Samsung Galaxy Nexus vs. Samsung Galaxy S II: Smartphone comparison

Which is the better smartphone? Samsung's Galaxy Nexus or the Galaxy S II?

The Galaxy Nexus and the Galaxy S II: which smartphone is right for you?

The Galaxy Nexus and the Galaxy S II: which smartphone is right for you?

If you've decided that Apple's iPhone 4S isn't for you, you probably want an Android phone instead. For many consumers, Samsung's Galaxy S II, one of the most popular and highly rated Android phones on the market, is the most obvious choice. That was until the Galaxy Nexus arrived.

Samsung Galaxy Nexus review
Samsung Galaxy S II review
Galaxy Nexus vs. iPhone 4S

In our review of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, we described it as the best Android phone ever. But does that mean you should automatically buy it instead of the Galaxy S II? Not necessarily. Let's see how these two powerhouse Android phones stack up, and find out which one is right for you.

Galaxy Nexus vs. Samsung Galaxy S II: Specifications

FeatureSamsung Galaxy Nexus Samsung Galaxy S II Verdict
Operating system Google Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) Google Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) Galaxy Nexus
Display size 4.65in 4.3in Galaxy Nexus
Display technology Capacitive Super AMOLED HD Capacitive Super AMOLED Plus Draw
Display resolution 720x1280 480x800 Galaxy Nexus
Pixel density 316 ppi 217 ppi Galaxy Nexus
Multitouch Yes Yes Yes
Front camera 1.3-megapixels 2-megapixels Galaxy S II
Rear camera 5 megapixels w/single-LED flash 8 megapixels w/single-LED flash Samsung Galaxy S II
Camera features Autofocus, touch focus, geotagging, face detection, zero shutter lag Autofocus, touch focus, geotagging, face and smile detection, image stabilisation Draw
Video recording 1080p HD @ 30fps 1080p HD @ 30fps Draw
FM radio No Yes Galaxy S II
GPS Yes, with Google Maps navigation Yes, with Google Maps navigation Draw
Internal memory 16GB 16GB Draw
Expandable memory None microSD Galaxy S II
Dimensions 135.5 x 67.9 x 8.9 mm 125.3 x 66.1 x 8.5 mm Galaxy S II
Weight 135g 116g Galaxy S II
Application Store Google Android Market Google Android Market Draw
Processor Cortex A9 dual-core (1.2GHz) Cortex A9 dual-core (1.2GHz) Draw
RAM 1GB 1GB Draw
Australian 3G networks HSDPA 850/900/2100 HSDPA 850/900/2100 Draw
Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n 802.11a/b/g/n Draw
Bluetooth 3.0 with A2DP 3.0 with A2DP Draw
HDMI-out No (Yes with MHL adapter) No (Yes with MHL adapter) Draw
Quoted battery life Up to 8 hrs 20 min Up to 8 hrs 40 min Galaxy S II
Battery -capacity 1750 mAh 1650 mAh Galaxy Nexus
Adobe Flash support Yes Yes Draw
Carriers Telstra, Optus, Vodafone Telstra, Optus, Vodafone Draw

Galaxy Nexus vs. Samsung Galaxy S II: Display

The Galaxy Nexus has a strikingly large 4.65in Super AMOLED HD display — one of the biggest screens currently available on the market. The HD points to a high definition resolution of 1280x720; the Galaxy Nexus displays an ultra sharp and crisp image. The screen is bright, vivid and clear and text is crisp and smooth with minimal visible aberrations. The large size of the screen makes the Galaxy Nexus great for video playback but the best benefit of the screen is the experience it creates when reading and Web browsing. Our only complaint is that the automatic brightness setting is often erratic: this should be fixed with a future software update.

Galaxy Nexus

The Samsung Galaxy S II on the other hand has a slightly smaller 4.3in Super AMOLED display with a standard resolution of 480x800. The screen is excellent and it's just as bright and vibrant as many other screens on the market. Don't be fooled by the smaller size either: although it's slightly smaller in diameter than the Galaxy Nexus, the Galaxy S II has capacitive buttons below the display, and not on-screen buttons like the Nexus. This means the screen is almost the same size as the Galaxy Nexus and certainly more than large enough for most phone tasks. However, the Galaxy S II's smaller resolution means text appears much crisper on the Galaxy Nexus.

Verdict: There is nothing wrong with the Samsung Galaxy S II's screen, but we have to award the win here to the Galaxy Nexus. The HD resolution makes text crisper than ever, so reading and Web browsing is top notch. It's the best display we've seen on any Android phone.

Next page: Design, software, camera and more

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Ross Catanzariti

Ross Catanzariti

PC World

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