I emailed Samsung customer support and asked them if the Galaxy S3 would have better reception than the Nexus and they sent back the following form letter:
Thank you for your inquiry. We do apologize for the inconvenience that these might have caused you. We understand that your phone has a poor reception.
Reception problems can be linked to a number of factors. It may be a building that tends to block the signal due to the nature of its structure. It may also be that the strength of the signal may be particularly weak in that specific area.
Geographic conditions, internal software and tower placement play a significant role in how well the phone grabs and maintains a signal. If you feel there are more than just the above factors at work then please call Samsung Customer Support at 1-888-987-4357 for troubleshooting to help determine if the handset should be sent in for repair/service.
You might also contact your Service Provider to verify that you are within their service area.
Verizon's Customer support 1-800-922-0204.
Thank you for your continued interest in Samsung products.
Damn they are making it hard for me to ever buy another samsung phone.......first the Fascinate.....then the Charge (which actually did get a lot better after software updates)....and now the Nexus.....wtf and yes lucky me started off my android adventure with the HTC Eris (the reason that I have not had another HTC phone)