Review

Galaxy Nexus review: the sweetest aftertaste

Today I have my hands on the latest phone from the Google/Samsung camp, running the newest version of Android. It’s called the Galaxy Nexus, and it’s powered by delicious and futuristic Ice Cream Sandwiches.

I’m quite confident that Google’s vision for the Galaxy Nexus was to make it the destroyer-of-all phones, running the absolute best operating system they have ever made and running on the best hardware that their partners Samsung could find. Most of this vision has made itself to the Galaxy Nexus, but as you’ll find it’s not a completely smooth ride.

As always, thanks to our partners over at Mobicity for providing this phone to review. It’s quite a joy to wake up on a Monday morning, horribly sick (at the time), to find a Galaxy Nexus awaiting my testing and review. Please note that this review was carried out on the HSPA+ Galaxy Nexus, and while most aspects covered in this review will be the same with the LTE version, some aspects will be different such as the design and battery life.

Specifications

Samsung have almost gone all out with the Galaxy Nexus, fitting it with a 1.2 GHz TI OMAP dual-core processor, 1 GB of RAM and the impressive 4.65” Super AMOLED HD display. NFC is also on-board, along with penta-band HSPA radios and LTE depending on your region. It’s also quite curved.

  Galaxy Nexus
Product Codes GT-I9250 (HSPA+ model)
i515 (LTE model)
GSM Bands 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900
3G/4G Bands HSPA 850 / 900 / 1700 / 1900 / 2100
LTE 700 (LTE model only)
Display 4.65-inch 1280 x 720 Super AMOLED HD
316 ppi pixel density
8-point capacitive multi-touch
Processor TI OMAP 4460 chipset
1.2 GHz dual-core CPU
ARM Cortex-A9 based
Graphics PowerVR SGX540
RAM 1 GB
Storage 16 or 32 GB internal user storage
Connectivity WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n (dual-band)
Bluetooth 3.0 with A2DP
A-GPS
DLNA
NFC
Camera 5 MP rear camera with autofocus and LED flash
1.3 MP front camera
1080p video recording (rear)
Ports MicroUSB (charging, data)
3.5mm audio jack
Dock connector contacts
Sensors Accelerometer
Magnetometer
Gyroscope
Light sensor
Proximity sensor
Battery Li-ion 1,750 mAh removable
Launch OS Android 4.0 "Ice Cream Sandwich"
Launch Date November 2011
Size & Weight 135.5 x 67.9 x 8.9 mm
135 g
Price Unlocked & Outright: ~US$750
On Contract: US$299 (Verizon; estimate)

Unfortunately I do notice a few things just from the specifications that appear to be missing. I would have liked to see a microSD card slot here to expand the 16 GB of memory included, because if you’re loading the device with 720p videos the space can be used quite quickly. Another thing is the camera is only 5 MP, and while I understand that megapixels aren’t everything, for a top-of-the-line phone I was expecting 8 or even 12 MP.

Contents

  1. Introduction and Specifications
  2. Design & Display
  3. Software
  4. Performance & Battery Life
  5. Camera
  6. Media Playback & Calls
  7. Video Overview & Conclusion
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45 Comments

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Are you guys using live wallpapers while testing? If so that's your problem. 0 lag when using non-live wallpapers.

piece of sh*t. I was testing this a few moments ago and this sh*t lags. They should optimize their OS or the ppl will move to WP.

Gutierrez said,
piece of sh*t. I was testing this a few moments ago and this sh*t lags. They should optimize their OS or the ppl will move to WP.

yeah right ... stfu

Gutierrez said,
piece of sh*t. I was testing this a few moments ago and this sh*t lags. They should optimize their OS or the ppl will move to WP.

I had a WP7 and after one week of using it I was happy to get rid of it...I'd honestly prefer going back to an old mobile phone than use it...
And do you really think a store phone is clean? It probably had a lot of programs running in the background...I'm not even saying it doesn't lag, but come on...you just like your WP so go buy one of those...the one thing I liked about the phone I had was that it was solid and had a slider keyboard...

The pictures taken with this phone in the review were done in almost perfect light. Almost every camera can take good photos in these conditions.

When you look at another reviews - for example Gizmodo here (full res images):
http://www.flickr.com/photos/gizmodo/sets/72157628251747893

- you can clearly see that camera in Nexus is a crap compared to SGS II. I can't imagine how different the reviews can be. Reading here I'd really think Nexus has a good camera.

I was going to wait for this phone but after this review I am glad I bought the SGS 2. THe SGS 2 seems more powerful then this phone.

Again Neowin please I hate clicking Next 7 times to read a review. Connections and browsers are already fast enough to load the entire review on a single page.

I dont like the idea that you dont have a memory to change, so for instead, you have to live for the rest of your life with a 16GB or 32GB. And that ****es me off. The same happend to the luminia. I dont like that stupid trend and I wont support it.
I dont like the "protection" that has. What happend to the Corning Gorilla Glass?. What is this **** Oleophobic coating?.
The battery dont last that much, compared to the other version of the phone.
No RADIO?. What the **** with that?.
And the OS, LAAAAAAAAAAAAAGS!. I cant believe with a 1.2Ghz DUAL CORE processor this crap LAGS, I just cant.

Even from the videos you can tell there is lag. Some blind fanbois on gsmarena were even claiming it was not the phone lagging but the computer of the user viewing the video which was very amusing! It seems a lot better than the usual roid response though, which is one of the things that persuaded me to get one.

FATILA said,
Even from the videos you can tell there is lag. Some blind fanbois on gsmarena were even claiming it was not the phone lagging but the computer of the user viewing the video which was very amusing! It seems a lot better than the usual roid response though, which is one of the things that persuaded me to get one.

i just went to best buy and played with it again. In the SMS app I had absolutely no problem typing faster than the keyboard could keep up (thereby causing characters to get dropped).

