LG Spectrum vs Samsung Galaxy Nexus

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Introduction and Design
Introduction:

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.

Design:

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.



Displays:

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:





Interface and Functionality:

Seriously, do we really need to get into the specifics regarding this category, even more when the Samsung Galaxy Nexus features the most up-to-date Android experience with Ice Cream Sandwich? Beyond the reasoning that it’s the latest version of Google’s mobile operating system, we like it mainly because it sports a very clean looking appearance with a ton of neat features – such as face unlock. Well, we prefer it more over the clunky and cluttered look of the LG Optimus UI 2.0 running on top of Android 2.3 Gingerbread on the LG Spectrum.



Graced with plentiful real estates, there’s no kidding that both handsets are ideal for dishing out long passages of text with their respective keyboards. Although we find their layouts to be spacious, the LG keyboard on the Spectrum offers the larger buttons to minimizes mistakes, but still, we do like the responsiveness of both devices in keeping up with our rate of input.



As for the rest, such as Gmail and various organizer apps, they both offer the same features and functionality that keep us in check with our daily lives. Therefore, neither device has an advantage over the other in this category.



Processor and Memory:

When you’re at the top of the ladder, you’re expected to pack some kind of dual-core processor to run the show. Rightfully so, that’s what we find with these top-shelf smartphones as the Samsung Galaxy Nexus is powered by a 1.2GHz dual-core TI OMAP 4460 processor, and the Spectrum by a 1.5GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S3 CPU. Coupled with 1GB of RAM, they exhibit the same level of performance – thus, executing most basic tasks without much fluff, but there’s not one that’s visually faster. However, we also experience some levels of choppiness with more processor intensive tasks, but it’s never to the point agonizing.

Internally, the Galaxy Nexus presents us with a generous 32GB of internal storage – though, there’s no way to increase its capacity. Conversely, the Spectrum is preloaded with a 16GB microSD card, which can be replaced with higher capacity cards if needed.

Internet and Connectivity:

Alright, we’ve been spoiled very heavily by Verizon’s 4G LTE network, but despite that, we’re pleased with the peppy data speeds exhibited on both handset – allowing complex pages like ours to load in a jiffy. Perhaps it can be related to the optimizations found with ICS, but the Galaxy Nexus is undoubtedly the better performer in the web browsing department thanks to its buttery smooth navigational controls. Well, the Spectrum’s performance is tolerable, but its operation is on the choppy side – though, it’s still acceptable without degrading the overall experience.

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Unquestionably, they share a lot of commonalities since they’re CDMA devices with support for Verizon’s 4G LTE network. Furthermore, they come packing the usual suspect of other connectivity items – such as aGPS, Bluetooth 3.0, Wi-Fi, and mobile hotspot functionality.



Camera:

First, there’s no question about it, but the Galaxy Nexus is light years faster in snapping photos – whereas the Spectrum requires a couples of seconds between shots. Although neither offers stunning quality with their respective cameras, we give the slight advantage to the Galaxy Nexus seeing that its details are a tiny bit sharper (although it has lower resolution – 5 vs 8 megapixels) and it produces the more neutral looking colors. Indoors, the LG Spectrum’s results are simply marred by its inaccurate color reproduction colors, and at times, tends to cast a prominent bluish/greenish hue.



Unfortunately for these super spec’d smartphones, they actually show their vulnerability in shooting 1080p high definition videos. Actually, there’s nothing pretty to say about either device, well, that’s because the Galaxy Nexus has a choppy 24 frames per second capture rate, while the Spectrum’s results tend to look over-exposed. In the end, we find their qualities to be on the same page with neither one outgunning the other.

LG Spectrum Sample Video:



Samsung Galaxy Nexus Sample Video:



Multimedia:

Another area that both devices perform similarly in is the music department, as they offer some spiffy looking interfaces while playing songs. Specifically, they have that alluring looking 3D carousel when browsing through songs in landscape, however, they’re very much similar in portrait. As for their audio quality, we actually find their volumes to be on par with one another, which is actually on the weak side to tell you the truth. Thankfully, there’s no evidence of crackling or distortion when they’re positioned at the highest volume setting.



Barely working up a sweat on both smartphones, they effortlessly play the same video encoded in MPEG-4 1920 x 1080 resolution with no issues whatsoever. Amazing us with their gorgeous displays, the entire experience is accentuated by their smooth playback, tantalizing sharp details, and eye-catching colors. Did we mention that their displays are large enough to solidify the experience?



Performance:

Calling quality absolutely goes to the LG Spectrum because it presents us with clear and noise-free voices on both ends of the line – though, its speakerphone tends to muffle voices. Oppositely, the only issue we find on the Galaxy Nexus is the robotic tones that our callers hear on their end of the line.

Although it’s still a prevailing issue on the LG Spectrum, the loss of 4G LTE connectivity isn’t as constant when compared to the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. However, it’s worth noting that both devices didn’t drop any phone calls during our time using them.

Simultaneously using the two power packed smartphones, their internal batteries are actual similar to one another. In fact, it’s an 1,830 mAh battery on the Spectrum and an 1,850 mAh on the Galaxy Nexus. Indeed they still pale in comparison to the performance of other smartphones, seeing that they’re blood suckers like no other, but the Galaxy Nexus appears to have a slight advantage – albeit, it’s not by much.

Conclusion:

Needless to say, some will think long and hard between the two smartphones after looking over their on-contract prices. At $200, the LG Spectrum seems mightily tempting for a 4G LTE smartphone, but in all honesty, we’d recommend forking over the extra $100 to pick up the $300 Samsung Galaxy Nexus. First and foremost, the undeniable most important thing is that it’s running Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich right at this moment – do we need to say more about it? Well, it also boasts the better looking design of the two, as the Spectrum basically looks way too bland for a handset destined to be on the highest of pedestals. Overlooking all of the fancy things that the Galaxy Nexus offers over the Spectrum, we also know that it’s also going to be treated to all of the latest updates right away – and it clearly shows as the Spectrum is on tap to receive its ICS upgrade sometime in June. So there you have it folks, you’re better off sticking with the Galaxy Nexus if you want to impress your friends.

LG Spectrum vs Samsung Galaxy Nexus:





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