus is awesome ! I've had it since December 17th and It's been a great experience.

14. ChafedBanana

Posts: 409; Member since: Sep 20, 2011

It's funny how there is no mention of the lag when typing in landscape on the Gnex.

15. phantomash

Posts: 20; Member since: Aug 27, 2011

purely from hardware perspective, both are on-par. Design wise, I'd say Nexus is better, its something different, while Spectrum looks too generic, like an S2 / iPhone. On the software support side, Nexus wins by a landslide. If you're an Android enthusiast, you'll appreciate the Nexus more.

16. tedro

Posts: 1; Member since: Feb 09, 2012

Little bias, Ok,, what about processor speed, spectrum wins, what about cost, hmm spectrum wins again, as for ICS,, It will be coming to the majority of the phones later this year. Hmm, no thumbs up for the HD video playback, that Spectrum has over nexus. Ability to add more memory that Spectrum has. Plus I saved a little money with the Spectrum. If you are going to compare, try to at least be fair about it. Yes, I chose the Spectrum over the Nexus for these reasons and Life is Good with the LG.

17. bullwinkle14

Posts: 2; Member since: Feb 14, 2012

Chose the Spectrum over the Samsung Galaxy and have used it for 2 weeks. Saved 100 bucks and call quality is clear and great. Data speeds are extremely quick and layout is OK for me. Very good camera, video and display is crystal clear. If the review says clunky and clustered I don't understand, since a average goofball like me can breeze thru the apps, etc., etc., with no problem at all. The only problem is the battery life. Yesterday I turned the phone on at 640am & turned off the data. Sat at my desk and made 11 calls for a total of 47 minutes, changed a few settings, turned on data for 30 minutes to reply to a few emails and turned data off again, and took about 25 pictures around the office. At 245pm the battery was drained and I hardly used it at all! The optional upgraded battery is $ 48 thru Verizon but extends out the rear. I have a case that will have to be changed if I go that route, and thats if they even have a case for the optional battery. When I can upgrade the Spectrum to Ice Cream Sandwich I probably will but out of the box its a excellent smartphone with Android 2.3.6. Almost every review of all the top smartphones seems to comment on battery life, no matter the brand. When will they get the message????

18. firelightx

Posts: 71; Member since: Oct 13, 2011

Hmm... I wouldn't go so far as to call the writer biased... maybe just lazy. I lost count of the number of times I saw them take a shortcut in the writing. "It's running Android 4.0... that's pretty much all I need to say on the topic." What about the readers who don't know a whole lot about 4.0 and are reading your site for the first time? There was just... nothing informative about this. I felt like I was being sold a phone by a 16 year old, instead of reading a comparison article. Just... sloppy.

21. ayares

Posts: 1; Member since: Feb 17, 2012

Being the owner of both phones at present, my opinion is that the Spectrum wins in three important areas, therefore the Nexus is going back to Verizon: (1) Display. The screen on the Spectrum is far sharper and better for movies and browsing. It has 2.7 million subpixels making up 1280x720 full RGB pixels. The Nexus has 1.8 million subpixels making up 1280x720 partial RGB pixels (red and blue subpixels are shared among two 'pixels'). This is my main complaint with the Nexus because the subpixels are extremely visible to my eyes even held a foot away--had it had a Super AMOLED Plus screen, it would have had 2.7 million subpixels, and then the discussion could be limited to the benefits and shortfalls of AMOLED vs. IPS LCD at the same resolution. (2) Speed. The new Quadrant 2.0 benchmark now correctly tests multicore and ICS phones. My results for the Spectrum: 2712. The Nexus test ran at 2041 (about 25% slower). (3) Sound. The Spectrum has included 'Dolby Mobile' for music and videos when using headphones. This actually makes a very improved listening field for a lot of source input. It's like 3D for the ears, and generally does not make sound feel 'overprocessed'.

22. Stacman

Posts: 1; Member since: Feb 20, 2012

A very disappointingly biased review. It's evident throughout that you favor the Samsung as I've seen the photos and video in other reviews and found the picture quality and colors far superior on the LG phone to that of the Galaxy. Yet you gushed over the quality of the Galaxy, so that diminshes all of the other sections of the review.

