The Gadget Post
The Samsung Galaxy Nexus has become the most awaited Android device for 2011. Each Nexus is special mainly because it brings in a new trend of software. In this case it’s the launch device for Android 4.0, otherwise known as Ice Cream Sandwich.
You need to remember that the Nexus line was initially developer phones. with every iteration of Android, consumer interest grows inside the naked Android experience. The Nexus S proved very popular, along with the Galaxy Nexus, we’re considering a device that perhaps holds more appeal than in the past. But should this become the perfect next Android phone? Only time will tell.
The Samsung Galaxy Nexus is beautifully-crafted and we can’t help thinking that it’s one of the most eye-catching phone launches of 2011. It’s more fascinating in looks compared to the Samsung Galaxy SII, it’s more sophisticated compared to Motorola Razr, it’s more distinctive than the HTC Sensation. what more should i say.
The Galaxy Nexus is shaped to adjust to into your hand, a delicate curve that sits nicely and presents the display to you. We have seen some gadgets with big displays that feel too large, so you’ve to move them around to use them one-handed. That’s not the case with the Galaxy Nexus, though reaching the far corner of the screen using your thumb can be quite a bit of a stretch. At times you almost forget that the screen is really as big as it is. Only when you set this phone alongside something as diminutive as the iPhone 4, would you realise the size of the thing.
It’s not constructed from metals, but thats not a huge negative and it does mean that there are no signal problems, and this phone is packed with connectivity. The backplate, with it’s chequered grippy finish is rather thin and flexible, pushing into place in the back of the device. If there is anything to criticize about the build, then perhaps the truth that the bottom corner of the backplate never seemed to stay correctly.
The Galaxy Nexus is light in the hand at 135g, and the dimensions 135.5 x 67.94 x 8.94mm don’t cause it to stick out as a brute of a phone. The curvature on the sides allow it to be comfy and at that weight it doesn’t feel in your pocket too much.
Following the design of previous Samsung phones, the power/standby button is on the right-hand side. The volume controls are on the left-hand side and the 3.5mm headphone jack and Micro-USB are at the bottom. There aren’t any actual buttons on the front, with Ice Cream Sandwich providing you three touch controls at the bottom of the display, in the System Bar.
The displayThe most significant talking point of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus is going to be the 4.65-inch Super AMOLED 1280 x 720 pixel display. At these dimensions you get a pixel density of 315ppi. That puts it close to the pixel density of the iPhone 4S, but obviously spread over a more substantial canvas, so offers much greater potential for displaying content, especially rich multimedia. The HD label is perhaps less of an important point; the key, is that that Galaxy Nexus will render fine detail sharply, from text to images, and that brings with it a range of benefits.
Colours are rich, blacks are deep and Ice Cream Sandwich’s sophisticated look is stunning. Aiding the playback of HD video isn’t new to Android, but in this situation being able to display it is of added benefit and it in fact is stunning.
Perched underneath the bonnet you have a Texas Instruments OMAP4 processor clocked at 1.2GHz, with 1GB RAM sitting in support. This is accompanied by 16GB of internal memory. Perhaps interestingly there isn’t any microSD card slot, which for some users is a disappointment.
Memory apart, the Galaxy Nexus runs very smoothly. There is plenty of power with no indication of lag. Android 4.0 is fast and slick, starting apps is fast, as is general management of the hardware.
All the normal connectivity is in place, from Bluetooth 3 to Wi-Fi, GPS and HSPA+, but new to the group is NFC. NFC enables Android Beam that is basically a technique for sharing content device-to-device by touching them together. Naturally you’ll need two devices with both Android 4 and NFC hardware.
The latest version of Android, Ice Cream Sandwich, is of course a big reason to be interested in the Samsung Galaxy Nexus.
Selecting the Galaxy Nexus means you’ll be first in line for any updates that will along to Android. This is actually the first device to appear with Ice Cream Sandwich, running how Google wants it to run. It’s actually a gorgeous operating system that takes Android a step further. Aesthetically, ICS looks a lot like Honeycomb, and there is a natural sophistication to Android 4 featuring its Tron-like blue lines that people love.
Core applications and control are actually tightened up. Settings are simpler to access and more user-friendly than previously; it requires fewer button presses to access what you want to do. App menus are actually redesigned so that common tasks appear on an Action Bar on the screen, rather than hidden in a menu.
The change to the main, on-screen device controls is not as huge you may think. The nature of them has changed, offering back, home and recent apps. Only the latter is actually new and replaces the long press on the home key to access multitasking; it is more instant now so feels less like an afterthought.
