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Samsung Galaxy Nexus Review

 

Samsung Galaxy Nexus Review

 
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Design

The Samsung Galaxy Nexus is the world's first phone to run Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) and comes with a plethora of top end tech, including a huge but still massively high resolution screen. On top of that, the specs include a fantastic Super AMOLED HD screen, Dual-Core 1.2GHz processor, HSDPA, 5MP camera and NFC support, to name a few.

The Nexus itself is fairly big. With dimensions of 135.5 x 67.9 x 8.9mm, it's marginally bigger than Samsung's other flagship handset, the Galaxy S2. It's also a little bit heavier at 135g compared to the latter's 116g. The front is probably as minimalist as you can get. All black with no buttons at all (we'll explain more in the interface section about that.)

In fact, all you have on the front is the screen, front facing camera and the brightness sensor plus a cheeky little light beneath the screen that you don't even know exists until you get an email and it begins to pulsate.

The sides are fairly unremarkable with power/standby on the right, volume on the left along with three charging pins (for a dock accessory), nothing up top and the bottom housing the charge/sync socket and headphone jack.

You won't find an SD slot on the outside. Or indeed, the inside. Ridiculously, this – the flagship Google handset which is so set up as a media device – has been crippled by having NO expandable memory. Words fail us. And they may fail you when you realise that 16GB internal storage is your lot.

But the screen, when lit up, looks fantastic. Its 4.65-inches with a resolution of 720 x 1280, giving a ppi of 316. It really is super sharp. We would have expected nothing less with Samsung's mobile displays among the best out there but it's cracking for internet and video.

Interface

The Galaxy Nexus is like nothing you'll have seen before from Android. It is a complete redesign and although some bits are the same as they were, on the whole, even long-term Android users like us had to spend a few moments figuring out where things now are.

One thing we did notice and like was the welcome we got from Google on setting the handset up. Google works out you have just activated a Galaxy Nexus on your associated account and actually makes a point of emailing you to congratulate you and providing you with instructions. It's a nice touch.

Three soft keys are now provided within the OS at the bottom of the screen: back, home and multitasking. The beauty here is that when they're not needed, the OS disposes of them and gives you more screen space to enjoy your pleasures. Icons have been refreshed and look sharper and clearer too... overall, it's a much more polished experience to take on the gloss of Windows Phone and iOS.

The Galaxy Nexus ships with several new live wallpapers and all look very futuristic. You can see that the whole design here is more Honeycomb than Gingerbread. It's dark and moody but also very aesthetically pleasing.

Homescreens are limited to five and there is no option to extend this. We'd have hoped for at least seven which is now the standard across Android. We also found we missed the options shortcut button.

On previous Android iterations, you would press this on the homescreen and be given shortcuts to actions like changing wallpapers, Google search, editing homescreens, adding widgets etc.

Now simple options require delving into the settings menu and going the long way round which feels like a backwards step. Also, the ability to pinch in to show an overview of all homescreens appears to have been taken away.

Speaking of settings, you now access that section through the notifications bar which, thankfully, Google has kept. It's redesigned and is now semi-transparent but the gist of it remains the same - although there are now pictures of your friends when they message you, and a simple swipe will get rid of any unwanted notifications.

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(Review Page 1 of 6)

   
   
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