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11 May 2012 @ 08:02 pm
Galaxy Nexus vs Galaxy S3  
So my original Nexus One phone has served me very well, but it is definitely getting pretty long in the tooth. I haven't been able to easily download new apps in over a year. Plus late last year a bug was introduced (possibly relating to upgrades in T-Mobile's network) which makes it impossible for me to use 3G for long periods of time without the phone rebooting.

So i'd really like to upgrade and am trying to figure out what to get. (Coincidentally it seems that +Wil Wheaton is pondering almost the exact same question today.) For me i think the top contenders are the Galaxy Nexus and the Galaxy S3. The HTC One X is probably a somewhat distant third choice.

There are some reviews comparing the specs on the Galaxy Nexus and the S3 (and some comparing the S3 and One X as well.)

So let's do the pros and cons, at least as i've figured out so far.

Galaxy S3 Pros: It's got a 1.4 GHz quad-core processor (compared to 1.2 GHz dual-gore on GN) It's got Gorilla Glass 2, which from what i understand is better than the "fortified glass" used in the GN. It's got a slightly better battery than the GN. It has a menu button! Google is trying to kill the menu button in Ice Cream Sandwich and i hate them for it! I love the menu button!

Galaxy Nexus Pros: It's got stock android. So there's no stupid "TouchWiz" to work around and it will get OS updates much faster. It's available unlocked directly from Google for $400. I can just swap sim cards and keep my same (relatively) low cost no-contract plan.

Galaxy S3 Cons: It's only available in blue or white. What the hell? It's not actually out yet. It comes out at the end of the month in Europe and who knows when in the US. If i want to get the unlocked version the current guess is that it will cost about $700.

Galaxy Nexus Cons: There's no SD card slot, which is bad. And since i'm on T-Mobile i'd have to get the 16GB version instead of the 32GB version. Even worse, someone decided the headphone jack should go on the _bottom_ of the phone. I have to stick the phone in my pocket upside down? I can't rest the bottom edge on anything if i'm listening to music? That just seems incredibly awkward. The camera apparently sucks. I don't care about the 8 megapixel vs 5 megapixel thing, but apparently the GN camera takes rather washed out pictures and is really poor in low light conditions.

Cons for both: They both are using "PenTile" displays rather than RGB. This is apparently... bad? I dunno, i don't usually stress out that much about graphics so who knows if i'd notice or not. The shell is also made out of some kind of plastic. I really like the sturdy feel of my N1 with the metal shell. Neither one has a trackball. The trackball in the N1 is awesome.

Also, they're both rather large, and i'm not sure if that's a pro or a con. It's obviously good for looking at stuff on the screen, but i'm not sure how easy they are to hold, and i don't know how well they'd fit in my pocket.

So if you just add things up by "number of pros and cons" it looks like the Galaxy S3 comes out significantly ahead. However stock android for the GN is a pretty fricking big deal, as is the stupid colors for the GS3. In fact, between the two different versions there's a frickin lots of cons stacked up.

If only i could have a phone in a nice color with an SD card slot, the headphone jack in a reasonable place, a decent camera and stock android. I suppose if they eventually add more colors for the GS3 i could get one, root it, and install Cyanogen?

You know what, as a functional device my N1 is still perfectly, well, functional. It makes calls, it tells time, i can listen to Audible, i can record workouts i can browse the web (as long as i don't mind 2G speeds away from home) and read email and check in to Foursquare and GetGlue. There's supposedly going to be a Google Nexus Tablet out in a few months, maybe i should just get one of those (or if that falls through, an Asus Transformer) and use that for trying out games and other cool new apps? Then in about six or seven months i can see what the next Nexus phone will be.
Current Mood: frustratedfrustrated
jon_leonardjon_leonard on May 13th, 2012 05:18 am (UTC)
Well, I have two of the named devices: A Galaxy Nexus and an Asus Transformer. I'm pretty happy with them both.

There are two things about the Galaxy Nexus that annoy me from time to time. To start with, i wish the battery life were better. If I have it in fairly low-power settings (dim screen, etc.) it'll last a full day, but playing games can definitely drain it faster than that. I should really get one of the higher-capacity batteries. The other issue is that it will occasionally reboot for no apparent reason. It seems kind of random, and maybe only when it's in a sleep mode. Not a huge deal, but because I have it set on full-device encryption and want to use it as a pager, I'll have to be careful about it.

Some of the other stuff you discuss has't been that big a deal for me (though our usage habits may differ). The smaller memory and lack of an SD card slot is certainly a constraint, but that's the storage I've been living with on my iPad without much in the way of problems. I can't fit all the movies that the children might want to watch in 16 GB, but other than that I've not run out of space. The screen seems fine to me, given that it's a phone. I'd love a larger display, but any larger would be annoying to carry around in my pocket. As it is, it fits fine in my pocket. Anything much larger wouldn't fit, but I never wish it were smaller. Headphone positioning has been a total non-issue, but then, I haven't actually connected headphones to it. (The plug on my iPod Touch is in the same spot, though, which I have used a lot. I find that fine.) The camera seems OK, not noticeably different (to my untrained eye) than other mobile-device cameras.

The tablets are really quite a bit different than the phones in terms of what it feels like to use them. There's a reason I frequently carry around both my Asus Transformer and the Galaxy Nexus. The phone is nice in terms of always being with me (and being a phone!), but if I want to type something or deal with a not-cramped screen, the larger form factor is really nice. Again, I wish the battery life were a little better. The Transformer is fine in terms of using it, but it appears to be somewhat wasteful while idle. It'll drain the battery in somewhere around 2 days of non-use. Based on how my iPad behaves, I know it's possible to do a lot better than that. Charging every night isn't that big of a deal though. (Mine is 2 generations old, though; the newer ones may be better.)

I'm considering upgrading my Transformer, actually: Sometime "soon" (June?) there should be a higher-res Transformer, which I find compelling. If there's a Google tablet I might get that too -- depends on the pricing and feature set (about which I have no internal visibility). (I find that having multiple compute devices works well for me, and not only because my family keeps borrowing them.)
DonAithnendonaithnen on May 13th, 2012 05:37 am (UTC)
Huh, the rebooting thing sounds a little like the issue with my Nexus One. If you want to try an experiment, see what happens if you turn off 3G for a couple days. (There should be a "Use only 2G networks" option in Settings->Wireless & Networks -> Mobile Networks.)

As for the headphone jack, i have my phone plugged into the sound system every time i get into the car, i'll usually use my phone as an mp3 player while rollerblading, and i'll often listen to music or audiobooks while walking around anywhere on my own, and i'll occasionally plug my phone into the stereo for music or use headphones for an audiobook for a little while before bed in the evening.

I guess when i'm in the car i already have the power adapter plugged into the bottom, but the rest of the time it seems rather awkward/