Samsung Galaxy S2 (32GB) vs. Google Nexus S – Review

by Jerry D on February 20, 2011

While the first Google Nexus handset was built by HTC, the Google Nexus S was engineered in Samsung’s Korean factories. In 2010, it turned heads with NFC and its subtly-curved Super AMOLED display. But then the Samsung Galaxy S2 came along and everything changed…

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Connectivity:

The spec sheet of the cutting-edge Galaxy S2 (32GB) lists 3G/HSDPA/HSPA+ (21Mbps), 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 3.0+HS as the core connectivity options. As for the Nexus S, Google specified 3G/HSDPA (7.2Mbps), Bluetooth 2.1 with EDR and 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi as standard. The HSPA+ support here just grabs the round for the Galaxy S2. (1-0)

Size & Weight:

Put the two phones side-by-side and the Galaxy S2 is the slimmer of the two phones with a depth of only 8.49mm. It’s also wider, measuring 66.1mm to the Nexus S’s 63.0mm. Put the two phones on the scales and the Samsung Galaxy S2 weighs 116g, while the Nexus S is 129g. (2-0)

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Camera:

The Galaxy S2′s 8.0 MP camera features autofocus, an LED flash, geo-tagging, touch focus functionality, face/smile detection, image stabilization and 1080p video capture. It also features a second, front-facing camera for video calls, Skyping and low resolution self-portraits.

In this round, the Nexus S comes off second best. Its 5.0 Megapixel lens (with autofocus, LED flash, geo-tagging, touch focus and 720p video recording) falls short in most departments. The highest resolution is 2592 x 1944 pixels. It does, however, match the Galaxy S2 with a front-mounted camera. (3-0)

Screen/keyboard:

Display size is key and the Galaxy S2 features a 4.27-inch (480 x 800) touch-sensitive Super AMOLED Plus display, toughened up with protective Gorilla Glass. The resulting pixel density of this handset is a decent 218.501 pixels per inch.

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Creative Commons License photo credit: DORONKO

The touch-sensitive Super AMOLED screen on the Nexus S is smaller, measuring 4.0 inches across the diagonal. The 480 by 800 resolution matches the Galaxy S2, but the pixel density of 233.25 beats the 218.501 rating given to Samsung’s handset. Overall, though, the Super AMOLED Plus technology on the S2 is the better screen. (4-0)

Processor:

Speed is (and will be) crucial and so the Galaxy S2′s souped-up engine is a 1GHz Dual-core Exynos processor. The Nexus S, meanwhile, relies on a single-core ARM Cortex A8 ‘Hummingbird’, rated at 1GHz. Well, it was fast last year and you could argue that nobody needs a dual-core chip right now. A 1GHz CPU still delivers good performance. Regardless, the S2 still takes the point. (5-0)

Software:

Google’s Android 2.3 comes installed on the Galaxy S2, tweaked with Samsung’s TouchWiz UI overlay and Swype text input. Inside the Nexus S you’ll find a pure build of the same OS, which makes it easier to update to Android 2.4 and beyond. (5-0)

Storage:

The Galaxy S2 is a real powerhouse, boasting 32GB of storage space compared to the default 16GB capacity in the Nexus S. The Galaxy S2 also includes a microSD card slot to ramp up the memory to an impressive 64GB, more than enough for high-resolution videos, hundreds of digital photos, music and apps downloaded from the Android Market.

Taking a leaf out of Apple’s design handbook, the Nexus S doesn’t have an expansion slot, so 16GB is the maximum capacity. (6-0)

Extras:

The Galaxy S2 also includes GPS/A-GPS, DLNA content sharing, Wi-Fi direct, stereo FM radio (with RDS), optional NFC support, a digital compass, gyroscope and an HDMI port. It also features four software ‘hubs’ – the Reader’s Hub, the Social Hub, the Games Hub and the Music Hub.

In comparison, the Nexus S features GPS/A-GPS, haptic feedback vibration, a 3-axis gyroscope, digital compass, curved Contour Display and integrated Near Field Communication (NFC) technology for digital payments. The Nexus S is also sold unlocked, so will work with any GSM carrier. (6-0)

The Samsung Galaxy S2 wins!

The Google Nexus S doesn’t score a point against the Samsung Galaxy S2, which is an indication of the sort of super-phones we’ll be seeing more of in 2011. Frankly, if it doesn’t have a dual-core CPU, we’re not interested…

See if these two phones make our Top 20 Best Smartphones list…

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