You didn't think we'd come all the way to London to see the Samsung Galaxy S III (S3) and not put it up against the Galaxy Nexus, did you? Physically, you can see some differences, of course. The SGSIII is a little more sleek, a little less angular. The glossy finish (especially the Pebble Blue color) is easier on the eyes, certainly less industrial feeling than the GNex, especially when you trade the textured battery cover in for a smooth surface.

The displays are fairly close in size, at 4.65 inches for the Galaxy Nexus, while the Galaxy S3 is a full 4.8 inches diagonally. But in terms of display quality, we're going for the GSIII, which a the very least seems to have fewer issues with whites than its older cousin.

Under the hood, we're also going to pin a winner on the Galaxy S III. The Nexus is fast, to be sure, but something appears to have been put into overdrive on the SGSIII, even with Touchwiz and livewallpapers a'blazin.

We'd have no problem trading in Touchwiz for stock Ice Cream Sandwich, but maybe not all of it. The GNex camera app is spartan at best. Samsung's custom motion tweaks are a fun addition (for example: When you're looking at a friend's contact info, you can simply raise the phone to your ear to place a call), and S Voice is a competent interactive companion. (OK, OK. A Siri "competitor.")

Build quality on the SGSIII certainly is as good as on the GNex, if not better. It's a solid-feeling phone, though it does tend to feel a little more like a hunk of plastic, whereas the GNex has hints of rubber.

Our one turn-off in comparing the two phones is that for while we're not necessarily against improving on the Ice Cream Sandwich user interface, Touchwiz doesn't necessarily do so. The app drawer is decent enough and mostly stick with the ICS paradigm. But the Touchwiz widgets don't look anymore sophisticated than they did a year ago. And considering how far Android itself has come since then, it's perhaps time for something new.


Reader comments

Samsung Galaxy S3 versus Samsung Galaxy Nexus!


I disagree, the camera alone is worth the upgrade. The S3 is loaded, so many better features over the Nexus to count. I have the Nexus and I will be honest, IMO this phone just blows away the Nexus, just no comparison. This is my next phone, hoping for Pentaband radios in this bad boy.

For you will be fine, all the "rich nerds" surely will be changed to the SIII because they live their lives for that, just don't care how powerful is the phone that they have... But for real people is not a necessity.

I'm very happy whit my G-NEX!

For me there is no justification to buy the SIII, when releasing the new nexus then I will.

Believe it or not, it's actually fairly cheap to upgrade if you're on a prepaid SIM service and you're constantly flipping your "old" phone. I usually take around a $100-150 loss each time I upgrade. Buy new for around $500, sell a few months later for $400ish, and then get a new one ;) The only bad part is the initial

the galaxy s 3 is better than the nexus but its not a nexus the nexus should have had that camera the only thing imo thats better.I like big screens but after trying to stretch my thumb up to the top left of my nexus 4.6 is fine.

You've done a great job with your coverage. Asking all the right questions everyone wants to know! Great video. For those who need the latest thing I think the GS3 did a great job taking the next step. upgraded inside AND OUT unlike their biggest competitor who's latest phone looks exactly like their last one.
Samsung stepped up. haters will hate, but when jellybean comes out I think samsung will have the update ready quickly enough. My guess is that the next nexus will be built off of this design with minor improvements. thanks again for your fast coverage on this device!

"but when jellybean comes out I think samsung will have the update ready quickly enough"

Hope you're right because history doesn't reflect this statement.
This is the big reason why I picked up the Galaxy Nexus last week as opposed to waiting for the SIII. I loved my original Galaxy (Vibrant) but felt cheated that it never got updated past Froyo.

As a GN owner, I will sacrifice the lack of a Mirco SD card and the new Touchwiz in return for Jelly Bean 6 months before SIII owners. =\

Same here. My vibrant lasted a long time but I'm really happy with my Galaxy Nexus. No regrets even after seeing the HTC One series and GSIII phone. Google phone FTW

There are international Galaxy S2s that got ICS update on the 13th of March (4.0.3)

4.0.3 was released late December for the Galaxy Nexus

Google, we're waiting for your next piece of ART.
Please make it "PURE" Google. Like, even the hardware is Google (Motorola) but use a cutting-edge processor.

