Samsung Galaxy Nexus vs Samsung Galaxy S II

Samsung Galaxy Nexus vs Samsung Galaxy S II

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.


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.

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.

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.

Samsung Galaxy Nexus 360-degrees View:

Samsung Galaxy S II 360-degrees View:



82. iwantsamsung

Posts: 2; Member since: Feb 19, 2012

i like the samsung s2 better but i would still buy the nexus if i could thumbs up if you agree

78. khamboo

Posts: 5; Member since: Dec 07, 2011

what is the major problem of samsung galaxy s2 ????????????????????? please share your expirence , thanks a lot

81. frydaexiii

Posts: 1476; Member since: Dec 01, 2011

Not being able to turn off or replace voice talk without rooting

83. iwantsamsung

Posts: 2; Member since: Feb 19, 2012

hey its me again please tell me what you think of the samsung galaxy s2 because im in a toss up between nexus and s2

77. solidsnakeduds013

Posts: 221; Member since: Oct 20, 2010

Stock Android FTW!

76. moosa.mahsoom

Posts: 22; Member since: Nov 19, 2011

he forgot about the abscence of microsd slot.

75. moosa.mahsoom

Posts: 22; Member since: Nov 19, 2011

i don't think the S2 will be up to the nexus's level when it receives ICS te. We better not forget google optimized the OS for TI OMAP 4460. So, the Exynos may not be a better fit for the OS than the OMAP 4460.

74. Jarahawk

Posts: 43; Member since: Dec 04, 2011

"The Samsung Galaxy Nexus and Galaxy S II may not the best handsets you can find when it comes to call quality..." Seriously? If it is not a great phone first and foremost then what is the point?

73. roscuthiii

Posts: 2383; Member since: Jul 18, 2010

I'd have to side with SII here. The G'Nex is a good solid phone, but it's purpose is more to show off the capabilities of ICS than anything else. The hardware, as good as it is, comes in second to the focus on software here. And that delicious ice creamy software can be scooped on top of the sugar cone that the SII anyhow.

72. zaryab_hussain77

Posts: 104; Member since: Jun 30, 2011

why pa comparès a new phone with a 6 to 8 mnths oldr phone,...the s2 was bst at hìs nexus is best

71. jackhammeR

Posts: 1548; Member since: Oct 17, 2011

16 gigs of internal memory is definitely not enough. That's a shame. Especially that it is so called flagship.

69. mobilemike11

Posts: 16; Member since: Jan 09, 2010

I have to admit that the GSII is one of the sexiest phones that has every been made, and it is equally capable of doing it for most users. The problem that I run into is that I have used the Fascinate and the Droid Charge and I am getting a little sick of TouchWiz. I would like to have something with a different look and feel. I love Samsung products, as they have never let me down. The GN should be an amazing phone. A few of my counterparts at work have actually seen the phone and said that the display was amazing and the device was light and thin. I am GEEKED!!

68. bloodline

Posts: 706; Member since: Dec 01, 2011

like I said to you guys, I have the s2 and nexus and I have decided to keep the nexus. The nexus just runs better, its better built and the screen is beautiful. The only things the s2 has better is camera and removable storage. I agree if you have an s2 you dont really need to upgrade to the nexus. However depending on the date for release of ICS on the s2, you guys might find that there isnt going to be much of a time difference between ICS on s2 and the S3 being released. Ray. S you do a good job and fair reviews. well done mate

67. henrickrw

Posts: 408; Member since: Sep 16, 2011

I still rather my GS2 You won't find an SD slot on the outside. Or indeed, the inside. Ridiculously, this – the flagship Google handset which is so set up as a media device – has been crippled by having NO expandable memory. Words fail . And they may fail you when you realise that 16GB internal storage is your lot. Maybe, just maybe I´ll get myself one. I doubt TIOMAP is faster than Exynos.

64. bakes5981

Posts: 2; Member since: Nov 23, 2011

I dunno but the comparison between the two Sammies felt less technical than i should be. That, and the impression that there was a bias for the Nexus. Citing that having a WVGA screen (Super AMOLED Plus, mind you!) during the time of HD Super AMOLED makes GSII past its prime sounds dismissive. In terms of overall performance, GSII does not stand like an old timer beside a flashy new model. Therefore, I say, each phone stands their ground with the unique things they bring to the table. Nexus looks better because it is new (and understandably so, since it can build on the technology of its predecessors) and that is what I shall give it. But, unlike the Galaxy S II, Galaxy Nexus does not stand a clear winner in any book unlike GSII did and still does.

62. vette21man

Posts: 351; Member since: Apr 06, 2011

Great video Ray.S! I appreciate that you're comparing what is available now on the SII. I would love to see the exact same comparison once the SII gets ICS. With the SII's better camera, arguably faster System on Chip, expandable microSD storage, and sleeker form factor, it may win that battle or at least close the gap. (doesn't the AT&T SII have NFC also?) The Nexus would then only have the advantage of a larger and more pixel-dense display.

60. jackhammeR

Posts: 1548; Member since: Oct 17, 2011

The only two drawbacks of S II are: smaller resolution and touch wiz. ICS will come anyway. And there is cyanogen. better camera, better system performance, etc. so I vote for....S II? (fight with myself:D:D)

54. ghost__uwi

Posts: 175; Member since: Nov 28, 2011

will there be any iphone 4s comparison\'s. Really liked those. :D

53. taz89

Posts: 2014; Member since: May 03, 2011

both are 1.2ghz and exynos has been proved to be the fastest android processor and also the nexus does not have amoled plus display as you is a clear win for the s2 and what about the fact the s2 has removable storage....the only real advantage the nexus has is that it has ics and a hd display and nfc(which is still not used much yet) and once the s2 gets ics offiicially or via root it will be the better phone...if you are a s2 owner then theirs no reason to update the nexus or to any other phone not until the gs3 at least.

43. vette21man

Posts: 351; Member since: Apr 06, 2011

Ooops!! In the video you mentioned that both displays are Super AMOLED+. Probably just a slip because you know that the Galaxy SII is indeed Super AMOLED+, but the Galaxy Nexus' display is Super AMOLED (without the '+').

49. Ray.S

Posts: 464; Member since: Jul 19, 2011

Good catch!

42. Forsaken77

Posts: 553; Member since: Jun 09, 2011

First off, the screen comparison picture on the 1st page looks like the GS2 has better coloring. Look at Jobs' face and the trophy. Plain as day that the Nexus' colors are washed out. Second, and this is a big one, having ICS on board is a huge disadvantage right now. Not only are no apps made to work with this, but the damn thing doesn't even have flash working on it yet. Your stuck with a handicapped phone. Who gives a rats a$$ if the software "looks" better? If you can't use most of it then it's not an advantage. Again, it's better on paper, but in actual real world usage it is not. Plus the phone is just to damn big and gawdy.

37. kshell1

Posts: 1143; Member since: Oct 05, 2011

ok right in those browser pics the pentile is extremely obvious i can see the pixels i prefer the sgs2 over the nexus so much its unbelievebale

36. Tre-Nitty

Posts: 470; Member since: Nov 16, 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.

33. HTCiscool

Posts: 449; Member since: Jul 16, 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)

31. thepeartree

Posts: 3; Member since: Nov 13, 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.

46. Ray.S

Posts: 464; Member since: Jul 19, 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.

50. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 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.

55. taz89

Posts: 2014; Member since: May 03, 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.

27. blackrose

Posts: 48; Member since: Apr 15, 2011

GN wins because it has stock android imo

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit for samples and additional information.
FCC OKs Cingular's purchase of AT&T Wireless