In this comparison, we’re pitting two of the biggest (literally) and baddest Android smartphones against one another. Which two phones are we talking about, you ask? The tablet/smartphone hybrid in the Galaxy Note and Google’s own flagship phone in the Galaxy Nexus. Both of these smartphones bring something different to the table, and deciding on which one is best for you is not the purpose of this head to head. Instead, we’re figuring out which one out of the two is the fastest.
Before we jump right into the comparison, lets take a quick look at each phone’s spec sheet:
|Samsung Galaxy Note||Samsung Galaxy Nexus|
|Screen||5.3 in Super AMOLED (1280×800) 285 PPI||4.65 in Super AMOLED (1280×720) 316 PPI|
|Processor||1.5 GHz Snapdragon S3 dual-core||1.2 GHz TI OMAP 4460 dual-core|
|RAM||1 GB||1 GB|
|Storage||16 GB||16 or 32 GB|
|Camera||8 MP rear, 2 MP front||5 MP rear, 1.3 MP front|
|OS||Android 2.3 (with TouchWiz 4.0)||Android 4.0 (stock)|
Both of these Samsungs work on AT&T, with the Note available at any AT&T store and the Nexus available for purchase unlocked without a contract on Google Play. So, if you’re like the thousands of others who are on the fence, maybe seeing which phone has better performance will help you make your final decision.
Boot Up Test: The first test we ran was the boot up test. We turned both of the devices off, and then turned them both on at the same exact time. The Galaxy Note showed the lock screen first, but continued to load things up in the background (we saw the preparing SD card message in the notification bar). The Nexus’ lock screen came up shortly after the Note’s, and it too seemed to be loading things up in the background after we unlocked (evidenced by the re-loading of widgets and shortcuts). There is no way to tell for sure which phone actually finished first here, but because the Note showed the lock screen first, we’re giving it the win in this department.
Application Loading Speed: We downloaded and installed the same set of apps on both phones. Then, we opened them up at the same time on each device to see which loaded up first. The three apps we tested were Flixster, ScoreCenter, and Dictionary. The Galaxy Note went 3-0 in this test beating out the Nexus by a second or two each time.
GPU Performance: To test each phone’s GPU, we opened up Google Earth on each phone and enabled 3D buildings while taking a look at the Las Vegas strip. We let each phone load for a minute or so, and then began our tests by zooming in and out and panning around the scene. The Note seemed to struggle greatly, making us feel like we were looking at a set of screen shots as we panned around. The Galaxy Nexus on the other hand (while not perfect), was much more fluid in the zooming and panning. Therefore, in this test the Galaxy Nexus notches its first win.
Quadrant Benchmark: We tend to give more credence to real-world tests (like the ones above and below) than we do benchmarks, but it’s still interesting to see how devices perform relative to one another. After running Quadrant, the Note scored a 2039 while the Nexus scored slightly lower with a score of 2004. The two scores were so close that I was tempted to call this one a tie. However, Vin Diesel’s quote “it doesn’t matter if you win by an inch or a mile, winning is winning” came to mind so I’m giving credit where it’s due giving the Note the win here.
Browser Speed: Normally when we do these kinds of head to heads, we have to load up almost ten websites before we get a clear picture as to which phone loads up webpages faster. That wasn’t the case with these two phones. Android 4.0 clearly made the difference here with the Galaxy Nexus easily beating out the Note on the websites we tested. We loaded up NFL.com (both mobile and full versions) and the Nexus loaded both faster.
And then… we loaded up Yahoo.com. The Nexus (accidentally) loaded up the full site while the Note loaded up the mobile site. Normally this would call for a re-test, but the thing is the Galaxy Nexus actually loaded up the full site faster than the Note did the mobile site. And that’s when I decided to throw in the towel on behalf of the Note. Winner here is clearly the Galaxy Nexus.
And the winner is…
There you have it. Those were our tests and the Galaxy Note beat out the Nexus going 3-2 out of the 5 game series. But it wasn’t by much. The one test that gave the advantage to the Note could have easily been called a tie (the Quadrant test). But then again once it gets ICS the browser test could change too. Ultimately though, you’re going to be just fine with either device. If you want better app speed, I’d go with the Note. If you want better graphics performance, go with the Nexus.