Samsung Galaxy Nexus
The Samsung Galaxy Nexus may be the most anticipated phone to hit the U.S. shores since the original Droid. If it is not the most anticipated then it if close to the leader. So after a week of playing with the device I am ready to put together my preliminary review of this device.
- Screen: The screen is vibrant and bright, it may be pentile but you are never going to have a problem looking at this screen. It is easily viewable in both daylight and low light settings. Pictures and movies look extremely vivid and sharp. If you have used other Samsung phones you will be familiar with this beautiful display, if you are coming from another device you may end up blown away by the screen.
- Battery life: The battery life on this device is average at best. I have yet to use a LTE enabled device that gets stellar battery. So far I would say power users are going to be plugging in by midday and your casual user may need an early afternoon. With my usage (I'm a heavy user), on LTE I will go from 100% at 6AM to 20% by 11AM, on 3G I went from 100% at 6AM to 70% at 11AM and 20% at 4PM. Again you mileage will vary according to your usage. My Device has a 1750 mAH battery and the battery may have been upped to 1850mAH.
- Weight: A major complaint I've had against the Samsung line of phones (all Galaxy S and Droid Charge) is the weight of the devices. With this phone you will get a tad bit heavier device, it is slightly lighter than the bionic, and quite a bit heavier feeling than the Droid Razr.
- Build: Hmm, well I was hoping for something more in line with the way Motorola builds devices, but I will take this from Samsung. Whereas previous Samsung devices I have used have been a mix of plastic and glass screen, this is a better build. I'm am not overly impressed with this build quality but its a step in the right direction. There is one build issue I truly don't like and that is the battery cover, it feels very cheap and plastically.
- Speaker: The speaker is not very loud, I don't think its going to suffice in any noisy environment. The clarity of the speaker is very good though.
- Software: This is going to get its own review below. The device is running stock Android 4.0.1 (Ice Cream Sandwich).
- Network LTE/3G (Radio): This has been a bright spot for me. Anyone who has used a 4G device has had to deal with poor radio performance. Constant dropping of data and multiple switching from 3G to 4G. So far the phones radio performance has been stellar, it is holding a 4G signal in areas that my Bionic (yeah I know) and Charge drop down to 3G. I have not had any issues with data drop out or loss of LTE signal. My home is in a fringe area and the Nexus actually stays 4G/LTE in my home.
- GPS: In the past Samsungs have had issues with the gps and locking in satellites. I'm glad to tell you that I have not had an issue. My bionic is locking me down to 5ft in about 15 seconds, and the Nexus is locking down to 5ft in about 25 seconds. As you can see not an issue at all.
- Call Quality: I have used mostly Motorola over my 20 years owning a cell phone, mostly due to their call quality and radio quality. The Nexus performs well, but it is not as clear as my Motorola device. It is not bad either. If you had a charge it is on par with it. Ear piece volume is good, it is loud enough but at it loudest it is not ear drum bursting loud.
It's About the Firmware
- Operating System: Android 4.0 (Android 4.0.1 - AKA Ice Cream Sandwich): The hardware known as the Galaxy Nexus is merely the vessel to carry the awesome firmware to the masses. It is actually very difficult to express fully the redesign of Android. As others have said, this is not a refresh or an update, this feels and acts like a whole new operating system. In fact this is the first time I've felt that Google (Android) has reach the fit and finish of the Iphone.
- Launcher: The new launcher has introduced folders natively to the android environment. You can easily create folders on the desktop by dragging and dropping app icons, or you can create folders on the launcher quick launch bar at the bottom. Many complaints surrounding the other native centered around smoothness and usability, this has been resolved with Ice Cream Sandwich. The launcher is silky smooth when scrolling through them, and there are no hiccups when pages are fully loaded with widgets.
[INDENT]-Once inside the launcher you will notice it has new animations, and you are able to seamlessly scroll across until you have come to the widgets.
-You can long press an icon and either uninstall the application or disable the application. Disabling an application disables an application that cannot be uninstalled. Be careful I disabled my contacts playing around. Don't worry you can re-enable any apps you have disable easily in the setting menu.[/INDENT]
- Notifications: The notification system has been redone. First thing I noticed is the permanent settings button in the drop down. Next you will find the ability to discard a notification by tossing it to the side (left or right). The other basic functions have unchanged from previous versions.
- Contacts: the new contacts is a thing of beauty. The first page is the groups page, this is a needed tool. I like grouping my contacts and this makes it very easy to find my groups and then find who I'm looking for. The star of the show for the revamped contacts is the new favorites. It has large pictures and a robust
- Google Talk: swiping left and right to get to each conversation is easily done and the name at the top makes it easy to find who you are looking for. The application now re-orders the conversation on the home screen according to the most recently received message. (I am disappointed that you cannot yet send/receive files through GTalk, but I hear that is being worked on right now).
- GMail: the new Gmail has preview text on the screen. This is a welcome addition. But my favorite new items are native *.apk download and install plus viewing of images inline.
- EMail: the new Gmail has preview text on the screen. This is a welcome addition. But my favorite new items are native *.apk download and install plus viewing of images inline.
- GoogleGallery: the new Gallery is a complete overhaul of the previous galleries. You are presented with a much simpiler interface upon entering the gallery and then you have a great many options when it comes to editing your newly taken photos.
- Messaging: the new Messaging application is not as much of a change as the other apps but again you can see the refinement here.
- Music/Equalizer: If you have been part of the Music Beta you have some experience with the awesomeness that is GoogleMusicBeta. What Google has done that makes this feel oh so brand new is offer new and improved settings including the FX (Sound Effects) application. See picture. This has been a long overdue feature and makes my music listening far more enjoyable.
- Movie Editor: If you have a honeycomb tablet then you have seen this app in action. I think it is a fun app that lets me modify clips on my device. It is not meant for full blown movie making but suffices for quick video editing.