HTC One S vs Samsung Galaxy Nexus, Which One Is Faster?

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If you’re on T-Mobile, the HTC One S and the unlocked HSPA+ Samsung Galaxy Nexus are the best two phones running Android you have available. You can buy the HTC One S from T-Mobile for $200 with a 2-year contract and you can get the Samsung Galaxy Nexus for $400 directly from Google itself (via Google Play) without having to make any commitments.

But price aside, how do you decide which phone is for you? Well, everyone is different and likes or dislikes certain features on a phone, so we can’t really help you there (however seeing each phone’s respective review might). But what we can help you with is determining which phone is the fastest out of the two. But before we do, here’s the tech spec breakdown of each phone:

HTC One S Samsung Galaxy Nexus
Screen 4.3 in Super AMOLED (960×540) 256 PPI 4.65 in Super AMOLED (1280×720) 316 PPI
Processor 1.5 GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 1.2 GHz dual-core TI OMAP 4460
RAM 1 GB 1 GB
Storage 16 GB 16 or 32 GB
Camera 8 MP rear, VGA front 5 MP rear, 1.3 MP front
OS Android 4.0 with HTC Sense Android 4.0 (stock)

As you can see by looking at each phone’s specs, we expect the HTC One S to perform a bit faster than the Galaxy Nexus due to its faster processor. However the spec sheet doesn’t always tell the whole story. For example, how are we supposed to know whether or not HTC Sense slows the One S down? Or if one phone has a better GPU than another? Well, there is one way to find out.. and that’s by watching the video below:

We ran a bunch of tests on both phones (at the same time) in order to figure out which one performed the best. The tests included measuring each phone’s boot up time, how long it took to load up certain apps, how well the GPU was able to handle 3D graphics, and of course a browser speed test. Here are the results we got for each test:

Boot Up Time: While both phones turn on pretty quickly, in this test the HTC One S beat out the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. However, the Galaxy Nexus we used for this test had an unlocked bootloader which seemed to slow the boot up time for the Nexus.

App Speed: We opened for of the same apps on each phone at the same time to see which one loaded up faster. Here’s what we found:

  • Messaging – Winner: HTC One S
  • Flixster – Winner: HTC One S
  • ESPN Score Center – Winner: HTC One S
  • Camera – Winner: HTC One S

While each app we opened on the two phones only loaded up a second or two faster on the One S compared to the Galaxy Nexus, it was a 4-0 sweep making the One S the winner of this test.

GPU Performance: We tested the GPU’s on each phone by running Google Earth and enabling 3D buildings while looking at the Las Vegas Strip. We let each phone load up the buildings for about a minute before we began our test which consisted of zooming in and out of the scene. The Galaxy Nexus’ GPU (the SGX 540) was able to zoom in and out decently (however it wasn’t lag free). The HTC One S with its Adreno 225 GPU however kept crashing on us. So by default (or K.O?) the Galaxy Nexus is the winner for this test.

Browser Speed: When it came to the browsers, both phones performed what seemed equally well. I think it will really depend on which sites you frequent to determine which phone is the faster out of the two here for you. But, here are the results we got from sites we tested:

  • PhoneBuff.com main page and article – Winner: HTC One S
  • NFL mobile site – Winner: HTC One S
  • NFL full site – Winner: Tie
  • Yahoo mobile site – Winner: HTC One S
  • Phone Dog site – Winner: Galaxy Nexus

As you can see, from the results we got we have to give the edge to the HTC One S in this department. Like I said above, you may get different results yourself when visiting different sites, but we have to give the benefit of the doubt to the One S. In other words, the winner of this test is once again the HTC One S.

So, which phone is the speed demon?

Both the Samsung Galaxy Nexus and the HTC One S are fast phones. But as the results indicate, the HTC One S (as expected) is the faster out of the two. But it isn’t by as much as you’d think. In almost all the tests that we ran, the One S only beat out the Galaxy Nexus by a second or two. So while we have to claim the One S the winner, you honestly can’t really go wrong with either when it comes to performance. Ultimately, it should be the features that each phone offers that makes you prefer one over the other. Some of those features are listed below:

Reasons the HTC One S is better:

  • It’s faster.
  • It’s thinner, lighter, and has better build quality.
  • It has a better rear camera.

Reasons the Samsung Galaxy Nexus is better:

  • Bigger, higher resolution screen.
  • Pure Android experience.
  • NFC capabilities.
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About Author

David Rahimi is the editor-in-chief at PhoneBuff.com. Ever since he got his first smartphone, he has been obsessed with mobile technology and all that it has to offer. Other interests include business, investing, and neuroscience.

  • going home

    I cant see a reason to go from the HTC Amaze (my current phone) to the One S.
    I see three glaring reasons not to, 1)non removable battery 2) no SD memory slot 3) no NFC .
    Even though the GNex has a slower processor than the Amaze, I am still contemplating getting one. I know GS3 is dropping soon but as bad as the HTC Sense UI is, Samsung Touchwiz is the worst UI since the earth cooled, and is totally intolerable.

  • http://www.halosystechnologies.com/ Saurabh Saxena

    I don’t own an HTC but I do respect their quality. Are you actually
    going to tell me that the minor bump S4 is a nicer phone than the HTC
    One? As far as flagships go, Samsung makes the cheapest, most unoriginal
    device in the S4. HTC has made the One from premium metal, LG uses a
    crystal reflective glass back, and Sony has the Xperia Z with an
    excellent design with a glass back and full certified waterproofing.

    • http://dylricho.com/ Dylan

      You can blame Samsung for using our last oil reserves, when we get to that point.