The control icons rotate therefore they are always the correct way up, but they always sit on the “bottom” of the screen, i.e., the short side, on the phone, whereas on tablets they modify position based on orientation. I’ve come across rotating icons before from HTC, so although it’s different, it isn’t a huge deal.
- 4G LTE-enabled smartphone with Android Ice Cream Sandwich OS, 4.65-inch HD Super AMOLED display, and dual-core 1.2 GHz processor
- Wireless-N Wi-Fi networking (with optional Wi-Fi Mobile Hotspot service); Near Field Communications (NFC) capabilities
- 5-MP camera; full HD 1080p camcorder; front-facing video chat camera; Bluetooth stereo music; 32 GB memory; corporate and personal e-mail
- Up to 12 hours of talk time, up to 150 hours (6.25 days) of standby time; released in December, 2011
- What’s in the Box: handset, rechargeable battery, wall/USB charger, stereo headset, quick start guide
The world’s first smartphone running on Android 4.0 (a.k.a., Ice Cream Sandwich), the 4G LTE enabled Galaxy Nexus by Samsung for Verizon brings a redesigned user interface with enhanced multitasking, notifications, full Web browsing experience, and more. You’ll also enjoy innovative, next-gen features such as Face Unlock, which uses facial recognition to unlock the Galaxy Nexus.
Powered by Android 4.0 and a 1.2 GHz dual-core processor (view larger).
4.65-inch HD Sup
List Price: $ 799.99
4G LTE may kill batteries at a record pace, but we still love it. Having faster internet speeds on your phone than your home computer is something I still struggle to wrap my brain around. Couple LTE with a Nexus and you have a match made in heaven.
You will find a 5-megapixel autofocus camera on the rear and a 1.3-megapixel camera on the front of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. Many will bemoan the pixel count but we’d encourage them not to: judge the camera on its results, instead of the numbers. Nevertheless.
The camera interface in Ice Cream Sandwich is not the most sophisticated. I love the interface on pretty much every other Android skin, but it is functional and simple to use. Touch autofocusing is offered and the thing that’s perhaps most obviously in operation is the speed of capture. Press that button and there is no messing around: the shot is taken and you’re simply ready to take the next one.
It isn’t the best camera out there, but it’s good enough and that’s the important point. It struggles where other phone cameras struggle, blowing out highlights and introducing a degree of fringing along high contrast edges, but this is to be expected.
It comes with an LED flash on the back that provides a modicum of illumination in lower light conditions. As with all such flashes, it throws an ugly colour cast over your subject and really lacks the capability to be a reliable shooter in darkness. Stick to your real camera if that’s what you wish to do.
A new panoramic mode is offered, that can quickly stitch together your vista while you sweep the phone across the scene. It functions good enough.
Regarding video capture you get a number of additional options, including a range of silly faces and backgrounds that can be applied. All are a little odd and we’ve strung together a compilation of the silly faces, all captured using the front facing camera and stitched together using the movie maker, which is very simple to use. You also get time lapse options, but the problem is keeping the phone still for long enough to make this effective: you’ll need some sort of mount for the best results.
Otherwise, video capture runs up to 1920 x 1080 pixels, so gets the “Full HD” stamp. The outcomes is very good too, much better than we’ve seen from some competitors. If you move the camera too much you do get the familiar wobble, but we’re impressed with how well it captured the detail.
Call Quality and battery
Calling on the Galaxy Nexus is quite relaxed. The design of the phone makes it a really nice phone to make calls on and it feels much more normal than a phone such as the HTC Sensation XL. The calling quality was great, even though remember that some have reported the volume issue impacting their calls. The external speaker is of reasonable quality too.
As we stated previously, the screen quality falters when dimmed, so you’re left with something of a compromise with regards to battery life. To get the best out of the 1,750mAh battery you have to accept that muddy display, otherwise you’ll be trimming time off your battery life. I found that the Galaxy Nexus crawled through a day in light use, which means this isn’t a phone that likes to be far from a charger.
If you are seeking a pure Android experience, then you’ve probably already chose to pick the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. It’s a competitive device from a hardware standpoint, with a distinct advantage of being Google’s baby in terms of software updates. Early adopters will need to accept that some apps will not work and there will be a delay whilst developers update their apps.
But as a consumer device there are compromises. The screen dimming seems wrong, although potentially can be corrected by a software update. But I am concerned that as the screen brightness declines, the screen looks terrible. It’s a shame considering the screen is or else so very capable.
I also realize that lacking microSD card will deter some. Having the ability to expand the memory, anytime, is important for several users and this is but one point that you can’t really step around. The volume problem does exist, although I didn’t experience that problem.
The Samsung Galaxy Nexus provides an excellent Android experience that’s hugely impressive, but I really trust it will be exceeded by others, like Samsung themselves, over the following few months.