Why am I talking to Google here? to feel like if they heard me xD

Thank you Phil, Alex and AC for the great coverage of this phone. A lot of good videos and all the info you need for now :)

This is going to come down to personal preference. I personally don't like white phones and I don't like touch wiz. That said it's a nice phone rocking ICS, but I will stick to my GNEX for now.

Definitely not worth fawning over if you have a Nexus but most certainly a worthy upgrade if you have an older phone. Some of the software features that TouchWiz added seems interesting enough but, at least for me, not a good enough selling point.

Always go with the best hardware. Being a Samsung device, hackers dream phone so easy to flash roms, if touch wiz is not your cup of tea. What you can never replace is the great camera, 16 - 32 or 64 mb of internal memory along with the sd-card slot that can take up to another 64gb of memory. Yep this is a no brainer the SGS3 is a very clear winner. I am hoping this guy comes with Pentaband radios so we can use it in both T-Mobile and AT&T. That would really be over the top by Samsung.

[QUOTE]I am hoping this guy comes with Pentaband radios so we can use it in both T-Mobile and AT&T. That would really be over the top by Samsung.[/QUOTE]

I feel like the carriers won't allow that to happen. They probably lock it out just like the note which has 3G on tmobile?

GNex still wins. Pure vanilla and when Jellybean arrives, SGS3 owners will be waiting until the cows come home while GNex owners will be rocking it.

Well here in the UK the s2 got ics within 5 month of ics release so not bad and certainly better than some other manufacturers like Motorola and LG and Sony... In facti

Yeah... the G-Nex is a joke.
SGSIII Owner: "What do you have that's awesome?"
G-Nex Owner: "I have Jelly Bean! What about you?" (Which will most likely only be Android 4.1.x).
SGSIII Owner: "I have a better screen, camera, standard battery, design, processor, a microSD card slot that supports 64GB, readily available accessories, and more software features built in."

I mean really? Does a small update trump a phone that is hands down more powerful and feature filled phone? (For those of you that want to hit reply, this question was rhetorical, because you'd have to be an iSheep to not recognize that this phone is basically the new flagship of Android. 20 Million SGSIIs sold world wide? Watch this thing hit 40 Million. End Rant).

Am I a Nexus hater? Nah, just this 3rd Nexus installment, it was a disappointment.

"readily available accessories" lmao!
"more software features built in." Enjoy that TouchWiz while I use Jelly Bean months before you do.

If you don't get the Nexus, get the HTC One X.
The Galaxy S series didn't step up their game like they did last year.

I have a camera to take picture with thanks. Why anyone needs anything about 5 MP on a phone, I don't know. The Nexus' camera is excellent compared to what people say about it.
The GNex screen is better than the GSIII.
Design?!? You must be blind. That thing is not attractive.
Processor - fair enough, the SIII blows the nexus away - not that it really matters.
MicroSD - again, fair enough. I have no need for one, but I'm sure someone out there does...
Accessories and features? You're trollin' right?

The battery...ahh the battery. Why everyone moans so much, I have no idea. Stop using stupid battery hungry ROMs - use ones like Codename Android that practically charge your phone up they're so battery friendly!

Rant over. The GNex is not a better phone. How could it be? It's old now. However, is the GSIII a big enough upgrade to warrant people buying it? I don't think it is. The only REAL improvements are the camera (unnecessary), processor (somewhat unnecessary) and a microSD slot (necessary).

ps Touchwiz is the most disgusting thing to ever land on a phone. ever.

+1 to you, especially regarding the camera. If you want to take pictures and print them, you aren't going to use a smartphone; you are going to use a point & shoot or DSLR. I love the camera debate, because it shouldn't be debatable. I use my GNEX to take pictures on the fly when I don't have my camera readily available, but I would never print those photos out. Stock Android owns Touchwiz, and the GNEX dual core processor is speedy. Plus, I assume with the next update to Android, some of the battery issues that are affecting GNEX handsets will improve.

How is it that people look at the GNex and think the processor/gpu in the S3 are somewhat unnecessary? Everyone was bummed out when they heard the GNex was getting a TI chipset that noone wanted. Especially with that super weak gpu.

Also what about the GNex screen is better? I understand you guys want to sleep better at night but come on... Just say you'd rather wait for a while. Don't keep lying and trying to downplay the next big android phone with a ton of options people were looking forward to (microsd, removable battery) just to make it seem like it's not a big deal.

