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:



1. ledbetterp3

Posts: 467; Member since: Aug 31, 2011

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

3. networkdood

Posts: 6330; Member since: Mar 31, 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.

5. ledbetterp3

Posts: 467; Member since: Aug 31, 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.

15. roldefol

Posts: 4745; Member since: Jan 28, 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.

57. wakingup

Posts: 51; Member since: Aug 13, 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...

21. sorcio46

Posts: 435; Member since: Jul 27, 2011

Me too, even if i have a SGS :)

80. moosa.mahsoom

Posts: 22; Member since: Nov 19, 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.

2. networkdood

Posts: 6330; Member since: Mar 31, 2010

2 excellent phones!

4. hunted

Posts: 403; Member since: Sep 21, 2011

i like the original SGS2 design than they designed for US

6. lex700

Posts: 9; Member since: Dec 01, 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.

13. kshell1

Posts: 1143; Member since: Oct 05, 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

23. ph00ny

Posts: 2069; Member since: May 26, 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

25. kshell1

Posts: 1143; Member since: Oct 05, 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

79. RamyAbdelbadea

Posts: 17; Member since: Nov 07, 2011

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

32. HTCiscool

Posts: 449; Member since: Jul 16, 2011

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

39. bucky

Posts: 3795; Member since: Sep 30, 2009

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

51. kidtronic

Posts: 13; Member since: Nov 29, 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?

52. bucky

Posts: 3795; Member since: Sep 30, 2009

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

59. Dark4o90

Posts: 205; Member since: Feb 20, 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

61. Ray.S

Posts: 463; Member since: Jul 19, 2011

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

66. ledbetterp3

Posts: 467; Member since: Aug 31, 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.

7. anirudhshirsat97

Posts: 408; Member since: May 24, 2011

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

9. seylan

Posts: 20; Member since: Dec 01, 2011

Not really, only by the camera...

10. McLTE

Posts: 922; Member since: Oct 18, 2011

And if it had LTE.. and... and.. But the SGS2 doesn't.

11. bucky

Posts: 3795; Member since: Sep 30, 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?

56. kidtronic

Posts: 13; Member since: Nov 29, 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.

58. bucky

Posts: 3795; Member since: Sep 30, 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.

24. ph00ny

Posts: 2069; Member since: May 26, 2011

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

26. kshell1

Posts: 1143; Member since: Oct 05, 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

8. bloodline

Posts: 706; Member since: Dec 01, 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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