After initially choosing Android over IOS, one must then decide which Android phone suits them the most. Whittling down your choice can be tedious, as you will be presented with a large number of phones from a large number of manufacturers. Looking to pick up a high-end Android handset manufactured by Samsung? You’ll be faced with purchasing one of Sammy’s three recent creations- the Galaxy Nexus, the Galaxy S2, or the Galaxy S3.

Today we will be pitting the flagship Galaxy Nexus against the spec-heavy Galaxy S3. Now, it is a given that the GS3 is a newer, more powerful phone than the Galaxy Nexus. But, for all you Android lovers who may need to purchase something a little cheaper, or may not have the time to wait for the GS3’s release, we will be giving you a full comparison to help ease your decision.


Let’s start off by comparing these two devices’ internals.

Galaxy Nexus

  • 4.65″ Super AMOLED touchscreen, with 720×1280 resolution and 316 pixels per inch
  • Dual-core 1.2 GHz Cortex-A9 processor
  • 1GB RAM
  • 5MP rear-facing camera with 1080p video
  • 1.3 MP front facing camera with 720p video
  • 1750mAh battery

Galaxy S3

  • 4.8″ Super AMOLED touchscreen, with 720×1280 resolution and 306 pixels per inch
  •  Quad-core 1.4GHz Cortex-A9 processor
  • 1GB RAM
  • 8MP rear-facing camera with 1080p video
  • 1.9MP front facing camera with 720p video
  • 2100 mAh battery

Specs aside, each device is built extremely well and feels strong. The Galaxy Nexus features a curved glass screen, which is very sleek and sexy. Removal of each devices’ backplate reveals SIM card slots, and on the Galaxy S3 a micro SD slot capable of housing 64GB of additional memory!


Each device currently runs Android 4.0.4, Ice Cream Sandwich. The Galaxy Nexus runs an un-modified (vanilla) version of Android, meaning there are no carrier or manufacturer “skins” or overlays. The GS3 is running Samsung’s TouchWiz overlay, which has benefits as well as downfalls. All of the functionality of pure Android exists in the GS3, but, for many owners who wish to have a vanilla or ‘pure’ operating system, due to the bloating and unnecessary features included, will either love or be slightly frustrated with what Samsung has done here.

Nonetheless, the additional features that come preloaded on the GS3 are very sought after, and serve their purpose well. Features such as S-Voice, Smart Stay, task management, power saver, and the many in-app options make Touchwiz more than bearable, even for Android purists.  Icons, menus, and toggles are all skinned differently for the GS3, but are still located in the areas as the Galaxy Nexus.

Some functionality is robbed by TouchWiz, such as master brightness control, meaning brightness is basically set on a per-app basis on the Galaxy S3. The Galaxy Nexus’ notification bar also makes for easier navigating to often used settings. Folders are created easier on the Galaxy Nexus as well.

With the Galaxy Nexus being a Google Nexus phone, developer support has and will always be extremely strong. In fact, many of the Galaxy S3’s most intuitive features have been ported over for use on the Galaxy Nexus. See our article on the Galaxy S3 add-on pack for the Nexus here. The Galaxy S3 is also receiving large amounts of developer support as well, including ROM’s that are built off of vanilla Android (AOKP). You can view our own video on how to root the Galaxy S3 here.


Each device bears the same type of display. The Galaxy S3’s is slightly bigger and constructed using Corning’s Gorilla Glass 2, while the Galaxy Nexus uses Oleophobic coating for protection of its curved glass display.

Comparison images prove that there is little to no difference in quality.


Having 8MP, the Galaxy S3 obviously takes the cake in this category, but let’s not write off the Galaxy Nexus’ 5MP camera just yet. The Galaxy Nexus has the same intuitive features as the GS3. Features like zero shutter lag, which enable you take photos quickly and precisely, are a very nice touch, and will likely please snap happy owners. It also has the ability to record video and take photos at the same time. Each device also features face unlock capabilities, and the GS3 uses it’s front facing camera to detect if the user is viewing the screen or not, via its Smart Stay functionality. This enables the device to keep the display live when you are looking at it.

Here are a few sample photos taken using each camera.

Speed and performance

I would bargain to say that the 1.2GHZ dual core CPU within the Galaxy Nexus would support most users daily needs. It is very nice to have quad core processing in the palm of your hand, though. The Galaxy Nexus has a generally stable overclock speed of 1.4GHZ, while the GS3 can reach stable clock speeds of 1.8GHZ. Here are some screenshots from each device. In all honesty, both are very responsive, stable devices. But I have never, ever, in my life – touched and flicked my way through a device as incredibly responsive as the S3. The thing is absolutely insatiable, a true speed demon. That being said, if you’ve never used one, there is no basis for comparison. Check out the benchmarks below!



On the left is the Galaxy S3, with the Galaxy Nexus on the right

Battery Life

Battery life is obviously better sustained by the Galaxy S3 with its 2100mAh battery, although extended batteries are available for each phone. The Galaxy S3 can last up to 24 hours with its stock battery, while the Galaxy Nexus only lasts around 12-14 with normal use.  The power saver feature within the Galaxy S3 will easily provide hours upon hours of heavy use. Honestly, I was blown away by the battery life of the Galaxy S3. For such a powerful device, it really knows how to last.


Wrap up

Each device is a Samsung powerhouse with its own advantages. The Galaxy Nexus, being a bit older, is a much cheaper alternative to the Galaxy S3, and still stands up to many of its features. Since the Galaxy Nexus is a ‘pure Google device’, and essentially a developer magnet, means that it has a ton of life left to live, and features a near identical display to the Galaxy S3, too.

On the other hand, it is hard to resist the quad-core, 4.8 inch beast of a phone that is the Samsung Galaxy S3. It is, in all likelihood, the best Android smartphone ever devised, and is likely to receive a ton of developer support from all the major devs.

And how about you – will it be the Google/Developer phone – the Galaxy Nexus – or the Spec-heavy Galaxy S3?   Will any Galaxy Nexus owners be making the switch to the GS3?  Leave us a comment stating your choice!

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