23. tybalt

Posts: 7; Member since: Mar 14, 2012

Firstly anyone who says their stock gb device is on froyo and then asks what the big deal about ics is...shldnt even be posting Here. Second, for ANY true android system lover an AOSP build and launcher is always sleeker and more lightweight than a manufacturers system UI overlay ( touchwiz, sense, blur,whatever). So in comparison the log UI is clunky, and it strays from native android features and feels foreign. Finally,just because u bought the cheaper phone, ur not obligated to defend it or take this review personally.The camera, call quality and expandable memory are good. But for those of u who noticed the internal memory is limited on the spectrum which may cause some later oom shortcomings once the phone is being supported. Most importantly the dev community is exponentially better for the nexus because its a nexus... the potential of this phone far surpassed anything else offered at big red right now PERIOD. Review is spot on... I own a bionic btw ... so no bias here... there more..but its pointless in this environment

25. u-suck-more

Posts: 529; Member since: Aug 26, 2011

no offence, but i think u need to read again. it is evident in the review that the writer is biased towards the Galaxy Nexus. like u said, the memory on the Spectrum can be expanded, so i dont think thr is any real issue here. i use the LG Optimus 3D and the Optimus UI, in no way feels cluttered. the UI is very customizable, so i guess it depends on how u customize your phone. in fact the Optimus UI is more functional (i guess thats the word (?)) than stock. it adds convenient features like the switches in the pull down menu and in the app menu, it is more organised. i dont think ppl are defending the Spectrum bcos of its cheaper price, if ICS is a big plus, the Spectrum should not be considered to be inferior to the G. Nexus bcos it is going to get ICS too. so the cheaper price plus an ICS update makes the Spectrum more worth ur money..

26. tybalt

Posts: 7; Member since: Mar 14, 2012

Ive seen too many of these wars so ill make this short and ignore anything further. I reviewed the rezound nexus and spectrum all last week via close friends and long time android enthusiasts who let me rape their phones. Ur spectrum is a rezound withiut beats. Of the 3 it has the best display..lacks the color depth. But most dpi and obviously the clearest. Anyone with some education should know that of the 3 mobile processor producers qualcomm gets the bronze. The lg besides being fugly will have little to no development in the community whereas the gnex had it before it launchex. I NEVER SAID HE WASNT BIASED. I said he was right. Sure if u want to choose a long term investment like ur mobile device ( a very important choice to me

27. tybalt

Posts: 7; Member since: Mar 14, 2012

) based off price alone. Get the spectrum, its not bad. What im trying to communicate to u guy, Is that once you have rooted/flashed/themed/modded/OCd n UVd a nexus (especially given it will aalways have more options to do so than the lg), the lg pales greatly operationally (radio n all). The gnex launches with the superuser app......and NO BLOAT...nuff said ...not sure if any of this means anything to you, but if it does not...thats probably why we disagree...enjoy your phone and i will enjoy mine ( new one that is...ya i bought it since the last post) - i was really just trying to explain why rooted gnex users didnt lift an eyebrow to the spectrum release, and give the author a little break for knowing a timeless device when he sees one... hey can the spectrum buy gas with fastpay? ...aand PAYCE cuzin

28. tybalt

Posts: 7; Member since: Mar 14, 2012

To be clear... the rezound n soectrum share the same processor...and both lag when overworked..easily ... the third processor family is nvidia..if it mattered

29. tybalt

Posts: 7; Member since: Mar 14, 2012

Okokok im obnoxious i know..im so done after this...but ur features that lg offers through the ui... are not unique... they exist for everyone as features ...u see we all have the market filled with thousands upon thousands apps ... with allkinds of features that give u widgets and switches... my ROM Happens to have every toggle u can think of (customizable of course) in the notification bar...quite convinient ..for me that is... and again not sure if u tweak ur rom settings or root...but aosp IS without argument sleeker and faster than ANY manufacturer added UI..doesnt mean urs is bad..i love motoblur..it just means they are clunkier and laggier..in comparison..never said ur phone was bad .. u dont have to defend it.. ramble done...sorry u can hate me..i wld

24. tybalt

Posts: 7; Member since: Mar 14, 2012

Btw ... the nexus does have an AMOLED ..??????

30. rayman173

Posts: 61; Member since: Nov 21, 2011

Actually, I quite like some of the widgets that LG puts on their smartphones for example the scrolling music, video, and picture widget is genius. Also the way of adding apps is pretty cool and the built-in-music player in the notification bar. You can tell that some thought was put into the interface. Although, its lagging behind some of the other interfaces it can still hold a candle to them.The interface is obviously for the novice smartphone crowd. So clunky is not the correct term maybe over-simplified would be a better word choice?

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