To anyone saying there is absolutely, definitely no lag; you must be coming from the Android ecosystem and thereby able to overlook lag.

I spent 5 minutes playing with the phone in the store and found lag in several instances. As a WP7 user maybe I have higher expectations.

The first lag I saw was in the app tray where the animation stuttered at around 10fps until it smoothed out towards the end of the animation.

Then I went into the text messaging app to test the keyboard, while much improved I did have situations where key input would lag for almost a full second then quickly throw in all the keys I pressed during the time the keyboard was frozen. The problem was so bad that in some cases I thought I didn't press the key and actually had enough time to go back and press the key a second time so when the keyboard finally became responsive again the word had errors in it.

Finally, I went into the settings menu and flicked up and down a few times. Even there, on a graphicless list, there were a few frames of stutter before the animation smoothed out.

IMO, everyone saying the Galaxy Nexus/Android 4 is completely stutter free is probably a long-time android user who has developed some lower expectations over the years.

Good point, and u know, i'm on of these guys.

Still using my iPhone, but was waiting for some good review, but i would like to see with GS II. In the end, i still don't know what to do..

I'll joing android world, just not sure what start to: GS II or Nexus ?

tester.br said,
Good point, and u know, i'm on of these guys.

Still using my iPhone, but was waiting for some good review, but i would like to see with GS II. In the end, i still don't know what to do..

I'll joing android world, just not sure what start to: GS II or Nexus ?

I would go with Nexus!

Looks pretty cool - but not enough to actually make me want to switch to Android. Next yr will be big with all the platforms going through their big releases.

Nice review, but I was expecting a bit more comparison to the Galaxy S2 which would be the logical competitor since the S2 is available globally and the Nexus may not be for some time. Thus in the lead up to Christmas should people just go buy the S2 or wait for the Nexus to release locally?

Pegus said,
Nice review, but I was expecting a bit more comparison to the Galaxy S2 which would be the logical competitor since the S2 is available globally and the Nexus may not be for some time. Thus in the lead up to Christmas should people just go buy the S2 or wait for the Nexus to release locally?

I am totally new to android, but I was thinking of switching to this phone!


SURELY the AVI play issue can be fixed through software??? right???

I would like to say, because it wasn't mentioned in the review, that SuperAMOLED HD displays do not use gorilla glass. They use a newer stronger glass which I believe is called Lotus glass.

dotf said,
I would like to say, because it wasn't mentioned in the review, that SuperAMOLED HD displays do not use gorilla glass. They use a newer stronger glass which I believe is called Lotus glass.

GN doesn't use any glass from corning.

este said,
As a Nexus S user, when can we expect to have ICS deployed to the device?

It's my understanding you'll be the first legacy device to recieve ICS.

este said,
As a Nexus S user, when can we expect to have ICS deployed to the device?
ICS was pushed to Google Employees Nexus S devices this week. They are dogfooding the update while carriers do their testing. Once that's completed (estimated 2-4 weeks as I read in articles) it'll head out to Nexus S.

cybertimber2008 said,
ICS was pushed to Google Employees Nexus S devices this week. They are dogfooding the update while carriers do their testing. Once that's completed (estimated 2-4 weeks as I read in articles) it'll head out to Nexus S.

Good news there. It'd be a nice christmas present for my phone =]

M V E said,
Only 1,750 mAh for 1.2 GHz dual-core CPU? No, thanks.

You can buy a spare battery if your concern is battery life.

jamesyfx said,

You can buy a spare battery if your concern is battery life.

Battery life isn't really a concern. When I was using it for the review I never worried that it would die in a day, because it never did

M V E said,
Only 1,750 mAh for 1.2 GHz dual-core CPU? No, thanks.

That's a very narrow view - mine lasts ages compared to my old Desire - the power management appears to very good in ICS/the hardware in this device. I'd say it seems at least twice as good - and that's with a much higher res screen, dual core etc. I have wifi on all the time too.

I've had this phone for about 2 weeks now, and it's an amazing device. The display is great.

Also, I upgraded from an iPhone. This phone is much more fun to use.

Owen W said,
I still prefer to read my reviews on one page . Good work though, Tim!

+1.

It's much easier and quicker to browse and skim through and take in everything when it's all there right in front of you. I understand pagination maybe for a mobile device where you don't want to load the whole page at one, but other than that... *shurgs*. (Though I am using the expanded width site)

Poor GPU performance from a highend phone.... I don't know the impact this will have with newer games. And this is not something that can be upgraded....

TruckWEB said,
Poor GPU performance from a highend phone.... I don't know the impact this will have with newer games. And this is not something that can be upgraded....

I haven't found it a problem on mine to be honest. Everything feels fast and slick. Lovely phone, very happy with it!

TruckWEB said,
Poor GPU performance from a highend phone.... I don't know the impact this will have with newer games. And this is not something that can be upgraded....

Yeah to be honest the performance graphs don't tell the whole story. For the time it was released around 2 years ago it was way ahead of the competition much like the Galaxy S II's GPU is today, and it keeps its own in current games quite well

Sorry this is not related but can't seem to go to page 2 onwards.. ? (the article is not displaying anymore)

Samsung is sending over the Galaxy Nexus and Galaxy Note to me to review next week, so I'm excited to read what the phone has to offer

:: Lyon :: said,
Sorry this is not related but can't seem to go to page 2 onwards.. ? (the article is not displaying anymore)

Damn, I thought we fixed that... EDIT: Fixed, again

Edited by Scorpus, Dec 8 2011, 9:14am :