Brief Comparison : Galaxy Note versus Galaxy Nexus

Posted on January 28, 2012

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This is just a layman’s comparison between these 2 latest Android smartphones : Samsung Galaxy Note and Google’s Galaxy Nexus ( made by Samsung ). The G Note is still on Gingerbread 2.3.6 while the G Nexus has Google’s latest firmware Ice Cream Sandwich build 4.0.3. It is rumored the Galaxy Note will have its ICS build around quarter 1 2012. Both of these are considered larger than normal sized smartphones with the G Note at a 5.3 inch display and a 4.65 inch display on the Galaxy Nexus. I have been using the Galaxy Note for about 3 months while the Galaxy Nexus at just under a month. This comparison will not tell you which is the better handset as both has its pros and cons. Rather it will act a guide based on my findings for you to review your needs on a Android smartphone. I will use a score of 10 as best and 1 as worst to give you an idea of each features rating. Again I must emphasize is my personal rating – you are free to disagree with any of it

HARDWARE SPECS

G note – 10 : G Nexus – 8

I will not dwell too much on these hardware specs . For specs details, do refer to the links below. On paper, The G Note hardware specs looks better than the G Nexus with a 1.4 Exynos dual core with Mali M400 GPU while the G nexus is at 1.2 GHz TI OMAP with SGX540 GPU. The G Note has a external micro SD ( can support up to even 64 GB ) which the G Nexus completely lacks. The G Note has a massive 2500 mAh battery versus 1750 mAh for the G Nexus. The G Note also has a better camera at 8 MP (3264×2448 pixels, autofocus, LED flash ) while the G Nexus camera specs appears lower at 5 MP ( 2592×1936 pixels, autofocus, LED flash ). Connectivity options for both are similar. The G nexus is NFC enabled while this feature is lacking in local M’sian sets. And finally the NOTE has its S-Pen which is great for those on the spot jotting, taking down notes and sketching.

Hardware specs of both are HERE : G Note and G Nexus

BUILD QUALITY

G Note – 8 : G Nexus – 10

The G Nexus has a more classier look , and a solid well build appearance . Its curve glass surface is unique unlike the flat slab look of the G Note. The G Nexus feels just right in one’s hands while the G Note which is larger might not be everyone’s liking. While the G Note glass is the reputable Gorilla glass and the G Nexus is not, I have tested both surfaces by dragging keys and even dragging a pen knife across , both pass the test very well with no visible scratches. The G Nexus back cover is slightly more difficult to put back on versus the G Note. Both back covers are plastic and the G Nex quality is better. I do not quite like the placement of the G Nexus volume keys – I find it is too much near center and I often accidentally press the volume buttons often. These volume buttons is hyper sensitive and a slight touch will trigger the volume changes. Also when you need to power on the G Nexus, try avoid your fingers touching these volume buttons as the phone easily boots to Fastboot mode instead of switching on.

SCREEN DISPLAY

G Note – 9 : G Nexus – 8.5

The G Note display is Super AMOLED  with 16 M colors ( 800X1280 pixels , 285 ppi pixel density ) while the G Nexus is similar but at 720 x 1280 pixels (316 ppi pixel density). I would say the G Note has a slight edge over the G Nexus – it is not so obvious on these screenshots . For reading texts, the G Note has  a bigger advantage over the G nexus.

LEFT is the G note while RIGHT is the G Nexus


CAMERA SHOTS QUALITY

G Note – 8 : G Nexus – 10

These shots are taken with the phone’s default camera settings and at the same time under  medium morning sunlight.  The G Note photos are at 2448X3264 ( 72 pixel/inch ) while the G Nexus is at 1944X2592 ( 72 pixel/inch). Though the G Note camera is of higher specs, I find the G nexus photos are way much better with colors brighter, crispier and closer to the natural colors

LEFT : Galaxy Note while RIGHT is G Nexus

PERFORMANCE

G Note – 8 : G Nexus – 10

For those crazy about benchmarkings, these are the AnTuTu benchmarks. The G Nexus is overclock to 1350 Mhz which is close to the G Note 1400 Mhz. These are the best of 3 tests done

The G Nexus scores 6938 against 6038 on the G Note. On paper the G Nexus is a better performer

I did some separate testings :

Browser loading up : G Nexus is overall slightly faster by 1-3 secs on websites such as The Star, Forum XDA, Forum Lowyat, MalaysiaKini, Engadget. However Vellamo scores seems to show the G Note is slight faster
File access using Astro File Manager : G Nexus is only very slightly faster
GPS Lockup using Sygic Aura and Google Maps : G Nexus slight faster by 1-2 secs
Switch on time to lockscrreen : G Note – 25 secs while the G Nexus is very much slower at 52 secs. Shutdown times for G Note is 26 secs while it is faster for the G Nexus at only 15 secs

LEFT : G Note while RIGHT is G Nexus

VELLAMO Mobile Browsing benchmarks

Qualcomm’s Vellamo Mobile Web Benchmark,  evaluates performance of the web browser by running various tests on the device. The app runs tests for graphical rendering, javascript, overall user experience and networking protocols. Test parameters include calculating frame per second (fps), base score, weighted score and other scores based on the content sitting on various websites. The app uses as many as 11 different tests on your web browser to assess and analyze overall web-based performance in a mesmerizing full-screen UI that keeps you enticed while tests are in progress. If your device lags behind in handling a certain testing criterion, you’ would notice obvious glitches/patches on the screen.

Both score high and are among the top compared to other Androids

Galaxy Note – 984 : Galaxy Nexus – 955

BATTERY LIFE 

G Note – 9 : G Nexus – 7

The larger battery size of the G Note has an advantage over the G Nexus. I could easily have extra 2-3 hours of battery usage
The G Note operating temperatures is however slightly higher between 2-3 degree C eg browsing

CALLS QUALITY

G Note – 8 : G Nexus – 9

The G Nexus calls is slight clearer than the G Note. There is less background noise, and sometimes slight echos as in the G Note

SOUND QUALITY

G Note -9 : G Nexus – 2

The volume of the G Nexus is one of the worst I have ever come across among all the smartphones I have used. Even installing app like Vol+ does not really help much. It is frustrating if you are watching movies with it. I must say this is the weakest point of the G nexus

VIDEO PLAYBACK :

G Note – 9 : G Nexus – 6

The G Note take this honor due to its bigger display and better sound quality. 1080p videos, avi, mkv, mp4 video files play very well , smoothly on both . Watching youtube downloads was faster by 2-4 secs on the G Note. The G Note by default plays DivX, XviD, WMV formats too unlike the G nex which required other 3rd party players.

OPERATING SYSTEM

G Note : 9 : G NEXUS – 10

The G nexus by virtue of being bundled with Google latest Ice Cream sandwich has make the G Nexus an extremely smooth and slick smartphone. Moving among homescreens and moving among the app drawers is incredibly smooth. There is still a very slight lag on such activities on the Galaxy Note. I am referring this on the stock launcher. I have not tested any 3rd party launchers on the G Nexus as is good enough for me. 3rd party launchers on the Galaxy Note is generally dissappointing as most are yet to optimized for the Note higher resolution and is generally slightly more laggy than default TouchWiz. Other features of ICS I would say is nothing great to be envied only a slight bonus over Gingerbread OS. THose who like to play and tinker with cook roms will find the Galaxy Nexus a better choice as Google updates of its OS will be first onto it and so will rom development by developers.

Overall, my preference is on the Galaxy Note solely because of its bigger display which meets well my needs.

In closing, I would like to post this video comparing the G Note and G nexus on performance features from