Samsung Nexus S vs Samsung Galaxy S

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Samsung Nexus S vs Samsung Galaxy S. Mobile phones, Samsung, Samsung Nexus S, Samsung Galaxy S, Android, Android 2.3,  0

The very first Android 2.3 Gingerbread phone has just been made official - in the shape of the Samsung Nexus S. The new smartphone will be out in time for Christmas at the Carphone Warehouse and Best Buy and is Google's second "own branded" handset after HTC developed the Nexus One for the search giant earlier this year. But, how does it compare to Samsung's current flagship handset - the Galaxy S? We engaged the two in a tense spec-off to see which looks like the better option.

Form Factor

Winner: Galaxy S
122 x 64 x 9.9mm; 118g
Loser: Nexus S
123.9 x 63 x 10.9mm; 129g

Size and portability is a serious consideration with any portable device, and is one of the biggest selling points for any smartphone. The Nexus S is nearly 2mm longer than the Galaxy, although it is very slightly narrower and slimmer. However, when it comes to weight, the new handset is considerably chunkier, weighing in at 129g, compared to the 118g offered by the Galaxy S. As a result of its scale-tipping specs, sadly the Nexus S has fallen at the first hurdle, with the Galaxy S winning the first round. We're yet to see if the Nexus S will advance on the often-criticised plastic build of the Galaxy S.


Draw: Nexus S
4-inch, 800 x 480, Super AMOLED
Draw: Galaxy S
4-inch, 800 x 480, Super AMOLED

When it comes to smartphones, one of the all important factors is the size and quality of the display. There's not a lot between these two handsets, as they both sport identical 4-inch displays with the same 800 x 480 pixel count. The use of AMOLED technology promises a brighter screen that uses less power and is well suited for use in bright daylight. The two phones are truly neck and neck in this round and that's why we have no choice but to declare it a draw.

Engine Room

Draw: Nexus S
1GHz Cortex A8 (Hummingbird) processor, 512MB RAM
Draw: Galaxy S
1GHz Hummingbird CPU, 512MB RAM

With both handsets sporting their own 1GHz processors, the two are evenly matched in this category. The Hummingbird S5PC110 chipset found on the Galaxy S offers a solid graphics processing performance when compared with, for example, a Snapdragon chip. The processor on the Nexus S is listed as being a Cortex A8 (Hummingbird) chip. As both are based on an A8 cortex, it looks like there is very little, if anything between them. As a result, we have no choice but to call this round a tie. In reality though, Android 2.3 may deliver performance advantages through software optimisation.


LOSEr: Nexus S
16GB, no confirmed microSD slot
WInner: Galaxy s
8/16GB, microSD expandable

Both handsets offer some fairly solid specs in the storage department, with the Galaxy S offering up either 8 or 16GB of internal memory, while the Nexus S incorporates 16GB as standard.
It hasn't been confirmed whether the Nexus S will have a microSD card slot to enable you to expand the memory, and there is no mention of it in the specs available. It seems an odd move to not offer expansion, but 16GB does provide you with a great deal of memory space. The Samsung Galaxy S on the other hand will let you expand the memory as well as being fully loaded with internal memory, so we'll hand it the victory.


Winner: Nexus S
5MP, flash, front facing, 720p video capture
Loser: Galaxy S
5MP, front facing, 720p video capture

When it comes to taking pictures, it's almost too close to call between the Galaxy S and the new Nexus S. Both offer a reasonable 5-megapixel still camera, which is relatively standard on modern smartphones. However, the new Nexus S comes up trumps with the inclusion of a flash, while the Galaxy S doesn't offer any help for low light photography. Both handsets offer the added benefits of 720p video capture, so if it's high-def video that's important to you then you're well catered for with both the Nexus S and the Galaxy S. Both handsets also offer handy front-facing cameras. Despite similar specs, it's only fair that the win goes to the Nexus on the imaging front, thanks to the inclusion of a flash, and Android 2.3's native support of multiple cameras.


Winner: Nexus S
Android 2.3
Loser: Galaxy S
Samsung TouchWiz 3.0 + Android 2.2

Obviously the main difference here is the OS, with the Nexus S being the very first mobile phone to boasts Google's Android 2.3 (Gingerbread). According to Google, this is the fastest version of its OS so far and will include support for Near Field Communication (NFC), a new and improved keyboard with multi-touch support, internet calling support, and some user interface tweaks. While the Galaxy S uses Samsung's impressive TouchWiz 3.0 user interface, the Nexus S is a pure Google phone and so makes use of the native Android UI, unsullied and upgradable, without the sorts of delays that Galaxy S owners faced. No surprises here - the Nexus wins the software round thanks to the inclusion of the brand new Android Gingerbread OS.


Winner: Galaxy S
Wi-Fi (802.11b/g/n), Bluetooth 3.0, DLNA
Loser: Nexus S
Wi-Fi (802.11 b/g/n), Bluetooth 2.1, DLNA

The two handsets are fairly similar when it comes to the all-important issue of connectivity. They both have Wi-Fi with the identical 802.11 b/g/n standard and both the Nexus S and Galaxy S also include DLNA which will let you stream content between compatible devices. That means that you could lounge around in bed watching videos streamed from your home server to your phone or shoot some high-def footage on your phone and then watch it back on your DLNA TV. It's slightly surprising that the new model only sports Bluetooth 2.1 while the Galaxy S goes one step further in the spec-off by including Bluetooth 3.0. There may not be many devices that are compatible yet, but at least it's prepped and ready. Thanks to its superior Bluetooth capability, the Galaxy S takes the point in the connectivity round.


In terms of price, the Nexus S isn't really a budget option - it comes free of charge on a £35 a month contract, or you'll be able to pick one up SIM free for just under £550. In contrast, Samsung's Galaxy S is available on contracts starting at £30, or £499 for a SIM free handset, so it's a slightly more affordable option than the new Google handset.

Overall, this is a very close contest, with the existing Galaxy S putting up a very strong fight. The older handset comes out on top in several categories thanks to factors such as its lightweight design and its superior Bluetooth specs. However, the new Nexus S steals the win largely thanks to its Android 2.3 status, and that NFC capability, but also due to the inclusion of a camera flash and the use of Google's dedicated Android UI in all its native glory.

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