Pure vanilla UI but not really pure vanilla on the Sprint and Vzw versions.....unfortunately. Therefore, they may not get updated when Google releases the new OS, at least not at the same time. :-(

was super excited about it and it was massively over hyped. Come on Samsung, huge phone, where is the massively reduced side / top / bottom Bevels, it is still a huge slab like the GN. Either put the big screen 4.5+ and reduce bezel, or use a 4 - 4.3 screen and pack same pixels, super disappointed. I'm expecting iPhone 5 will have virtually no bezel, and a 4" screen and a lot of folks will gravitate towards that! You blew it this go round...

Everyone has been expecting the "new" iPhone to have a 4 inch screen and no bezel for the last 2 versions. Try and keep your expectations low :)

Glad I got my GNEX on Sprint instead of waiting for this to come to the US. There will always be better hardware but the SGSIII isn't that much better (and I don't need "me too Siri")

If I hadn't already gotten the GNex, I would be buying it now. I like the software buttons and the Holo UI better. For now, I'm far from needing an $80+ SD card for storage so I wouldn't be buying one even if I were getting the GS3. I'll also be using my GNex while others wait for the GS3. That's an important factor for me since I still had the N1 and needed to upgrade badly. I'm guessing the full price of the GS3 will be $600 or more for those of us who want to keep our grandfathered accounts and stay off contract? That makes $400 for the GNexus look pretty good. These are just some things others might want to consider if they are still debating on what to buy.

Buying a 64 GB micro sd card is just an option. There are also options like a Sandisk 32 gb for $20 (including shipping) on amazon.

What I would really like to know is if the bump technology that has been 'enhanced' for S3 to S3 transfers is still compatible with the bump technology on the Nexus (if transfers are a little slower, who cares?)? Otherwise, another proprietary feature that is limited by phone brand.

As I understand it, it is enhanced from that on the G-Nex in that it actually supports File Transfers between devices not just meta-data. In the demonstrations, Samsung only seems to mention this feature being used between two SGSIII devices. I think that may be due to a current software incompatibility between the SGSIII and other NFC capable devices. I am not yet sure if this is leveraging a standard file transfer protocol or if it is something proprietary to Samsung.

No on screen buttons... get with ice cream sandwich roadmap. On screen buttons are the way to go. They are not only 100 percent functional(never had a problem) but they can adapt as Android matures so you won't be stuck in the dark if Google officially brings back the mighty search key.. plus with roms like liquid smooth you can change them to whatever you want them to look like. I like using random pics as icons to throw off anyone who may get there hands on my phone. If only for long enough to rip it out of there hands.. lol :-)

"Our one turn-off in comparing the two phones"... I may be taking this the wrong way but it seems that you're saying in your opinion, the Slll didn't improve upon the GNex stock ICS experience...and this is a turn off for you? I thought you were comparing the 2 phones. Not pointing out how the new shiny phone is better than the slightly older phone. Oh wait, you sell accessories. I've been following your site for years...disappointing to see how much you'll hock anything new...I remember when you and Jerry and Mickey and Corey were laughing at dual core phones. "do we really need a phone with 2 cores?" Your opinions change with the winds. I realize technology moves fast but it's comical.

Beats the nexus hardware wise by a long shot. Matter of fact the sgs2 beats it by a long shot. Software is always interchangeable. Touchwiz, i prefer than any other ROM out there. Whats the deal with this new Touchwiz, seems like they HAD to put a little improvement upgrade over the current 4.0 touchwiz just for marketing sake. Looks very sleek and nice overall. Ill be on the next years galaxy.

GS3 is certainly a better phone all around, better hardware, better design in my opinion, better camera.... That being said I ordered my GNex yesterday to upgrade from the vibrant. You just can't beat the $400 off contract price and it's not THAT big of an upgrade. This way I don't have to wait for 2 years to upgrade when GS4 or the next nexus when it comes out. Oh and you guys don't even understand how excited I a for my new phone to come in!!!!

Where can I get the clock and weather widget that is on all of Samsung's new products?? I LOVE IT!! Anyone got any suggestions......

This is the first truly beautiful flagship phone from Samsung. Can't wait for the USA version on Tmobile. Was hoping for a 12MP camera but I'll take the 8.

I like the fact that you do not have to power down and remove the battery to change or install the micro-sd card! Be sure to UN-MOUNT it first, before removing it folks!