The next Google Android flagship is here, and we’ll see if it got what it takes to stand out from the crowd and rule over this very competitive market. Because as you may know there have been very few smartphones that we’re able to do this and since this is the milestone for Android 4.0 it should be nothing less than the very best. So have Samsung and Google done enough? Let’s find out
Both its predecessors had something special in terms of design, the Nexus one was one of the most refined devices while the Nexus S had a curved glass on top of the display. The Galaxy Nexus keeps the curved design and adds a Hyper-Skin back cover for better grip. Unfortunately being made entirely from plastic means that it lacks the premium feel that the specifications inspire, but on the good side it’s very light and thin. It measures 135.5 x 67.9 x 8.9mm and weighs 135 grams.
On the front we have the big 4.65” SuperAMOLED display with HD resolution (1280*720) and 316 ppi. The display is simply great it has very high contrast levels, lifelike saturated colors, very wide viewing angles and it has no legibility problems even under direct sunlight. Under the display there is nothing. That’s because Ice Cream Sandwich has on screen keys for navigation. This makes the front completely clean and very cool to look at.
On the left side we have the volume rocker while the right side holds only the power/lock key. The top of the device is bare while the bottom holds the microUSB port, the microphone and the 3.5 mm audio jack. On the back we have only a 5 MPx camera instead of the 8MPx we were expecting, but let’s not judge until we see what it can do. Also on the back we have the loudspeaker and the led flash. Removing the battery cover gives us access to the 1750mAh battery that provides up 11 days of stand by and over 8 hours of talk time.
The Galaxy Nexus is powered by a 1.2 GHz dual core TI OMPA 4460 CPU and Ice Cream Sandwich is very well optimized to work with it. This makes the Galaxy Nexus one of the fastest smartphones on the market. The responsiveness of the device is great, apps run without lag or stuttering and the overall performance is impressive. On top of that the interface looks superb and offers streamlined functionality. It doesn’t matter what you are doing: scrolling long lists or web pages, opening heavy apps, swiping through the menu; the Nexus Galaxy will do it with ease.
The Galaxy Nexus has to be a milestone for the Ice Cream Sandwich OS since it’s the first device that runs the newest version of the Android OS. It brings a completely redesigned OS and a brand new experience for Android users. But despite that it won’t be hard for Gingerbread or Honeycomb users to get used to the new version.
Instead of the Contact app, ICS has the People app. The People app gets rid of all the boxes and delimiters, has a more visual approach with bigger contact images and much cleaner look. The email and messaging apps have a very simplistic, easy to use interface with improved auto-completion and auto-correction. The Gmail app is very easy to set up and also lets you customize and refine your mail usage. The weird part is that you can use pinch to zoom in the mail app but no in the Gmail app.
The on-screen keyboard also gets its share of improvements. The portrait keyboard is surprisingly comfortable to use even with one hand despite the size of the device while the landscape QWERTY keyboard is one of the best ones out there mostly because of the big display, haptic feedback, the size of the keys and the spacing between them.
Video recording is done at 1080p resolution and 24fps, but besides that there nothing much to say. The recording is a bit choppy and lacking in detail. Also the continuous auto-focus tends to be sluggish sometimes. The Galaxy Nexus is good if you want to take pictures outside and in daylight. The image Gallery however is very good looking and it comes with an image editor that offers a nice selection of tools like adjusting the exposure, saturation or even fixing the red eyes.
In terms of connectivity you get the full package HSPA+ (LTE in the Verizon version), Wi-FI, Bluetooth 3.0, MHL, NFC, GPS with A-GPS and it should get Google Wallet support sun. The web browser works flawlessly. It offers all the zooming, scrolling and panning options and it’s also very fast and responsive. It also offers the option to save pages for offline view, view the desktop version and thanks to the big display with 316 ppi even small text is very legible. Unfortunately it currently lacks Flash support, but despite the fact that Adobe announced that they will stop support for Flash and focus on HTML5, Ice Cream Sandwich will get Flash support soon.