Samsung Galaxy Nexus: Really a star

4/19/2012 9:46:29 AM

Description: Samsung Galaxy Nexus

Galaxy Nexus is the first smartphone running Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, Google’s effort to unify smartphone and tablet operating system. In stead of having specific versions for cell phones and tablets such as Android 2.3 Gingebread for smartphone and 3.0 Honeycomb for tablet, Ice Cream Sandwich is designed for both devices. New operating system also provides many new features including unlocking phone by face, syncing app folder and browser, as well as many small improvements.

The interface is designed to work without hard button. But the clearest change is new Favourites bar, soft buttons for Back, Home and Recent Apps, and unification Apps and Witgets collections into a single interface. At this time you can scroll through Widgets trays to preview how they look on the main screen.

Many more important changes stand behind and aim at developers rather than users. Desktop rate is improved so as Android screen and apps look the same on screens with different sizes. A new font has been introduced together with new screen interior – for example, app menus are found at app’s right or left corner and showed by a vertically intermittent line.

Nexus has impressive hardware, with 4.7-inch screen, 1280x720 resolution and 1.2GHz dual core processor. While it has new technology, it looks rather simple – structure behind phone’s cover is the only negelecting thing from smooth plastic and mirror surface. Samsung claims the phone is 9mm in thickness, but like Motorola’s RAZR, it tapers from the swell 11mm at a head, an if seen from the side, screen is rather concave.


Description: Samsung Galaxy Nexus

Plastic body makes Neus extremely light for this size. It is also comfortable to hold it, and round shape of corners helps you easily put it into your pocket. A new smart feature allows you to unlock the phone by face identity. This feature works well, manages to differentiate members in Shopper team, and works straight away even at strange corners.

High screen’s resolution makes the smallest text also become sharp as knife on 4.7-inch screen. However, the screen is not very bright, even at the higest setting, and we had to turn off auto brightness that makes everything so bad. At maximum brightness, colors are lively and contrast ratio is excellent. Back, menu, and home buttons are now showed in the software and occupy screen’s space, but the screen is so large that this never bothers us.

Android 4.0 is very smooth on Nexus. It is one of the few number of phones appearing to be fast when used without iPhone, certainly thanks to dual core processor although new Android version also brings speed improvement. The score of 2,038ms in SunSpider JavaScript test promised impressive web browser performance, but we had waited for better points. Android’s new versions often create speed leap on SunSpider, so we were surprised when seeing lfew improvements here.

If app is suitable

The only time the operating system made us wait was when data were input from internet, and even previous slow apps such as Google Maps were also opened with record time. Games are surprisingly smooth – when they run – but unfortunately, not all can cope with Nexus’s high resolution. It is sure that most will be updated in a few weeks later. Battery life in our video test was lower than 7 hours, medium for an Android smartphone.

5MP camera creates sharp color images with little noise. There is no image anti-shake mode, so you will need to use LED flashlight for photos taken in weak light, but they even do not have much noise. The phone also has interesting panorama mode.

Video can be recored in 1080p Full HD resolution, there is even a pre-set video adjustment app allowing you to stitch photos together and add background music. Video is not lively as it should, and recording is unsmooth, but colors and contrast ratio are excellent, with little noise except for the time of zoom in. Performance in dark areas is very standard although flashlight is not turned on, with very little noise and blur as compared to what we often see. Our only complaint is that you cannot control LED manually to act as a record light while recoring video.

Most Android phones have memory card slot, which gives them more advantages than iPhone, so it is a pity that Nexus does not have it. However, it has 16GB storage, which is quite much. The option attaching Nexus to PC in mass storage mode also disappears. In stead of that, you have to choose between Media Transfer Protocol (MTP) or Picture Transfer Protocol (PTP). Both attach phone as a device in Windows Explorer, but with borther that when you transfer file, you are usually warned that it will not play on your device.

Since Nexus is Google phone, it is accompanied by standard Android apps that can process all tasks you need. All browser, email, message, map, work schedule, music, and social network are included although Google missed one thing when not adding Google Docs.

This also means the phone is not much impeded by pre-set apps chosen for you by a network exploiter or phone producer that you cannot uninstall – Android 4.0 adds uninstallation ability these apps in any case. It will be very interesting to see which software is packed beforehand in future Android 4.0 phones from other producers – HTC’s Sense and Motorola’s Motoblur add improvements such as auto contact. On Nexus, you have to adjust a contact, and then choose Join option to find coincident contacts.

Watch and key

We like small details proving understanding of user’s behavior, for example, the watch lies on the screen once locked, so you do not need to open your phone just to see what time it is – you just need to press a button to unlock the screen. You can also unlock your phone directly from camera mode. The ability to pull apps up to each other to create folders will tidy up most Android main screen dramatically, together with browser sync between phone and Google Chrome on desktop computer, you can bring saved password and bookmark.

Galaxy Nexus is an excellent and attracting phone, and Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich has been the fastest Android experience so far. Just rather plastic structure and quite dim screen pull it back. If you are looking for the current best Android, it is here, but you may want to see what rivals introduce before buying. For example, it is rumored that excellent Motorola’s Droid Razr will upgrade Android 4.0 at the beginning of next year.


Description: Samsung Galaxy Nexus

Verdict. Large screen, dual core processor and excellent camera make this leading new Android phone worth money, but it is Android 4.0 that is really a star.

Smartphone. GSM 850/900/1800/1900, 3G 850/900/1700/1900/2100, EDGE, HSPA, 4.7-inch LCD (720x1280 resolution), 5MP camera, 16GB storage, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, USB, 8.3 hours of talk-time, 11.3 days of wait-time, 136x68x11mm, 135g.

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